Like many of you, most likely, I can admit to a history of dismissiveness when it comes to the topic of dual consoles as fishing boats. I’m a Floridian by birth, and so my admiration focuses on center consoles. But during the past four years, I’ve been amazed, and actually smitten, by the giant duals now on the market.
I doubt many of you could step foot aboard the Grady-White Freedom 375 and not be impressed by its overall design and comfort, particularly if you’re “of a certain age.” It’s an express boat without the superstructure.
For instance, the 375 — and the three other vessels over 30 feet listed here that I’ve looked at — offer tremendous beam and cockpit space. With their ample LOAs and reasonable deadrise, they perform well offshore.
Yes, they come with a design that limits fishing mobility fore and aft, so they’re not going to displace CCs for hardcore anglers. But unless you’re into competition or chasing records, why not enjoy the luxury aspects of these family-friendly designs?
To share more details about these boats, I asked all four manufacturers to help explain the best features of their DC giants. The boats are listed by LOA.
World Cat 320DC
Introduced in 2015, this 32-foot catamaran dual console — the largest in a line of four — gave World Cat a chance to leverage the inherent advantages of its multihulls (space, storage and stability) in a “do-it-all” boat, says Dave Tuchler, vice president of marketing.
“The 32-foot length and broad 10-foot-6-inch beam, combined with a catamaran’s rectangular deck footprint, make for a huge amount of space, which allows room for a generous entertainment center and lends itself extremely well to hosting a decent-size crowd without any feeling of crowding,” he says.
For fishing, the 320DC comes with a 35-gallon livewell, cutting board and knife-and-pliers holder; in-deck 63-gallon fish box; gunwale flush-mount rod holders; side and transom doors; and storage for additional rods above the double berth in the portside console.
Other notable standard equipment includes: hot and cold shower; two flat-screen TVs; cushioned seating throughout the vessel, including a six-way portside lounger that transforms into a dining area with a gunwale-inset table or an aft-facing bench to watch lines; an anchor windlass; fiberglass hardtop; Fusion stereo; power-assist steering; air conditioning and heat for the portside berth, starboard-side head and the cockpit.
Yamaha performance testing showed the 320DC with twin F300s and four people aboard reached 30 mph in an impressive 6.69 seconds and topped out at 44.8 mph turning 6,100 rpm. At cruise — 3,500 rpm and 24.2 mph — the 320 achieved 1.49 mpg.
Bigger and Roomier
“We don’t see a limit to the size of DCs other than what will fit out the door of our factory,” Tuchler said when asked about the potential for larger models. “We hear consistently that boaters increasingly are looking for versatile boats that can fish one day and cruise the next, and the DC format is a great platform for versatility.”
World Cat 320DC Specifications
LOA: 32 ft. 2 in.
Beam: 10 ft. 6 in.
Transom Deadrise: N/A (catamaran)
Draft: 1 ft. 4 in.
Dry Weight: 12,500 lb. (w/ engines)
Max Power: 600 hp
MSRP: $346,391 (w/ twin Yamaha F300s)
Boston Whaler 320 Vantage
The 320 Vantage followed on the heels of Whaler‘s successful 2012 introduction of 230 and 270 dual consoles. When the 32 was officially presented at the 2015 Miami International Boat Show, it took home the industry’s Innovation Award in the deck-boats category.
“What we have witnessed, coming out of the great recession, is a change in boating style. We’ve seen a migration to what we call ‘day boating’; every inch of a dual console can be utilized during the day,” says Jeff Vaughn, Whaler’s vice president of sales. “People want better weather protection, and it’s more of a comfort boat for people who are not necessarily using it for fishing as a primary purpose.”
An express boat with similar amenities is dominated by a cabin that’s often used only sporadically, he says. Dual consoles feature a cozy berth generally beneath the portside console, and a well-appointed head and shower beneath the starboard console. In fact, says Vaughn, many customers buying the 320 Vantage are indeed coming from bigger boats or trading from a similar-size vessel.
The 320 comes with a standard 18-gallon livewell and rod holders in the standard hardtop as well as rod storage in the portside console. Option up for the deluxe prep center, and it comes with a 40-gallon well, a convertible forward-seat backrest, and a portside fishing-prep station. An optional fishing package also includes additional rod holders in the transom, raw-water washdown, and toe rails with undergunwale storage.
Other notable standard features include an anchor windlass, starboard dive door, transom door and multiple convertible seating arrangements from bow to stern.
