The rising Florida sun cast an eerie crimson glow across rustling palm trees at the edge of Mangrove Marina on Tavernier Key. The phrase “red sky in morning, sailors take warning” echoed in my brain. Since we’d be fishing offshore in a 24-foot-7-inch boat, I had hoped for smooth seas, but Capt. Kyle Logue quickly quashed that wish.
“I trust you’re not prone to seasickness,” he warned as he idled the new Everglades 255cc out of the marina. By the time the sun was well above the horizon and we had cleared the inlet, I realized he wasn’t kidding. With a 20-knot breeze out of the north, the seas lumped up in tightly spaced 3- to 4-footers. Well, at least this would give me an idea of how the center-console handles the rough stuff.
I was pleasantly surprised. Powered by a pair of Yamaha four-cylinder F200 outboards, the deep-V hull sliced through the waves, cruising at 4,000 rpm and around 28 mph, quartering the seas toward Crocker Reef. Recessed Lenco trim tabs allowed the captain to fine-tune the ride.
A single flush-mounted Garmin 8215 multi-function color touch-screen display with chart plotter, dual‑frequency fish finder and Garmin 4kW xHD radar helped guide the way. Engine instrumentation took the form of a Yamaha Command Link display.
We wondered how well the twin Yamaha F200 outboards would push the 255cc. Logue, who has run a number of larger Everglades boats — such as the 295, 325 and 355 — is more accustomed to V-6 outboards. While Logue found the in-line 4s not quite as “torquey” as comparable V-6s, he discovered the F200s offered more than enough power for the 255cc, and were very fuel efficient. Even in the rough seas, the 255cc achieved 2 mpg while cruising out. That equates to a range of 326 miles with the 163-gallon painted aluminum fuel tank.
STURDY AND INNOVATIVE
From experience with other Everglades models, I expected impeccable fit and finish, innovative touches and highly durable construction in the 255cc. And that’s precisely what I found.
For example, I marveled at the design and workmanship of the powder-coated-aluminum hardtop frame, which ties into a beefy aluminum framework under the deck and seamlessly melds with the console. It also offers a three-panel tempered-glass enclosure, and in an Everglades engineering trademark, the front windshield lowers hydraulically at the touch of button when you want to usher fresh air into the helm. We kept it closed all day but employed the windshield wiper to maintain forward vision when running cross-sea as the 20-knot winds blew light spray across the bow, something we would have experienced even in a 50-footer.
The hardtop included an electronics box, blue/white LED courtesy lights, molded-in stereo speakers, and fore and aft spreader lights. I also had a chance to check out the interior of the center console while stowing some gear. It houses an enclosed head compartment with china-bowl marine toilet with a macerator and 9.5-gallon holding tank. There’s also a convenient shelf with a fiddle in the forward portion of the console interior and a storage nook on the starboard side.
Back out on deck, I spied an interesting treatment for the aluminum tubes on the rack of seven rod holders (with two angled out for slow-trolling live baits) on the aft edge of the hardtop. Unlike the rest of the hardtop aluminum structure, these are not powder-coated, but silver anodized instead. Everglades has found that powder-coated tubes can get chipped as anglers stow rods with sharp aluminum gimbals. Anodized tubes eliminate this issue.
Capt. Chris Ricke, who joined us to work the deck, rested on the ride out on the fold-down transom bench seat, which articulates on heavy-duty machined- and anodized-aluminum hardware, and can accommodate a pair of anglers. When it came time to fish, Ricke quickly folded away the seat, which tucks neatly into a recess within the transom bulkhead. There are no sharp edges to snag a line or gouge your shins.
What you don’t realize until someone shows it to you is that the interior wall of the transom is hinged at the top and lifts upward at the touch of a button, allowing easy access to the trio of batteries and the immaculate aft rigging which, by the way, I found to reflect the highest-quality components.
While running, Logue and I had perched snuggly in the helm seats, each with fold-down armrests. An integral footrest at the console below the helm offers even more comfort and lets you brace yourself while seated. As Logue cut the throttles, we stood up and deployed the independent flip-up bolsters to lean against while at the helm.
GRAB A HOLD
The 255cc has a number of strategically placed grab handles around the console, as well as behind the helm seats and around the seat forward of the center console (with a 94-quart cooler underneath). Grab handles are accessories I always appreciate but even more so on this snotty day in the Atlantic.
The 255cc has a 45-gallon livewell built into the port quarter with a latching clear acrylic lid. In a stroke of genius, Everglades uses stainless-steel friction hinges to keep this lid in place when open, negating the need for a gas-assist strut or hatch-lift spring that can snag cast nets, bait nets or sabiki rigs. It’s a simple yet effective innovation.
