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June 22, 2009

EdgeWater 335 Express

EdgeWater's 335 Express boosts comfort without compromising fishability.

EdgeWater Power Boats has established a successful niche in the recreational market. That's because its lineup of solid, quality boats never loses its family focus. So when others scaled back because of the economic downturn, EdgeWater launched its biggest cabin boat yet. And while the new 335 Express is nicely outfitted for overnight adventures, it's all business in the cockpit, where it counts.

That was driven home when I joined EdgeWater's Peter Orlando and Roger Taylor and their buddies for an early- morning trip this spring. After clearing Ponce Inlet we ran to a nearby wreck to load up on bait. Sabiki'd goggle-eyes and cigar minnows soon joined the mullet netted earlier, and with two standard livewells - 45 gallons in the tackle center behind the helm and 28 more in the port transom corner - it was no problem separating the load of baits to keep them all frisky.

The forecast called for calm seas, but confused and tightly-stacked swells greeted us as we made our way 40 miles offshore. The optional set of powerful Yamaha V-8 four-strokes strapped to the stern let us maintain a fairly comfortable pace regardless. Like its predecessors, the 335 is built using the Single Piece Infusion process. The SPI system vacuum infuses the vinylester resin into the hull and the structure in one step. SPI delivers a significantly higher strength-to-weight ratio than traditional open-molded construction because the hull structure is bonded in one chemical process, with a much higher laminate fiber content. In the 335, the single-piece grid structure gets filled with foam for strength and flotation. The design of the one-piece grid provides smooth finishes in the bilge and other compartments, and optimal placement of under-deck hardware.

As with previous models, EdgeWater enlisted Marine Concepts to help develop this new model and build the tooling. Computer design and three-dimensional modeling created a hull that runs efficiently with twin Yamaha F250 four-stroke outboards. The variable deadrise, deep-V bottom with reverse chines blends stability, fuel economy and dryness in the ride, and comes backed by a lifetime transferable warranty.

After reaching the first of many stops, the crew dropped baits to the rocky formations more than 100 feet below. Groans and shouts of laughter subsequently echoed around the 130-square-foot cockpit as quality red snapper, scamp and grouper came over the side. The insulated 600-quart fish box in the cockpit sole filled rapidly. Even with six anglers working at once, there was plenty of room to maneuver bent rods. Stainless-steel toe rails and thick coaming bolsters increase the comfort level during protracted fights.

The beefy fiberglass hardtop is standard on the 335, and it comes rigged with holders for 12 rods. Matching horizontal racks under the covering boards and lockable rod storage in the cabin midberth accommodate a sizeable arsenal. A second 66-quart fish box is located on the transom centerline, while an optional bait freezer can be added to the storage compartment behind the companion seating.

Both the companion and helm seats are the double flip-backbolster style with thick padding. A foldaway transom bench seat and starboard jump seat add to the overall seating capacity.