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September 21, 2007

Pro-Line 33 Walk

This big walkaround combines family comfort with solid fishing features.

The 33 Walk from Pro-Line is the largest outboard-powered boat the company has ever produced. It's been designed top to bottom as a step up for confirmed Pro-Line fanatics - of which there are many - and for them, or anyone looking for a big, comfortable and safe boat that combines family-focused amenities with serious fishability, this model bears some scrutiny.

The twin themes of family and fishing drive the layout. This is evident in the deep walkaround area with handrail forward and the 26-inch deep cockpit, both of which provide a sense of security.

The 33 Walk is a completely new boat, not a new cap on an existing hull design. Construction is all glass. The 33 is built using Pro-Line's Fiberglass Integrated Structural Technology (FIST), which features a fiberglass stringer system, high-density foam coring throughout and bi- and tri-axial hand-laid roving. All hardware is Gemlux stainless, and everything is through-bolted and clinched with aircraft lock nuts. Pop-up cleats are used throughout.

Weighing in at around six tons, this is not a hull that takes any guff from rough conditions, as we discovered on our test day off the Florida Keys. A nasty inshore chop set the stage, and though the conditions were less than ideal for a day on the water, the comfort and ride of the 33 were not an issue. A hull this large and seaworthy is usually described as solid, stable and secure, but in this case, nimble also applies. Despite its size, the hull rises on plane smoothly and easily. The twin Mercury 225 EFIs provided fast response and plenty of push, even in a hard turn. Mercury's SmartCraft system offers precise control over trolling speed. It also allows you to make minute adjustments in speed during turns or in varying sea conditions.

In the port corner of the cockpit is a sink with both hot and cold water, covered by a flat lid that raises on a gas-ram lift. A padded bench seat between the transom door in the starboard corner and the sink area conceals a 28-gallon live well beneath a hinged lid. With standpipe overflow, the well is sealed around the lid to prevent sloshing while underway. Beneath the sink is a battery-access hatch, which is thoughtfully hinged at the top. When it's open, you can kneel on the deck to reach the batteries without having to work over the lid.

Fishboxes, one on each side in the deck, drain into macerator pumps and overboard, not into the bilge. Under the gunwales to port is covered, locking rod storage. To starboard is the same locking cover over electrical controls, shore power and battery switches. Under the cockpit sole, in a compartment all its own, is a 3kW generator. Helm and generator circuits are completely isolated for backup and safety.

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SPECIFICATIONS

LOA: 33' 8"
Beam: 11'
Deadrise: 19 ¿
Weight: 12,000 lbs.
Fuel: 285 gals.
Water: 28 gals.
Max. hp: 500
Base price w/ twin
225-hp Mercury
OptiMax outboards: $144,643

The forward, starboard corner of the cockpit, aft of the helm station, holds some of the most useful real estate on the boat from an angler's point of view. Here you'll find a bait-prep area that features a cutting board with a lipped edge to keep everything on top, even in the roughest conditions. A hand sink in the corner makes for easy cleanup. Facing inside at the bottom of the unit is an icemaker, flanked by a little storage hutch with a holder for a downrigger ball, room for other odd-shaped tackle, and a knife-and-pliers rack on the back of the door. Facing the cockpit is a tackle-storage locker with room for four flat tackle trays.

At the helm, everything is clean and accessible. The wiring and other internal components are easy to get to, and it's fair to assume that this is a result of Pro-Line's five-year limited warranty, which pretty much requires the company to handle all repairs and problems. It simply makes sense to design a boat with systems that can be worked on with a minimum of time and trouble.

Belowdecks, the vee-berth that conceals the air conditioner and a mid-cabin bunk is surprisingly comfortable. The table, to starboard, is built with seat brackets for extra strength, and drops down to make another bed. Optionally, a full galley can fit alongside the port bulkhead. The head compartment is all molded and drains overboard, with six feet of shower headroom and an air-conditioning and heat vent inside. Through and through, this a setup for long weekends with family and friends, or long runs offshore for serious fishing - and just about everything in between.

Pro-Line Boats, Crystal River, FL; (800) 866-2771; www.prolineboats.com.
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