Center of Balance
The Everglades 255 CC is a rugged and sporty little center console that can go out in the rough stuff, and more importantly, get you back home safely.
Certain boat companies are lucky enough to have a mystique about them. And Everglades is one of those lucky few whose reputation precedes it. That reputation is for pure, unadulterated toughness. There may be faster, fancier, or heck, even better-looking center consoles on the market, so dock talk dictates, but when you need a versatile and soundly constructed aquatic SUV, Everglades is the way to go.
I was about to find out if all that dock talk was for real.
When we pushed off from the marina in Dania Beach, Florida, on the Everglades 255 CC the skies looked threatening. It had been intermittently dumping rain all day, and I knew from a boat test earlier that morning that the Atlantic was churning with confused 4- and 5-footers. But to hell if I flew to Florida to not test a boat. So along with Yachtworks rep Shane Kwaterski, I pushed off into the possibly impending maelstrom with fingers crossed. It didn’t do any good.
Just as the inlet came into view, sheets of rain began falling from the sky and the wind spiked to about 25 knots. Kwaterski turned to me, “You still want to do this?”
“I’m all right with it if you are,” I responded. About a minute later, after watching a few much larger convertibles hightail it back into the inlet, their crews staring at us like we were nuts, I followed up, “The boat can handle it, right?”
“Oh sure,” Kwaterski shrugged and smiled wryly into the beating rain, “the boat’ll be fine.”
In the inlet, tightly packed 7-footers fizzed white foam at their peaks. Undeterred, we powered through them in the 27-footer while hanging on tight. The climb up each peak was steady and the landings were soft and controlled. That stability and soft ride owes much to a very capable hull that is knife-like at the entry point, and flattens out to 21 degrees of deadrise at the transom. In the open ocean the waves were only slightly smaller than they were in the inlet, but much more sloppy. We got bounced around a good deal due to the sheer physics of the situation, but the boat never felt unsafe and stayed well balanced. After a few minutes it was clear we weren’t going to be able to run speed numbers in these conditions, so we headed back in. On the way, even with a wild following sea, the tracking remained true. What’s more, the boat herself felt unusually solid when confronting the elements. Even in such rough environs, at no point did she arouse even the slightest suspicion that she wasn’t up to the challenge. No creaks, no moans, and as dry a ride as one could rightfully expect. And that’s good, because hot damn was that a wild day on the water!
I’d say the boat felt so solid because of Everglades’s somewhat unorthodox construction style. It’s based on the foam-sandwich technique pioneered by Boston Whaler. The outer layer of the hull is one piece of solid fiberglass that’s sprayed with vinylester resins. Then, six separate pieces of high-density flotation foam are set on top of the fiberglass, and also sprayed with resins. Everglades’s foam has a six-pound-per-square-inch density, whereas most other builders who use a foam-coring technique use two-pound-per-square-inch density foam, according to Everglades. A fiberglass liner is then placed over the foam, effectively sandwiching it in. Notably, there are no stringers, and no wood at all used in the construction. After about a day of curing and vacuuming out the excess air, the various parts of the hull essentially become one, single, beefy, and nearly unsinkable piece that will reportedly stay afloat and upright in the water even if the boat becomes swamped.
What’s more, the 255 CC is equally suited for both daycruising and fishing. The helm station has an electrically actuated, glare-resistant windshield that certainly helped keep out the spray during the test. She also has plenty of seating, particularly up in the bow where a padded, U-shaped seat offers comfort and perhaps the best view a passenger can get. Meanwhile a full bait station aft of the helm, as well as two fishboxes equipped with macerated drains, a 47-gallon one in the stern and a 51-gallon one in the bow, should come in handy when the mahi start to bite. Inside the console there’s a head. The entry is tight, so Everglades thoughtfully put strategically placed grabrails around it for easier access.
All fiberglass onboard the boat is finished, which is a nice touch not always seen in the rugged center-console class. Side-flushing scuppers are also a welcome detail, as most of Everglades’ previous models had scuppers at the transom only, which sometimes hindered drainage. And that’s a smart move, because considering the aplomb with which the 255 handled the chop, wind, and rain I had her out in, I’d guess that won’t be the last time she does battle with some inclement weather.
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Noteworthy Options: Hydraulic power steering ($4,280); Taco Grand Slam outrigger package w/ 15' poles ($4,405); bow seating area coaming bolsters ($1,231); underwater lights ($1,298).
Better Boat: High Standards
A lot of boatbuilders in this class pride themselves on being highly customizable. That’s all well and good, but what it often means is that everything on the boat: every light, every seat, every electronic accoutrement, is an option. That’s why it’s refreshing to see a boat like the 255 come with such a brawny package of standard features. The freshwater system, raw-water washdown system, recirculating livewell, head compartment, fore and aft spreader lights, hardtop, onboard courtesy lights, and anchor windlass all come standard. And these days there’s nothing standard about that.
Conditions During Boat Test
Air temperature: 88°F; load: 73 gal. fuel: 20 gal. water; 2 persons; 20 lb. gear
Test Boat Specifications
- Test Engine: 2/200-hp Yamaha F200 four-stroke outboards
- Transmission/Ratio: Yamaha, 2:1 gear ratio
- Props: 14.25 x 17 Yamaha stainless steel four-blades
- Price as Tested: $140,000
Our test of the Everglades 255 CC by the Numbers:
6 – number of high-density foam components sandwiched into the hull
7'9" – bridge clearance with hardtop
8 – meters per second, or 15.5 knots, the temporary speed increase the wind must undergo to officially be considered a squall
12 – persons, max capacity of 255 CC
37 – degrees of deadrise averaged along the length of the hull bottom
85 – cockpit area, in square feet
60 – miles from Ft. Lauderdale to Bimini
2 – hours it would take you to leave Florida and be sipping a Kalik at End of the World Bar in Alice Town if you owned this boat.