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Nor-Tech 390 Sport Boat Test

Opulent luxury meets practical fishability and creature comforts at the corner of sexy style and hot performance.

March 12, 2019
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Oh, what a boat! Triple Mercury Racing 400R motors are color-matched at the factory to complement the scheme of the boat, but when we pressed the throttles down and the engines leapt into action, the last thing on our minds was the color.

Nor-Tech 390 Sport Boat Test
LOA: 39’0″ | Beam: 10’0″ | Draft (max): 2’6″ | Displacement: 11,500 lb. | Transom Deadrise: 24 degrees | Fuel Capacity: 310 gal. | Max Cabin Headroom: 6’6″ | Max Horsepower: 1,200 | Available Power: Mercury, Yamaha | More Information: nor-techboats.com Garrett Cortese

Step-bottomed boats can be fickle, slipping out of crisp turns unexpectedly, making some ­experienced boaters forgo the predictability of a conventional V-bottom. There was nothing unpredictable about this boat, though. Sharp turns got sharper as we fed in more throttle, and acceleration curves got steeper as we got bolder with the throttles. The 390 Sport ran flat out with a touch of trim and achieved surprisingly good mileage for a boat powered with three ­Mercury ­Racing 400R outboards turning 25-inch Rev 4 props — a long pitch for its weight, but beautifully matched when you consider its 5.9-second time to plane and snappy 7.1 seconds to 30 mph.

After a good run breaking 80 mph, we throttled down to look under the hood, so to speak.

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Nor-Tech 390 Sport Boat Test
The helm station features room for two 16-inch Garmin displays. Garrett Cortese

Performance boats can sport elaborate paint jobs, often costing 10 to 20 percent of the cost of the boat, and this one was no different in appearance, but far easier to maintain and enjoy. Blue ­metallic paint, triple pinstripes, matching accents on the motors paired with black carbon-fiber trim, and a generous quantity of stainless-steel accessories inboard kept the boat looking Ferrari, not ­NASCAR. At the waterline, hull steps gave a glimpse to the white running surface and ran along the water like shark teeth. Colors were matched inboard too, at the console and bulkheads, and even the outboard motor panels bore the Nor-Tech color scheme.

The helm station itself was roomy with two 16-inch Garmin displays, and a VesselView gauge and audio controller between them. The carbon-fiber dash panel, trim, and glossy-black gelcoat on the hardtop not only accentuated the clarity of the view forward, but they also deepened the shade provided, at least giving the impression of cooler temperatures.

Belowdecks is a large cabin boasting a double berth with ample portlights for daytime illumination. There’s a china head and a stainless-steel sink on a granite-trimmed counter. A zippered enclosure exposes the back of the electronics panel for easy installation and maintenance

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Nor-Tech 390 Sport Boat Test
There’s both a starboard-side transom door and a starboard-side door. Garrett Cortese

Throughout the boat, the upholstery is Ferrari-firm and cross-stitched in a checkerboard fashion. Its performance look is accented by carbon-fiber trim around the LED-lighted cup holders. Comfort on the forward console lounges comes from ergonomic contours and an armrest that adds support in turns. Bow seating wraps around the forward coamings. The aft lounge seats with wraparound arms are quasi bucket seats and will be a favorite spot, especially with the quiet Mercs on the transom.

The entire sole is covered in styled SeaDeck and branded throughout with the Nor-Tech nameplate. The sole treatment is easy to clean, provides secure footing, and reduces foot fatigue throughout the day of boating.

There’s both a starboard-side transom door and a starboard-side door that opens inward. Either can help for boarding at the dock or serve to haul a fish inboard.

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A fish, you say?

Yep, the 390 Sport has what Nor-Tech calls the “hidden fishing package” that includes a livewell and rod holders on the gunwales and transom. A powerful livewell is tucked under the transom walk-through. Rod holders overhead in the hardtop are abundant. A sliding fiberglass cooler seat formed mezzanine seating that can stow away for access or deck space as the situation demands.

Nor-Tech 390 Sport Boat Test
Audio performance is top-notch as well. Garrett Cortese

If you wanted more aggressive ­fishability, the transom lounge seats can be switched for livewells, and you get a spacious fighting cockpit plus a roomy transom platform between them and the motors, should you need extra maneuvering room. We’d hate to see these hybrid bucket/couch seats go, though. The sliding cooler-base mezzanine seating could be converted to a rigging station for anglers, complete with a pressurized livewell and sea chest belowdecks, but the way it tucks away already lends itself to angling, and the compartments over the back bolsters can hold tackle.

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It’s not always easy to find comparison vessels in this category, but we think the Mystic 3800 ($589,057) is a fair challenger. The Mystic we tested was set more for cruising than fishing, but like the Nor-Tech, it can be configured any way the owner desires. The Mystic’s top speed is competitive, and its exterior and interior styling are equally sporty and exciting, plus plush and comfortable. The helm stations both boast the dark gelcoat tones underneath and both have the aura of a modern jet.

Everything on board the 390 Sport is custom, except the performance — that’s standard. But the deck plan can all be redesigned to suit the new owner. When you buy a boat like this, it makes an impression — and you may as well make exactly the impression you desire.

Nor-Tech 390 Sport Boat Test
The 390 Sport ran flat out with a touch of trim and achieved surprisingly good mileage. Garrett Cortese

High Points

  • Fishing amenities are hardcore, but hidden for a sporty look.
  • Acrylic windscreen is flared on the sides to deflect wind and spray.
  • Windlass has controls at the helm and at the anchor hatch, along with a washdown hose.

Low Points

  • Armrests on the outside of the forward lounge would have added security in choppy waters.
  • Vinyl curtain over the back of the electronics panel would have been classier as hinged doors.

Price: $585,000 (base with test power)

Available Power: Outboard

Nor-Tech 390 Sport Boat Test
Nor-Tech 390 Sport Certified Test Results Boating Magazine

How We Tested
Engines: Triple Mercury Racing 400Rs
Drive/Props: Outboards/Mercury Rev 4 25″
Gear Ratio: 1.75:1
Fuel Load: 150 gal.
Crew Weight: 400 lb.

More Information
Nor-Tech Boats – Fort Myers, Florida; 239-567-5030; nor-techboats.com

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