I first saw the 3100 sitting at the dock after dark. Indirect lighting softly glowing from under the gunwales made it look very warm and inviting. The next morning, however, I saw an entirely different boat, one with a very broad beam and no-nonsense fishing layout. Who says you can’t have beauty and function at once?
I was able to eke out only 5,300 rpm from the twin 250-hp Yamaha outboards. But even without the additional 200 rpm the engines are rated for, the 3100 topped out at just over 47 mph with four of us aboard and almost-full fuel and water tanks. You won’t want to spend much time at that speed, however, since it gulped a hefty 55 gph (less than a mile per gallon). Cruising at 34 mph at 4,000 rpm proved the most economical speed, using 25 gph for an economy of 1.36 mpg.
For such a large boat, the 3100 got up on plane remarkably quickly with relatively little bow rise. A southwesterly wind blowing 25 knots roiled up the seas on the Gulf of Mexico to about a 4-foot, close-together mess. The 3100 rode surprisingly smoothly in the steep sea despite the wide beam which often pounds more than a narrower beam. That’s one reason offshore performance boats look like darts. However, our course to the offshore wreck we wanted to fish was at just the wrong angle to the wind, causing the spray to be lifted up and back at us after it had blown nicely out to the sides. Every other heading seemed dryer than the one we were obliged to follow.
Turning at speed neither awed nor disappointed, with a modest lean into the turn and a reasonable turning radius. Maneuvering around the dock offered better performance than many boats of comparable size, thanks to the beam allowing the engines to be spaced a bit farther apart. This gives superior turning leverage when turning and backing with gears rather than the steering wheel.
As you’d expect, the Century 3100 rides just a hair less stable than a catamaran. Even abeam of the nasty stuff we encountered, walking across the cockpit without holding on posed no problem.
Today’s conservation ethic would prevent conscientious anglers from ever filling the fish boxes aboard the 3100. It comes standard with four 100-quart boxes forward (all with drains) and two more huge boxes (300-quart) in the cockpit. Century has also designed a superb 70-gallon, lighted, aerated, live baitwell with a removable separator and two separate, independent recirculating pumps (with two sea cocks) that can move up to 2,200 gph. A rigging station alongside the well sports a sink with fresh and saltwater spigots.
With six in-gunwale rod holders and lockable storage for three rods under each gunwale, rod storage poses no problem even without the T-top’s rocket launchers. The 3100 has enclosed storage compartments under each gunwale around the cockpit, much the way large convertibles do. You can’t store rods in them, but everything else that usually has no place to live like gaffs and mops can be hidden away nicely.
It’s almost laughable to discuss moving around on the 3100. Walkways are wide enough to allow “shaggin’ down the boulevard.” A low-profile bow rail starting at the console offers a good handhold without interfering with working a fish. Fortunately, the integral bracket area aft of the transom provides a lot of room because extending a rod tip from inside the cockpit to beyond the outboards may prove difficult for those with short arms.
Design and Construction
Unlike the rest of the Century line, you won’t be trailering the new 3100. At almost 8,000 pounds with the engines and gear, it would take a truck. Plus, the beam exceeds highway restrictions.
The stringer system (which looks like a tuning fork from above) is constructed of foam-filled, solid fiberglass, giving excellent strength and rigidity to the hull. In fact, everything about the 3100 shouts brawny strength. The hatches all have big, twist-lock latches. The berth, though a single, stretches for 6-1/2 feet in the console. Access to all plumbing and wiring both underdeck and in the console is ideal. The 3100 provides more storage than you could ever want.
Century has created an especially interesting compartment arrangement in the cockpit, much like larger convertible sport-fishermen. All under-gunwale areas are enclosed with hatch doors hiding storage. Some cover rod storage, others hide wash-down hose, tackle boxes and storage for mops and other sundries. And tackle storage is not gratuitous on this 3100. Five full-size tackle drawers in the console augment those in the coaming on each side of the cockpit.
Compare the performance 31-footers with their narrow, arrow-like beams with this boat, and it’s almost as if the Century offers three boats to the performance boat’s one.