Everglades has never done anything in a conventional manner. From its construction methods to designs, this company always moves to the beat of its own drum. The new 5 Series of 29-footers is no exception. (The 5 Series also includes 27- and 32-footers.) Whereas most companies will develop a recreational boat and then adapt it to commercial/law enforcement/military styles, Everglades worked them all out at the same time. And they all work flawlessly!
It proved a day for innovation, as I got to run this new 295 matched with a pair of Honda’s newest outboards — 250 hp models! These represent the highest-horsepower engines Honda has ever introduced, and they certainly augment rather than detract from the marque’s reputation.
Though our last-minute test happened on flat-calm water, the boat and engines both ran like champs. The 5 Series is a redesign from the deck up, so I already knew that the running surface handles rough water with aplomb.
I also knew that with a pair of 350s, the 295 CC tops out at 63 mph using 67.9 gph and cruises nicely at 34 while burning 20.4 gph. The new Hondas don’t push this hefty hull as fast as 700 horses do, but considering how ecologically green they are (CARB super, ultralow-emissions rated) and how much more fuel-efficient they are (a significant consideration these days), the Hondas bear serious contemplation. For example, the top speed with twin Honda 250s averaged 52.5 mph at 6,100 rpm while using 43.9 gph. I can live with that! Drop to 4,000 rpm, and you’ll be running almost 32 mph but burning only 15.6 gph for economy on the order of 2 mpg. For that kind of savings, I’d be willing to sacrifice 11 mph at top end and 2 mph at cruise for an extra 5 gph.
Other performance facets include time to plane at three seconds and hitting 30 mph in 7.3 seconds. And the Hondas qualify as quiet in addition to clean with a mere 86 dB at the helm when cruising at 32 mph.
Everglades president Stephen Dougherty — an avid offshore fisherman — won’t let a boat out of the plant that isn’t ready to fish. To that end, each of the 295s comes equipped with a standard livewell with a clear lid, coaming bolsters and a tackle station with drawers, as well as a sliding workstation drawer, macerated fish box, lockable rod storage, 10 rod holders in and under the gunwales, and all pop-up cleats so you’ll never snag a line. Of course, both freshwater and raw-water washdowns also come standard. On the options side, I’d add the outrigger package, the three-sided enclosure at the helm and perhaps the crow’s nest on the hardtop.
Design and Construction
Certainly no other company builds boats the same way Everglades does with its patented RAMCAP system. This method consists of molding the foam inserts that make this boat so strong and unsinkable, then building the fiberglass boat around the foam, much like surfboards are made. This system precludes any voids in the foam that can sometimes occur when a laminator is simply injecting the foam blindly with a wand. Everglades uses vinylester resin to prevent osmotic blistering as well.
But the most innovative aspect to the new 5 Series boats must be in the windshield. Everglades pioneered the console windshield that slides up and down in tracks. That evolved into a new hydraulic model with new shaping. At the press of a button, the windshield opens from the top for ventilation during the day and to help eliminate glare at night. Or put it up for shelter from wind, spray and inclemency.
Other standard features that I particularly appreciate include power steering, the satellite-ready stereo, docking lights, an auxiliary port for iPods or smartphones, and a swim ladder deployable from the water.
LOA: 31 ft. 3 in.
BEAM: 9 ft. 9 in.
DRAFT: 1 ft. 8 in.
DEADRISE: 21 deg.
WEIGHT: 6,300 lb. (w/o power)
FUEL: 200 gal.
MAX POWER: (2) 350 hp OB
(w/ twin Honda 250 hp OB)