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September 21, 2007

Hydra-Sports 2796 Vector

The new 2796 Vector center console from Hydra-Sports features high-tech, Kevlar-reinforced construction combined with intelligently thought-out fishing amenities, all in one incredibly good-looking package. Designed for full-tilt offshore use in the worst conditions, the2796 has an aggressive sheer line and a pronounced bow flare tokeep water where it belongs - outside the boat. Additionally,deep-vee hull cuts through waves like a hot knife through butter.All of this helps explain why the 2796 has become a real offshorecontender in the SKA tournament circuit. This is a serious boatfor serious fishermen.

Clever fishing featuresabound on the 2796, starting with the integrated engine platform.A live well on the centerline of the transom top holds 50 gallonsof water and has a unique double-lid system that completely sealsthe well and prevents splashing. The inner lid even folds backto serve as a cutting board. A storage bin to starboard holdsloose gear, and a transom gate to port lets you access the engineplatform.

Big Cockpit

Big CockpitA cushioned, recessedpassenger seat flips up from the forward edge of the transom wall,but folds down and out of the way when not needed. The spaciouscockpit has an aggressive, molded-in diamond non-skid surfacefor sure footing. It's also self-bailing, with oversized scuppersto carry away water in a hurry. StarBoard racks beneath the gunwaleshold two rods per side.

Theoptional leaning post/rocket launcher on our test boat held fourmore rods, and had a couple of drink holders to boot. It alsofeatured an innovative seating arrangement at the helm, with aflip-up bolster seat. With the bolster flipped down, the seatbecomes a large horizontal bench that can accommodate severalpeople. When flipped up, the bolster becomes a leaning post that'svery comfortable and secure, even when you're running hard throughrough water.

Roomy Console

Roomy ConsoleAt the helm, there's lockableelectronics storage with plenty of room for flush-mounting. Youcan even install ten-inch video equipment if you wish. The helmis to port with a sizeable storage box to starboard, and a tackle-storagearea is recessed into the starboard side of the console. A largeacrylic door on the port side leads down to the sub-console headcompartment. A porta-potty is standard, and the whole area isself-draining for easy cleanup.

Up front, the 2796 hasa raised casting deck containing two mammoth 340-quart fishboxeswith reinforced hatches. Just aft of the casting deck is a hugesub-deck storage area that will hold lots of loose gear, but isspecifically designed for storing castnets in buckets. The Hydra-Sportsdesign team really did its homework here, because this is trulywell thought-out storage. And there's more. A pair of lockablerod-storage compartments along the forward hullsides keep yourrods safe and secure - and out of sight. These boxes are carpeted,too. Another nice touch includes pop-up, stainless-steel, eight-inchcleats at the bow.

Impressive Ride

SpecificationsWe tested the boat overseveral days in the Florida Keys and came away impressed, notonly with the ride, but also with the solid construction. The2796 cuts down chop with ease and can run fast even in rough seas.The boat cruises at 31.5 knots at 4000 rpm with twin 225-hp EvinrudeFICHT Ram outboards, and hits a wide-open 47.4 knots at 5900 rpm.

The 2796 is one of thebest-looking center consoles we've tested in a long time, andone of the best-backed, too. Hydra-Sports is so sure of its ruggedconstruction techniques, which include a high-density compositetransom; an integrated structural grid stringer system for strength,stiffness, and sound deadening; and a precision fit and bondingsystem that ties everything together in a perfect unit, that itoffers a "10/3" warranty. The hull is covered for tenyears, and most components are covered for three years. That'sconfidence.

Check out the 2796 Vectorfor yourself. It's a big, brawny center console that will takeyou out to where the big boys fish, bring you home safely, andlet you look good all the while. Sounds like a win-win situationto me.

Hydra-Sports, Columbia,SC; (803) 799-1125;
www.hydra-sportsboats.com.