When you first take a look at 35 Scarab Offshore Sport, you’ll see a lot of Wellcraft’s legendary go-fast DNA in the lines—but instead of a cigarette boat, you’ll be looking at a capable center-console fishing boat with almost 70 mph of top-end speed. Sure, sure, you’ll have to strap on three Yamaha F350 outboards to get there, but even our twin-F350 test boat blew into the mid-50 mph range with ease. Add a boatload of fishing and comfort features and you’ve got one heck of platform for offshore angling addicts and inshore speed junkies with family interests, as well.
“This one looks like it could stretch the skin back on your face just sitting here,” is what I said to boats.com videographer Paul Cronin as we first approached Wellcraft’s test boat at Sea Isle Marina in Miami. Those speedy looks are thanks to a lot of forward-focused reverse sheer, an aggressive but gracefully flared bow, and an aggressive deep-vee hull. But these design cues aren't all about flash and looks. That forward-focused reverse sheer offers plenty of freeboard for the front two-thirds of the boat while providing a transom height that’s low enough for landing fish. The nicely flared bow keeps things dry underway, while a steep deadrise (23 degrees) and a deep vee are pretty much always in the recipe for a great offshore fishing boat.
Unlike many Wellcrafts of the past, a closer look into the Scarab 35 Offshore Sport’s construction reveals not a splinter of wood. The topsides, decks, and transom are filled with closed-cell PVC foam, and a rigid, foam-filled stringer system reinforces the hull below the waterline. The result is a sturdy boat that weighs only 8,800 pounds dry. To give you an idea of how light that is, comparable boats such as the Everglades 355 and Boston Whaler 350 Outrage weigh in at 9,500 and 11,000 pounds, respectively. And I didn't feel any compromise in ruggedness with that lightweight hull, either. Fit, finish, and feel are nothing but top-notch and sturdy, and the boat's backed up by a 10-year transferrable hull warranty.
A romp across a choppy, whitecap-speckled Biscayne Bay was all it took to appreciate what happens when you combine that lightweight composite hull with two big Yamaha F350 outboards on the stern. Laying the hammer down does make the Wellcraft 35 Scarab’s bow surge skyward, but within four or five seconds (translation: much quicker than you expect), you’re on a level plane and accelerating fast. Top-end for the 35 Scarab Offshore Sport with these two Yamaha F350s is 55.2 mph at wide-open throttle, where they chug-a-lug 67.4 gallons of gasoline per hour. That’s .82 miles per gallon for those who do math fast. For comfortable but speedy cruising, tune the Scarab 35 Offshore Sport’s engines to around 3500 rpm, and you’ll clip along at about 30 mph, burn around 23 gph, and cover about 1.3 miles of water for every gallon of fuel you use. Not enough face-distorting speed? Go for a moon launch and strap on triple 350-horsepower outboards for what Wellcraft tells us is a near-70 mph top-end speed.
Wellcraft increased the beam of this boat by about two inches from its early 2000s-series 35-foot center-console models, which means getting around on deck is easy, especially when it comes to negotiating past either side of the center-console. Like most boats in this class there’s a head and sink in the console, but Wellcraft has done a nice job making this one feel less cramped and more easily accessible than most. Part of that is due to the boat’s slightly increased beam, but also because the T-top’s arch metalwork (powder coated aluminum, by the way) attaches to the upper deck, not to the cockpit sole around the console itself.
Entry to that enclosed head is through a latched door on the port side of the console, and since the hardtop supports are mounted to the outside decks, it offers a nice, wide opening. Inside you’ll find a self-contained head (yep, you’ll need to haul its contents ashore occasionally, or order the optional head with holding tank), a sink with shower/faucet combo, and a mirror. Here’s the rub, though: you’ve only got 13 gallons of water to deal with. Yes, I know, Wellcraft wasn’t expecting anyone to do much else than rinse off on a boat such as this, but the standard installation of a hot water heater makes that water situation seem a little less thought out. Not a big deal, but worth noting.
Now admittedly, the bow isn't the most comfortable part of any boat to rest while underway (especially in a vessel designed to trek out to the canyons), but it sure beats rolling up in a sleeping bag on deck during an overnighter. As you may have guessed, that cuddy cabin in the bow and deck seating up forward are going to cost you something. In the case of the Scarab 35 Offshore Sport, that something is a coffin chest or a large, under deck fish-box. Sure, there’s under seat and deck stowage up there among the comfy seating, along with two fish-boxes back in the cockpit, but it’s worth noting that your nice outside lounging and cuddy space up forward comes at the expense some fish stowage. Fear not, though. If that forward cuddy isn't your thing and serious fishing space is, have a look at the 35 Scarab Offshore Tournament, which has no forward cuddy, and plenty of deck space up front.
As you might expect from the title of this review, the fishing-oriented aspects of this boat are everywhere. Take a look back at the stern and you’ll see a full-width transom door, aerated livewell, sink with raw and freshwater, an integral rigging station, and recessed, pull- and drop-out drawers for tackle boxes, rigging tools, crimps, and other angling accessories, both to port and starboard. Look down and you’ll notice two long fish-boxes with drains for icing down and transporting the big ones. Six rocket launchers in the T-top, two deck-mounted rod holders, and two recessed rod holder panels under the upper deck mean you’ll never wish you had a piece of tackle you had to leave behind because you couldn’t fit it on the boat. Vinyl-upholstered coaming bolsters surround the entire cockpit—a nice touch for those times when you have to lean into a large fish.
|Fuel capacity||376 gal.|
|Water capacity||13 gal.|
The 35 Scarab Offshore Sport’s center-console is expansive. There’s a stout, two-person upholstered leaning post with two individual seats and an aft-facing, fold-down seat for three. On the forward end of the console there’s an integral cooler under a forward-facing, two-person bench. Back at the helm, engine instrumentation is situated at the top of the console, which is where I personally like it. Some folks like it down and out of the way, but if you’re one of those gear-heads like me who constantly references these gauges, putting them up high makes it easy. And don’t worry—there’s still plenty of room for a couple of large multi-function displays for finding fish and navigating to the offshore fishing grounds.
|Test conditions: Calm seas and winds of 5 - 10 mph, 3 POB|
|Power||Twin Yamaha F350 four-stroke outboards, swinging 15.5" x 19" three-bladed stainless-steel props.|
Maybe you’re looking for a boat to romp across the Gulf Stream to the Bahamas in. Or maybe fast weekend fun with the family is the order of business. Me? I like getting out to my feisty finned friends offshore in a hurry. If you’re looking for a large center-console that does all of these things well, the Wellcraft 35 Scarab Offshore Sport is worth a look.
Other choices: Some competitors in the Wellcraft 35 Scarab Offshore Sport’s class that you may want to consider are the Yellowfin 36, the Boston Whaler 350 Outrage, or the Everglades 355.
Visit Wellcraft 35 Scarab Offshore Sport listings.
For more information, visit Wellcraft.