How does it feel to have 750 wild horses hanging on your stern? It feels good. So good that I couldn't keep from inching the throttle forward on Wellcraft's new 352 Tournament Center Console - until we were running a full-tilt boogie at 51 mph.
But what felt even better was throwing the 352 Tournament Center Console into a hard turn. With the triple 250-hp E-TECs on the transom, this boat grips the water and banks like an Olympic speed skater. Quick acceleration made the boat feel light and airy, and the sharp entry and aggressive flare proved its own against a stiff bay chop.
Bench seating runs down each side of the bow, which expands the cruising and family fishing abilities of this boat; cushions, however, will run you an extra $615. Underneath the seats are 6' overboard-draining fishboxes that will hold a whole school of smoker kingfish. There's a stowage area for all your rods and reels, too, under a deck hatch. But it lacks any organizational scheme, which means you'll have to customize it to keep your gear secure. A second deck hatch accesses bulk stowage, enough to hold half a dozen five-gallon buckets - or wakeboards and whatever water toys you may want to haul to the sand bar when the kids are onboard. Another family-friendly feature is the console, which has a portable MSD, freshwater sink, vanity, and plenty of stowage for toiletries. I was pleased with the abundant polyboard drawers and hatches that provide stowage in the gunwales from bow to stern. The optional leaning post on our test boat ($5,235) has even more stowage compartments, plus it adds a circular 40-gallon livewell with clear lids, a sturdy grabrail, two rodholders, and comfortable flip-back helm bolsters.
You want a second livewell? No problem; there's one in the transom to expand your bait-hauling abilities, next to the transom shower and slide-out fiberglass bucket inserts. Run, fish, or play - any way you cut it, the 352 Tournament Center Console is a feel-good machine.
High Points: Anchor locker has dedicated stowage for fenders and lines. Gas-assist struts on hatch lids. Enough space at the dash to install twin 15" display monitors. High gunwales at the bow enhance feeling of safety.
Low Points: Meager insulation on hatch lids. Drains in some stowage compartments and hatch gutters weren't quite flush. Less than perfect finish inside deck hatches and in the anchor locker.
Toughest Competitor: Triton's 351 Center Console is another large open fishboat that doesn't neglect the wife and kids. It costs more, breaking the 200K barrier with triple 275-hp Verados, but fit and finish is a notch above.
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Draft (max.): 3'3"
Displacement (lbs., approx., w/o power): 8,600
Transom deadrise: 23°
Bridge clearance: 8'4"
Max. headroom: 6'2"
Fuel capacity (gal.): 400
Water capacity (gal.): 30
Price (w/standard power): $144,730
Price (w/test power): $172,395
STANDARD POWER Twin 225-hp Evinrude E-TEC outboards.
OPTIONAL POWER Twin or triple outboards to 900 hp total.
TEST BOAT POWER Triple 250-hp Evinrude E-TEC outboards with 200 cid, swinging 143/4" x 21" three-bladed ss props through 1.85:1 reductions.
STANDARD EQUIPMENT (major items) Integrated swim platform; transom livewell; cockpit coaming bolsters; insulated drinkbox; T-top w/electronics box and PFD stowage; molded sink w/shower; battery charger and switches; compass; shorepower w/cord; hydraulic tilt dual-ram steering; trim tabs.