The famous French avant-garde author, playwright and filmmaker Jean Cocteau once said, “Tact in audacity is knowing how far you can go without going too far”. But how far is too far? This is a question designers, engineers, craftspeople, artists and visionaries inevitably face when creating new work. Especially when they are tasked with pushing the boundaries to create innovative bold new creations.
For over a decade now center console boats have been growing in size every year. Once considered utilitarian and basic open day boats, the marine industry has seen the proliferation of big luxury class center console boats that rival larger sportfish yachts in terms of seaworthiness, performance and sheer onboard features. It’s a bold new world, where 40-foot center consoles with triple and quad outboards are becoming increasingly unsurprising, if not commonplace. In this landscape, how big is too big for a center console? Is the world ready for an 80-foot center console? A 100-foot center console?
Much the way the automotive world can echo and inspire fashion, design and pop culture, the yachting industry brings contemporary style and technology to the waterways. Boat design is truly a product of the times, reflecting the evolution of science, computers and naval architecture combined with in vogue aesthetics and design principles. In this age, we can expect this list to shuffle around as builders push the envelope, but for now, here’s the roundup of the biggest center consoles in the world.
- HCB 65 Estrella
- Midnight Express 60 Pied-A-Mer
- Cigarette Tirranna 59
- Nor-tech 560 SPORT
- Scout 530 LXF
- Intrepid 475 Panacea
- Freeman 47
- Valhalla V-46
- Invincible 46 Catamaran
- Grady-White Canyon 456
HCB 65 Estrella: Biggest Center Console In The World
Above: A 2021 HCB Estrella boat for sale on YachtWorld. Photo via Staten Island Yacht Sales in Great Kills Harbor, Staten Island, NY.
Bold. Brawny. Mighty. The HCB Estrella is the current reigning heavyweight champion of the world in terms of big center consoles. Boasting an army of horses on her transom and the robust build to deliver peak performance from those hulking power plants, this giant center console provides a smooth, quiet ride and sporty handling. With the infrastructure to support up to 3,135 horsepower the boat’s performance expectations are, frankly, hard to surpass (or even to imagine surpassing). The boat has been equipped with a few mind-boggling power packages, including five (5) Seven Marine 627-HP outboard engines, to achieve that aforementioned whopping 3,135 combined total horsepower. The top speed is estimated between 65-70 MPH depending on your load and sea state. Also, getting a 65-foot planing-hull center console to hop on plane quickly (under 10 seconds), is quite the feat too. In fact, the 65 Estrella can reportedly accomplish that task in just 8-9 seconds, from standstill to rocket ship.
If you want a luxurious saltwater fishing boat with the 360-degree access to the water that a center console cockpit layout offers but with all the amenities of a world class yacht, this is the boat for you. Few center console fishing boats on the market rival her in terms of size, features and capability. Granted, she’s a bit big for many anglers to be entirely practical as a day-to-day boat, but her offshore capabilities are second to none.
Some may use the word “masterpiece” to describe what HCB has built in the Estrella 65. Others may call her a monstrosity, but whatever your perspective, she’s certainly a show-stopping, eye-popping yacht. Starting at somewhere around 3 million and going up from there based on options, she’s not built for the frugal-minded fishing crowd or for those who prefer to keep a low profile at the docks. But if you want to smirk at choppy inlets, cross the Gulf Stream with ease and hop over to the Bahamas in style, this could be your boat.
Midnight Express 60 Pied-A-Mer: Qualified Audacity
Above: A 2022 Midnight Express 60 Pied-A-Mer for sale on YachtWorld. Photo by Midnight Express.
The “center console” alone on this boat is 30 feet long! If you stop and think about that for a moment, you’ll probably realize that’s bigger than a lot of other very respectable center console boats themselves. In fact, your everyday family center console would be a reasonable tender to this behemoth day boat, that herself serves as a monstrous tender to some of the largest superyachts in the world. Most of the roomy cockpit is dedicated to lounging with plush, sofa-sized seats and monstrous loungers. Seventeen passengers can be easily accommodated and comfortably enjoy the ride topside. Stuffed chock full of glitz and glamour this juggernaut starts around 1.6 Million and goes up from there based on add-ons and options.