On this day, however, we would not avail ourselves of the livewell. The plan was to troll lures for king mackerel, and Ricke used the handy rigging station abaft the helm seats to prep the lines and lures. Fashioned from durable King Starboard, the top of the rigging station includes a pullout freshwater faucet and sink, covering board, and knife, pliers, cup and hook holders. Underneath the rigging station is a slide‑out 75-quart Yeti cooler.
The deck boss set two flat-line rods, baited with R&R Mahi Magnets, in each of the aft gunwale rod holders. He ran a No. 2 planer with a swimming plug down the middle, placing the rod in one of the flush-mount holders along the aft edge of the transom bulkhead. While at the gunwale, he tucked his feet under the powder-coated aluminum toe rails for an extra measure of safety.
As Ricke maneuvered about the aft cockpit’s diamond nonskid sole, I noticed a pair of polished stainless-steel grates bearing the Everglades logo covering the scupper sumps in each corner. The grates keep small tackle items such as sinkers you might drop on the deck from escaping through the trio of large through-hull fittings on each side, and they also help prevent you from turning an ankle in the sumps. The grates can be quickly removed and replaced when cleaning the deck.
The transom gate in the starboard quarter lets you easily access the integral swim platform in case you want to take a dip or work a fish around the outboards. It also has a one-way scupper door — what Everglades calls a “freeing port” — that helps quickly shed water in case you take a hit from a rogue wave. Even so, Everglades offers integral flotation that makes each model unsinkable.
STABLE AND ABLE
The 255cc trolled comfortably at 8 knots with both engines turning around 1,700 rpm and burning 3.2 gph. The bow refused to stuff, even when trolling directly into the seas, and the 9-foot-3-inch beam provided a safe and stable platform, with no excessive or uncomfortable roll in the troughs.
Fish proved scarce on this day as we worked our way south toward Alligator Reef, but that also gave me a bit of time to inspect more of the boat’s features. I found a pair of fish lockers: an 85-gallon box with a pump-out under the aft cockpit deck, and a self-draining 129-gallon locker below the forward deck.
Along both inwales, Everglades has cleverly integrated storage lockers, great for stowing dock lines, tackle boxes and loose gear. There’s also convenient storage for the slinky-style hose coils next to the raw-water- and freshwater-washdown bibs built into the inwales. I found horizontal racks for four rods under both gunwales.
Though we did not have a lie-around-and-get-a-tan kind of day, the 255cc offers some creature comforts that sun worshipers will like, including thickly upholstered pads that convert the elevated U-shaped foredeck into a pair of loungers.
If the technique calls for anchoring up on a wreck to fish for snapper or grouper, the 255cc can handle it. In the bow resides a cavernous anchor locker fed by an electric horizontal windlass. The 255cc comes standard with an anchor roller mounted at the forepeak, a 14.5-pound stainless-steel plow anchor, 15 feet of chain and 200 feet of rode.
Around 11 a.m. we got our first and only bite on the starboard flat line. While we were all hoping for a big king, it turned out to be a small cero mackerel. As we brought the thrashing fish aboard, it was bleeding, and I immediately worried about the upholstery. The dark tan material for the coaming bolsters (which encircle the interior), seating and lounge pads has the look of a woven fabric that might be easily stained by fish blood. However, it’s an illusion.
The material is actually a textured vinyl, which not only adds a stylish touch to the 255cc’s interior but also cleans up easily. The fish blood wiped right off without staining.
As we headed back across the reef and in to Tavernier Key, I reflected on the advantages of a smaller boat for offshore fishing, even when you have red sky in the morning. In this era of supersize center-consoles, it was refreshing to climb aboard a compact, solidly built and unsinkable machine that can safely fish with the big boys without maxing out your credit card when it comes time to fuel up.
For more, check out Sport Fishing’s video tour of the interior of the Everglades 255cc.
LOAD 80 gallons of fuel, three adults, fishing gear
TOP SPEED 45.4 mph
TIME TO 30 MPH 8.2 sec.
BEST MPG 2.03 @28.4 mph (4,000 rpm)
LOA 26 ft. 11 in.
BEAM 9 ft. 3 in.
DEADRISE 21 deg.
WEIGHT 5,800 lb. (dry)
FUEL 154 gal.
MAX POWER 500 hp
MSRP AS TESTED $205,258*
*(w/ twin Yamaha F200s, options)