Style and flare reminiscent of yesteryear’s sport-fishers in a contemporary craft loaded with state-of-the-art fishing features, plush-level comforts, and the latest in marine electronics — that’s precisely what Sea Force IX offers in the first model of its new Performance Sport Series, the 41.5.
When the boatbuilder’s bread and butter is producing considerably larger, richly appointed sport-fishing yachts, it’s easy to understand the kind of refinement and attention to detail in the design, construction and rigging of this new 41-footer, sure to wow hardcore big-gamers and nonfishing companions.
For superb weight-to-strength ratio, construction is 100 percent composite, utilizing high-density PVC core, vinylester resins, epoxy, and hand-laid multidirectional knitted fiberglass. Monolithic uni-grid stringers and structural bulkheads ensure exceptional soundness and rigidity. The hull, topsides and interior are then painted, not gelcoated, offering an extensive color palette and a more stately, yachtlike finish. The aluminum pipework is powder-coated, all hardware and through-hull fittings below the waterline are stainless steel, and those that remain underwater are bronze. Seating and coamings on deck and at the helm incorporate vinyl upholstery, with more elegant Ultraleather upholstery in the interior. And teak flooring and accents, with 15 layers of epoxy and 10 to 12 of clear coat, add a rich, classic feel that complements the sleek, modern look of the boat.
The Sea Force IX 41.5 can be configured as a center console with overnight accommodations or as an express with a walkaround design, both with a roomy, uncluttered cockpit. Owners also get to choose from several helm and cockpit layouts. Our test boat sported the center console setup with contoured front-lounge seating with storage beneath. And, in line with the Sea Force IX DNA, it included a long list of standard features, bolstered by numerous options, both functional and aesthetic, still leaving room for customizing.
The myriad fishing accouterments aboard included a tackle-and-bait rigging station behind the helm seats, with freshwater sink, cutting board, storage drawers, drink cooler, drink holders, and a teak rocket launcher for five rods; twin 100-gallon macerated fish boxes with overboard drains in the cockpit; a 50-gallon livewell (lighted and pressurized) on the transom with rotary flow control; undergunwale rod and gaff racks; telescoping, carbon-fiber outriggers; and raw- and freshwater washdown systems. Six 30-degree flush-mount rod holders on the covering boards, two zero-degree rod holders with swivel mounts on the transom corners, and a teak rocket launcher for seven rods across the transom augmented the rod storage.
A custom one-piece, curved windscreen and a fiberglass hardtop with LED lighting, molded radar pod and reinforced antenna mounting locations help shield the crew from the elements. The business side of the console, with its teak helm pod, Edson steering wheel with teak trim, and helmsman teak floor, make you feel like you’re skippering a classic Palm Beach or Carolina game boat, though the triple racing-style helm seats with flip-up bolsters and fold-down arm- and footrests are considerably more comfortable than vintage captain chairs, and a couple of air-conditioning vents and refrigerated cup holders add comfort and convenience. Hydraulic steering with variable speed and power-assist pump, Lenco trim tabs, and Lewmar bow thruster make driving the boat effortless, adjust the attitude to the sea conditions, and make docking a snap. The dash accommodates dual 16-inch multifunction displays with Garmin CHIRP sounder, digital engine and systems monitoring, and 6 kW, 4-foot open-array radar, plus VHF radio and multizone stereo head with amplifiers and three different zone remotes.
The list of additional notable features is impressive: recessed bow anchor locker with windlass, recessed roller, stainless-steel plow anchor and 300 feet of rode, 360-degree coaming bolsters, recessed grab rails from midship to the bow, ice-maker (makes 540 pounds of ice per day), MASE 560 diesel generator with 30-gallon tank, dedicated safety-gear storage, tilt-out dock-line storage, recessed stern seating with removable backrest, dual transom doors to port and starboard, integrated swim/boarding platform with teak decking, and a telescoping boarding ladder.
If all that isn’t enough, look at available upgrades: transom and in-sole livewell systems, Helm Master joystick control, Seakeeper 5 gyrostabilizer, two-burner cooktop in the galley, cockpit food-prep center with electric grill, rear-facing mezzanine-style seating, LED underwater lights, and a watermaker.
Down below, the cabin appointments include a convertible queen berth, 24-inch smart HDTV, dinette with mappa burl and ebony table with electric pedestal, galley with countertop and sink, microwave oven, AC/DC drawer-style fridge, and 16,000 Btu air-conditioning unit, splendid for a weekend jaunt to the islands or a multinight stay at a marina during a tournament.
The test boat was powered by a trifecta of Yamaha F350s, although the model is rated for 1,200 ponies and will accept quad outboards. It can also be propelled by a pair of 400 to 500 hp inboard engines, and pod systems are an option too.
Loaded with gear, a crew of three, and lots of fuel and water, the 41-footer was quick out of the gate, taking an average of 12 seconds to go from zero to 30 mph in bumpy seas. Top speed was 54.4 mph at 6,000 rpm, and the ride proved both comfortable and dry in every direction. Thanks to the high-performance hull design and 23-degree deadrise, the 3- to 4-foot chop was hardly a nuisance. Impressively nimble for its size, the 41.5 performed tight turns easily, responding predictably to changes in direction, speed and conditions.
If you’re looking for a top tournament boat under 45 feet or a well-rounded blend of performance, comfort and fishing capabilities, the Sea Force IX 41.5 deserves a spot on your short list.