BOAT TEST HYDRA-SPORTS 3000 CC
KEVIN SMITH discovers that business is a pleasure aboard this US executive sportsfishing centre console
For the high-flying fishing executive centre consoles don't get much better than the big yankee Hydra-Sports 3000 CC. And KEVIN SMITH reckons she has the makings of a great entertainer, too
Regardless of the struggling economy there has been a significant influx of new sportsfishing centre consoles appearing in the Australian market, with a number of top locally manufactured boats attracting attention, as well as the odd executive model sneaking in from the States.
One recent import to hit our shores is the new Hydra-Sports 3000 CC. As centre consoles go, the Hydra-Sports rates among the more serious of this type of boat. The 3000 CC is a purpose-built blue-water sportsfisher with more bling and bells and whistles than one could ever imagine having on a centre console. Although primarily suited to the avid offshore sportsfisherman, these boats also serve as good entertaining and family boats.
The latest Hydra-Sports 3000 CC test boat was quite a package indeed. With twin 300hp E-TECs, classic lines and quality finishing touches, this boat will definitely make you the envy of many on the water. With a full test day and a touch of fishing to go with it, I was in for a treat on this one.
FISH AND FROLIC
Now this is a centre console with an awesome layout for not only fishing but also entertaining. Like most boats it has the usual livewell, rodholders, stowage hatches, seating and more, but these fittings are all top-of-the-range. At first glance it's not hard to work out that some precision designing has gone into the arrangement of this boat.
"This is definitely not your average off-the-shelf centre console. It's 30ft in length and has a beam of 2.95m, so it's one mother-sized centre console"
For instance, centre consoles normally suffer from a lack of storage space, however, through some ingenious forethought the boatbuilder has utilised every bit of space onboard the 3000 CC to create a bundle of different storage options. The transom is compact and spacious but still manages a huge livewell and rear lounger. The inner gunwale of the stern has recessed rod racks, while side panels amidships run to the deck with a number of dedicated sealed tackle and stowage compartments fitted either side.
There is a large deck hatch in the cockpit with easy access to all plumbing as well as another in the bow that's good for gear or even fish if needs be. The bow seating is huge and features separate compartments beneath for stowage.
On top of that the console itself has a host of stowage options available, so there's no falling short on storage there either. All the main hatches have small gas struts, which is great for simple opening and closing, and definitely keeps the rattles away.
Comfort is another key feature on the Hydra-Sports 3000 CC with quality bolstered padding and seating throughout. Put it this way, if there is a place to sit or lean against on this boat, it's padded. The transom lounge folds away under the livewell neatly and seats three no problem.
The two-person helm seat is a dual bucket-seat arrangement that's very comfortable to drive from, particularly as you are locked in from the sides. Immediately behind the seat is a padded icebox that's portable and seats another two. In front of the console is another insulated base that's hatched and seats two more, meanwhile in the bow full wraparound seating could take another four to six people. For a change you can load the maximum rating of 10 people onboard, without having to worry about space and seating - just great for the entertaining days.
"…I managed to crank the 3000 CC up to 45kts WOT. This is moving, although on a boat like this it feels like crawling"
The helm resembles a light aircraft's cockpit, with twin Raymarine E120W GPS-sounder units, individual switches for all electronic accessories, 12V sockets, windlass controls, triple I-Command gauges, ICON fly-by-wire controls, (which are ultra-smooth and can be set to operate the motors off a single control), as well as protection from a lightly tinted screen and powder-coated T-top to match the rest of the boats colour scheme. Personally, I would prefer the anodised look to powder coating.
Overall, the layout is not only suited to different types of fishing but also for those wanting a centre console that can also be used for family entertainment. Generally, centre consoles are dedicated fishing boats, but in the case of the Hydra-Sports 3000 CC it's a bit more than that onboard, such as the head compartment containing a toilet and sink, stylish looks and plenty of seating. As previously mentioned, it's the kind of boat that would also please the wife.
Another point to mention with regards to the layout is how you can customise them to suit your needs. If this particular design doesn't suit you then there are number of other options available that will suit.
PERFORMANCE & HANDLING
With 600hp on the transom this 30-footer definitely has holeshot. It also transitions to the plane effortlessly and once there you can sit comfortably at 3500rpm for a speed of around 22kts.
