High Performance Center Consoles

Made in Florida

FSF Staff August 16, 2012

Anglers and boaters rarely consider the tremendous effort required to design and manufacture the countless components and accessories that enhance our on-the-water experiences. Skilled craftsmen design and build many of these essentials right here in Florida. We wanted to learn more about the companies that produce these items and are confident that you, too, will be fascinated with what we discover.

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Photo: FSF MAG

Today’s high performance center consoles are modern marvels of technology. Names like SeaVee, Yellowfin and Contender dominate tournament circuits. Running hard in heavy seas requires an innovative hull with the strength and stability to keep you safe, comfortable and dry. Unlike yesteryear, today’s competitive and complex fishing machines must withstand the rigors associated with triple and quad outboard engine applications—more power than ever before. The goal of all leading manufacturers is to harness this power safely and efficiently. However with more power comes more speed, and more speed means that captains are pushing their boats to the limits. It is here in the world of high stakes, high speed competitive fishing where true high performance center consoles really catch more fish.

Once the major components are extracted from the molds, fabrication shifts into high gear.

What many boat buyers don’t understand is the lengthy process and tremendous effort required to produce such a remarkable machine. The ocean is a tough place to do business. The road is always bumpy, sometimes more so than others. And while there are many open-fisherman on the market; design and manufacture one that can perform wide open in crisp seas without falling apart, and now you have something special that hardcore enthusiasts appreciate and are willing to pay top dollar for. For this edition of Made In Florida, we’re going to provide a behind the scenes look of what it takes to produce one of these exceptional platforms.

Based in Miami, FL, SeaVee Boats is an undisputed leader in the industry. The company recently redesigned their entire lineup using digital computer technology in order to accommodate today’s heavy four-stroke powerhouses. Hull design is critical in order to achieve peak performance and is the basis of any high performance boat. A distinct deadrise at the transom provides a soft ride in any conditions. Reverse chines route spray away from the boat, while a low center of gravity improves stability and enhances sharp handling characteristics. These variables and more must be carefully considered and refined before the first strand of fiberglass is ever put in place.

Once an order has been placed, the appropriate color gelcoat is applied and the hull is 100-percent hand laid with the highest quality fiberglass matting. Armored fuel tanks are installed, and the deck affixed prior to the components spending no less than a week in the mold to ensure resin, fiberglass, hull and deck bond together as one rock-solid unit. Inside the hull is where you’ll see the backbone of every tournament-winning SeaVee, a multi-stringer skeletal system that ensures unbeatable strength and rigidity.

While the hull is being fabricated, the cockpit liner and transom are also shaping up. It’s important to note that specific coring materials and precise angles are utilized in high stress areas to absorb and dissipate anticipated stress loads while avoiding unsightly stress cracks. It costs more and requires more time, but the end result is the lightest, strongest, most aesthetically appealing boat possible—an absolute must in a high end, competitive fishing machine.

Once the major components are extracted from the molds, fabrication shifts into high gear. Master craftsmen attack the components from different angles, including tackling the trimming and finishing work to smooth out rough edges prior to installing below deck wells, plumbing and electrical systems. The same holds true for the and cap and transom, with cleats, fuel fills, under gunwale lighting and rod holders all installed prior to final assembly. The entire process must be perfectly choreographed so each major component is completed on schedule.

With SeaVee, every 29 to 43 foot boat is semi-custom built for the particular buyer with the anxious owner selecting quantity and position of rod holders, seating configuration, livewell system, navigation and entertainment packages, hardtop and upper station design, and even the trim package with numerous options and accessories. To make certain the end result exceeds the owner’s expectations, every build is assigned a number, like the #1425 assigned to our 39, and every piece of hardware, every hatch, actually every component that will ultimately be part of the boat is designated the same number. Pieces are not mixed and matched and quality is never sacrificed. Everything is created specifically for that particular boat to provide a perfect yacht-like fit and finish. It’s important to point this out because all of this work requires hundreds of man-hours from craftsmen who take great pride in their work.

Unique to SeaVee, the command center console, which was simultaneously fabricated as the boat’s major components were coming to life, is now outfitted by a master electrician while still on the ground, long before it ever touches the boat. This approach allows the electrician unrestricted access to install extensive navigation and fish finding packages, ignition switches, gauges, controls, helm station, as well as the breaker panel and wiring required to power all onboard systems—all of which is color coded to provide easy maintenance in the event of a failure. Once complete, the massive center console will be lifted, positioned and permanently mounted in its final resting place.

Now that the below deck equipment has been installed, and the console has been permanently mounted, the fully outfitted cap is married together with the hull. It is permanently fastened together before a rub rail conceals the seam to perfection. Again, specialized craftsmen handle each individual job and are held accountable from start to finish.

The hardtop, which was fabricated and wired in a separate assembly area, is finally lifted and thru-bolted into position. The only major component remaining is the leaning post/tackle center.

At this point, the high performance center console is really taking shape and it is now time to mount the massive outboard engines.

Harnessing the power of 900 to 1,200 horses is no easy task, and the vessel’s transom must withstand the brunt of the force. The integrated transom cannot flex or twist or performance and handling characteristics may be compromised. Once mounted, modern technology takes over and the plug & play computer controlled outboards are each connected to pre-run fuel lines, power cables, hydraulic steering hoses, and plugged into a pair of wiring harnesses. This is all fly by wire technology, as manual shift cables are not used in this level of high performance sport fishing boat.

With the engines and console firmly affixed and all watertight hatches and doors installed, final assembly shifts into overdrive with all wiring connected by as few harnesses as possible to avoid failure. Hoses are double clamped, and the pneumatic system (if applicable) is completed. From here, an initial inspection process begins both inside and out before the vessel undergoes a preliminary sea trial to ensure all systems are operating as expected. Finally, bolsters and cushions are installed, and a checklist is created to address any bugs before the boat is meticulously detailed and delivered to a very excited owner.

From concept to completion, manufacturing a boat of this caliber involves an extensive six to eight month process with dozens of individuals participating in the build. Coordinating all of this is an intricate task, but when you get it right you end up with an exhilirating high performance fishing machine that can conquer one of the most challenging environments on Earth. You get a ingeniously designed and meticulously crafted platform that can fly across waves at 50 to 70 mph in nearly any sea state, with the necessary tools and accessories to help you maximize your time on the water. Doing all of this in style while providing exceptional customer service is what keeps owners loyal.

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