The weatherman severely underestimated the winds the late April day I ran the Sailfish 30-06 Express out of south Florida. Fifteen to 20 mph easterlies stirred violent boils in the high-walled Boynton Beach Inlet. Outside, 4-foot seas peaked sharply. Perfect day for a boat ride!
Ted Jones, my dealer host from West Palm Beach’s Marine Connection, had invited his son, TJ, along for bring-your-child-to-work day. TJ already knew his dad had a cool job; he had also apparently inherited Jones’ boat-racing genes. The 12-year-old was aching to get some big air.
My penchant for moderation and prior episodes of spinal compression kept me from indulging his wish. And thankfully, this cabin boat was not as eager as a center console to launch into space.
Sailfish designed this express with fishing families in mind. That means stability ranks high on the list of its design parameters. And stable she was.
Running directly into the seas, the hull landed solidly and remained surprisingly dry. And while I felt the heaviness of the bow from the weight of the cabin, the vessel handled quite well with very little trim.
Running with seas abeam provided a comfortable ride, and I found a sweet spot heading down-sea where the bow remained high enough that we avoided diving into the waves while the steering remained true.
I dropped the throttles on the twin 250 hp four-stroke Yamahas to neutral, and not surprisingly, the wind pushed the bow around for a stern-to-the-waves drift. The hull provided a quick roll moment with gentle transitions; I could maintain thigh contact with the coaming pads in fish-fighting position without losing balance.
Back inside the Intracoastal Waterway, I powered up to full throttle. The Express took about five seconds to plane and hit a top end of 48.6 mph at 6,000 rpm, consuming 42 gph. Dropping to 3,700 rpm and a 30 mph cruising speed lowered the fuel burn to about 15 gph.
In turns, the optional power-assist SeaStar steering gave this 30-footer the cornering capability of a race car. Of course, I alerted Jones and TJ before I spun the boat, but I almost didn’t have to. As the hull turned within about a boat length, I felt glued to the floor, experiencing very little outboard force. I turned to see a broad smile break over TJ’s face. He lay down on the cockpit floor and asked me to spin it again.
The 30-06’s cockpit offers 60 square feet of open space, a gracious plenty for multiple anglers fighting multiple fish. Sailfish also tucked in numerous fishing features while providing creature comforts and ample fuel capacity at 300 gallons.
The Express features 16 vertical rod holders, including six across the transom bulkhead, four in the gunwales and six more across the back of the standard hardtop. Horizontal rod holders below the gunwale, port and starboard, create room for six more rods and two downrigger balls.
Twin fish boxes in the sole come equipped with a magnetic catch that keeps the lid open while you wrestle a fish to the ice. A 30-gallon, cylindrical, lighted well in the starboard transom keeps bait frisky, and a tuna door in the transom’s port side allows access to the swim platform and a boarding ladder.
The helm features a captain’s chair with a flip-up bolster, tilt steering wheel and an angled footrest to meet most angler-height requirements. Passenger seating includes a cushioned lounge that comes with an insert to create an aft-facing mate’s perch to watch the baits. An optional cooler with a cushioned top may be ordered for additional seating.
Aft of the helm to starboard, Sailfish installed a bait-prep station with a freshwater faucet/sink and tackle storage. To port, anglers find more tackle storage for lures, leader and tools.
For fighting fish or casting from the bow, Sailfish provides two wide steps up to gunwale height and ample walkaround space for most anglers. Handholds are easily accessible along the hardtop framework or the bow rail. A windlass next to the standard anchor locker allows for easy anchor retrieval.
Design and Construction
Belowdecks, the forward V-berth doubles as bench seating around a removable galley table. Replace the table with a cushion, and the main bed easily sleeps two. Flip up the backrest bolsters to form two bunks for two more anglers, and put another two on the bed tucked behind the stairs.
The caramel-and-teak-appointed cabin also features an enclosed stand-up shower and head, refrigerator, stove and microwave, plus extra hidden storage space and a mechanical room for the optional AC, generator and hot-water heater.
Sailfish constructs its hulls and decks using a combination of 24- and 36-ounce mat and woven roving bonded with a polyester-blend resin. The company reinforces the decks with Spherecore, a bulking material used to create rigidity, and Prisma Beams, concave beams made of high-density closed-cell foam.
The Express’ Compsys stringer system consists of computer-carved stringers and bulkheads made from high-density closed-cell foam, encapsulated in fiberglass materials applied during the lamination process. The transom is also made from the closed-cell foam and tied into the hull as well, during lay-up.
The resulting molded hull and deck function as one, providing rigidity and stab-
ility in just about any sea and a pleasurable ride even for minor thrill seekers.
LOA……30 ft. 6 in.
HULL DRAFT……1 ft. 10 in.
DEADRISE……22 to 24 deg.
WEIGHT……8,550 lb. (w/o engine)
MAX HP……600 hp OB
MSRP……$189,420 (as tested, w/ T250 four-stroke Yamahas, generator/AC, power-assist steering)
Sailfish Boats / Cairo, Georgia / 229-377-2125 / www.sailfishboats.com