It’s rare to get to test a boat intended for offshore use in truly nasty ocean conditions. But when Contender Boats said we should take its 39 LS center console out on a day when the charter boats were turning around and returning to port, I jumped at the chance to really put this boat to the test.
We ran smack into a set of eight- to 10-foot swells that the 39 LS took with ease. The trio of monstrous 350 hp Yamaha outboards provided plenty of push, and the digital controls gave me precise throttle control as the boat left and re-entered the water, a requisite for running breaking inlets.
I headed south, which put the waves on the beam, often the most challenging of conditions for a V-bottom, but we took minimal spray and the boat tracked straight even with a 20-knot wind trying to blow us off course.
The 39 LS’ twin-step bottom, designed by John Cosker of Mystic Powerboats fame, was drawn with offset strakes and convex sections in the bow to help carry the nose out of the water. This puts the propellers in good contact with the water to keep the boat moving forward in rough conditions and still lets it run at speeds exceeding 70 mph when you have the opportunity and inclination to pin the levers.