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September 21, 2007

SeaVee 310

Hard-Core Anglers will love this feature-packed center console

SeaVee 310he new 310 Series from SeaVee is built to fish, and it's finding an enthusiastic reception, from the Gulf Stream off South Florida to the tuna grounds off Gloucester, Massachusetts. The 310 is a scaled-down version of SeaVee's popular 34-footer, designed for serious offshore anglers who are looking for the benefits and features of the 34 in a slightly smaller boat.

The SeaVee lineage is pure fishing, and the 310 reflects this pedigree. The 65-gallon live well in the transom bulkhead is engineered for serious live-bait keeping. The 3/4-inch, see-through lid provides a clear view of the contents, and it locks down tight and seals against a gasket. This allows the well to be pumped full under slight pressure, which eliminates sloshing and dramatically increases bait survival on the run offshore. A 300-quart insulated fishbox in the cockpit sole drains overboard, but can be fitted with a macerator pump. Diaphragm pumps are the rule here. They have proven to work better than impeller pumps, last longer and easily move chunks of gurry up to 1 1/2 inches in diameter, eliminating pump jamming and burnout.

SeaVee 310Four rod holders in the gunwales are placed where you need them. Additional holders in the forward covering boards are optional, but once you've enjoyed their convenience, "optional" is probably a matter of opinion.

The helm seat provides excellent under-cushion storage, with depth enough for a set of Plano tackle boxes to be stored on edge in a specially designed rack. A shelf on the seat back folds down to reveal a tackle-storage area that can be easily accessed from the cockpit. Under the seat is a cooler mounted on a custom rack. The rack holds the cooler securely, and allows it to slide out for access or for use as a rear-facing seat.

The console is laid out nicely, with a large, vertical gauge area on the right and an inset instrument area with enough room to mount a pair of ten-inch screens. Rocker switches are protected under a clear Plexiglas panel that keeps the spray off. The keys are up high and forward of the binnacle, out of the way of your knees.

Storage space in the console is reached from the front. The interior is completely molded and finished, and a couple of steps down make getting inside simple. A pair of hinged service panels on the rear wall provide access to the wiring and electronics.

This under-dash area is also vented. A small fan on the starboard side pumps outside air into the area where electronics are mounted, which pressurizes the space to push hot air out the port side. It's a simple and effective system for reducing heat, which can be substantial with even a modest amount of electronics.

In the deck forward of the console are port and starboard lockers that lock with a key and allow storage of up to five rigged rods each. The forward hull design features a storage shelf under the covering board, divided by supports that link the stringer system to the cap for exceptional stiffness in the hullsides.

Seas were big and bouncy on our test day off Miami, but the 31 loped along with purpose, fitted well with twin Mercury 225 Optis. Our real-life readings gave us 49.6 mph at 4400 rpm while burning 27 gph. Manufacturer's specs put top speed at 58 mph with the twin 250s, cruising at 40 mph and burning just over 20 gph.

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SPECIFICATIONS

LOA: 32' 6"
Beam: 9' 4"
Draft: 20"
Hull weight: 5,500 lbs.
Max hp: 600
Fuel: 250 gals.
Water: 50 gals.
Base price w/o power: $69,500

The 310 is also available with inboard diesel power, which SeaVee owner Ariel Pared says is gaining popularity. In fact, in the current fuel-price market, the difference in running costs is significant. Pared claims a 60-percent savings in diesel inboard fuel costs over gas-powered outboards. The downside is a five- to ten-mph sacrifice in top speed. Comfortable cruise stays the same at 35 to 37 mph.

The 310 handles beautifully, especially in close quarters. The hull responds quickly and accurately with gears set opposite, spinning in its own length, catching fast and offering precise control - just what you want when you need to maneuver a high-dollar fish alongside.

We spent the morning setting out live baits at different depths, and found that convenience and ease of fishing are apparent throughout the 310. We deployed a sea anchor to slow our drift and keep the baits at the right level, and I watched as Pared moved around and handled the chores easily and single-handedly. Deploying a sea anchor can be a complicated issue if things are not organized well, but it's essential to sailfishing, kingfishing or anytime you need a controlled drift. The configuration of the 310 made it easy. The oversized dunnage lockers in the cockpit sole opened easily and allowed us to haul out the assorted paraphernalia with little trouble, and well-placed cleats amidships made securing the chute a simple task.

When an accidental kingfish volunteered to join our Fish-Ability test, fighting it from bow to cockpit and around the motors required no fancy footwork. As stated, this boat is laid out by fishermen for fishermen. When we were ready to go home, everything came in over the side and tucked away nicely, with little fuss. It's the small details of just moving around and getting the fishing done efficiently that make a day on the water in a well-designed boat such a pleasure, and the 310 is nothing if not well designed. SeaVee Boats, Miami, FL; (305) 759-6419; www.seaveeboats.com.