The all-new 3300 CC Vector, which made its debut at the Fort Lauderdale Boat show in October, is the largest model to date in the Hydra-Sports stable. It's big and comfortable, and dedication to the details of serious fishing is evident throughout. "This is the boat for the guy who wants sustained high-speed offshore operation," explains Alex Leva, Regional Sales Manager for Hydra-Sports. Leva, an avid tournament angler, had a lot of input on the design and fishing features of the 3300. "It's for the fisherman who wants to run 100 miles a day with lots of comfort, gear and people along with him," he says.
Our test day found us cruising Tampa Bay amidst the outer bands of Hurricane Isidore. Seas were big and sloppy with a 25-knot wind behind them, but comfort was never an issue. Nor was dryness. The hull got on top of the mess and cruised nicely. This boat's sweet spot is 31 to 35 mph, at which the manufacturer claims it gets just over a mile per gallon with the three Yamaha 250 HPDIs our test boat was rigged with. We ran the big, nasty stuff beam-to, which is the worst way to showcase performance, but the 3300 stayed up stable and level at 34 mph with a surprisingly dry ride. Punched to the limit, it flattened out and stuck to the wave tops, tight in the turns and steady.Hydra-Sports' unitized construction creates a solid ride. Stringers and transverse bulkheads are methacrylate-bonded into the hull then foam filled for one-piece stiffness below decks.
The sweet spot at 31 to 35 mph held well even in the outlandish conditions. The Vector cruises at 41.4 mph at 4000 rpm and tops out at 60 mph at 5450 rpm, according to the manufacturer's performance stats.
The helm is designed for comfort on long runs. Three, two-position convertible leaning post/padded seats combined with three different footrests offer a variety of position-shift options to match the ride and the conditions on the longest runs and toughest seas. An Edson-style tilt steering wheel and a throttle that puts your fingers right at the trim tab rocker switches show considerable forethought. There's plenty of room on the panel for all the ten-inch screens you want.
The Carolina bow flare is pronounced, but the addition of wide covering boards, bolster and low-profile bow rail let you lock in securely on the bow deck without feeling off balance. Both port and starboard, a good rod length back from the bow, locking doors in the hullsides open to rod-stowage areas. These are for static storage, rather than rigged-and-ready holders. This storage capacity is one of the key features in the hide-everything-away-at-the-dock approach. This boat is built to lock up all the tackle you need, for a day trip or an extended cruise through the islands. The purpose, Leva explained, is to eliminate endless schlepping of gear and tackle at the beginning and the end of a fishing day.
"We stop a mile from the marina after we have been fishing," says Leva, "and with 30 gallons of water we have enough to wash everything down and then stow it away. When we pull up at the dock it looks like we don't have any fishing gear on board. And we are ready to go the next day."
Under-gunwale rod holders in the cockpit have removable covers that swing in over the reels and lock up as well. All together, the boat easily holds 40 rigged rods, locked away safe and out of sight.
A pair of huge fishboxes port and starboard on the bow deck are piano-hinged with 316 stainless, completely flush to prevent catching the edge of a boat shoe or a toe. On the forward sole, a gasketed hatch gives access to a huge storage box. On the bottom of this hatch is a molded depression the same size as the bottom of a five-gallon bucket, to keep it from sliding around. Along the interior hullsides, opposite the console, are two bottom-hinged potato-bin-type storage lockers. Little details like these are found throughout the 3300 - simple things, too many to list, that make life easier when you'd rather concentrate on fishing.
In the console are the batteries and battery switches and over six feet of headroom. Behind the helm is a 55-gallon live well with bait-prep area that is a serious affair. Adjustable to three different water levels, live-well inflow is top to bottom via a 3500-gph pump that effectively moves 3000 gph through the tank. Matching outflow provides efficient water exchange.
The fold-away transom bulkhead seat is sturdy and drops down to provide access through the transom bulkhead. Throughout, all hatches and access panels are designed for ease of inspection and service.
Hydra-Sports, Sarasota, FL; (800) 264-8096;