Many boatbuilders do a good job of creating products that fit the mold of their product line, with each new model evolutionary in design and styling. But it’s not often companies push themselves to innovate and create a product that’s focused on the end-user yet so advanced and well thought out it has no competition.
The folks at SeaVee Boats really caught my attention with their latest offering, a 43-foot express with an afterdeck side console and Volvo Penta IPS drives. I’ve driven a slew of different boats from 39 to 70 feet with pod drives, but my favorite for fishing with the drives was the 39 SeaVee I tested some time ago. My appreciation of that package was reaffirmed with the new 430 IPS — it is as strong as new rope in the handling category for light-tackle angling, and its concept, design, layout and execution equal the boat’s razor-sharp maneuverability.
We tested the boat in the sailfish-rich waters off Florida’s Key Biscayne in an east-southeast breeze of 15 knots or better, with a two- to four-foot sea and chop, suitable conditions for a family fishing day and certainly fine enough to travel to the Bahamas for a long weekend. That thought kept crossing my mind as we ran around, trolled and drifted, getting a feel for the boat.
Powered by twin 435 hp Volvo Penta diesels coupled to IPS600 drives, the 430 is a boat handler’s dream. It’s not a speed demon but is an economical, soft-riding, stable-running boat that just happens to spin within its own length in a flash and back down faster than anyone I know could reel to keep tight to a fish. Its agility and ability to change direction quickly when backing down-sea or up are the stuff guys like me dream of.
With advanced technical handling abilities, the 430 IPS settles into a nice rhythm when cruising at 26 knots. It is not jerky or hard to walk around on — it’s much like a larger boat in that it is soft entering a sea and stable in the trough. Interestingly, the helm in most express boats is all the way against the forward bulkhead, yet SeaVee opted for a much more fishing-friendly and social option — the console is positioned to starboard and halfway between the forward bulkhead and cockpit. This offers excellent visibility; even on acceleration, you can see over the bow to know what is ahead, a good indicator the boat is balanced correctly.
Offering seating for two, the console is well laid out, with controls, switches and the two large electronics screens all within arm’s reach of the skipper. Across from the helm, an L-shaped lounge seats four people, and with the entrance to the cabin in front of the console to starboard, the helm deck is a large, social, open and protected sitting area. A day entrance to the engine room at the aft steps, on the centerline, makes daily servicing easy when you’re coming from the cockpit, and you can lift the whole helm deck for major service.
A great deal of thought and effort went into the planning and execution of the cabin space belowdecks to maximize the live-aboard experience. Fully forward, there’s a sharply engineered settee offset to starboard, with a large teak table that lowers on an electric ram, and an electric slide-out seat and back cushions create a full berth.
To port, an ample galley features high-grade cabinetry laminated in place so there is no squeaking or other noise when the boat is running. A built-in microwave, slide-out induction burners, composite countertops and Vitrifrigo pullout refrigeration-freezer drawers complete the galley. A huge and well-appointed head with a shower large enough for you and a friend lies to starboard.
The master stateroom with queen berth is aft and to port, offering nice headroom and hanging lockers. It’s a real stateroom with room for two people — not a bunk in a cave under the helm deck. Centrally located, well-labeled and in a dry place, the electrical panel sits along the companionway stairs on the starboard side as you head out of the cabin.
The cockpit comes loaded with features like in-deck fish boxes, a transom livewell, tackle storage, a rigging station, a freezer, a drink box and great access to the pod drives. There’s room for a fighting chair, which our test boat had, and an optional side dive door in addition to the standard transom door. Our test boat came rigged with a full tower that gave the 430 a great look.
If you like the idea of slipping away for long weekends on an economical, easy to drive, well-equipped boat, the SeaVee 430 IPS is well worth the effort to get aboard and check out. It offers a combination of comfortable accommodations, superior maneuverability and practical fishing features, and it would be really fun to test it on a few Bahamian blue marlin — too bad we weren’t in the Bahamas, but it’s OK to dream.
**SeaVee Boats 430 IPS
Deadrise aft……22 degrees
Power……Volvo Penta IPS600s
Base price……$636,250 (with twin Volvo Penta IPS600s)
SeaVee Boats: 305-759-6419 • www.seaveeboats.com_