The Solace 345 may be the most innovative boat to hit the water since fiberglass was invented.
There are a million and one sport fishing boats on the water today, and the most unique model currently in existence may well be the new Solace 345. This boat looks different from the others, it’s designed differently, and it’s built differently. And shortly after being named Boating Magazine’s Boat of the Year, it won the 2020 Progressive Insurance Miami International Boat Show Innovation Award for center console and walkaround fishing boats. Naturally, we jumped right aboard and shot this short introductory video of the boat the moment we spotted it.
Extended Cockpit With A Fish-Through Transom
The most grabbing feature of this boat is without any doubt its cockpit. Unlike every other outboard-powered fishing boat out there, the cockpit extends all the way aft of the engines, which are mounted on the corners of the transom. This has several major-league benefits: it allows anglers to fight fish at the transom rather than “on the hip” from the side of the boat several feet forward of the powerplants; it allows Solace to integrate an electrically-actuated retractable swim platform, which comes out from under the transom to provide exceedingly easy access to the water; and it allows the occupants of the boat to reach the propellers from the cockpit when the outboards are tilted up, rather than doing the usual perch-and-pray on the edge of the transom when a prop gets fouled or damaged.
A bird’s-eye view leaves no doubt that the Solace 345 is one of a kind. Photo by Solace Boats.
Big Livewells Onboard
Another differentiating feature found in the cockpit is the livewells. Rather than the usual transom location they’re molded into the gunwales, one on either side. Each is pressurized, holds 45 gallons, and—in a first for a production boat—has a tuna-tube molded into the front section. Pop open the deck access hatch to slap an eyeball on what feeds these wells, a sea chest system with cross-over valves, so if a pump fails while you’re in the middle of a tournament you can flip a lever and all your baits won’t die off.
Fishy? Youbetcha. The Solace 345 comes prepared for just about any kind of offshore action. Photo by Solace Boats.
Walk forward from the cockpit and as you step over the pair of 68-gallon in-deck insulated fishboxes, you’ll come to a tackle and rigging station that’s yet again a ground-breaker. Sure, it has the electric grill, sink, tackle stowage, and refrigerator you expected. But it also serves as a comfortable aft-facing perch to watch baits from. How can sitting atop a hard fiberglass unit be considered comfortable? It can’t. But in this case Solace has developed a magnetic system that allows you to place comfy cushions atop the unit, where they stick firmly in place. When you’re ready to gaff a fish and the blood is going to start flying, they can be easily popped off and stowed.
Up in the bow cockpit the seat cushions are secured the same way, which makes flipping open the hatches and accessing stowage compartments or removing the cushions so you have a forward casting deck a breeze.
You like an organized tackle station? That won’t be a problem, on the Solace. Photo by Solace Boats.
The innovation continues to blow one’s mind wherever on this boat you may go. There’s a hydraulic helm booster that rises out of the deck to elevate the captain should he or she need a few extra inches of height. Helm seating is shock-mitigated. The cabin door is pantographic but unlike some of this style, is also easy to open and close. Inside the console cabin there’s a settee that converts to a double berth, a microwave oven, head, and 6000 BTUs of chilled air filling the space. And the upper station has a folding buggy top on gas-assist struts.
The console cabin is surprisingly roomy, and we particularly like that there are rodracks for nine seven-foot rods down below. Photo by Solace Boats.
Despite this boat’s uber-unusual design, its performance is right in line with other high-end, high-power 35-foot center consoles.
Powered with a pair of Yamaha F425 XTO outboards, the Solace 345 can cruise at around 40 mph while turning 4500 rpm and gets right around a mile to the gallon. Slam down the throttles and let ‘em eat, and you’ll hit the mid-50s while turning 5700 rpm (at the cost of a quarter of an mpg).
Wait a sec — doesn’t shoving those engines so far outboard cause issues? Nope. Even in hard turn the props don’t suck in air, and the hull always grips the water. And as far as slow speed maneuvering goes, spreading the propellers so far apart makes opposing the engines and spinning the boat in place much more effective than it is on many other outboard boats. In fact, the only down-side we’re able to spot with this design is the fact that hanging a brace of triple engines across the stern of this boat will never be an option.
When it comes to performance, the boat doesn’t disappoint. Photo by Solace Boats.
Despite the many unique facets of this boat that we’ve talked about, there’s one more shocker. This one’s hidden from the eye: construction. Sure, you’ve probably already guessed that this boat features the latest and the greatest like digital switching.
Carbon Fiber and Innegra Hull Construction
What you wouldn’t guess, and what you’ll never be able to see, is that this boat’s layup consists of carbon fiber and Innegra that are vacuum-infused with epoxy. And the layup takes place in some rather special molds, which are heated—the laminate gets baked to perfection, without ever being pulled and placed into a separate oven. That makes for picture-perfect parts that are both lighter and stronger than “regular” fiberglass, whether you’re talking about the hull, the deck, or the hard-top.
The other pieces-parts of the boat are just as over the top. Yes, the wires are tinned-copper and the hardware is stainless-steel. But on top of all that expected stuff, the aluminum on the boat gets a coating of CeraKote, an anti-corrosion ceramic treatment. And wood accents are clear-coated with 10 layers, so they’ll remain maintenance-free for the foreseeable future.
Is a Solace 345 the right boat for you? That’s a question only you yourself can answer. But after spending some time aboard this beautiful beast, we know one thing for sure: there’s simply no other boat like it.
Other Similar Model Choices:
First off, as we just said, there’s really no other boat out there today like the Solace 345. Shoppers looking at it who desire a bit less emphasis on the fishing and a bit more on the luxury and entertaining end of things may want to consider a boat like the Boston Whaler 350 Realm.
Another that might be of interest would be the Scout 355 LXF. And if you’re interested in a bit more LOA, a bit more speed, and having triples on the transom, check out the Valhalla Boatworks V-37.
For more information visit Solace Boats.
See Solace 345 listings for sale.
LOA – 38’8”
Beam – 10’6”
Draft – 1’10”
Displacement – 14,550 lbs.
Transom Deadrise – 22 degrees
Fuel Capacity – 325 gal.