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Boat Test SeaVee 290B…


SeaVee Boats, a heralded Miami builder, again hits it out of the park with the new revamped version of its popular 29-foot center-console, an easy-to-trailer offshore and nearshore performer with an impressive list of standard features and a wide range of available options.

Undoubtedly, the 290B has been designed to meet the demands of competitive anglers, and its manageable size and shallow draft afford access to narrow tidal creeks and skinny water, further adding to the boat’s versatility. Meanwhile, the ergonomic layout ensures everything is where one expects it to be and offers ample room to move about while tending lines or following hooked fish, with uncluttered, flush decks and a grippy, nonskid finish for safer footing.

Storage on the SeaVee is quite generous. It starts with a dedicated anchor locker complete with windlass at the bow, followed by twin forward compartments, each with a 45-gallon capacity, that double as in-deck lockable rod storage. Between them, a massive ­100-gallon insulated fish box has the dimensions to keep big pelagics on ice. The console also offers considerable storage; in fact, the space makes it more than suitable as a head compartment complemented by the optional electric toilet.

Moving aft, two hatches provide in-floor storage in the cockpit, bookending a third hatch that provides bilge access, and a fourth that hides a 60-gallon in-deck livewell, insulated to function as an additional fish box when necessary.

On the transom, there’s a 50-gallon livewell in the center and a smaller one — perfect for holding live shrimp or crabs — to starboard.

Seating aboard the 290B is available in various configurations, ranging from the minimalist to plush lounging.

This 29-footer, by the way, is offered in two configurations: the Open Fisherman, a hardcore-fishing platform with maximum cockpit space and easy access to fish boxes and storage compartments, and the Luxury Edition (LE) upgrade package that adds molded-in forward seats with electronically adjustable backrests and storage underneath. You lower the backrests and add a removable table to create a comfortable seating area to enjoy beverages or lunch alfresco.

Several leaning posts with different configurations and features are available for helm seating. The test boat came with the Captain’s Edition, which incorporates a tackle station complete with eight tackle boxes, a fold-down bait-rigging tray, five rod holders, four cup holders and handrail, plus an optional cooler with a pneumatic actuator to extend and retract at the base of the fiberglass module.

For aft seating, the Open Fisherman offers a fold-down aft bench that uses the transom coaming pad as the backrest, while the LE comes with a wider, more comfortable deluxe bench with a removable backrest that stows away when it comes time to fish.

The dash on the large center console accepts two 12-inch displays side by side, with room to spare for a VHF, stereo, and an array of switches that controls onboard accessories. A splash cover safeguards the electronics from the elements.

A console door, located on the front, incorporates a cooler/storage compartment and allows the console sides to house vertical rod racks, which, combined with the in-deck lockers, the holders on the leaning post, and the rocket launcher in back of the hardtop, let you carry up to 21 rods rigged and ready.

Other standard features include an integrated swim platform/outboard bracket with a portside transom door, hydraulic steering, high-performance trim tabs, and a large dual-card compass atop the console.

Available options include raw- and freshwater washdowns, electric head with macerated pump-out, Armstrong removable ladder, pull-out dive ladder with freshwater flush system, Mercury K planes (an upgrade over trim tabs), kingfish-style rod holders for trolling, Bahama shade, a couple of T-top and hardtop options, and a tower for those who desire a higher vantage point.

The high-performance, composite-core hull is now lighter, quieter, more rigid and more efficient. Its deep-V with a sharp entry at the bow and 25 degrees of deadrise at the transom tame choppy seas and make for a stable, smooth-riding platform that proved surprisingly dry, even under the windy conditions encountered during our test.

Rigged with twin 300 hp Mercury Verados, our test boat reached a top speed of 61.4 mph at wide-open throttle and went from zero to 30 mph in an average time of 8.25 seconds. While that’s plenty fast for most anglers, those who feel the need for more speed will be happy to know the 290B was built to accept up to a pair of 400 hp outboards sure to make 70 mph an attainable mark.

Despite the bumpy waters inside Stuart Inlet, the ­SeaVee handled tight turns and sudden changes in course with ease.

A brief stint oceanside, first navigating the treacherous, narrow inlet where 6-foot waves stacked up, proved a fitting test for this 29-footer touted as a serious offshore fishing boat, a test it passed with flying colors, without uncomfortable pounding, or any rattling or creaking.

There’s a lot to like about the 290B, a versatile center-console brimming with fishability. Anglers looking for a highly customizable open fisherman under 30 feet should definitely take a close look at this one.


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