What does the name mean? In France, a pied-à-terre is a vacation or holiday home, while a pied-a-mer is an on-the-water home. At 60-feet long, Midnight Express has built what could fairly be termed a residence on the ocean with the Pied-A-Mer. “Residence” may sound audacious for a center console day boat, but that audacity is qualified and backed up by her cabability, features and amenities. Powered by quad Seven Marine 627-HP outboard engines, she has achieved top speeds of over 70 MPH, but there’s more than just speed to impress passengers onboard this colossus. Down below she has twin staterooms with queen berths and a full head with enclosed shower, plus a galley. Sounds like a motoryacht or cabin cruiser right? Nope, still a center console, but on a grand scale.
Cigarette Tirranna: A 62-Foot Bullet With Seats
Above: A 2022 Cigarette 59 Tirranna boat for sale on YachtWorld right now, rigged with six 400-HP Mercury outboard engines. Photo via: Marine-Partner-Network in Gelsenkirchen, Germany.
The Cigarette Tirranna is the kind of boat an evil movie villain would escape in only to re-appear in the next scene aboard a rocket ship over our planet making insane demands. She’s a 60 footer that does 80 MPH. Unreal is a word that comes to mind when you’re riding on this boat. It’s like a bullet with comfortable seats and a massive sound system to boot. Some may argue it’s just a bit too much – too over the top, prone to maintenance issues, a gas guzzling behemoth that gives the term “stink pot” a whole new meaning. But most will agree, this boat is a marvel of engineering and raw power.
For those who don’t already know, Cigarette Racing Team is an icon in performance boats. It’s often said that Cigarette is to high-performance offshore boats as Kleenex is to tissue – since the brands have become nearly synonymous for the category of products in which they reside. That means Cigarette clearly knows how to manufacture fast boats and has a knack for doing so with such flare and style that it’s virtually defined the very genre itself. The Tirranna is, as they put it, “the ultimate ascendancy over the conventional, mundane, the uninspired”. Grandiose yes, but this boat is certainly anything but mundane.
Nor-Tech 560 Sport: Sleek And Mighty
Above: A 2020 Nor-Tech 560 Sport center console boat for sale on YachtWorld. Photo by South Florida Performance Boats.
As kids in Norway in the 1970s, Nor-Tech Boats co-founders Trond Schou and Nils Johnsen were obsessed with extreme machines – from sports cars and boats to planes and helicopters. (Johnsen now has a cherry red Lamborghini Countach and Schou flies helicopters, planes and jets.) After building 16 boats in Norway, they brought their company to Florida and in 1990 they introduced their first 50-foot V-bottom boat, The Nor-Tech 5000 Supervee. Later the U.S. government commissioned Nor-Tech to build the Nor-Tech 43 drug-chasing boat that is still in use today and has helped intercept millions of dollars in drugs in the U.S., Bahamas and Panama.
Over 30 years later and their passion for building big, sporty boats continues on a grand scale with one of the biggest center consoles ever built. “Our customers want to fish, dive and cruise in luxury and style,” says Schou, “Our boats plane in near single digits, then throttle up to top speed.” The Nor-Tech 560 Sport, and its sister the 550, are two giant center console boats that pushes the limits of high performance production boats. Akin to an on-the-water limousine this boat can skyrocket passengers over the water with great range, gas mileage and torque. The 560 Sport is unlike other boats on our list in that she can be powered by either outboard or inboard engines (triples or quads).
At 56 feet long with a 12 foot beam, the 560 Sport weighs around 30,000 pounds dry and features a hull constructed of hand laid fiberglass sandwich and Carbon Kevlar. Another distinguishing feature unlike like others on this list is her two huge, 11-foot long luxurious aft loungers at the rear of the cockpit that allow for family and friends to stretch out and enjoy the ride. Characterized by an abundance of seating areas and comfortable social settings, the boat has ample storage, premium sound system and numerous fish boxes. The Nor-Tech 560 Sport Center Console is fully customizable from paint to thread stitching and Italian hardware.
