Hydra-Sports is a company run by avid anglers, and a bone-deep interest can be observed in every corner of its boats. But until recently, creature comforts took a back seat-if it wasn't about fishing, it wasn't on a Hydra-Sports. That attitude has changed with the introduction of the new 3500VX Express, the largest boat ever built by this company-and the most sinfully comfortable.
How about a cabin with teak and holly floors? Corian countertops? Standard air conditioning? And get this-one of the air-conditioning vents is piped to the helm, where it cools the brow of the skipper even though he's still standing in the middle of the cockpit. And let's not overlook the standup head, bunks for six, and wraparound settee in the cockpit. Anglers who believe that real fishboats require sleeping on the decks in foul-weather gear may be taken aback by the new luxury, but I suspect that most of us secretly lust for such comfort.
Lest you worry, be assured all the fishing goodies are still present and accounted for-this is a Hydra-Sports, after all. The transom livewell holds 40 gallons; and there are two insulated, 80-quart fishboxes under the sole as well as locking rod stowage belowdecks, toerails, coaming pads, hardtop with spreader lights and molded-in outrigger mounts, loads of vertical rodracks, and a rigging station.
A bonus on our test boat was a pair of Yamaha's new 350-hp four-stroke V-8s. The giant engines (822 pounds each) carried the boat well from takeoff to its top speed of 50.1 mph-impressive considering the weight of this vessel. Yamaha expects the motors to be used in place of triple installations, and from this test run on Sarasota Bay, I'd say they will fill that role well. The noise level on the motors is extremely low, a scant 56 dB-A on the meter at the 600 rpm idle, and between 3000 and 4500 rpm, the noise level rose minimally to a maximum of 86 dB-A.
To be sure, your banker may cringe when you tell him you want to buy the basic 3500VX. In fact, you could buy some diesel inboard boats for this much cash. But if you want to go offshore in speed, style, and comfort and have the ability to fish hard, take a look at the 3500VX.