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Inside SOTW Mag: Scouting The Center Field

Almost a year ago, we had the bright idea of gathering the latest performance center consoles from builders around the country at Super Cat Fest on the Lake of the Ozarks.

Performance center consoles are still hot, hot, hot. Here’s a closer look at what’s out there. Photo by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.

As we did the previous year with our inaugural Mercury Racing 400R Sport Catamaran Roundup, we assembled a team of top-flight test drivers— Grant Bruggemann, Bob Teague and Shaun Torrente—and worked out of the Camden on the Lake Resort. For the perspective of a diehard go-fast boater and a true audiophile, we invited Justin Wagner of locally based Waves and Wheels to join the team for input on the sound systems as well as the interior installation. And Bruggemann’s wife, Kellie, contributed an ever- valuable female perspective.

A couple of months earlier, Mercury Racing introduced its stunning supercharged, 450R outboard engine. Those V-8 mills were scarce at the time, so only three builders brought boats with the new 450-hp engines. The rest of the power ranged from Mercury Racing 400Rs—arguably the most popular outboard in the history of the Fond du Lac, Wis., engine company—to Mercury

Bottom line? Though we all had a favorite— that’s the point of assembling a broad test team—there wasn’t a center console in the mix from Deep Impact, Fountain, Mystic, Nor-Tech Statement and Sunsation we didn’t like. We love exotic go-fast catamarans and V-bottoms as much and probably more than the next person, but the versatility, open space and utility of today’s go-fast center consoles tells you all you need to know about their booming popularity.

And the segment is still growing. MTI has a new 50-footer in the offing. Fountain recently produced its first 38 Sport Console model, which joins the 34-foot version we ran last December at company’s headquarters in Washington, N.C. By the end of the year, Outerlimits Offshore Powerboats plans to have its first 39-foot center console on the water.

What follows is a guided tour—with comments from your guides—of some of the hottest center consoles on the market. Enjoy the ride.—Matt Trulio and Jason Johnson

To read the entire center console roundup and more, subscribe to Speed On The Water digital magazine by clicking here.