Fabulously Fishy

Written by Peter A. Robson and originally published in PassageMaker magazine.

The Coastal Craft 33 ProFish is a catch for cruisers, too.

In a segment driven largely by function, it’s rare to find a fit and finish—inside and out—worthy of a list of flowery adjectives. Yet that’s just what I found on the aluminum, outboard-powered Coastal Craft 33 ProFish. Its 40-knot top speed, open cockpit with room to reel in the big ones, dedicated fish-cleaning station, and vast storage lockers will appeal to anglers, sure. But Coastal Craft’s newest edition also has all the attributes that have earned the British Columbia–based builder high marks in the luxury aluminum boatbuilding segment. With distinctive lines, immaculate
fairing, notable craftsmanship, and performance prowess, “ProFish” is somewhat of a misnomer, as this new model is equally suited for non-anglers looking for speed, economy, and quality in a small, easy-to-handle yacht.

Design and Construction

The length of the hull (39 feet overall) is based on the same proven design that Coastal Craft employed in the late ‘90s when the company was building mainly water taxis and commuter boats. Those early vessels were exceptional sea boats, typically powered by stern-drive diesels. The new 33 is powered by twin 350-horsepower Mercury Verado gas outboards. According to CEO Jeff Rhodes, Coastal Craft made the switch because
today’s outboards are more reliable, convenient, and fuel efficient than ever before—not to mention their favorable warranties. Also, their transom mounting location allows for more interior volume and they weigh considerably less than inboards (about 700
pounds less in this case).

Like her Coastal Craft predecessors, the 33 ProFish is fully welded aluminum (1/4- inch on the bottom and 3/16-inch on the sides), laid up in a jig and incorporating a beefy structural grid of ribs and stringers. The hull is then sprayed with a thick layer of two-part, fire-retardant polyurethane foam, which reduces sound and condensation. All non-aluminum parts and fasteners are isolated using rubber, silicone, or non-conducting grease to eliminate galvanic corrosion. Many of the components, such as the forward
and main cabins, are built externally as modules and then dropped in and connected, which is a much more efficient method than “stick” building.

On Deck

The cockpit is spacious and uncluttered, with nothing to get in the way of fishing. A three-foot cabin overhang provides limited shelter from the weather. All cleats, rod holders, and downrigger mounts are interchangeable, thanks to Burnewiin fittings. One special feature is a removable fish-cleaning table that fits on the top of the transom.
Lockers built into the cockpit sides and transom provide storage for tackle, fenders, and so on, as well as access to the fuel filters and the battery switches. One large hatch in the cockpit sole opens to a generous fish locker with a diaphragm discharge pump. Another hatch reveals a large dry storage area and a third hatch leads down to the aft machinery spaces. Well-placed grabrails and handrails combine with relatively wide
(11-inch) side decks for onboard ease and safety when moving fore and aft. A wellequipped starboard-side steering station is perfect for both fishing and docking.

Interior

Entered via a heavy watertight door, the salon is tastefully fitted out with rich, horizontally grained walnut doors, cabinets, and trim with beige Ultraleather upholstery. There are 6 feet, 6 inches of headroom and soft upholstered ceiling panels add a warm ambiance.
Four forward-sloping, aluminum-framed opening windows and a three-panel windshield provide good visibility, light, and ventilation.

Immediately to port and down a few steps is a finely finished quarter berth fitted with a small hanging locker. Otherwise, the layout is somewhat traditional, with a raised dinette and table to port that lowers to become another berth. The linear galley is to starboard and includes a Corian countertop, deep stainless sink, Wallas two-burner diesel cooktop, microwave, 4.2-cubic-foot Nova Kool fridge/freezer, and a handy pullout
pantry. Storage abounds in drawers, lockers, and even a flex area under the cabin sole with room for half a dozen or so large plastic storage totes, a subtle hint of the model’s extended cruising capability.

The raised helm area is fitted with hydraulic power steering and electronic
engine controls along with Optimus 360 joystick docking and virtual anchoring. The full Garmin navigation package includes two 12-inch touch screens, VHF with AIS, radar, sounder, and autopilot. Digital outboard engine readouts and a bank of rocker switches tie it all together.
The sliding window to starboard gives extra visibility when coming alongside. Visibility from the helm, all around, is very good.

Across from the helm is a double companion seat. A handy fold-down
wooden table fronting it is a smart and useful feature and the test boat was also fitted with a 10-inch touchscreen for the
copilot.

The V-berth is a full 6 feet, 6 inches long, and a privacy door separates it from the rest of the vessel. The walls are nicely upholstered and give a warm and cozy feel. To port is the head with a small sink and vanity (this owner did not opt for the shower) while across the companionway
is a large hanging locker.

With two group 31 house batteries, two group 27 engine start batteries,
and minimal power demand from the ship’s systems, a generator should not be necessary unless you’re planning on extended time on the hook or if you’re installing additional heavy-power-draw equipment. Some owners may opt for a 2.2 kW portable gas generator, which can be connected to the vessel’s supersafe SmartPlug shore power fitting. The two 135-gallon fuel tanks are aluminum and built by Florida Marine Tanks. A 30-gallon plastic diesel tank provides fuel for the stove, the Espar D4 forced air furnace (which Rhodes says is more efficient than hydronic heating and draws
less power), and the optional Hurricane hydronic on-demand hot water system. A 66-gallon plastic water tank is standard. An optional 100-gallon stainless tank can be configured to carry extra water or fuel. Coastal cruisers will likely opt for the extra water capacity, while sport fishers traveling long distances might prefer the extra fuel. It is interesting to note that instead of traditional bronze thru-hull fittings, the 33 is equipped with Marelon
(by Forespar) thru-hulls. Marelon is an injection-molded polymer composite impervious to corrosion and electrolysis (especially useful for aluminum vessels).

Underway

We were loaded, with full fuel, during our sea trial. Acceleration was impressive with no prop slip or cavitation when we jammed the throttles forward. Bow rise was minimal and the ProFish was quick to settle onto the step at 13 knots in about 4 seconds. At WOT, we reached a top
speed of 40 knots. However, the ride was so smooth and gentle that it felt like we were going half that speed. Fast cruise was around 27 to 30 knots, and at those speeds we consumed about 1 gallon per mile. She responded to sudden turns like a sports car, shouldering muscularly into those turns with no slipping. With the wheel centered, she tracked dead straight. Interior noise levels allowed for easy conversation, thanks to the aft-positioned
outboards. Though conditions were relatively calm, we managed to find some large ferry wakes to jump. The motion was smooth, no slamming, and the ride was surprisingly dry. When fishing, running a single outboard supplies a trolling speed of 1.5 to 3 knots. Trim is controlled by both the trim function on the outboards and Zipwake’s dynamic trim control system. However, only minimal engine trim was necessary during our sea trials and the trim tabs should only prove necessary to trim for heel.

Final Thoughts

The 33 ProFish is a capable, easy-to handle, and well-performing yacht. As the model name suggests, it’s an excellent fishing platform, but it also delivers the goods in terms of cruising attributes that have earned Coastal Craft its reputation as a prominent aluminum builder. It’s not surprising that, according to Rhodes, only half the orders to date are from serious
anglers. The balance are cruisers.


SPECIFICATIONS
LOA: 39ft.
Beam: 10ft. 11in.
Draft: 2ft. 2in.
Displacement: 16,000 lbs. (full load)
Construction: aluminum
Engines: 2 x 350-hp Mercury
Verado outboard (gas)
Speed (max./cruise):
40 knots/30 knots
Fuel: 270 gal.
Water: 66 gal.

Written by Peter A. Robson and originally published in PassageMaker magazine.