The versatility of the walk-around layout makes it by far my favorite design. The flexibility afforded by 360-degrees of access make a great boat for kite fishing, for drifting a piece of bottom and jigging and deep dropping, or for trolling; especially for catching multiples of sailfish and tuna.
Traditionally walk-around boats are seldom over 35 feet and consequently drawbacks to the design have been the lack of interior space and seating on the helm deck. Release Boatworks has addressed this and put a great deal of effort into the design, layout, materials and construction of the 46.
The Release 46 has the look of a classic custom boat. With ample tumblehome at the transom, an unbroken shear, the blend of teak, paint and brightwork denote a custom build. This is a composite boat with vinylester resin-infused hull with a blend of multi-directional fabrics including a 1 ½-inch Corecell core in the bottom and, 1 inch in the sides, Kevlar below the waterline, and carbon fiber in the stringer system for additional stiffness.
A pair of Cummins QSM-11 715HP diesels with Zeus drives provides the agility to tackle any of the line class records. With the right crew and angler, the Release 46 could re-write the record book. Conventional drives are an option, but the pod drives offer a bit of an advantage in speed and maneuverability. Make no mistake: Pods make a poor boat handler better in close quarters, but they also give a good driver an incredible tool to fight fish.
The forward positioned helm on the 46 offers excellent visibility when accelerating, which can’t be said for all express boats. I did not mind the forward helm for fishing either, although I would probably run the boat from the tower where I could see my corners and crew.
We had a great day for our test, with less than 10 knots of easterly breeze and the 46 hull performed as asked. She slips along comfortably and with little effort at 2000 rpm offering 29 knots and burning a bit over 42 gph. Push her up to 2300 rpm and she’ll give you 34 ½ knots, burning a bit over 66 gph. At wide open she’s rips along at 37 1/2 knots burning 76.9 gph. I locked in at the 1800- to 1900-rpm range so I could keep her under 40 gph and make between 25 to 28 knots, as I would on day trips.