Scout 530 LXF: Refined Yet Brawny
Above: A 2022 Scout 530 LXF center console boat for sale on YachtWorld. Photo via Seven Seas Yacht Sales.
The 53-foot 530 LXF is the flagship from Scout boats. She is manufactured with cutting-edge carbon epoxy construction and, like the Tirranna above, she’s an absolute beast. In fact, back in 2019 Scout famously rigged this huge center console with 6 Mercury 400 HP outboards for a top speed of over 70 MPH. At the time, that was the first center console ever to be powered by six outboards.
As with many performance boats these days, she features stepped-hull construction with a wide beam of 14’8″. She is able to accommodate up to 2,250 horsepower on her transom yet has a mere 31″ draft, which means she can get up to sandbars and shallower fishing grounds while simultaneously having the length to battle heavy seas and big swells with confidence. She weighs in around 31,000 pounds with the biggest power package, so she is a heavily-built, sturdy offshore fishing machine. Every bit as extreme as other boats on this list, there is something a bit more austere about the way Scout builds this type of boat. Her softer colors and brownish-tan accents make you feel like you’re driving a luxury sedan but with an American muscle feel. In other words, Tirranna is to a twin-turbocharged Ford Raptor truck with EcoBoost, as the 530 LXF is to a Lamborghini LM002 ( aka “Rambo Lambo”). Or something like that. Whatever the comparison, this is a phenomenal vessel.
Intrepid 475 Panacea: The Gentleman’s Center Console
If you want to wake up early, bolt offshore a couple hundred miles to battle a 400 pound Marlin, throw it on ice, blaze back in, take a shower and throw a party at the docks before retiring to your nicely appointed V-berth below, this is the boat for you. The 47.5-foot, wave-crushing Intrepid 47 Panacea center console is an absolutely giant day boat but with luxurious overnighting and weekending capabilities added below and some serious performance specs to boot.
With a nearly 14-foot beam, and power packages that have included four 627-HP Seven Marine outboards, she can hit speeds in the low to mid 70s (MPH). Her transverse-stepped hull maximizes fuel-efficiency and stability while minimizing bow rise and reducing pitching and heeling. We’re betting folks can look out for this boat to have quad Mercury 600-HP engines in the near future. (Just a rumor, but why not, right?)
Freeman 47: Steadfast And Poised
One of just two catamarans on our list of biggest center consoles in 2022 is Freeman Boatworks’ flagship model – a boat built to conquer rough seas and hit speeds of over 80 MPH while cruising at 45 MPH easily. Yes, catamarans can have center console cockpit layouts too (which we’re seeing more and more of in the power cat market), and the Freeman 47 is an enormously capable behemoth on the water. She has a length overall of 47′ with a beam of 13’2″ and a draft of 27″. Her max capacity of 1,800 horses allows her to accommodate enough engines on the transom to hit those numbers we just mentioned, thanks in part to a relatively light dry weight of only 21,000 pounds and a very advanced hydrodynamic hull design.
Constructed with Biaxial and Triaxial fiberglass and vinylester resin using a closed-cell structural core, she pushes less water than a deep V (thanks to her two slimmer hulls) and therefore has less drag. Like a knife through butter, she cuts waves and chop with ease. In fact, seeing this boat smash over waves on a rough day, you may hear echoes of Ray Bradbury’s ominous book title “Something wicked this way comes,” in your head, although this boat is more like a dream come true for serious anglers than a nightmare.
Valhalla V-46: Polished Capability
Above: A 2022 Valhalla Boatworks V-46 center console boat for sale on YachtWorld. Photo via Valhalla Boat Sales South in Riviera Beach, FL.
Building on the overwhelming success of the V Series high-performance luxury center consoles, the Viking Yacht Company has begun the next chapter in the evolution of Valhalla Boatworks – the V-46. The Valhalla 46 takes the V Series to an entirely new level, broadening its appeal through additional accommodations and amenities while maintaining its fishing boat DNA. “We never stop innovating, fine-tuning and staying out in front of the needs of our owners and the marine industry,” says Viking President and CEO Pat Healey. “The V-46 is a result of that commitment.”
