The boat we used in photos and videos for the 2017 Guide to Towing is a 35 ST from Homestead, Florida-based Contender Boats. This big center console fishing boat helped showcase the towing capability of our 2017 Ford Super Duty F-350 truck. Together, the boat, trailer and truck garnered lots of admiring looks and comments from bystanders during our shoot on location in Miami-Dade County, Florida.
The 35 ST is a serious saltwater fishing machine. Like all Contenders, nearly everything within its 32-foot-8-inch hull is optional. You can have a 35 ST customized just the way you want it. Rigged out, it weighs 11,560 pounds (excluding the aluminum-frame, triple-axle trailer), so you’ll need a vehicle like the Ford Super Duty F-350 for towing this Contender.
As with all Contenders, the 35 ST features a foam-cored fiberglass stringer system, and the hand-laid fiberglass construction uses multidirectional fabric. You will also find foam flotation throughout. Above deck, there’s a heavy-duty rub rail and nothing but stainless-steel hardware. Our boat featured triple 300 hp Yamaha Marine outboards on the transom.
Thanks to a pair of steps built into the running surface, the hull is very efficient. The steps serve as vents to usher a cushion of air under the hull to reduce drag and boost efficiency when underway. While improving performance, steps also require special considerations when selecting a trailer. If you’re considering a stepped hull, make sure the trailer is designed and carefully fitted to the boat for proper support and to facilitate launching and loading.