The Wellcraft name evokes the macho aura of the go-fast Scarabs-turned-fishing-kings, a pioneer of performance powerboats morphed into center-console fishability. The Miami International Boat Show was the perfect place to reveal Wellcraft’s latest, the flagship 402 Fisherman, direct from the hearts and desires of Crockett and Tubbs, ready to challenge the growing number of long, go-fast vessels.
Built to carry and be carried by four blistering outboards, our test boat was pushed—and pushed well—by Yamaha’s new XTO Offshore 425s, topping a 63 mph average in our test and beating 65 in some trials. You might think a vessel like that, no matter how powerful, would lumber through turns, be slow to step on plane and cumbersome in port, but you’d be wrong. I was comfortable leaning back against one of the three bucket seats at the helm, where one hand fell to the wheel and the other rested comfortably on the throttles. There was no reaching or leaning forward, and it didn’t matter how you tilted the wheel—grip on the controls was commanding. Electronic power steering and a digital throttle gave me the control of a runabout at speed, and the boat heeled nicely in turns, its high bows deflecting spray from a wind-driven chop on Biscayne Bay.
While my test ride was taken before the official hours of the show, people were lined up at the dock to catch a glimpse of it, and perhaps snag a ride. While Yamaha’s Helm Master joystick doesn’t erase performance anxiety, it made for accurate and easy docking, ensuring no embarrassments due to a false wheel twist or throttle tap.
Interior and Accessories
The helm is done in black tones, from the glossy dash to the hardtop uprights, and the underside of the top itself. There’s an upper station in the works for the 402 ($35,467), and this should be popular among billfishermen and kingfish anglers.
Optional factory-installed Taco Grand Slam downriggers ($2,567) stood proud aboard my test boat. Another option I’d choose is the Rigid Light bar ($2,667). Rod holders along the gunwales were up to expectations, and Wellcraft’s dual aquarium-style livewells were both exciting to look at and efficient for keeping bait alive and under observation. Haul tuna, kings or amberjack aboard through the dive doors—you have one on each side—then slide them into the macerated fish boxes.
The grill option behind the helm eliminates mezzanine seating, but provides both cookout capability and dual refrigerators, plus a freshwater sink and tackle storage.
The 402’s speed and fishability showed plenty of wow, but moving forward to the bow gave cruisers more wow in comfort and outstanding style. The forward lounge is wide enough for two, with armrests and cup holders. It is contoured for easy lounging and secure riding at its top speeds. Wraparound seating fully forward offers solid backrests for additional comfort. You can shade the area with an easily stowable sunshade, and seat cushions can be stowed for fishing action too. Our cockpit was covered with MarineMat—comfortable on the feet and good for traction on wet decks in rough seas.
Beneath the helm is a spacious cabin with an enclosed porcelain head. A forward lounge can be converted to a roomy double berth.
The field of 40-plus fishers is well-populated with more than a handful of competitors. But they tend to be priced a little higher, such as the Regulator 41 with standard quad Yamaha XTO 425s ($929,995). It features a single-level deck with no step amidships and a transom bracket to carry the quad power. Regulator is a venerable name, with the heritage of decades of contiguous business behind it.
Wellcraft’s 402 also boasts easy access to the bilge belowdecks with a push-button electrically lifted hatch to make life even easier. There’s plenty of room to work on pumps and fuel filters, even if you opt for a Seakeeper 3 gyrostabilizer ($51,300), Westerbeke 5.0 kW genset ($17,800) and air conditioning (8,000 Btu, $4,267). All three are getting to be common enough for standard equipment in most worlds.
While my test boat was priced with Yamaha power on board, Mercury options are also available. I haven’t seen one with Merc quad 450Rs, but I’d like to—I and wouldn’t be surprised to see the speedo lean a little more…north.
How We Tested
- Engine: Quad Yamaha XTO 425s
- Drive/Prop: Outboard/XTO Offshore 16 1/8″ x 22″ 3-blade stainless steel
- Gear Ratio: 1.79:1 Fuel Load: 350 gal. Water on Board: 0 gal. Crew Weight: 500 lb.
- Twin glass-front 28-gallon livewells keep bait lively and under observation.
- Dual gunwale dive doors open inward and allow easier docking.
- Chilled drink holders at the helm do you know what!
- The 0.7 mpg optimum cruise is comparable to all 40-plus-foot outboards, but this compensates with a 486-gallon fuel capacity.
Pricing and Specs
|$744,501 (with test power)
|Quad Mercury or Yamaha 300 to 450 hp outboards
Speed, Efficiency, Operation
Wellcraft Boats – Cadillac, Michigan; 231-775-1351; wellcraft.com