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September 21, 2007

Dorado 36 Express

Dorado Marine's new 36-footer is a big, bold venture for the small company from the west coast of Florida. Dorado is better known as a builder of innovative 23- and 30-foot center consoles, but the 36 is a full-blown offshore express boat that is sure to shake up that popular segment of the market. This is a no-nonsense fishing boat that comes loaded with an impressive equipment list, at an even more impressive price.

The large cockpit would do any tournament team proud. It's a spacious area with two in-deck, lift-out fishboxes. Two more hatches just forward of the transom afford access to the rudderposts and pumps, and a centerline hatch lets you access the aft end of the fuel tank where the sending unit sits.

Our test boat featured the optional cockpit coaming pads and the optional transom door. This door swings out on beefy hinges and sits beneath a hinged section of the covering board. It's a heavy-duty setup. The transom contained a double live well system, keeping the baits close by at all times.

Bridge with a View

Dorado 36 ExpressBeing a true express design, the 36 has a step-up bridgedeck with a center helm, which gives the helmsman 360-degree visibility. The leaning post contains an insulated cooler for drinks, and also a tackle locker on the after end, facing the cockpit.

Passengers can sit on twin lounge seats on the bridgedeck. These molded seats house plenty of dry storage, and also serve as engine boxes. By simply sliding them back (they are held in place by pins when underway), the main engines are completely exposed for easy service. It's a very logical setup.

The optional diesel generator sits aft in the engine room, and you can order either a 4.2 kW or a 9.5 kW model. The batteries and charger are forward, and all systems are easy to service. Additionally, the entire deck can be removed if you need to do major service, such as repowering.

A centerline companionway leads to the cabin below, where you'll find a transverse double berth forward with storage below. Outboard storage lockers hold even more stuff, and port and starboard lounge seats provide a place to sit. The galley is aft and to port, and features a refrigerator, an electric cook-top with double burners, a stainless-steel sink, and a large storage bin. The head compartment is opposite, and features an electric head with a holding tank and Y-valve, as well as a pressurized shower.

Solid Performance

Dorado 36 ExpressOur test boat was powered by twin 370-hp Volvo Penta TAMD 63 diesels and was a solid performer, posting a cruise speed of 23.9 knots at 2500 rpm, and reaching 26.7 knots at a wide-open 2800 rpm. Dorado also offers twin 450-hp Cummins diesels or twin 635-hp Cummins QSM-11 engines. It claims the boat will hit 50 mph with the QSM-11 option.

Our test day was very windy, but the Dorado rode well in the chop, taking a minimal amount of spray in the process. Future models will have recessed prop pockets for a shallower draft, and all are built using rugged, high-tech construction techniques that include a hand-laid fiberglass hull, deck and interior; two-inch-core fiberglass-encapsulated stringers; and a fully bonded hull, deck and liner.

The 36 Dorado comes with a lengthy standard-equipment list, and the company will even price a boat for you without engines, so you can choose your own power. Finally, Dorado delivers all of this at a very reasonable price, proving that this may be just the boat for hard-core offshore types who also appreciate value.

Dorado Marine, Inc., Ozona, FL; (727) 786-3800; www.doradoboats.com.