The weather in Key West, Florida, was tile pits. Winds at a steady 28 knots out of the southeast kept us from heading offshore, where seas topped 8 feet. Running west inside the reef to the Marquesas proved the Pro-Line 3000 Super Sport Cuddy could take it — but we couldn’t. The 3- to 4-foot seas piling up close together made the trip unbearable. If that weren’t bad enough, forecasts called for 50-knot winds and possible tornadoes in the Straits of Florida.
Any time you can run a hull at a reasonable speed (as opposed to slowing to idle) in such conditions, it’s got a great bottom. The new Pro-Line 3000 would certainly skim across the tops of these seas like an offshore racer, but at the expense of my aging body. However, when we dropped back to a more sedate 25 mph, the whole world smoothed out.
Like so many performance vehicles designed to run at high speeds, the 3000 takes slightly longer to wind up and get up on plane. Don’t expect the 3000 to get up and run on a single engine, which just doesn’t have enough low-end torque, but once up on top with twins, it flies. I couldn’t run it wide open at any time during the day until we actually got back to Key West Harbor, where the twin Mercury 225 EFIs pushed the boat along at 62 mph while turning 5,600 rpm.
If you choose to turn the wheel hard over at high speed, the boat turns very tightly but loses speed dramatically, keeping you inside the boat in the process. It responds terrifically to both trim tab and engine trim. The wide range of adjustment allows fine-tuning for any condition.
I did get one pleasant surprise: Usually it’s pretty difficult to dock a performance boat because the engines are mounted so close together. Docking the 3000 in a crosscurrent, I might add, was a real treat, as it spun beautifully with just the gears.
The Pro-Line 3000, with its Divinycell coring and FIST stringer system, will run fast and hard, and it will take whatever beating you want to give it, launching off waves and landing properly stern-first. However, drop the speed back to just below launch speed and the bow seems to drop, almost in slow motion. It’s as though the transom is the fulcrum, and the boat pushes the water out of the way in cushioned fashion as it drops off a wave — offering no compression-thud whatsoever at such speeds. All in all, the 3000 represents one sweet ride.
We were fishing for barracuda as bait for large sharks (bulls and tigers). Climbing up onto the cuddy cabin top/foredeck to cast feels quite safe and secure, with good handholds in both directions and adequate stairs on both sides. I would, however, like to see the entire foredeck be nonskid rather than just the narrow strips along the rail. You’ll also be glad to know that the future open-bow model will sport a low-profile rail.
A large bait well within the helm leaning post will hold dozens of livies with no problem. But trolling these baits will require bumping the engine in and out of gear, because even when running just one engine, you’d be moving too fast. I’d also like to see a tool station on the back of the leaning post.
You can steer the 3000 downwind handily, and the less-than-radical 22-degree deadrise and transom bracket overhang help to dampen beam sea rolling more than you’d expect on a performance boat.
About the only thing the tiny cuddy cabin only this boat can be used for is lying down or rod storage, though the portable head will work for children and short people. Storage areas, however, offer loads of room: Insulated fish boxes, pull-out boxes with storage and access beneath abound. Wiring has heat-shrink tubing and soldered connections, and each 3000 contains separate pumps for wash-down, bilge and bait well.
As you’d expect from a performance boat, the 3000 has an exceptionally comfortable leaning-post design with a backrest for support when seated. The contoured leaning post keeps you comfortably supported no matter the sea condition. An angled footrest lets you stand fiat-footed rather than always shoving your toes forward in your shoes.
Pro-Line employees fish, so it’s no wonder that you’ll find fishing amenities all present and located right where they need to be. Popup cleats, both on the bow and amidships, keep lines from snagging, as do standard stern cleats hidden beneath the gunwale, with hawsepipes for line access.
Working the cockpit in rough weather is always a challenge, but with cockpit bolsters just above knee height to port and starboard and room beneath to tuck in your toes, the 3000 gives you a secure feeling.
It rained on our way to the Marquesas, and while I don’t mind getting wet, I had a distinct problem with raindrops pelting my face like someone shooting at me with a BB gun. Pro-Line definitely needs to redesign the windshield, making it higher and stronger as well as removing a few of the compound curves to get rid of the distortion.