Market studies affirm that the expense of boating prevents many people from enjoying the sport. Sea Pro makes it easy. To its great credit, the company builds seaworthy boats of high quality that don’t cost an arm and a leg.
The day we chose to try out the new Sea Pro 235 center console provided us with a bittersweet situation. The mild January weather seemed more like mid-June: one of those perfect Florida winter days with no wind, hardly a cloud in the sky and about 80 degrees. Unfortunately, the water was glass-slick – not an ideal test of sea-keeping ability. The hull of Sea Pro’s larger 255 sister ship is identical to the 235 but 2 feet longer. I’ve run the larger boat in some rough conditions and can vouch for the dryness and smoothness of this Sea Pro hull’s ride.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the new Sea Pro 235 relates to the efficiency of its hull design. A single 225-hp Yamaha Ox66 EFI moved the 235 along at 47 mph top-end and jumped it onto plane in a fraction over three seconds. The boat’s maximum horsepower rating of 300 (in single or twin configurations) would logically push it to almost 60 mph. At 4,000 rpm, the 235 cruised comfortably at 33 mph.
With the drive trimmed halfway up, I threw the wheel hard over at cruising speed, and it turned in just a shade more than its own length. While I applaud its agility, I don’t recommend this maneuver, since the hull grabs tightly, moving people and equipment to the outside rail rather abruptly. I also noted that with the helm seating close to the console to maximize room in the cockpit, you should probably spring for the optional tilt steering wheel to make driving more comfortable.
While the height of the gunwales makes for an excellent sea boat, when you add the half-height bow rail to the already high gunwale forward, it all comes to just about chest-high on a tall person until you step atop the forward fish boxes. You’ll have no worries about staying in the boat with a big fish on. At the same time, the gunwale at the cockpit hit me mid-thigh. Interestingly, I initially thought the aft quarter seats would interfere with fighting a fish off the corner, but in fact the rod reached over the seat and livewell module just fine.
Live-bait fishermen will particularly appreciate three baitwells – two large and one small. And rarely can you find as much factory-standard rod storage. With holders on the T-top, under and in gunwales and more around the transom, Sea Pro allows you to carry 16 rods. Our boat had pedestal seats, but the optional leaning post boosts rod storage to 20. Also, the leaning post provides very convenient storage for all those items you use constantly, like leader spools, terminal tackle and pliers. I think it’s a better choice than pedestal seats.
There’s no mistaking the offshore shear of the 235. A high bow wards off spray and provides exceptional buoyancy. A substantial height difference exists between bow and cockpit gunwales. Families in particular will appreciate the security that the rail height provides all around.
Our boat sported a full transom with an engine bracket. However, Sea Pro also builds this model in a cutout-transom version. Not surprisingly, the full-transom model seems to be the more popular among offshore fishermen. Optional swim platforms (one with a swim ladder) can be mounted on either side of the engine bracket.
You’ll find loads of storage all over this big 23-footer. Besides a sizeable anchor locker, the casting deck in the bow holds two big fish boxes.
When I’m offshore, I like being able to access a boat’s vital components in an emergency. Sea Pro does a fine job of placing all pumps, electrical harnesses, rigging tubes, batteries, hydraulics and such within easy reach of an opening hatch – no contortions needed. Standard bronze thru-hulls should contribute to preventing such critical moments, however.
Sea Pro uses superb ingredients in all the right places without going overboard and adding needless expense. For example, vinylester resin below the waterline prevents osmotic blistering. Stitched fiberglass mat combined with Thermalite, Divinycell and Coremat composites makes a strong yet lightweight hull. And all hardware gets thru-bolted with aluminum backing plates.
For more information, contact Sea Pro, 182 Sea Pro Drive, Newberry, SC 29108; 803-321-5777 or fax 803-321-9096.