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In a sea full of center-console sport-fishers, Sailfish stands out by attending to all the details needed for an efficient big-game platform. The company adheres to standards of high quality that keeps it on the top shelf of production-boat brands. The new 312 CC has all of Sailfish’s attributes, including comfortable cruising, stability at trolling speeds, and fuel efficiency from a well-designed hull.
Our tests prove Sailfish’s design team is comprised of fishermen and accomplished skippers who draw from their experience to develop features and building techniques that favor hardcore fishability, exemplary seakeeping abilities in the roughest waters, and the durability to support an extended warranty. Just as important, Sailfish keeps family and crew comfort in mind, making its boats ideal candidates for families anticipating a wide assortment of recreational activities.
Interior and Accessories
Fourteen rod holders, including six shotgun holders, are arranged around the cockpit. Five more are located in the hardtop, as are two kingfish rod holders port and starboard. Those are particularly important for kingfish, obviously, but are also handy in bump-trolling with livies for pelagics such as mahi or sailfish. Also built into the hardtop are backing plates to receive outriggers as an aftermarket accessory.
There are 62 gallons of livewell capacity between the portside transom livewell and the leaning-post livewell. Keep goggle-eyes in one and pilchards in the other. They are rounded inside to improve bait movement, well-aerated, and covered with acrylic lids for keen observation. We liked the setup of the rigging station in the leaning post, with tackle drawers, slots for utility boxes, and spots to keep tools handy.
The bow deck is ready for anglers too, with rod holders conveniently located, and removable lounge cushions to convert seating into casting platforms. The cockpit itself has stowable lounges. When deployed, they can seat four to six passengers. When stowed, they complete the gunwale and transom bolsters, allowing anglers to brace comfortably while battling fish. We also found the gunwale height well-balanced between providing a safe cockpit depth and the ability to reach the water to bill a fish.
Hand in hand with fishability is performance. The boat is stable at rest under crew movement and comfortable at speed in seas and heavy chop. Sailfish employs a hull design it calls VDS for variable-degree stepped hull, which features three separate planing surfaces on both sides of the keel. The one nearest the keel has a 24-degree deadrise to cleave waves at speed. The middle surface is 23 degrees, broadening out to improve stability, and the planes closest to the chine are 22 degrees, ensuring optimal balance between at-rest stability and high-seas performance.
Sail Tech is what Sailfish calls its construction process with a lamination schedule and assembly. It includes strategic use of Kevlar, carbon fiber and quad-axial fiberglass to create a rigid hull that can handle rough reentry from seas. It’s what makes the boat rigid, durable and smooth while riding in rough water.
Handling the boat in our tests was a blast thanks to Yamaha’s F300 outboards with digital controls and joystick. Docking it was easy. Acceleration was snappy, tipping over to plane in a little over 3 seconds and hitting 30 mph in 8 seconds. With a 10 percent fuel reserve, it has a range of 430 miles at 29.5 mph.
The helm station had thickly padded bucket seats set a comfortable distance from the wheel and throttles. Seated driving was more comfortable than most boats we’ve tested, and the footrest in the station was comfortably located. With the bolster up, the skipper is easily in control with an outstanding view through the tempered-glass windshield. On top of the helm, where everyone dumps their wallets and phones, Sailfish installed an acrylic compartment with dividers and a clear lid to stow the crew’s valuables, glasses and such. If you choose to add radar, the hardtop is durably built to handle it.
Side boarding doors are becoming mandatory among boat buyers, and Sailfish’s was well done. It opened inward on solid stainless-steel hinges and closed watertight with a beefy, highly polished latch.
Robalo’s 302 ($286,697 base with test power) is 16 inches shorter but 9 inches wider, putting its footprint toe-to-toe with the Sailfish. The 302 doesn’t sport the portside door, but its cockpit space is comparable and complete with an additional lounge chair that the Sailfish forgoes in favor of the door. The Robalo also sports dual livewells.
Conveniences at the bow included a cooler under the center-console seat and retractable lounge backs. A flip-up center bow seat improves access to the windlass and anchor compartment. Inside the console is a roomy compartment with more than 6 feet of headroom, housing a sink, toilet, and convenient access to battery switches and wiring.
The Sailfish 312 CC is one of the latest in the company’s full line of fishing-focused, family-friendly boats. In my experience, it’s among the best in its class.
How We Tested
- Engines: Dual Yamaha F300s
- Drive/Prop: SWS II 15.25″ x 18″
- Gear Ratio: 1.75:1 Fuel Load: 60 gal. Water On Board: 0 gal. Crew Weight: 400 lb.
- Livewells have powerful pumps and ample circulation. Clear lids make it easy to keep an eye on bait condition.
- Sailfish’s battery system includes voltage-sensing relays for optimizing alternator power.
- Standard through-stem anchor chute and windlass ease bottomfishing chores.
- Acrylic lidded locker atop the console keeps phones and wallets secure.
- We liked the bow seatbacks that extend or lower, but would’ve preferred them to be removable and stowable.
- An optional upper station would be a good factory addition.
Pricing and Specs
|Price:||$301,316 (with test power)|
|Displacement (approx.):||10,725 lb.|
|Transom Deadrise (variable):||24 degrees|
|Max Cabin Headroom:||6’1″|
|Fuel Capacity:||265 gal.|
|Available Power:||Yamaha or Mercury outboards|
Speed, Efficiency, Operation
Sailfish Boats – Cairo, Georgia; 229-377-2125; sailfishboats.com