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Seaswirl Striper 3301 Walkaround Review

You don't see as many Seaswirls on the East Coast since the company builds these excellent craft in Oregon...

November 2, 2006
11swirld

11swirld

You don’t see as many Seaswirls on the East Coast since the company builds these excellent craft in Oregon, where they have a reputation for standing up to the particularly tough conditions often encountered there. But the company’s boats and message are showing up more here, with people discovering solid, attractive boats for a fair price.

Performance
You have no idea what a pleasure steering a boat can be until you try the increasingly common power-assist steering such as that on the 3301. Turning the wheel with one finger makes cruising more pleasant and maneuvering around a dock an absolute dream. And speaking of steering: At cruising speed and trim, the 3301 leans into a hard-over turn beautifully. The high-side engine ventilates a bit in the hard turn, the speed bleeds off quickly, the stern slides slightly, and everyone stays comfortably seated and safe. That’s just how it’s all supposed to work.

Idle speed with the twin Yamaha 250 hp four-stroke outboards used a mere 1.3 gallons per hour while moving along at 3 mph – a great live-bait speed. And with a perfectly clean wake, your baits will be very obvious to game fish swimming below. Push the throttles forward, and the 3301 planes in 4 1¼2 seconds – not dragster fast, but this is a big, comfy boat after all. In the 1- to 3-foot swells we found in the Gulf of Mexico off Sarasota, Florida, the 3301 exhibited a fairly substantial roll moment when drifting in a beam sea, but the transitions proved remarkably gentle, so you didn’t really notice. The boat responds slowly to tab input, but offers a wide range of adjustment. Overall, the Seaswirl proved dry on every point of sea, and dropping the bow with the trim tabs helped make the head-sea performance quite smooth and comfortable for a wide-body boat designed for equal comfort whether fishing or cruising.

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Top speed on the flat-calm Intracoastal Waterway hit 45.5 mph at 6,000 rpm using 43 gph. Optimum cruising speed equates to 25.5 mph at 4,000 rpm burning 18.9 gph. At that pace, expect a range of more than 400 miles from the 347-gallon tank. And that’s figuring 90 percent usable fuel – pretty impressive.

Fishing
Boats designed for both family cruising/entertaining and fishing always bring out the cynic in me. I am pleased to report that the 3301’s fishing features stand up to serious-angler scrutiny quite well. In fact, it will compare very favorably with any family fishing boat out there. The dedicated bait-rigging station qualifies as better than most. From the large, oval livewell in the port cockpit corner to the standard rod holders (two in and three under) each gunwale to the additional complement of a half-dozen on the optional hardtop legs, the 3301 offers everything you need for serious fishing. You get nice StarBoard tool and rig holders, and the company even puts substantial gas shocks on every heavy fish-box hatch – something some of the more expensive boats don’t even have.

Perhaps what impressed me most was the ease with which I could make my way from the cockpit to the bow with a fishing rod in hand. Handholds throughout the 3301 have been well-placed and well-numbered.

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Design and Construction Like me, the Seaswirl 3301 is built for comfort, not for speed. With ingenious foldaway seats in the cockpit and on the bridge deck, you and your guests can enjoy amazing flexibility when in relax mode. The seat extension that folds down to change the guest seat on bridge deck into a settee or lounge serves as but one example. The 3301 houses a host of dry boxes, fish boxes and storage compartments to make your time aboard convenient and no less well-equipped than a weekend at home. In fact, it may even supply more amenities since precious few homes have an outdoor shower such as the one you’ll find in the Seaswirl’s swim platform walk-through. Oh, and I don’t remember a boat with more drink holders!

On the bridge deck, Seaswirl provides some ingenious steps on centerline that let you safely move to and from the bow without walking along the side decks. However, the single fly in the ointment here is the hardtop. With a top installed, the only way to use these excellent steps is on your hands and knees – not a practical method. I’d like to see a hatch in the top so this safe and secure foredeck access doesn’t go to waste.

Once out on the bow, you’ll notice that Seaswirl installed a fine, recessed anchor windlass. However, the only access to the anchor locker where you store all the rode and chain is through a hatch in the forward bulkhead of the cabin below. Anyone who has used a windlass knows that sometimes, the rode gets knotted or twisted and needs a little attention. Having to walk aft, below and forward again, and then climb up onto the V-berth to clear a problem, will have the first mate grumbling. And no one wants a grumbling mate.

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Belowdecks, the standard layout includes a V-berth forward with a drop-down table that doubles as a berth insert. A couple traveling alone will probably leave this berth as the salon/entertainment area since this berth is augmented by a midship berth under the bridge deck. I must add here that the midship berth has the largest, easiest access of just about any boat I’ve seen with this layout. However, if you’re traveling with an entire family, Seaswirl provides additional hanging berths that fold up against the bulkhead on each side just above the V-berth.

     Specifications
 LOA  33 ft. 5 in.    WEIGHT   29,700 lb.
 BEAM   11 ft.     FUEL   347 gal.
 HULL DRAFT  1 ft. 3 in.    MAX HP  T300 hp OB
 DEADRISE  20 deg.    MSRP  $195,575
_Seaswirl Boats Culver, Oregon 541-546-5011 _www.seaswirl.com
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