Leading Florida builder Everglades Boats hit it out of the ballpark with its 243CC, a hybrid inshore/offshore model that soon became a big seller. With the launch of the new 273CC, it now offers many of the same attributes on a larger, more seaworthy platform, with a skinny 18-inch draft and upgrades sure to tickle every die-hard angler’s fancy.
Hop aboard and you immediately recognize this boat is designed and equipped for serious fishing. For starters, the forward seating configuration allows unobstructed passage to the bow, where a crew member can easily climb to net bait from a higher, unobstructed vantage point, and where an anchor locker complete with windlass and generous space for rode hides.
Underneath the forward seating, lockable storage incorporates racks capable of cradling as many as eight rods to port and another eight to starboard. Just a step back you find an 82-gallon in-floor fish box to hold the day’s catch, and under the forward console seat is a 97-quart cooler to keep drinks and snacks chilled. With a substantial 45-quart cooler aft, however, the larger one can easily be used as additional dry storage. Twin hatches provide immediate access to gear stowed inside sizable gunwale compartments, while horizontal racks, slightly farther down the gunwales, hold three rod-and-reel combos on both sides of the cockpit, which spans 108 square feet and includes fresh- and raw-water spigots under the covering boards.
Rod storage is augmented by four combination rod/cup holders flush-mounted on the covering boards and four rod tubes welded to the powder-coated frame of the hardtop, which comes with an electronics box, spreader lights, canvas life-jacket storage and LED lighting, and is designed to fit as an integral part of the center console, with an innovative hydraulic sliding tempered-glass windshield that lowers with the push of a button whenever extra ventilation is desired.
A Ritchie compass sits atop the console, and twin waterproof switch panels and a digital multifunction gauge between them line the top edge of the dash, leaving ample real estate for a pair of 16-inch displays, Fusion stereo and more. The steering wheel and controls are mounted on a lower level, along with accessory power and USB charging ports, trim-tab switches and position indicator, and the Optimus 360 electronic power steering for pinpoint maneuvering and easy docking.
Bolster seats for the skipper and a companion are nestled in a helm-seating module, the aft-facing side of which houses a nifty tackle-storage and bait-prep center, complete with a sink with pull-out sprayer to port and a lighted 31-gallon livewell with clear lid and friction hinges to starboard, where a hatch shields four large tackle trays from the elements, and perforations on the counter’s edge hold up to seven hooks or lures for rigging or quick changes of terminal tackle. With an eye on safety, Everglades also placed dual fire extinguishers in recessed niches on both sides of the module, where they remain at arm’s length but snag-proof. For added comfort and convenience, coaming pads run the length of both gunwales, removable backrests complement the seating up front, a china-bowl head with macerator and holding tank sits inside the console, additional power ports are strategically located at the bow and the stern, and there’s a retractable boarding ladder with grab rail at the transom for anyone wishing to take a dip.
Folding stern seats let a pair of crew members take a load off on the way to and from the fishing grounds, and quickly stow away by simply pulling the backrests down, clearing the back of the boat and creating a narrow but level and elevated deck from which to cast in conducive sea conditions. That same aft deck, by the way, lifts entirely to tend to batteries, fuses, battery switches, bilge and livewell pumps, fittings and seacocks.
Upon completing our detailed survey at the dock, it was time to take the 27-footer out for a spin and test its variable-deadrise deep-V hull, which places the deepest angle at the keel to lessen impact as the boat takes on waves, and increasingly flattens toward the chines for greater overall stability, faster planing and better fuel efficiency. It also enables the Everglades to achieve higher speeds with less horsepower.
Our test boat made both quick and tight turns a cinch. The turning radius was impressive, and no matter what the maneuver or the speed, I felt always in control. Rigged with twin Yamaha F250s, the 273 went from zero to 30 mph in 6 seconds and topped at 54.7 mph. And according to Yamaha performance data, owners opting for a single 350 hp outboard should expect a more-than-respectable 47 mph at wide-open throttle and a range of nearly 320 miles cruising at 4,000 rpm and 31 mph.
Taking into account the brand’s reputation, the boat’s design, unbeatable construction and fit and finish, and the smart, feature-rich layout, I say Everglades has another winner, one that anglers looking for a double-threat (inshore and offshore) fishing machine will treasure through many years of service.