SeaVee 390 IPS

Anatomy of a genius.

Meticulous build and finish aren't the only reasons buyers of SeaVee's 390 IPS will boast. Nor is its availability as an LX model, complete with lounge seating and other cruising amenities. As the only center console powered by Volvo Penta's IPS tractor drives, the 390 IPS bestows valedictorian status on the man at the helm.

The 390 IPS delivers hold-on holeshot, gobs of midrange torque for managing boisterous seas, and a 50.6-mph top speed. I was impressed by efficiency that yielded a 600-mile range at 30 mph. That calculates to 1.6 mpg throughout the cruising range compared to the 1 mpg typically delivered by outboard boats of this size and type.

Maneuverability is unreal, thanks to IPS' sportfish mode, which delivers more splay to the drives than a typical IPS joystick, thus allowing me to back, spin, and generally juke around better than any other boat I've ever driven. During multiple hook-ups it'll cool the hottest fish.

Naval architect Robert Kaidy drew this deep-V with IPS in mind, and SeaVee built it just right . The convexity in the forward hull adds buoyancy, prevents plunging, and maintains a bow-up attitude of 2 to 3 degrees underway. That's important because the IPS engine installation moves the center of gravity forward, the benefits of which include a reduced tendency to hang the bow off waves. It also produces a more comfortable drift: With the CG closer to the center of the boat, the rocking isn't accompanied by fore-and-aft pitching.

I can hear the naysayers cawing about the space lost to inboards. Get on the boat. You get 3' more cockpit room aft of the leaning post because there's no integrated motor bracket. The engines, installed beneath the leaning post, take the space outboard power's larger fuel tanks would occupy, so little is lost there. Engine access? Great overall, although reaching the fuel transfer valves is tough. Fuel shutoffs, Racors, and the oil exchange pump are located in a separate compartment to starboard.

Pressurized livewells, hatches finished on both sides, and preinstalled backing plates prove that attention to detail runs rampant. The 390 IPS is that rare boat that even the most jaded captain will find himself walking around, looking distracted, while lightly stroking every surface and accessory with his fingertips.