Like the dizzying Grand Canyon or the soaring Sears Tower, the HydraSports Custom 5300 Sueños defines “immense,” at least in the world of center-consoles.
On the factory floor, the 53-foot hull dwarfs three engineers who clamber over the stout stringer system, inspecting miles and miles of cable and wire. On the water, it makes other CCs look like tenders.
Its list of features and capacities — 1,000 gallons of fuel, 400 gallons of fish boxes, 100 square feet of cockpit — reads like the brochure for an offshore battlewagon. In fact, this enormous yet graceful vessel carries a Structural Composites MIL-TOUGH rating; its pedigree began with a Navy design.
To appreciate just how big and how spacious a 53-foot center-console can be, we spent time in the factory and on the water with HydraSports Custom and several of its new flagship hulls. We want to carry you along on that ride.
Unveiled in February at the Miami International Boat Show (where it won an Innovation Award), the 5300 Sueños gained immediate acclaim with its quad Seven Marine 557s. As the largest outboard-powered center-console boat built to date, it represents the culmination of a dream (sueño means just that in Spanish) for HydraSports Custom CEO Elias De La Torre III, who is an avid boating angler.
“The idea was to not only go big, but to do so with a boat that offers great fishing features, performance, family comfort and the opportunity to customize,” says De La Torre.
Fulfilling that dream would not be easy, says company president Alex Leva. “We wanted to build on the success of the 4200 Siesta,” he explains. “But if we simply scaled up to a 53-footer, it would have been way too heavy.”
Built traditionally, a 53-foot center-console would have weighed at least 40,000 pounds. The vessel’s current dry weight with quad 557s is 28,323 pounds — impressive, particularly compared with the 4200, which weighs 23,000 pounds, powered by quad Yamaha F350s.
Leva’s weight-loss solution came in the form of a complex and labor-intensive system known as Compsys, employed previously in the construction of high-performance military vessels. “I know a guy who designs those [Navy vessels],” says Leva. “I asked him if the Navy would let us do what they do. He called back and told me the Navy said we could have all their tech.”
The 5300’s design employs a thinner fiberglass hull bottom than traditional builds, but a much denser stringer grid. Leva likens the stringer design to a skeleton with a vertebral column. To the casual observer, it looks a bit like a mega hopscotch grid.
Foam stringers, ribs and bulkheads blanket the hull surface, leaving no open space measuring greater than 11 inches (including overlay). The stringers and bulkheads number almost 60. HydraSports Custom then used carbon-fiber boatbuilding materials and vinylester resins to strengthen the skeletal frame.
Also designed from scratch, the uniform running surface and aft pad deliver a performance vessel with what Leva calls “automatic transmission” — the boat doesn’t need constant tab adjustment and features no appreciable bow rise. “Speed is important, but not blistering speed,” he says. “We’re like a Mercedes touring car. We want range and fishing capability.”
The first full-scale model was literally built from a block of foam. “Then we lived on it,” he says. “We wanted to see if we could open the console door and not hit the gunwale. We wanted to see if we could pick up a piece of soap in the shower. Then we could shave the foam, and cover it in glass to create the plug.”
The HydraSports Custom dream officially became real this year, and Sport Fishing fished aboard first. In early September, we met our captains and a team from the company in Islamorada, Florida. We fished a 53 with quad Yamaha F350s and took a brief ride aboard a prototype version powered by quad Seven Marine 627s.
“Frigates on the deck! Hang on! Quarter-mile!” With that warning, co-skipper Tyler Coffman punched the throttles from the tower station. The outboard quartet vaulted the supersize center-console to eye-watering speed. Within seconds we slid into the action as blackfin tuna blew up off the starboard side.
In the huge cockpit, Capt. Josh Squire scooped a netful of cigar minnows from one of the two 60-gallon transom livewells, and tossed the live bait to the foaming tuna as a trio of anglers cast toward the action. Three rods arched over and drags screamed in unison, announcing a triple hookup on 20-pound-class blackens.
The single-level deck allowed our crew to easily make their way around while fighting tuna. Recessed powder-coated aluminum bow rails offered security. Our test boat also featured cushioned, stain-resistant SeaDek nonskid in a teak pattern.
We also found plenty of gunwale rod holders, including 11 along each side and seven across the transom. This is in addition to under-gunwale stowage and rod holders across the aft portion of the powder-coated aluminum hardtop frame. A tackle station abaft the helm deck’s second bench seat gives anglers a place to rig lines and baits, with plenty of drawers to stow tackle and other gear. The station on our tester was also rigged with a drawer-style fridge.
Twenty-nine-inch-wide walkways aside the seating module and console offered easy access forward and aft. The aft cockpit — measuring 11 feet 4 inches wide by 8 feet long — provided plenty of room for five anglers to fish at one time. Coaming bolsters encircling the interior cushion knees and thighs at the rail. At the transom, 2-foot-4-inch-tall gunwales seemed the ideal height for battling big fish.
We kept our catch in one of two 200-gallon fish boxes flanking the aft cockpit sole. These featured 12-volt chiller plates that minimize the need for ice. Leva pointed out that all the latching hatches on the 5300 are actually Frigid Rigid boxes with super-thick insulation.
Along the bottoms of the gunwales amidships is room for adding one or more Frigid Rigid coolers on each side of the interior. These not only increase cold storage, but create toe rails to brace yourself in rough seas.
