There’s never been any question about the pedigree of Intrepid Powerboats. As a semicustom Florida builder, the brand has always enjoyed a reputation for innovative design, fine workmanship and solid performance. Still, Intrepids have been more likely to be tied up to a megayacht as a tender than alongside a tournament weigh-in dock. Well, that’s about to change. The 327 Center Console Tournament Edition is fast, smooth-riding, smartly rigged and extremely fishable. Trophies and loyal fans are sure to follow.
I met kingfish pro Conrad Lau and Capt. Roger Walker last fall in Mayport, Florida, to test Lau’s new ride, a tricked-out 327. After loading up the tackle and quickly looking for bait off the beach, we ran it against the backdrop of moored Navy warships. The results were as impressive as the nearby firepower.
With triple 300 hp Mercury Verado outboards, half fuel and full livewells, the boat ran at just over 66 mph at wide-open throttle, burning 78.6 gallons of gas per hour in the process. Earlier factory tests with a slightly lighter load saw the boat reach a top speed of 69.5 mph. The boat responds predictably in turns and jumps to a level attitude almost immediately when you hammer the throttles. No surprises here, just smooth, sure performance. Our subsequent run offshore proved it also has the mettle to handle the slop and stay dry, thanks to its hull design and meticulous construction.
The 327 features a stepped hull that is built to punch through the waves rather than ride over them. It is hand-laid and made from PVC foam core and nonwoven multidirec-tional and unidirectional fibers that are vacuum-bagged to reduce weight and ensure an ideal strength-to-weight ratio. With an aggressive 56-degree entry transitioning to 21.5 degrees at the transom and the integrated motor bracket, the 327 feels rock-solid even in confused seas, with no creaks or flexing whatsoever. The standard power configuration is twin outboards, although a third is an option. An auxiliary 70-gallon fuel tank can be ordered to augment the standard 230-gallon capacity for long-distance runs.
Intrepids have always come with impeccable fit and finish. That tradition continues with the 327. Every seam and hatch fits precisely. The lines are smooth and curved. The wiring harnesses and plumbing are neat, organized and labeled. If you’re looking for yacht-like quality, it’s definitely here.
Our test boat had the optional fiberglass hardtop with recessed lights, an electronics box and a rocket launcher. The ergonomic helm was arranged with high-speed performance in mind — everything was easily scannable and within reach. The helm display was large enough to accommodate two 12-inch displays with room to spare. A thickly padded leaning post with cutouts provided a comfortable perch.
Since each Tournament Edition model is built to order, you can rig this boat to fit your personal fishing style, picking from a lengthy options list, including numerous livewell and storage choices. Since he typically live-baits for king mackerel, Lau opted for the maximum well capacity. That includes a pressurized stand-up well behind the leaning post that seals tightly to prevent the bait from getting sloshed around while running. The well also has a handy Plexiglas window for keeping an eye on the baits, a cool feature often found on custom blue-water battlewagons. The huge well flush in the cockpit deck is perfect for dumping a cast net into, while a third box in the transom can also be plumbed for bait. The submerged double-pump box in the aft cockpit compartment ensures no air locks and that the baits stay frisky.
If you can’t find room to store all your tackle and gear on this boat, you’ve got too much stuff. A gigantic lift-up hatch in the bow will hold the anchor rode, the anchor ball, bumpers and other bulky items. Lockable boxes in the raised forward deck are accessed by a cabled latch system, so you don’t have to go digging under the cushions to open the lid. These boxes drain overboard and can be insulated to store the day’s catch. A second set of companion rod lockers are located under the bow covering boards, while another deck box in the bow sole offers even more room. If you still have extra rods, horizontal racks in the cockpit and another across the transom will stow a virtual tackle store. Other handy options, like raw-water and freshwater washdowns, cockpit coaming bolsters, outriggers and spreader lights, can be ordered easily as well.
In a concession to comfort, the 327 has a bolstered forward console seat that slides open for access to the stand-up head compartment. Fill-in cushions for the bow can be ordered with electric backrests for serious relaxing, while the removable aft bench seat will accommodate the rest of the crew. For a true individualized statement, opt for custom gelcoat colors or Imron foot or accent stripes.
If you’re in the market for a serious fishing machine that performs extremely well and looks great doing it, give this Intrepid a long look.
Intrepid 327 CC Tournament Edition
Transom deadrise……21.5 degrees
Base price……$220,000 with twin 300 hp Mercury Verado outboards
Intrepid Powerboats: 954-922-7544 • www.intrepidboats.com