Review: Sea Fox 288 Commander

By: John Willis & Tim Van Duyl, Photography by: Ellen Dewar & Nathan Duff


We water test and rate the Sea Fox 288 Commander, a contender in the fibreglass fishing boats category at the 2017 Australia’s Greatest Boats awards.

Sea Fox 288 Commander
Australias best boats 2017 logo

The amazing Sea Fox 288 Commander can proudly wear the crown as The Sultan of Bling! This amazing and excessively capable sport/gamefish crossover family fun machine is the Master Blaster in the Big Boys Toys category. This is the boat for a party and it doesn’t care where or with whom. It has an endless array of creature comforts carefully stowed in a stunning presentation that will rock your world from the harbour to the continental shelf. It’s a fast offshore mover and groover with undeniable fishability and accessibility, yet packs a state-of-the-art assembly of high-tech features and aesthetics. She’s a beckoning siren begging you to jump aboard and explore her delights, but plant those throttles and she’ll jump to attention like a lovesick stallion.

"When it comes to centre console fishing boats, this is the ultimate," Kevin Smith stated, and he knows such craft. He continued: "As a family/sport crossover, Sea Fox has nailed it. Sporting typical American lines, colours and layouts, the Sea Fox 288 Commander is a stunning-looking boat from afar and up close, the type that earns a second and third look. Big beefy bow with smooth, flowing sheer line adds to classic and refined aesthetics, along with a meticulously proportioned interior layout to please serious fisherman and family boaters alike.

Sea Fox 288 Commander centre-console fishing boat on the water

"The Sea Fox 288 Commander is all about gamefishing and long offshore runs, while maintaining the style and creature comforts to keep crew and family happy on board."

Match all that bling on the Sea Fox 288 centre console with the guts and technology of a pair of the new Evinrude ETEC 300hp G2 outboard motors and you’ve got a package guaranteed to thrill. In fact it’s so full of the latest design and engineering that it’s a little bewildering at first. But you’ll quickly work it.

Steve Starling said: "Full-blooded fishing, full-blooded partying, full-blooded hooning – yep, this one ticks all the boxes!" whilst editor Tim said – with a cheeky smile – "Party up front, business down the back."

Sea Fox boat with Evinrude E-TEC 300hp G2 outboard motors

There’s no hiding that the Sea Fox 288 Commander is a very large trailerboat – 8.71m long with 2.9m beam – but including two big Yankee sportsfishers this year’s event is reflective of a trend in boating. We are seeing bigger trailerboats travelling further and faster with dedicated anglers willing to gear up to cope. The efficiency of new outboards also means you don’t need a fuel tanker to keep you on the water, extending our long-range offshore expeditions.

The Sea Fox 288 Commander’s capabilities were displayed when the boys decided to fish for small black marlin at the top of Fraser, some 35nm (65km) from Hervey Bay each way, just for a quick afternoon fish. Travelling at around 80km/h there and back, they did it in style and comfort. Landing a marlin would have made the trip perfect.

Bow of Sea Fox 288 Commander boat

You could hold a party up the front of the Sea Fox 288 Commander re console with the thickly upholstered bowrider and twin lounge chairs on top of the large console storage box. This is an inviting entertaining area that incorporates flip-out backrests, armrests and refreshment holders – we love the recessed grab bars providing unrestricted walkways and seating on the wide coamings. The entire bow doubles as a casting platform that any saltwater fly-fishing enthusiast would adore.

The Sea Fox centre console and T-top are works of art with tons of room for big modern electronics, as well as Evinrude ICON electronic binnacle controls with sync and digital readouts, a curved windscreen and beautiful mouldings that include footrests and dual moulded finishes even on the underside of the functional T-top. There is a pair of thickly upholstered bolster helm seats that make you feel like King of the Ocean, with more controls, the remote for the autopilot, communications, entertainment and total boat control at your fingertips. There’s even a misting system to tame the tropical heat.

Underneath the centre console is a large head with vanity that doubles up as a huge storage area. There are more wet and dry storage compartments, kill tanks, livebait tanks, lockers and access hatches in the Sea Fox than you will believe, with every bit of available space put to good use. Behind the console seating module is rod holder storage, then a freshwater sink and rigging station. Simply fold down the rear seat on the transom wall and you can sit comfortably and do all your rigging, even in a big sea. There’s even a motorised base that keeps the Esky tucked under the tackle station – access to refreshments at the touch of a button!

Transom and bait station on Sea Fox 288 Commander

The Sea Fox 288 Commander’s transom has a fold-out rear seat, a huge pressurised livebait tank, and folding seats in each corner that become a walkway out to the long transom platforms. "This boat is so loaded with innovations it’s impossible to list them all!" Steve said. "A horny boat visually, and those aesthetics are enhanced by the wrap," Jo added. "Pressurised bait tank is a masterstroke. A sexy vessel with serious fishing cred at the back and soiree seating at the front."

John Ford was a little more measured: "The raised sheer line, cavernous flare and well-integrated hardtop give this boat a very authentic sea-capable appearance. A boat whose slow cruise is 35kt!" and Kevin added: "The supermodel of centre consoles, the Sea Fox 288 Commander put the capital ‘X’ in "X factor!"

 

Sea Fox 288 Commander specs

Sea Fox 288 Commander price: $297,000

Price as tested

 

OPTIONS FITTED

Powdercoat and paint upgrades, epic Simrad and Fusion suite, Taco outriggers, twin 300hp E-TECs

 

GENERAL

MATERIAL Fibreglass

TYPE Monohull

LENGTH 8.71m

BEAM 2.9m

WEIGHT 2721kg (dry)

FUEL 745L

ENGINE 2 x Evinrude ETEC G2 300hp outboard motors

Helm of Sea Fox 288 Commander boat

 

Sea Fox 288 Commander rating: 90.0/100

 

Kev

Tim

John

Starlo

Jo

Fishing Suitability

9.5

9

8

9

9.5

Innovation

9.5

9

9

9.5

9

Design and Layout

9.5

9.5

9

9

10

Quality of Finish

8.5

9

9

9

10

Handling/Ride

9

8.5

10

9

9

Stability at Rest

8.5

9

9

8.5

9

Ergonomics

9

8

7

9

9

Standard Equipment

8.5

9

9

9

9

Value for Money

9

9

8

7.5

9

Wow Factor

10

10

9

10

9

 

More on Australia's Greatest Boats 2017

Aluminium fishing boat

Aluminium fishing boats 2017

 

Best fibreglass fishing boats

Fibreglass fishing boats 2017

 

 

 


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