These days it seems every manufacturer is moving toward stepped-bottoms, and the designs are getting crazier-looking all the time. So when it came time to inspect the bottom on Baja's 36 Outlaw, we found a refreshing change: a conventional deep-V-bottom boat.
But that's where convention ended.
The Outlaw was delivered to our Captiva Island, Fla., round of trials fresh from Baja's Custom Shop, a new program that the company hopes will allow it to offer products as unique as the smaller builders. At $279,600, the boat came fitted with such niceties as Mercury 280S K-planes, Teague Custom Marine ST450 switchable exhaust tips and a triple-bolster rear bench seat. In addition, the optional Clarion Performance Plus entertainment system enhanced the boat's interior as did the Team Baja package, an option group that included cool Simpson racing-net-style cabin seating and overhead stowage and a full Deco-Lite stringer system. Very trick stuff, indeed, and there would be more surprises as we spent more time with the 36.
For starters, this boat measured every bit of its 35'7"-length—with no integral swim platform or elongated bow—and was no lightweight at 8,300 pounds. Even so, the 36 delivered a top speed of 82.4 mph on the radar gun and proved itself capable of handling every last mile per hour.
For example, the Gulf of Mexico had kicked up 3- to 4-foot seas, which didn't trouble the Outlaw a bit. Testers were able to fly the boat, dragging a hint of tab to keep it straight, and actually could run near top speed—about 80 mph—in those conditions. The Outlaw tracked perfectly at those speeds. In fact, it tracked precisely at all speeds. It also turned well, scorching through slalom tests at 30, 40, 50 and even 60 mph.
During acceleration drills, it leaped on plane in less than four seconds, at which point it was traveling at 30 mph, and by the time 20 seconds had passed, it was knocking on the door of 71 mph. Roll-on acceleration tests revealed that the Outlaw still had gobs of torque in reserve—perfect for those poker-run drag races that always occur. Going from 30 to 50 mph took a scant 4.9 seconds.
This kind of performance didn't come cheap, though. The 36 was outfitted with Mercury Racing's HP575SCi blower motors with inward-rotating Bravo One XR drives—a $117,106 option. For props, Baja installed lab-finished Bravo One 15 1/4" x 30" wheels. Directional changes were handled utilizing IMCO full-hydraulic steering and stabilized with the aforementioned Mercury 280S K-planes.
For a boat built by what you could consider a "production builder," the 36 Outlaw exhibited excellent build quality, earning the highest marks possible from testers. Gelcoat and paint were expertly applied, and shined with the best. Equally impressive was the rubrail installation, which featured a plastic extrusion with a stainless-steel insert and aligned screw heads.
Five Accon Pop-Up? cleats, one at the bow, two amidships and two at the stern kept the deck clean and uncluttered as did the flush-mount fuel and water fills, and the fuel and bilge vents.
Under the engine hatch, the custom theme continued. Baja painted the single electric screw jack and mounting hardware a matching purple and installed diamond-plate caps over the tops of the stringers. In addition, the company used chrome oil filter covers on the HP575 SCi mills and installed braided-steel plumbing in place of the stock rubber hoses that run between the thermostat housing and headers.
There was a lot of detail to the cabin but the most obvious—and coolest—feature in the interior were the Simpson racing-net-style facing lounges and overhead stowage. Realizing that most people don't use the cabin when the boat is underway, Baja went with the removable nets that were in fact comfortable to sit on when at the dock. That they were removable—as were the yellow canvas berth cushions—would make this boat appealing to the poker-run junkie.
That's not to say the cabin was devoid of creature comforts. For starters, the Clarion Performance Plus system featured twin video screens mounted on the forward wall with a VCR tucked underneath the berth feeding images to each. There also was cool indirect mood lighting, a six-disc CD changer and a booming sound system with amplifiers and subwoofers tucked underneath the berth.
In the cockpit, the helm was replete with Gaffrig Monster gauges, including a 100-mph liquid-filled speedometer. The instruments drew rave reviews from testers for their arrangement and readability. And, yes, the Custom Shop had its hand in here, too, adding trick yellow bezels, a custom-painted "water-spot" dash panel and powder-painted Gaffrig levers.
McLeod supplied the electric bolsters, the model with the "pistol-grip" handles for rear passengers who stand while the boat is running. Seated passengers were treated to a triple-bolster rear bench, which featured grab handles on each coaming panel and T-shape grab handles for the center seat occupant—you know, the one who is usually bouncing around in rough water because he has nothing to hold onto. The T-handles also made it a snap to lift the cushion for access to under-seat storage.
With its tastefully stunning Level II package from the Baja Custom Shop and its outstanding performance, the 36 Outlaw was one of the standouts at our Captiva Island round of Performance Trials. It's fast and comfortable and sported some of the neatest ideas we've seen in an offshore boat.
Hull and Propulsion Information
|Deadrise at transom||24 degrees|
|Hull weight||8300 pounds|
|Engine||Mercury Racing HP575SCi|
|Lower-unit gear ratio||1.5:1|
|Propeller||Mercury Bravo One 15 1/4" x 30"|
|Price as tested||$279600|
Power steering, dual-ram trim tabs with indicators, Mercathode system, full instrumentation, battery jumper posts, hour meters, lanyard switch, CO detector, Ritchie compass, twin battery trays and Perko switches, cockpit lighting, 12-volt power outlet, Accon Pop-Up cleats, Mercury Zero Effort controls, McLeod II electric bolsters, Clarion AM/FM stereo, four-color Outlaw graphics.
Options on Test Boat
Upgrade to Mercury Racing HP575SCi engines ($117,106), Team Baja package ($3,333), Teague Custom Marine exhaust tips ($3,025), Mercury 280 S K-planes ($2,990), Clarion/Bose stereo system ($2,990), freight ($1,950), triple-bolster rear bench ($1,825), through-hull exhaust with flappers ($1,170), Sunbrella cockpit cover ($660), freshwater flush ($500), transom shower ($490), Lowrance depthfinder ($460), six-disc CD changer ($425), electric nav light ($420), white rubrail ($375), fire extinguisher system ($300), fume detector ($210).
|5 seconds||30 mph|
|10 seconds||50 mph|
|15 seconds||65 mph|
|20 seconds||71 mph|
|30-50 mph||4.9 seconds|
|40-60 mph||5.7 seconds|
|40-70 mph||9.8 seconds|
Rpm vs. Mph
|Speedometer||84 mph at 5200 rpm|
|Radar 82.4 mph at 5200 rpm|
|Nordskog Performance Products GPS||80.8 mph at 5200 rpm|
|Time to plane||3.5 seconds|
|Minimum planing speed||16.5 mph|
|At 45 mph||1.2 mpg|
|At 55 mph||1.1 mpg|
|At WOT||0.98 mpg|
|Fuel capacity||235 gallons|
Baja Marine Corp.
1520 Isaac Beal Road.
Bucyrus, OH 44820.