There comes a time when a builder has to bite the bullet and retire a tried-and-true model from its line. Intrepid recently took that plunge with the 323 Center Console. This outboard-powered rig with adrenaline-pumping performance was the most popular open boat produced by the Dania, Florida-based company.
Management knew the replacement model would have to be sweet, so it tooled up a brand-new hull designed specifically for the larger and more powerful four-stroke motors on the market. Then they thoroughly tested the prototype so the speed and control would rival (if not surpass) that of the 323.
The result is the 327 Open, a fuel-efficient, twin-outboard model that’s capable of 60 mph, yet handles so surely and smoothly that it won’t intimidate the operator.
“It was no easy task to one-up the 323,” said Mark Beaver of Intrepid Boats. “It took several months just to fully develop this new stepped hull, which has ventilated aft sections to support the weight of the new motors. Yet now we have a first-class craft that can be used for cruising, diving, or tournament fishing -- or even as a tender for megayachts that roam the globe.”
Intrepid boats are, at their core, multi-purpose platforms (as well as premium builds), but it seems the 327 could be a favorite of the hardcore angling set. One of the first boats off the line went straight to the season opener for the Southern Kingfish Association. In fact, Captain Conrad Lau and his professional team will campaign the boat on this highly competitive circuit for the next two years. So, although the 327 does have its fair share of creature comforts (including plush lounges with thick backrests in the bow, and an enclosed head with electric hatch in the helm console), it may well live up to its true potential running offshore with a bait box full of menhaden.
According to Intrepid, the 327 is as fuel-efficient as the 323, yet it carries 60 gallons more fuel (230 gallons total). There are more fish boxes, and they’re larger than those on the previous boat. In addition, usable space in the cockpit has been increased, and more lockable stowage compartments can be fitted with racks to accommodate rods.
There are nice additions for cruising, too, like the electric backrest on the starboard lounge in the bow and the deep stowage compartment at the forepeak, which is sized right for luggage when it’s time to head over to the Bahamas for a few days. The 327 also sports an updated profile. It has the “S” shear with raised bow sections and rounded transom seen on more recent models from this builder.
With a sexier look, sharper performance, and pro-tested fishing features, the 327 appears to have filled some big shoes.
For more information, visit Intrepid Boats.
Jeanne Craig has been covering powerboats since 1988. She spent ten years as a senior editor at Boating magazine and ten more as executive editor at Motor Boating. She’s now an independent writer based in Rowayton, Connecticut, where she’s close to the cruising grounds she most enjoys.