The new Yellowfin 21 Hybrid makes a bold statement regarding fishability and speed to the grounds. With its higher freeboard and horsepower capacity, the 21 is not a skinny-water technical poling skiff, yet the freeboard is not quite as high as that of a traditional bay boat, and you can drive the boat comfortably while sitting down, unlike in a pure flats skiff - therefore the hybrid classification.
I ran the boat on a breezy day off Sarasota, Florida, with a 12- to 15-knot northwest breeze pushing up a 1- to 3-foot sloppy chop. Our test boat came rigged with a single 300 hp Mercury Verado and was extremely quick to plane. Never at a loss for creating blistering speed, Yellowfin has once again delivered a hull that provides a stable ride while blowing your hat off your head with that exhilarating acceleration. I'm not a big fan of letting someone else drive a boat carrying me 70 mph and skipping across the tops of waves, but the 21 rides like it's on rails and stays glued to the water without giving that uneasy feeling of instability.
The 21 Hybrid lopes along at 40 mph at 3,500 rpm while burning only 9.1 gallons per hour. That's an easy, comfortable running speed at which you are still able to sit back and enjoy the ride. If you want to kick it up a little, it'll make 47 mph at 4,000 rpm while burning 11 gph. Top speed is 70.8 mph at 6,200 rpm.
Typically with these performance-type inshore skiffs, there is a threshold that makes using the speed impractical and creates that uncomfortable feeling of the boat coming off the water. Some bottoms lose their grip at speed. But the bottom of the 21 blends nicely with its upper-deck layout, and the weight distribution of livewells, release wells and a 55-gallon fuel cell helps keep the boat tight to the surface when it's running and sitting level when it's at rest.
I'm not usually interested in speed - I'm more interested in a boat that's fishable and makes sense. The 21 Hybrid is such a boat. It offers a great fishing platform, with an expansive foredeck with a molded-in toe rail so you always know where the edge of the deck is, whether you're plug- or fly-casting or throwing a cast net. A molded-in surface for a bow-mount trolling motor sits to port of the forepeak. There is an in-deck anchor locker all the way forward and a huge storage bin for life jackets, safety gear and more under the casting deck, along the centerline. On either side of the casting deck lie access hatches that offer lockable, full-length rod storage under the protection of the foredeck. Wide gunwales and the inherent lateral stability of the boat make it easy to walk around the 21 to unload the cast net or get to the release wells.
The console is well thought out and offers excellent vertical rod storage for three rods on each side, giving quick access to whatever rod you need for those unexpected fishing situations. The forward console seat has a molded and insulated drink box, and the dash is large enough for a 15-inch multifunction display, while the port-mounted steering wheel, binnacle and other control functions, such as jack-plate controls and on/off switches, are conveniently laid out and easily accessible for the driver.
The craft's aft deck is large and makes a great fishing deck, housing the centerline livewell and a bilge access hatch, with release wells or storage bins on either side of the livewell. All deck surfaces are finished in a nonskid that provides sure footing on deck.
The boat comes standard with a Power-Pole, a single-axle trailer and the tools you need to catch fish. Just add electronics and your gear, and the 21 Hybrid will get you where you want to be quickly and comfortably, with all the features necessary to complete your fishing day. Just add fish.
Yellowfin 21 Hybrid
Max hp......350 (Verado only)
Contact info: 941-753-7828 www.yellowfinyachts.com