SeaVee Boats, Florida-based builder of hardcore fishing machines, recently added another center-console to its popular Z series, the 322Z, an impeccable marriage of beauty and substance that loudly makes its argument to be considered among the best boats in its class.
The new 32-footer is available in two configurations: the Open Fisherman and the Luxury Edition. The brand’s fishing pedigree is evident in both, but the latter is more family-friendly, with extra seating and conveniences for lounging and entertaining.
We tested the Luxury Edition, and once on board, were instantly drawn to the twin aquarium-style livewells on opposite transom corners, each with 40-gallon capacity of aerated water supplied by a sea chest.
A bench on the transom, between the livewells, seats three comfortably and, along with the backrest, is easily removed to access the bilge or when fishing demands maximum cockpit space. The cockpit deck incorporates six hatches. One opens to the bilge and five to storage compartments, two of which are designed to hold a 5-gallon bucket, while another can be plumbed as an 88-gallon livewell.
An aft-facing seat for two — with a large cooler underneath — and a full-width compartment above the backrest are part of the Captain’s Edition helm seat on a large fiberglass module with storage for tackle bags or other gear. Other leaning-post-style helm seats are available for those who prefer a tackle center, rigging station, or slide-out cooler in back.
The console permits unhindered transit along both sides. The console seat includes a backrest, integrated with a forward door that slides open to port for entry into a step-down head compartment with sink, freshwater faucet/shower, mirror, storage for toiletries, and an optional marine toilet.
The dash has enough mounting surface for dual 12-inch MFDs, plus multifunction gauges, stereo, VHF radio, trim-tab switches and more. There’s an acrylic tray and USB ports for mobile devices, a panel with some two dozen waterproof switches, and a splash cover to protect the electronics.
The test boat sported a Key West-style hardtop with openings on both sides for the tips of rods stored upright in the console holders, leaving enough real estate for outriggers and a radar dome. Stereo speakers were mounted on the underside, along with spreader lights for the cockpit and bow.
No serious fishing boat would be complete without insulated fish boxes. The SeaVee has three, all forward of the console. The center in-floor fish box has a 129-gallon capacity and the dimensions to fit several big wahoo, tuna or dolphin. The other two are in the molded, raised seats with electric backrests, which replace the 51-gallon in-floor wing boxes that double as rod lockers on the Open Fisherman model.
Rod storage on the 322Z is extensive. Twelve flush-mount holders lie on both sides of the console, 12 in the covering boards, and another four on the transom, plus a rocket launcher for six more rods on the hardtop.
Other features of note include an integrated swim platform/outboard bracket, anchor locker with windlass, trim tabs, dual-card compass, coaming pads, plus an optional portside door with telescoping ladder, raw- and freshwater washdowns, and a pull-out swim ladder. A coffin box, various tops and towers, Bahama shade, and outriggers are some of the many other options.
Our performance test took place outside of Tampa Bay, Florida. It began with shuttle runs to experience the hole shot of the cross-ventilated, twin-stepped hull, and to clock the 10.3 seconds it took to go from still to 30 mph.
Multiple lifting elements on SeaVee’s patented Z series high-performance hulls help the 32-footer get up and go. With twin Mercury 350 Verados, top speed was 59.5 mph. But the max horsepower rating is 1,000, music to the ears of tournament anglers and those who prefer life in the fast lane.
Outstanding maneuverability and sports-car responsiveness made our customary slalom test around crab-trap floats a lot of fun. Speed rails incorporated in the hull let us take full advantage of the boat’s terrific turning radius, keeping the SeaVee tracking smoothly through the turns.
The hull’s reverse chines push down the spray, which at planing speed begins at midship, and at wide-open throttle starts 3 to 4 feet aft. Even as we cut through the waves, a piece of cake with the SeaVee’s deep-V and sharp entry angle at the bow, spray rarely blew over the gunwales, something anglers who fish in winter and colder climes should consider.
Hard-pressed to find anything the 322Z lacks, and impressed with its agility and performance, we came away convinced that anyone looking for a top-notch center-console under 35 feet ought to add this SeaVee to the list of top candidates.
Deadrise: 22 degrees
Fuel: 325 gal.
Water: 34 gal.
Weight: 6,800 lb. (plus power)
Max HP: 1,000
Price: $199,200 w/ twin Mercury 300 Verados
Seavee Boats: seaveeboats.com
Location: Tierra Verde, Florida
Wind: South 9 knots
Sea State: 2- to 3-foot chop
Test Load: Two adults, 140 gallons of fuel, 30 gallons of water