Easy to Use
The 5300 also plays host to numerous practical innovations that make it user-friendly for anglers. Earlier in the morning, as Coffman lifted a cast net of wriggling baits inside the boat, Leva pointed to the design of the twin transom livewells. “We made the openings big enough so that you can drop a cast net inside to shake out the bait, rather than using a five-gallon bucket,” he explained. Friction hinges hold the covers to the wells open, eliminating the need for gas-strut supports that might snag a net.
Fed by Rule 2000 pumps inside air-purging sea chests (which include backup pumps in case the primaries fail), the livewells become pressurized when you close gasketed covers to eliminate sloshing that can injure bait. To control overflow, uniquely designed (patent pending) scuppers along the aft rim of each well channel any excess water overboard.
Acrylic windows wrap around the radius of each well, letting you keep a watchful eye on your liveys from just about any angle.
As Squire lowered the anchor, Leva pointed out the patented design of the anchor locker. Rather than using an in-stem roller, HydraSports Custom has placed the roller just under the hatch for the anchor locker, along with a vertical windlass and a pull-up cleat for tying off the rode.
“This lets the skipper actually see from the helm that the anchor is properly secured,” Leva explained. “It also eliminates a hole in the bow where water can pour in while underway.”
Dual inward-opening “docking doors” — one on each side of the cockpit — make it easy to land gaffed fish or carry gear and supplies aboard, regardless of how you tie up.
To make docking such a super-size boat easier, HydraSports combined a Lewmar bow thruster with Yamaha’s Helm Master system (which includes a joystick control) to allow for precise low-speed maneuvering.
One of CEO De La Torre’s primary considerations is making sure everyone stays comfortable while fishing aboard the 5300. That starts with a smooth ride, made possible by a 60-degree entry to knife through seas, an exaggerated Carolina flare to toss spray aside, and 23 degrees of deadrise at the transom.
Our run offshore was so pleasant that we were able to enjoy the two-person 4-foot-wide lounge seat with fold-down armrests, on the forward portion of the center console, and the 8½-foot-long bow loungers with angled backrests.
From the deck between the bow loungers, a motorized platform rises on twin pedestals to form (with a filler cushion) a huge forward sun pad. Or you can raise the platform higher to create an inviting dining area.
For helm seating, you have six choices — two rows of three very comfortable perches — all shaded by the 5300’s hardtop. HydraSports calls the 5-foot-wide second row a “sleigh seat.”
Bucket seats with shock-absorbing seat pedestals, fold-down armrests and flip-up bolsters in the first row feature two tiers of footrests on the console and individual fold-down footrests at the base of each seat. The two outside seats swivel outward and aft.
HydraSports uses four levels of foam thickness in its lounge seating. “You want soft foam for the seat portion, but firmer material for the backrests and even firmer foam for the headrests for maximum comfort,” Leva explained.
The helmsman sits front and center, allowing him to easily reach the three Garmin 8500 touch-screen displays that fill the 64-inch-wide helm panel, as well as the rocker-switch panels on each side of the central wheel.
The helm panel fastens with two compression latches to the console. When you want access to rigging, the panel hinges aft. “We want to make it easy to get to all of the systems on the boat without need for a box full of tools,” Leva said.
Thanks to the elevated bridge deck and consistently level trim (even during acceleration), forward vision from the helm proved outstanding during our fishing trip. Enhancing the field of view are patented tempered-glass console side windows that eliminate any distortion.
The air-conditioned cabin within the 5300’s center console boasts 6 feet 5 inches of headroom, with a galley featuring ebony wood-veneer cabinets and a Corian counter with a glass-bowl sink and fresh-water faucet; an enclosed head compartment with a vanity, porcelain toilet and shower; and a berth that converts to a dinette or cabin seating.
HydraSports Custom 5300 Sueños Numbers
So how did this big center-console perform? To find out, we gathered our data with six crew, 350 gallons of fuel and 120 gallons of water in the livewells.
This full-tower Sport Fish Edition, powered by four Yamaha F350 outboards, turned Yamaha Saltwater Series II 17-pitch, three-blade stainless-steel propellers. From idle, the 5300 jumped to plane in four seconds, reaching 30 mph in eight seconds, en route to a top speed of 50.1 mph at 5,800 rpm, where the outboards consumed 132 gallons of fuel per hour for 0.38 mpg.
The optimum cruising speed occurred at 3,000 rpm and 21 mph, where the quad F350s burned 34.7 gallons per hour for 0.6 mpg. That equates to a 600-mile cruising range based on the 1,000-gallon fuel capacity.
HydraSports Custom’s 5300 sets new benchmarks not only for size, but for construction technology and comfortable, user-friendly features. Any other center-console approaching this length will have a hard act to follow.
HydraSports Custom 5300 Sueños Performance Specifications
POWER: Four Yamaha F350s
LOAD: 350 gal. fuel, six crew, full tower
TOP SPEED: 50.1 mph @ 5,800 rpm
TIME TO 30 MPH: 8 sec.
BEST MPG: 0.6 @ 21 mph (3,000 rpm)
HydraSports Custom 5300 Sueños Hull Specifications
LOA: 52 ft. 11 in.
BEAM: 13 ft.
DEADRISE: 23 deg.
WEIGHT: 28,323 lb. (dry w/ four Seven 557s)
DRAFT: 3 ft. (motors up)
FUEL: 1,000 gal.
MAX POWER: Unlimited (options include quad Yamaha F350s, quad Seven Marine 627s, quad Mercury 400s)
MSRP: Price on request, based on custom power and features