Vee 340I — By Capt. Patrick Sciacca — January 2001
The Lady Can Dance
|Part 2: Sea Vee 340I continued|
With the test gear in place, it was time to take the 340--this one a pale-yellow--out for a spin. We headed to Government Cut for the speed runs, where the Yanmars took this 34'9" by 10'0" hull dancing across the flat water at a top speed of 39.1 mph. Fast, but economical, too. At that speed our test boat was burning just 36.6 gph, and with her 260-gallon fuel capacity (one 160-gallon tank on centerline and 50-gallon tanks port and starboard), a trip to the Bahamas and back would have been no problem. Offsetting her fuel economy and speed, however, were somewhat high sound levels: At WOT my decibel meter showed 93 dB-A (65 is the level of normal conversation), no doubt due to the proximity of her engines to the helm, where I took the measurements. If that presents a problem to you, you'll be happy to know that Sea Vee is flexible regarding power. Besides conventional inboards it also offers stern drives and waterjets, which draw less than 20 inches.
The 340's walkaround design makes her a great fishing boat, but her vast stowage means she could function as a dive boat, too. Our test boat featured a 260-quart fishbox, an 850-quart fishbox, a 70-gallon transom livewell, as well as port and starboard lockable rod stowage. Pared told me that top-quality fit and finish is a Sea Vee tradition, and it showed. All hatches, which are built in two-part molds, are gelcoated on both sides, sealed with double gaskets, and insulated.
After finishing the speed runs, we headed outside the Cut, where I got some wheel time. Our test boat handled smoothly, even after I put the wheel so hard over that I was looking up at Pared. Our boat was on her chines and cutting the water like a diamond. Her Hynautic steering was smooth, and looking forward I admired the electronics console, with all units flush-mounted and protected by a clear Plexiglas panel. A few more cuts and runs, and it was time to do some fishing.
We headed back to drop off Pike, who had to catch a plane and get back to his vacation, then left the marina, with a thunderstorm in the distance, to do some kite fishing and drop some goggle-eyes and pilchards over the side. Pared and I climbed the tower for the 15-minute ride to the 250--foot drop-off. With him at the wheel, we glided across building swells as flying fish jumped our wake. There was something familiar about the way these fish glided across the water, and I wondered if Pared had studied them when designing the boat.
Only a few minutes after setting several flat rods and putting up the kite with two goggle-eyes from the transom livewell, we had our first mahi-mahi on one of the light flat rods. It was a nice-size fish that wanted to dance. Maybe it was the yellow hull or the thunder in the distance that spooked it, but as I got it near the boat, it suddenly tore off about 40 yards of mono. The fish went to port, then to starboard, then back to port--stern, bow, she was all over the place. Thankfully, the Sea Vee was agile enough to follow, and her ample side decks eventually allowed me to work the fish to the boat.
After less then two hours, several more mahi-mahi, and one free-jumping sailfish who appeared to be mocking us, it was time to head home and catch a plane back to New York. With me sitting at the helm seat and Pared piloting from the tower, the 340 smacked a nice-size boat wake, soaking me like a summer storm. I admit that with the mercury hovering around 92°F, it felt good.
On the airplane (which didn't fly quite as smoothly as the Sea Vee, thanks to a line of thunderstorms), I was thinking that this center-console sportfisherman was a great fit for southern waters. But for Northeasterners like me, who want a little more protection from weather, the cuddy cabin version would probably be a better fit, even though you'd give up the ability to dance around the perimeter with a lively fish, as I did. In either configuration, though, even if you have two left feet and nowhere to dance, the 340I is agile enough to make a fish think Gene Kelly is on the other end of the line.
Sea Vee Boats (305) 759-6419. Fax: (305) 759-3831. www.seaveeboats.com.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.