Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Long Island, New York
| | Century Boats, good or bad??
My marina sells Century and Egg Harbor Boats; I know a few people with the smaller models and they seem very pleased. I've never been on one that was in the water, but they appear to be well built, roomy boats. I'm not a fan of the W/A model, but I think that the CCs are laid out nicely. Century is owned by Yamaha.
I think that you will find the review of the 28' Century CC from this month's Powerboat Reports, pasted below, informative. I hope it helps.
Powerboat Reports, May 2003
Century 3200 Center Console
Load up the fellas and head offshore in this spacious big center console that delivers a respectable rough-water ride behind a smart helm design. Too bad it has a foamed-in aluminum fuel tank and lacks vinylester resin in the layup.
A bird’s eye view shows the voluminous deck layout of this blown-up center console. She’s beamy, but sharp deadrise from bow to stern allows the boat to give good ride.
Center consoles keep getting bigger and bigger. Seems like all the major fishboat builders are pushing the LOA envelope, with Boston Whaler being the most recent to introduce a CC over 30 feet.
Why are people shelling out $120,000+ for these stretched-out skiffs? There are several reasons. Their long and narrow running surfaces enable them to take on big water—and run through it at a decent rate of speed. They can be singlehanded, or you can load up five or six anglers and utilize the wide-open deck layouts. These boats are easier to clean and maintain, too, with minimal systems to worry about. No gensets, refrigerators, stoves, or A/C units. In addition, replacing outboards—which are becoming more reliable each year—can be done quickly. Ready to write the check?
We tested two big center consoles in Miami. Here’s our report on the first, a Century 3200, a larger version of the Century 3000 we tested seven years ago (PBR, October 1996).
Century knew what it wanted out of this boat. “More than anything, it had to handle rough water,” said product development manager Brian Davis. To that end, the builder sculpted a fine entry (53 degrees) and significant deadrise from stem to stern. But the 3200 still has enough beam so it doesn’t wallow in the hole. In fact, the ratio of the waterline length to the waterline beam is quite moderate, about 3:1, making the Century far from being Donzi-like skinny.
The boat doesn’t look sleek or racy. Its expansive freeboard sections forward give the boat a rugged, salty profile.
One strake on each side of the bottom provides lift and spray deflection. The chines are flat and widen to 8 inches at the transom, which helps stabilize the sharp V shape of the hull. “If we flattened the V aft, a narrower chine would have been possible,” said Davis, “but we wanted to keep that 23-degree deadrise while maintaining beam.”
Above the chines, Century has built in what it calls “design lines,” which look like another set of chines. Their primary purpose, according to Davis, is an aesthetic one, but they do help block spray.
Our sea trial of the 3200 began in the snotty, choppy waters southwest of the Port of Miami, which leads to the mouth of Government Cut. Here, the 4-foot waves were stacked up tightly, with a northeast 12-knot wind pushing them right at us. We went into the teeth of the confused water and settled in at a comfortable 25-knot cruise at 4300 rpm. It was no surprise that twin Yamaha F225 four-strokes sat on the transom. Yamaha owns Century boats.
We noticed some pounding and slapping, and the hatches in the sole rattled, but other than that the boat performed well, we thought. There was one other negative: The transom door sprang open twice. The latch needs a longer tongue. The Century representative aboard told us the company was aware of the problem and planned to fix it.
Despite the high-riding bow, our sightlines were excellent as we sized up the oncoming white-capped swells. The high windshield actually does its job—it blocks wind and spray. Windshields on many boats are useless because they are too short. In addition, the Century’s windshield is not crisscrossed with aluminum bars that support the T-top. This is a pleasant change from what’s becoming too common (see “Boating Behind Bars” editorial, March issue). Kudos to Century for providing the driver with excellent sightlines, one of the best of any center console we’ve tested.
The boat held its own in a head sea, but truly shined in a following sea. Its hulking forward bow sections kept us dry. We twisted and turned her in every possible direction to the wind and sea. We took on spray only twice.
Backing down, the cockpit swallowed some green water through the 5/8” gap between the transom door and its doorway. A gasket would solve this problem. The water drained quickly through the scuppers, which are mounted horizontally and are recessed about two inches below the deck to limit puddling.
As usual, technical advisor Erik Klockars was on board, and he brought his white-knuckle driving style to the helm. He pushed the throttles to their stops and chased a Viking 58, catching up—and keeping up—with the yacht for a couple of minutes. We were not comfortable—and wouldn’t expect to be, flying along at 39 knots—but the Century felt solid under us, and we felt safe.
During our race with the Viking, the two crewmembers standing aft of the helm seat learned to love the Century’s ample handholds. You can grab the T-top support’s vertical pipes in addition to a horizontal stomach-level rail that rims the back of the helm seat. Some builders give you nothing to hold onto back here, except for maybe a rocket launcher or two.
