Builders are always trying to straddle the line between hard-core fishing boat and family day-boat, usually by taking a fishing machine like the Grady-White Canyon 271 or the Sea Vee 340Z, and adding forward seating. Southport is following a similar pattern with their new 33 FE Center Console, but they take it a step farther. Along with that forward seating, they’ve added a number of family-friendly features, ranging from a leaning post that can be fully customized to house a “summer kitchen,” to a giant bow sunpad. We got our first glimpse of the 33 FE Center Console at the Miami International Boat Show, and we shot this video so you could have a look at this new model, too.
Most builders tag models like this with an “FS” for “Forward Seating.” So, why did Southport use “FE”? It stands for “Family Edition.” Because from stem to stern, they clearly took things a step beyond the norm. And while the 33 FE Center Console is still a fishing boat, there’s no doubt that the entire family will find plenty of comfort aboard. As you saw in the video, expanded seating and sunning areas are the biggest perks. But, also note that the console houses not only a head compartment, but also a six-foot berth.
The down-side to designing a multi-purpose boat like this? The additional seating, of course, reduces fishing space. And if you opt for the summer kitchen in the leaning post, you'll also be sacrificing a good portion of your rigging station. Aside from these factors, the Southport is still quite an able fishing machine. It has a pair of 75 gallon fishboxes in the deck plus a cooler in the forward console seat, optional rocket launchers in the leaning post and on the hard top, coaming bolsters ringing the inwales, and rod holders in the gunwales.
Perhaps more importantly for both fishing and general boating fun is how the 33 FE rides. Southport builds a thoroughly chunky boat, with wide aft chines and a variable-degree deadrise of 30-degrees amidships and 22-degrees at the transom. Southport utilizes construction techniques like vacuum-infusion, and the use of vinylester resin (which is less water permeable but more expensive than the usual polyester resin used in boat-building). You can feel the net result underfoot when the Southport solidly ker-chunks right through rollers and white-caps.
Speaking of going right through rollers and whitecaps: you'll do it quickly, too. With a pair of Yamaha F350 outboards, this boat can hit 55 MPH and cruises comfortably at over 40 MPH. Economy stays over one MPG throughout the RPM range until you break 5000 RPM, and with a 300 gallon fuel tank, that means that in most areas you can do two full-on bluewater fishing trips in a row before filling up.
Is the Southport 33 FE the best choice for you? Hey, that's a call only you can make. But one thing is for sure: if you want a heavy-hitting fishing boat that can also serve as a comfy family day-boat, this model is in the running.
Other Choices: If you focus more on sheer fishability, check out the Regulator 34. Leaning in the opposite direction is the Chris-Craft Catalina 34, which places even more emphasis on seating and comfort.
See Southport center console listings.
For more information, visit Southport.
Find out why Southport’s last introduction, the 272 TE, was named one of the top 5 Hot New Boats Premiering at the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show.
|Fuel capacity||300 gal.|
|Water capacity||30 gal.|
|Test conditions: winds 5 - 10 knots, 2 POB. Performance data courtesy of Yamaha.|
|Power||Twin Yamaha F350 four-stroke outboards, swinging 15.5" X 19" three-bladed stainless-steel props.|