When Brunswick Corporation folded Sea Pro boats into its Saltwater Boat Group with Boston Whaler, one of its first projects was to redesign the 270 Express. "We had a really tight cabin and we wanted to improve that," said engineering manager Vann Knight. "But we wanted to remain close to the DNA of Sea Pro." The Sea Pro boater is 50 percent fish and 50 percent cruise, so it had to improve liveability without penalizing fishability.
In the new cabin, a six-foot boater can stand up with just a bit of headroom to spare. That is roomy for a cuddy that size. The whole area feels even roomier because they've rethought the berth. Instead of an enormous V-Berth, Knight's team modified the shape so that when the berth cushions are removed, it forms a comfortable L-shaped couch that faces a flat-panel TV. The side cushions are pulled from the bulkhead to fill out the berth.
The new galley sports a long, wide countertop with a sink, stove and a compartment deep enough to store wine bottles. A microwave, fridge, hot water and an optional AC are also on board. With the AC, plus a couple of house batteries, the cabin can remain cool all day ... or night. Even the head is bigger than we expected with full-fiberglass liner construction, an optional flushing head and pullout shower.
So, how'd they do on the fishing end? Quite well, we thought. And they did it while keeping an eye to sport-boat comfort, using a wide helm seat and passenger lounge for starters. The reversible two-person passenger backrest converts from a forward-facing lounge to an aft-facing cockpit seat. The real surprise is the aft seat that easily flips down to clear the cockpit for fishing.
We found a 35-gallon aerated livewell with a clear lid behind the helm seat. An enormous fish box features a removable divider so you can separate pilchards from pinfish. The divider fits over a deep freshwater sink, making it a handy cutting board. A scrap bucket fits in its own compartment in the sink, keeping chum and other "aromatics" contained to release their charms on the fish. Underneath all this there still is room for a three-drawer tackle-storage system. We closed the drawer on that and turned to find another system under the passenger seat. This one has slide-out mesh lure pouches that fit in polymer channels for quick drying and secure storage. Next to it are sliding utility boxes and leader holders inside the door.
Our test boat was rigged with two engine batteries and three house batteries. With a full crew, we still had sporty acceleration and a breezy top speed. In our opinion, Vann Knight's team hit the mark on comfort, fishability and performance.
Bow pulpit and roller are standard and make dropping a hook for the evening or bottom fishing easy.
Fiberglass head is roomy and has an optional pump-out head with a pullout shower for weekends afloat.
Cockpit space was impressive in both length and width thanks to the wide beam.
The lockable battery panel is below the passenger seat, making access to battery switches and breakers easy.
Special cutout compartment in galley holds ketchup, dish soap, etc.
Length Overall (w/o pulpit): 28'6"
Dry Weight: 5,900 lb.
People/Weight Capacity: Yacht Certified
Fuel Capacity: 194 gal.
Max HP: 500
NMMA Certified: Yes
MSRP (as tested w/ twin Mercury Verado 225): $127,194
Test Engine: Twin Mercury Verado 225
Test Prop: Rev 14.675 x 17, four-blade
Test Load: People (600 lb.), Fuel (100 gal.)
Top Speed: 49.5 mph @ 6,400 rpm
Time to Plane: 4.6 sec.
Time to 30 MPH: 6.5 sec.
At a Glance
The 270 Express balances hard-core fishability with comfortable family fun.