The molded stringer and bulkhead grid ensures greater strength and rigidity. And all fish and storage boxes are glassed into the grid, and foamed in for insulation. Stainless plates further reinforce the transom to handle the largest outboards.
Fit and finish are top-notch, with every hatch guttered, gasket-sealed, and fully finished inside for easy cleanup. Backing plates for all screws supporting the hardtop, leaning post, and hatch and door hinges are glassed into the hull or deck.
Taking advantage of nearly 12 feet of beam, the boat layout affords more interior space than most center-consoles in its class. And like all Blackwater boats, each 41TE is custom-built to the owner’s specific needs, with a wide range of features and luxury options.
Seating, for starters, is available in several configurations. Wraparound seats with storage underneath and flip-up backrests for lounging to port and starboard may be left out in favor of an open bow, or combined with either a forward console seat for two or a double sun lounge with coffin-box storage to create a large gathering area up front. A couple of different seating arrangements accommodate the skipper and two crewmembers at the helm: three pedestal swivel chairs with backrests, flip-up bolsters and armrests; or a triple contoured seat with flip-up bolsters in a fiberglass leaning-post module with tackle-storage and bait-prep station in back, complete with a slide-out Yeti cooler. Owners may opt for second-row seating—a bench-style seat with backrest facing the cockpit—instead of the tackle and bait-prep station. And Blackwater also offers a foldaway stern bench, which is wide enough for four.
The center console includes an integrated footrest, places the tilt steering wheel on the centerline, and engine controls, gauges, optional joystick control, four LED cup holders and trim-tab switches in easy reach. There’s a deep glove box, and the dash is wide enough for a trio of 16-inch MFDs.
A T-top or oversize hardtop shields the helm from sun and rain. Our test boat sported the latter, which incorporates a windscreen integrated into the pipework and the center console for a clean, one-piece look, plus an overhead switch panel along with see-through glass for added natural lighting.
Inside the console, a cabin with berth, storage, hidden port-a-potty, and sink with pull-out sprayer provides a respite from the elements or overnight accommodations, made more comfortable with the optional air conditioning.
Rod storage is seemingly endless. The test boat came with nine vertical rod tubes and a pair of angled (kingfish-style) tubes on the hardtop frame, plus five flush-mount holders atop the leaning-post backrest, 15 on the transom, and 20 along the covering boards.
Livewell choices include twin 60-gallon wells with clear lids on the transom corners, a 70-gallon in-floor well in the center of the cockpit, and an 80-gallon well ahead of the console, all fed by a sea-chest system. The two largest double as storage or additional fish boxes, augmenting the four sizable, macerated in-floor compartments, with two in the cockpit and a pair amidships long enough to serve as rod lockers.
The bow anchor locker features a through-stem anchor, windlass, and a lower hatch to access rode and chain. And raw and freshwater washdowns with coiled hoses are neatly tucked into gunwale cubbies located within the cockpit.
Top options include SeaDek flooring, a dive door with retractable ladder, tuna tower, Seakeeper, bow thruster, outriggers, FLIR camera, remote-control spotlight, underwater lights and more.
With the boat survey completed, we put the Blackwater through its paces in open water. Pushed by four Mercury V-8 300s, it jumped on plane without hesitation, going from zero to 30 mph in an average of 8.3 seconds. Bow rise at takeoff was negligible, and spray, which began ahead of the console at planing speed and moved 2 feet aft at 4,500 rpm, never reached the helm.
Despite the wind and chop, the boat delivered excellent speed, easy handling, and a comfortable ride. We nearly reached 69 mph running wide-open, and at 4,500 rpm, the 41TE smoothly sliced through sizable wakes and responded instantly to slight steering adjustment, executing tight loops and figure eights with precision.
The 41-footer proved a legitimate contender to more famous offshore center-consoles. Design, construction and rigging are top-notch, and performance and fishability leave nothing to be desired. If you’re looking for a serious offshore fishing machine, this Blackwater deserves consideration.
Length: 41′ | Beam: 11′ 11″ | Draft: 36″ | Deadrise: 24 degrees | Fuel: 600 gal. | Weight: 16,000 lb. | Max HP: 1,600 | Price: Starts at $595,000 | Blackwater Boats: blackwaterboats.com
Weather: Sunny | Location: Virginia Key, Florida | Wind: Southeast 16 knots | Sea State: 2- to 3-foot chop | Test Load: Two adults, 200 gallons of fuel