The V-46 possesses the same signature design traits (S-shaped sheer, doubles chines, tumblehome transom bustle), aesthetic enhancements (teak toerails and transom) and 360-degree fishing prowess of the V Series. This Valhalla’s significant length (46’ 7”) and beam (13’ 4”) allow for a massive console that functions as an air-conditioned cabin. Through the port-side console door, a powder-coated pedestal with teak stair treads leads to an inviting living space. You’ll immediately notice the headroom (6’ 7”) and free-flowing open layout that’s filled with natural light flowing through four shapely portlights. Forward, a dinette with U-shaped seating and bolstered backrest surrounds a drop-down table that converts to a queen berth. On the starboard side is the galley, which features a polished Corian countertop, stainless steel sink, brushed nickel and chrome faucet, two-burner recessed stove, refrigerator/freezer, microwave oven and cabinet storage. Directly aft of the galley is the private head with a molded-in vanity with freshwater sink and faucet, toilet and shower.
Invincible 46 Catamaran: The Fearless Frigate
Above: A 2022 Invincible 46 Catamaran boat for sale on Boat Trader. Photo via Intrinsic Yacht & Ship in Annapolis, MD.
The second catamaran on our list, the Invincible 46 power cat stands out among the crowd for her game-changing hybrid semi-asymmetrical sponson hull design and sportfish-level fishability and specifications. This is a tournament fishing boat through-and-through, built for extended range and the capability to handle all types of weather and sea states with confidence. With quad Mercury Racing 450R outboards she reportedly tops out close to 80 MPH (depending on load). Her efficient cruising speed is around 48-50 MPH, so if you’re looking to go long distances in a hurry – fishing wrecks far out in the Gulf, for example – this boat is built for you.
Update: Invincible has announced a pilothouse version of this boat, which the company boasts is “the first-ever production pilothouse catamaran” – a unique distinction. Essentially this version of the 46 offers more sleeping space and protection from the elements, making it more competitive in that respect with comparably-sized sportfishing yachts.
Grady-White Canyon 456: Pelagic Family Chariot
Above: A 2022 Grady-White Canyon 456 center console boat for sale on Boat Trader. Photo via Ingman Marine in Port Charlotte, FL.
Like a lot of the center consoles on this list, the Canyon 456 is the biggest boat the builder has ever crafted, and is currently the flagship in the manufacturer’s line up. Grady-White boasts she is “the largest unsinkable boat of its kind” and she has been over-engineered to be more than just a fishing boat – she’s a true yacht. Technically sophisticated, incredibly spacious and built over Grady’s trademark “SeaV2″ hull, she is consistently ranked at the top of J.D. Power and Associates Marine studies. She’s 45 feet in length overall with a 14-foot beam and a draft of only 2’6″, along with a displacement of 28,500 pounds. Vetted by a seasoned team of boat designers with years of fishing and cruising experience, she has a 21-degree deadrise and 10’5″ bridge clearance, along with 616-gallon fuel capacity and a max horsepower rating of 1,700.
If you’re heading far offshore to chase some swordfish, this boat will make you feel safe and confident, while keeping passengers dry during the ride. Two particularly unique and notable features of the Canyon 456 are her 24” transom mounted multifunction Garmin display that faces the aft deck and cockpit giving crew a clear view from the helm and a clever, patent-pending, Sapele hardwood rod-storage system.
Above: The center of the transom onboard a 2022 Grady-White Canyon 456 features a transom-mounted multifunction Garmin display as seen here looking down at the aft deck. Photo by Fish Tale Boats in Fort Meyers, FL.
At her helm she features three 17-inch Garmin displays and C-Zone digital switching to coordinate her onboard AC/DC systems. Aesthetically her lines echo her Carolina heritage with flared gunwales in the bow. The Canyon 456 starts around $1.4 million.