The Grady-White has 37.5 square feet of cockpit. Its 34-gallon livewell is located forward, under the passenger's seat. It has a 1,100-gph dedicated pump and a full-column water inlet that distributes clean water throughout. This was the only boat with a livewell forward of the transom, and underway we noticed some overflow, which ran back into the cockpit. The livewell hatches on the other boats also leaked, but since they're located on the transom, their overflow ran into the motorwell, so it wasn't a problem. Grady says it has added a second latch to eliminate this problem. The sidedecks are 8" wide and 8" deep, backed by a rail 1'5" high at the lowest point. Four tackle trays that stow under the side of the passenger's seat base, six gunwale-mounted rodholders and three under-gunwale holders per side, a cockpit shower, and a cutting board all come standard. With the livewell forward, there's room for a 20-quart cooler in the transom. But it's too small to be useful.
We measured 32 square feet in the Pro-Line's cockpit. It has a molded-in transom seat instead of one that folds away as on the Whaler and Grady. This molded-in seat takes up fishing room and creates a long reach around the prop. The Pro-Line has the smallest livewell at 18 gallons. There are two integrated tackleboxes, three under-gunwale rodholders per side, and four gunwale-mounted rodholders. Cockpit coaming bolsters come standard. The walkaround sidedecks are a strong point. They are 8" wide, and being 8" deep with 2' high rails, offer the most secure passage forward. Plus, the walkaround widens toward the bow, making this the easiest boat from which to fish a full 360 degrees. However, the fishbox is sized for stripers, not tuna.
Fire Down Below
The Boston Whaler's cabin is simple: a V-berth that converts into a dinette and a small counter with a sink. Four rodholders extend beyond the cabin bulkhead to accommodate big rigs, and a portable MSD hides under the aft end of the starboard berth.
You get a standard enclosed head with a portable MSD on the Century. The single-burner stove is standard, but the rest of the galley is a $786 option.
Cobia's small galley includes an icebox, single-burner stove, and sink. Naturally, as on all the boats, the V-berth converts into a dinette. Though the standard portable MSD is open to the cabin, $736 will get you a true enclosed head.
The Grady-White could pass for a cruiser, having an enclosed head with a sink and shower. The galley has a refrigerator, single-burner stove, sink, and stowage cabinets. The stove is particularly notable, mounted on a sliding rack. The stove won't light unless the burner is right-side up, yet it won't slide back into the cabinet unless the burner is removed and stowed upside down, creating a new level of safety and stowage security.
The Pro-Line's cabin has an enclosed head compartment with a portable MSD. There's a standard galley with a sink, single-burner stove, and a refrigerator. Cabin decor is better than most, with such touches as curtains and cushioned bolsters lining the V-berth's side pockets.
With a single two-stroke 250-hp motor, the Boston Whaler goes for $69,110. At this number, the boat is short on fishing features. A livewell, fishbox macerator, coaming bolsters, and raw-water washdown adds $2,468. Outfitting the cabin to meet the minimum level of the competition means paying another $940 for a portable MSD and a single-burner stove. That brings the boat to $72,518. Why the high baseline? Construction. Whaler's building techniques take more time and cost more money.
We're surprised at the Century's $73,836 price when rigged with a single 250-hp Yamaha HPDI two-stroke outboard. This number includes all the fishing and cruising must-haves, except for the galley, which adds $786 for a total cost of $74,622. That makes this the second most expensive boat in the running.