On station, the boat didn’t seem tippy, and we felt secure walking the wet deck surrounded by the Century’s high hull sides.
We had no problems steering the boat, but we’d prefer a tighter system for quicker course adjustment in collision situations. It took nearly 6 turns to get from lock to lock.
Your average NBA forward would be protected behind this windshield, which extends 6’9” off the sole. The Yamaha digital gauges take up most of the flush-mounted space for electronics, but you could certainly mount a GPS and a sounder on top of the console. The boat also comes with a lockable overhead electronics box, mounted high enough so that you will not bump your head. Take note, Hydra-Sports and Pro-Line.
Above the gauges, Century has provided a pair of large glove boxes with see-through lids. Rubber gasketing around the openings makes them watertight. It’s a good place to stow your binoculars, spotlight and ship’s papers. Below the starboard box is another closed storage space, this one about half the size and without the see-through lid. Maybe toss your wallet and car keys in here.
A row of rocker switches extends the width of the console at knee level. The housing that surrounds each switch contains a small hole on the bottom to allow water to drain out. Nice attention to detail. The horn switch sits amongst the others. We’d move it higher so the helmsman can find it quickly. Another plus: The wheel does not block the Yamaha gauges.
We had the optional trim tab indicators ($314) on our test boat, a mighty useful instrument that contributes to overall safety by allowing you to quickly determine tab position. The tab switches and indicators were placed in a logical position, just above the throttles.
Horizontal and vertical grab rails enclose a row of rocket launchers that share space with four cupholders. The image tells us three things. The boat is meant to fish (rocket launchers), to cruise and party (drink holders) and was designed with safety as a top priority (handrails).
Three cup holders and a handrail on the starboard side round out the helm notables. With its high windshield, well-placed instruments and gauges, and ample dry storage, this is a very impressive helm.
The head on the 3200 is truly a stand-up affair: You have 6’4”. A handrail is needed on the aft side of the liner for support as you take two steps down. A small sink with detachable faucet separates the stairs from the 6’7”-long berth that extends toward the bow. A standard electric head hides under the after portion of the berth cushion. The berth is only 3’ wide, so anglers on long fishing trips will have to take turns napping. The toilet paper has a nice dry home under the sink.
Century gives you drawers galore down here—one under the sink, one under the steps and four more in the aft liner. Two portlights provide more than enough light. More importantly, they’ll ventilate. A good-sized mirrored door leads to the console wiring, which is all tinned and 14-gauge. Our only complaint: A cluster of wires blocked our access to a fuse panel here.
Century uses a polyester resin throughout the hull laminate, and the company does not offer any warranty coverage against blistering. This worries us. We’d feel more comfortable buying this $120,000 boat if a 100% vinylester resin was used—in the skin coat at least. Vinylester resists blistering much better and is tougher and more durable than polyester resins.
Century uses multiple layers of both woven and stitched fiberglass fabrics to build the 3200. The bottom is solid glass, which we prefer over a cored bottom.
Balsa cores the hull sides and the deck. We asked Century what measures it takes to ensure an intimate bond between core and fiberglass skins. The builder utilizes pre-kit balsa core kits. This is good. PBR contributor and composites expert Rick Strand said pre-cut kits ensure better core fit in shape transitions so channels won’t develop. Channeling occurs when the core does not fit its installation area well. A channel exposes a much greater surface area of balsa to water if water does indeed enter through through-hull fittings or a crack.
The hull-to-deck joint seems fine. The builder uses a combination of epoxy-coated screws, through-bolts and 3M 4000 Series adhesive/sealant—a faster-curing version of 5200—to hold the two components together.
The one-piece fiberglass stringer system is filled with foam, which helps deaden sound. Foam-filled ribs reinforce the hull sides. Century now uses a urethane foam to core the transom. The Century 3000 had a wood-cored transom.
Cavities are filled with foam in the final stage of construction.
Century backs the 3200 with 10-year transferable warranty—better than the industry’s standard 5 years.
Polyurethane foam encases the single 300-gallon aluminum tank that sits in the belly of the boat. The foam, along with brackets that are screwed to the stringer system, holds the tank in place. We prefer an installation that does not use foam because foam traps moisture, which causes aluminum to corrode. Century product engineer Chris Sims says the company has not had any problems with this installation method, which it has been using since about 1995. He said the builder coats the tank with a zinc oxide primer to protect it. That primer also helps the foam adhere to the tank, he said.
We’d keep the zinc coating and do away with the foam, utilizing straps to secure the tank but let it breathe. Why take the chance with foam when it’s not necessary?
