Scout 350 Abaco

Up from the ranks.

Remember when running a Scout meant crouching down behind a pint-size windshield on a 14' center console? Wake up, grandpa -- with the new 350 Abaco, Scout has graduated into the big-time world of big-time boats.

Belowdecks, the 350 Abaco is finished like a yacht with such touches as a side-by-side under-counter refrigerator/freezer, 26" flat-screen TV, carved-glass sailfish inset into the bulkhead, cherry-over-balsa veneers, and zoned lighting. But it keeps Scout's signature classic curves, without a hard corner or sharp edge in sight. Swing up the hatch to the machinery room, and you'll find easy access to the plumbing manifolds, genset, pumps, and batteries. Again, the machinery access and compartment finish reflect yacht-grade as opposed to mosquito fleet.

Worried that all this high-end glitz has compromised performance? No way. Slam down the throttles and put those twin 350-hp Yamamonsters to work. The boat runs downright perky with a 52.2-mph top end and a cruise in the mid 30s. However, it reaches only 10 mph with one powerplant tilted up, though that's not too surprising for a boat that weighs nearly seven tons. And when you swing the wheel hardover, it still responds like those little Scouts of yesteryear, carving hairpin turns without leaning on a gunwale. From a dead stop to full throttle, the boat accelerates with minimal bowrise. Punch it and head for a series of waves -- we encountered several two- and three-footers during our test -- and the 22-degree convex-designed hull takes 'em apart without a problem.

A serious fishboat, the 350 Abaco has the teeth to grab some serious grub. The port-side cockpit unit is a bait freezer fitted with a bait tray, while the starboard side has a lighted livewell next to a sink. Both units have several tackle stowage drawers underneath. All the compartment hatches are gasketed and rise on gas-assist struts. One big surprise feature is in the hardtop: Look overhead and you'll see two huge teaser reels, color coordinated and inset into the top. That's a feature you'll see only on big sportfishing yachts -- and on boats like this that have been built to master the game.