It should come as no surprise that it took Nor-Tech Hi-Performance Boats six months longer to design and build the 298 Sport Center Console than it took for either of its 39- or 34-foot siblings. In fact th 298 is the smallest model the Cape Coral, Fla., company -- which offers custom-made high-performance catamarans and V-bottoms up to an 80-foot performance yacht -- has ever built. So Nor-Tech’s owners Trond Schou and Nils Johnson, as well as Terry Sobo, director of sales and marketing, had to downsize their thinking, and that wasn’t something they were accustomed to.
But why the larger-to-smaller model approach in developing their console line?
“In the center-console world, the 390 and the 340 are still fairly large boats,” explained Sobo. “What we wanted to do was offer something in a more entry-level size to get more people into the Nor-Tech family.”
Their strategy appears to have worked. At present, the company has more than a half-dozen orders for the 29-footer.
With twin 300-hp engines, the second 298 Sport built (the first was equipped with a single 370-hp Yanmar diesel engine for a buyer in Norway) reportedly will top 70 mph. The outboard-powered version made its debut at the 2012 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.
The custom-built 29-foot center-console can be set up with a standard-length console or a sunlounge/mid cabin/ head compartment layout, which has been a popular choice in the 34-footer. An angling-specific interior with fish lockers and rod holders also is available. For engines, twin 300-hp outboards are the maximum, but the boat can be ordered with lesser power including twin 250-hp and twin 150-hp Mercury outboards. Base price, depending on power and other options, is in the low- to mid-$200,000 range.
Next up for Nor-Tech in its center-console series is a 42-footer, though likely that won’t be anytime soon. Schou, Johnson, Sobo, and the rest of crew at Nor-Tech are swamped with center-console orders, as well as orders for pure high-performance sportboats.
“We are absolutely slammed,” said Sobo. “That’s a good thing.”
- Matt Trulio