The hull has a deadrise of 23° plus a huge flared bow and shoulders that cut through the chop and swell with ease. On top of the boat has a fair amount of weight, and it all adds to a very smooth, dry and stable ride indeed.
For our test the ocean was a bit calm to get a true feel for the ride, but later on in the day - and after trolling a few unsuccessful lures off the Gold Coast (as usual) - the wind picked-up from the east and it ended up being quite a good rough-water trial.
Into the swell, you can easily maintain a speed of 25kts, and that was sitting back and relaxing in the chair rather than standing. Side on and with the swell you can crank the 3000 CC up to around 30kts motoring offshore. These speeds are also the most economical, as above that you will start sucking a few extra litres per kilometre.
One thing I did battle with was clear vision over the bow when seated - I wasn't born on a long weekend, in other words I'm not the tallest around. One way to compensate was to trim the bow right down although I'm sure you could get around that with a slightly higher seating configuration of sorts seeing that these are customised boats.
Low down on the revs and speed, the manoeuvrability is not too bad considering that the motors are mounted fairly close together and it's a 30ft boat. With serious horsepower onboard the Hydra-Sports is just as responsive in reverse gear. This is good for docking and along with the high-transom design you can also back into marlin quite easily without flooding the deck. Even if you did, the deck is self-draining plus there's a decent bilge pump system to get water out quick - although I don't foresee that happening in a hurry.
Back on smooth water I managed to crank the 3000 CC up to 45kts WOT. This is moving, although on a boat like this it feels like crawling.
Overall the Hydra-Sports deliver's a fine ride and top-class performance. It's the kind of boat that deserves to do long-distance day trips out to the shelf or islands wide of the Great Barrier Reef. With this type of ride and a fuel capacity of more than 1000lt you can't go wrong, although I would have to take a mortgage out to fill this tank.
THE HYDRA-SPORTS STORY
Manufactured in Tennessee, USA, since 1973, Hydra-Sports boats are recognised globally. In 2010, MasterCraft Boats purchased the Hydra-Sports brand and moved production into one of the world's most advanced boat manufacturing facilities in Vonore, Tennessee.
MasterCraft aren't new kids on the block either and have won many international awards for their boats, in particular capturing an Australia's Greatest Boats award in the skiboats/wakeboarding boats section, conducted by our sister publication TrailerBoat. With MasterCraft renowned for its design in high-tech motors and boats it will be interesting to see what happens with the new Hydra-Sports craft in the near future.
Top performance and handling
Price tag is fairly hefty, although you get what you pay for
Can be a battle to see over bow for short people like myself
HYDRA-SPORTS 3000 CC
AT THE WHEEL
When it comes to power there are no quibbles with twin 300hp E-TEC motors on the back. The operating controls consist of electronic-assisted steering and I-Command throttles - both are super smooth to operate. In fact, so smooth that even the wife could drive this boat with ease.
PRICE AS TESTED
Power steering, 220V package (battery charger and shorepower leads), aft-facing rigid cooler seat, Kodiak baitwell, bow cushions, full-length forward storage box/cooler, outriggers, bowrail, aft baitwell rail, rodholders, Raymarine E120Ws and VHF radio, marine head, and windlass-anchor package
TYPE: Centre console monohull
WEIGHT: approx 3585kg (dry)
REC. HP: 2 x 250hp
REC. MAX HP: 600
MAKE/MODEL: 2 x Evinrude E-TEC E300DCZ
TYPE: V6 outboard
WEIGHT: 242kg (each)
DISPLACEMENT: 3441cc (each)
GEAR RATIO: 1.85:1
PROPELLER: 15.5in x 17in stainless steel
2810 Ipswich Road,
Darra, QLD, 4076
0404 473 375
This is definitely not your average off-the-shelf centre console. Its 30ft in length and has a beam of 2.95m, so it's one mother-sized centre console. Now it does carry the kind of price tag that you might need to sit down for, and that is $260,000. Before you raise an eyebrow you really need to look at what you are getting and when it comes to the Hydra-Sports there is no compromise on quality. These are the kind of boats that last a very long time, providing many hours of pleasure on the water fishing and entertaining. Popular in the States, Hydra-Sports will become a brand seen on a regular basis in Australia.
From Trade-a-Boat Issue 424, Apr-May 2012. Photos Kevin Smith
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