The Pacific Northwest has been the birthplace of numerous well-known, nationally available brands of boats. However, the most interesting stories may be of the brands built here that are not as well known outside these waters.
These smaller builders focus more often on fulfilling the very specific needs of their boat-buying customers. Such is the case with Sea Sport Boats.
Building boats since 1955, Bellingham, Washington-based Sea Sport quietly expanded from initially offering a capable 12 foot car-topper to eventually producing a line of boats focused on serious fishing — and quality.
For a long time, the company's flagship was the Sea Sport 27. Introduced in 1985, the Sea Sport 27 expanded the capabilities of the company's popular 22 and 24 series for the boater and angler who wanted more. Retaining the trailerable 8 foot, 6 inch beam, the 27 offered MUCH more — in the way of cockpit space, fuel and water capacity, cabin room and choice of options.
A Proven Design
While many builders introduce new models every few years, Sea Sport instead chose to stick with its proven designs, making improvements as required. As in the heyday of the original Volkswagen Beetle, Sea Sport 27 models coming off the assembly line today look a lot like the first models that rolled off that same line 17 years ago. Sea Sports will never be confused with the latest sport yachts that offer Euro-chic styling, but they do stand out — at the boat show and at the dock.
Starting with capable hull designs and traditional-looking profiles, Sea Sport utilizes modern construction techniques to create its line of extraordinarily seaworthy boats. The company's solid reputation has made its boats the prized tools of many Northwest anglers.
While the early days of fiberglass construction required that strong boats be heavy boats, the Sea Sport 27 weighs in at a fairly trim 6,350 pounds. Thanks to end-grain balsa coring and layers of knitted biaxial fiberglass, the Sea Sport hull has an excellent strength-to-weight ratio. It's strong enough to be out in the nastiest stretches of Northwest waters, yet it is still light enough to be trailered.
This strong construction is built into a hull with a 21 degree entry forward, flattening out to 12 degrees at the stern. The steeper bow angle cuts through waves, while the flatter aft section improves stability while trolling or at rest. With this hull, cruising speeds in the mid-20 knot range are quite comfortable — and the handling is controlled and predictable.
This Sea Sport hull design has proven itself in government service, being the choice of numerous government patrol units. Sea Sports have pulled duty with the U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force and numerous police departments. Sea Sports have even been pressed into service as commercial tow boats.
Accommodating, Not Flashy
Inside this rugged hull, Sea Sport offers three different cabin and deck arrangements.
The 27 Seamaster is designed for the hardcore angler, or anyone else who needs the maximum amount of cockpit space and is willing to settle for a bit less cabin area.
The Seamaster offers room for a group of four or more anglers in its 10 foot, 6 inch by 7 foot, 10 inch cockpit. Two large fishboxes are built into the deck. Use them both for storing your catch, or use one for your gear.
The large forward fishbox encompasses almost the full width of the deck, and it is about 2 feet deep in the center. That's plenty of room to store the makings for a fresh tuna sandwich — and then some. An additional small fishbox is installed in the transom.
Even with all this deck space, the cabin is larger than you might expect. A dinette that seats four is located to port, while a small galley and an inside helm station are to starboard. There is abundant storage, and the cabin is surrounded by windows for great visibility. The V-berth is the only part of the cabin belowdecks.
Seamaster models don't have a separate head compartment. Instead, they have a portable head tucked under the V-berth. On some models owned by serious anglers, the galley has been eliminated, too — to provide additional tackle storage.
While newer Seamasters are available with an optional flybridge, most of these models have been built without it.
Sea Sport's two other 27 foot deck plans actually share the same basic layout. The 27 Navigator is a longer house version of the Seamaster, with a larger cabin and an enclosed head compartment. The 27 Pilot is a pilothouse version, with a raised helm area for better visibility and a Pullman-style berth for overnight stays — making it possible for six adults to sleep aboard.
With 55 square feet of cockpit space, the Pilot and Navigator are still well suited to anglers — but with more room inside, they have lured a number of everyday boaters who are looking for a rugged and dependable cruising vessel.
All three models of the Sea Sport 27 feature reverse-raked windshields. The commercial look sets these vessels apart from many of the other pleasureboats on the dock, and provides added functionality by reducing glare, as well as making room available for the overhead mounting of electronics.
The boat's tinted side windows slide open to allow cross ventilation on warmer days, while a standard engine-run cabin heating system takes the chill off those early mornings on the water. A defroster has become a standard feature in later models.
In the galley, you'll find a modest-size counter and cabinetry with room for your choice of two different optional refrigerator sizes, an alcohol stove and a sink. Options include a microwave oven, as well as a propane stove and a conventional oven.
The Sea Sport 27's standard 45 gallon water tank should provide plenty of water for the weekend — although owners with the optional hot water shower will want to conserve water when away from shore.
Power and Performance
Many Sea Sport 27s come equipped with Volvo Penta Duoprop stern drives. They add straight-line tracking ability and improved performance to an already well-designed hull.
Available engine options range from small-block dependability to more muscular (and thirsty) big block power. Both diesel and gasoline powerplants are available, and a separate "kicker" tank for gasoline is available for optional 9.9 hp kicker outboards. These compact auxiliary engines are common on Sea Sports, and provide plenty of power for trolling.
Remote cockpit controls are available on all three models, and hydraulic steering is standard.
All the hardware is constructed of high-grade marine stainless steel — and the workmanship is of a superior caliber. Sea Sport allows customization of its boats, and while there are basic standards, you'll find a wide variety of Sea Sport 27s on the water, built to suit their original owners' unique preferences and demands.
Originally designed for serious anglers, the Sea Sport 27's durable construction, strong reputation and salty and practical styling have broadened the appeal of these models to cruisers who fish only occasionally (if at all). For these people, it is not required that they take their boat out into the open ocean for hours of trolling back and forth through various weather conditions. It is simply reassuring to know that if they wanted to (or needed to) do so, their Sea Sport is built to a high standard of seaworthiness.
While it is no longer the "king" of the Sea Sport line (the new 3000 Voyager and the Pacific 3200 power cat are larger), the 27 still retains a loyal following — and it remains in production today. That's a real testament to the quality of the design and construction of this popular Northwest legend.
Sea Sport 27 Specifications
|Draft||2'8" (drive down)|
|Fuel capacity||160 gallons|
|Water capacity||45 gallons|
|Standard power||270-hp stern drive|
|Typical used boat price||$50,000 to $100,000|
|New base price||$90,000|
For More Information
Sea Sport Inc.
4654 Guide Meridian.
Bellingham, WA 98228.
fax (360) 733-3653.