Here’s another reason we don’t like foam: It makes it impossible to fully inspect the tank. Even getting to the tank on the Century is tough: It requires cutting the cockpit sole. Century has included scribe lines along the deck so you know where cut.
A quick scan of the deck told us that Century designed the topside layout with day tripping as well as fishing in mind. The boat has cushions—and lots of them. At the bow, two raised storage compartments lie along the hull sides. Pads can be snapped on top, and bolsters serve as backrests. Century builds with safety in mind, as evidenced by the handrail that wraps the interior of the forward seating. The storage lockers under the seats are nicely finished, with thick rubber gasketing to keep water out.
A dinette table can be inserted in the deck between the seats. Make sure to remove it before heading into rough water, though. Its locking mechanism failed during our sea trial, leaving the table barely standing when we got back to the dock. Century is working on this.
We peeked inside the anchor locker’s vertical access hatch. Through-bolts with nylon nuts and aluminum backing plates held the three 10” bow cleats in place. We also saw the squished-down 3M 4200 urethane used to help bond and seal the hull and deck.
The anchor locker drains overboard, and there’s a tie-off for the rode’s bitter end. You pass the rode through a hawsehole, which we think should be moved aft 4 or 5 inches for a smoother feed to the centerline cleat. Being so close to this cleat, we wonder if you’d bang your hand on the hawsepipe cap.
If you really want to get picky, the centerline cleat should be angled slightly. This’ll help prevent jamming.
On the plus side, the anchor locker opening is big enough to stick both hands in and untangle a knot.
Under the padded transom seat is a huge livewell, cutting board and sink with fresh- and raw-water washdowns.
The bowrail should extend farther aft so crew standing outboard of the console have a secondary rail to grab. A vertical grabrail outboard of the console serves as the primary handhold.
The aforementioned bow bolster extends several feet aft of the bow seating, providing toekick space. A two-person cushioned seat occupies the forward section of the console beneath the windshield. It’s a comfortable spot, with a padded backrest and handrails on both sides.
The foredeck is raised, which frees up space for two 100-quart insulated fishboxes in the deck. These flank the forward console seat, and then there’s another pair of identical fishboxes just aft of this.
Macerator pumps are built into the larger, 340-quart fishboxes beneath the cockpit sole. They open on stainless steel lifts. The hatches, like all the others, are gasketed and are rimmed with deep gutters.
The boat comes standard with two pairs of batteries. Each twosome sits on raised shelves inside lockers under the cockpit sole. Rubber boots cover the terminals. Gasketing rims the hatch lids, and deep gutters lead water to scuppers only inches away. It looks like a watertight installation—and it better be considering the location. Access couldn’t be better. Klockars was elated.
His mood turned sour when he saw the bilge pump installation. The pumps are well aft of the centerline hatchway, which is the only way to get to them. If a hose comes loose, you’ve got a major problem on your hands.
Changing the fuel/water separators should be easy—they’re mounted just forward on a bulkhead.
Storage for rods and tackle fills the hull sides. Nifty fold-out drawers on each side hold two tackle boxes and a small shelf.
We like the installation of the battery switches, too. They’re easily reached in the hull side behind a door. The freshwater faucet has a home in the identical space on the starboard hull side.
Century covers every storage area on this boat, including the rod racks along the hull sides accessed through double-doors, giving the boat a clean, neat appearance.
Bolsters in the cockpit provide toekick space. Hull sides measure an adequate 24-1/2” high.
A dual 75-gallon lighted and aerated baitwell anchors the raised fiberglass fishing station at the stern. Fresh- and raw-water washdowns, a sink and a cutting board round out the fishing paraphernalia.
Other nice touches: The livewell lid contains a window so you can check your bait without opening the lid. Both lids here utilize stainless steel shocks.
Pads can be added to the top of the transom module for additional seating (along with a backrest). The only drawback: The seat is so high that your feet dangle when you sit here. Two handrails on each end will help you stabilize yourself, though.
The Century 3200 is less expensive than many of its competitors. (Take a look at the Value Guide above.) The builder has found a winning combination of beam, LOA and deadrise, so that the boat delivers a dry, relatively soft ride. We love the helm, with its high windshield, excellent sightlines and thoughtfully placed controls. Other pluses: a wide-open deck layout with plentiful seating (for a center console), excellent access to the batteries, a first-class head and fishing features galore. The 10-year transferable warranty sweetens the deal.
We don’t like the fuel tank installation or the fact that vinylester resin is not used in the construction process.
If Century removed the foam from around its aluminum fuel tank and inserted a 100 percent vinylester resin into the lam schedule, the boat would go a long way toward improving its attraction in the highly competitive big center console market, in our view.