Mercury performance testing shows the 320 with twin 350 XL Verados reached 30 mph in 9.7 seconds and hit a top speed of 51 mph at 6,350 rpm. The boat achieved its best cruising fuel economy — 1.22 mpg — at 4,500 rpm and 33.7 mph.
Asked if 32 feet might be the maximum-size limit for Vantage, Vaughn said Whaler is not looking at a bigger boat of this style. “Once you get past this size, the marketplace will be limited,” he says.
Boston Whaler 320 Vantage Specifications
LOA: 33 ft. 6 in.
Beam: 10 ft. 4 in.
Transom Deadrise: 21 deg.
Draft: 1 ft. 10 in.
Dry Weight: 9,800 lb. (w/o engines)
Max Power: 700 hp
MSRP: $285,000 (w/ twin Mercury 250 Verados)
Pursuit DC 325
Talk about popularity. “The DC 325 has been the most successful retail introduction for Pursuit in the past few years,” Pursuit marketing manager David Glenn says. “The demand for a larger dual console from our first DC 265 owners and the shift in product usage in the market are both driving factors for the larger dual console introduction.”
Glenn says the 325 features a wide-open cockpit that allows anything from offshore trolling to nearshore redfishing, and includes a 24-gallon recirculating livewell and insulated fish boxes. When you want to entertain, that space quickly converts by opening the undergunwale seating on the port side and at the transom, and adding the cockpit table.
The 325 comes with a few vertical rod holders but does also feature undergunwale storage and rod hangers in the portside console. Option up to the Sportfish group for extra holders on the fiberglass hardtop, Rupp outriggers and a center transom rod holder.
As with all of these DCs, the Pursuit offers numerous seating options throughout the layout. Among its many other comfort and convenience features, this model also comes with a handy 3-horsepower bow thruster, windlass, stereo, head, hot/cold shower and countless cup holders.
Equipped with twin Yamaha F300s, the 325 reached 30 mph in 9.62 seconds and set a top speed of 51 mph at 5,800 rpm. At 4,000 rpm and 33.8 mph, the 325 achieved 1.38 mpg.
On the Upsize
“Pursuit expects to expand this model into larger platforms in the near future,” Glenn says. “The stronger overnight features in the offshore/express style boats will allow them to settle into and grow in their respective markets.”
Pursuit DC 325 Specifications
LOA: 34 ft. 6 in.
Beam: 10 ft. 10 in.
Transom Deadrise: 20 deg.
Draft: 1 ft. 10 in.
Dry Weight: 11,775 lb. (w/ engines)
Max Power: 600 hp
MSRP: $272,250 (w/ twin Yamaha F300s)
Grady-White Freedom 375
The largest and actually the first of these 30-plus-foot DCs to appear on the market, the Freedom 375 demonstrates all of the possibilities of this format. In fact, Grady introduced this 36-plus-footer at the Miami boat show in 2013, a year after it debuted a 33-footer. Grady also builds eight other dual console models, including a 30-footer.
“The Freedom 335 had been very successful, and we had customers and dealers telling us they were ready for an even bigger dual console, taking the terrific features of the 335 and building on them,” says Shelley Tubaugh, Grady vice president of marketing. In fact, Grady-White has called the 375 the “ultimate transformer.”
A few of the top features include an optional large refrigerator/freezer box on the transom, which appeals to anglers and pleasure boaters; a cockpit galley and wet bar; lush bow seating with its own zonal stereo speakers; and an aft-facing seat in the cockpit to watch the lines.
State of the Art
The vessel offers 32 cubic feet of storage for all kinds of tackle, gear and water toys in the floor below the companion-area seating. Its AV2 hardtop enclosure comes with a sunroof, and the boat is offered standard with a Sureshade retractable cover for those summer days in the cockpit.
Grady found space at the transom for a 30-gallon livewell and placed a 52-gallon fish box in the deck. The boat also features six flush-mount rod holders, as well as storage for eight rods beneath the hardtop and more beneath the gunwales.
“Certainly we will keep listening to our customers and how they want to use their boats before deciding on whether to go to the next size in a dual console style,” Tubaugh says. “Honestly, since the boat has been out only three years, we haven’t seen customers moving out of them yet. They tell us the ride and the performance are unsurpassed.”
Grady-White Freedom 375 Specifications
LOA: 36 ft. 7 in.
Beam: 13 ft. 2 in.
Transom Deadrise: 20 deg.
Draft: 2 ft. 5 in.
Dry Weight: 16,250 lb. (w/o engines)
Max Power: 1,050 hp
MSRP: $666,945 (w/ triple Yamaha F300s)