As a semi-custom builder, SeaVee Boats has always paid special attention to the angling aspects of its lineup. It's easy to understand why. Up to now, its core market has been weekend warriors and professionals who fish their boats hard. So when the company decided to introduce the 430 Sport Express, the primary focus didn't change. What did was the addition of a luxurious cabin and some cool comfort features for those who like to mix in a little leisure and travel between tugs on the line.
"Many of our customers were asking for an express model so they could combine fishing and cruising," said company president Ariel Pared. "Our goal was to build a yachtlike finish in a hard-core fish boat with several power choices."
As local expert Capt. Dean Panos steered a course off Miami Beach, Pared pointed out the 430's highlights, starting with propulsion. Our test boat was rigged with four 300-horsepower Mercury Verado four-stroke outboards, which enabled us to cruise effortlessly at 39 miles per hour in a moderate chop. Triple 300 Verados or F350 Yamahas are other outboard choices, or the boat can be rigged with a pair of 600-horsepower Volvo diesel IPS pod drives or standard diesel inboards. Pod models are expected to provide a top speed near the 50-miles-per-hour mark. With the Verado quads, the boat topped 55 miles per hour in factory tests.
These multiple power options make the 430 appealing to a broad spectrum of boaters wanting to move up or down in size. Those who enjoy the simplicity, reliability and reduced draft of the four-strokes will lean in that direction. The IPS option offers the advantage of greater range and fuel efficiency, matched by responsive handling via the joystick control. Going with diesels also extends the already massive cockpit by a couple of feet aft, albeit with some sacrifice to below-deck storage amidships. On the outboard version, a large machinery room slots in here instead. With access through the bridge deck, it has enough overhead clearance to stash stand-up rods and other bulky gear.
Since the owner is typically the one driving, SeaVee made sure he or she stays in the game when lines are out. The radiused helm console is positioned as far back as possible so the skipper can watch the baits and still stay in control. The raised bridge deck offsets the aft footprint so forward visibility isn't compromised. Even though it appears compact at first, the console is so well designed that the multiple displays, gauges, keyboards and other controls on the test boat were totally accessible and ergonomic. The forward- and aft-facing bench seat to port keeps the crew comfortable as well. A drink cooler/serving center forward of the helm simplifies lunch or snack chores.
SeaVee is one of the best in the business for practical fishing applications, and that still applies on the 430. The starboard tackle center behind the helm holds all the cockpit switches so no one ever has to run forward to flip on a livewell pump. It also includes a freshwater sink, a rigging tray and tackle storage. The mezzanine to port incorporates another cooler with a molded flip-out footrest and a trash bin underneath. The optional Raymarine display mounted in the backrest offered a quick sonar reference as we tended the kite baits.
In traditional SeaVee fashion, the 430 comes with considerable livewell capacity. We used the "wallet sabiki" to load the 65-gallon transom well with goggle-eyes and pilchards. To separate baits, an optional secondary deck well is available. The primary fish box on the outboard model holds 160 gallons; two more deck compartments totaling 230 gallons can be plumbed as backups.
The standard transom gate will accommodate a big tuna, although an optional port hull-side door is also available. Rather than going with foldaway aft seating, the 430 offers removable padded wedge lounges that tuck into the transom corners.
During our short trip we christened the boat with a trio of dolphin and a pair of spunky bonito. Quick and responsive handling made short work of the fights. Even with its size, the 430 spins around and backs down with ease. It likes to ride on top of the waves and it has a solid, easy feel, like a luxury SUV. Despite our best efforts to get her soaked, we could only throw a light mist on the windshield while under way.
Form and function aside, the 430 is drop-dead gorgeous. Molded accents and a sweeping sheer give it a sleek profile. Step down into the cabin and you'll think you've wandered into a custom sport-fishing yacht instead. There you'll find rich wood cabinetry, concealed components, recessed LED lighting and absolutely no exposed fiberglass. Port and starboard hull-side windows, complemented by three overhead skylights, provide soft, natural lighting. The master stateroom aft is appointed with a lengthwise berth and a cedar-lined hanging closet. A switch converts the forepeak lounge into a flat, comfortable berth for two adults. The large enclosed head to starboard has a separate shower with an integrated seat. A unique retractable stove top showcases the well-equipped galley. Another live-aboard option, a gas or diesel generator, is isolated by two bulkheads to ensure quiet operation.
The 430 Sport Express represents a significant shift for SeaVee, but don't be deceived by looks alone: Behind this pretty façade lurks a very serious fishing machine.
SEAVEE 430 SPORT EXPRESS
**W/ Quad 300 hp Mercury Verados
SeaVee Boats ? 305-759-6419 ? www.seaveeboats.com