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Older Contender 23 vs Newer Sea Hunt 27'

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Older Contender 23 vs Newer Sea Hunt 27'

Old 01-08-2020, 05:00 PM
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Default Older Contender 23 vs Newer Sea Hunt 27'

Been searching for boat I can fish on and take the family to the sand bar. I've been fishing offshore my entire life out of Morehead city, NC. Fishing in 2-3' fairly tight chop is pretty regular but you can pick plenty of days that are fairly slick calm. Usually a 40-50 mile run to the break or shorter 20-30 miles to the bottom fishing grounds which I do a lot of. Most of my offshore experience here is 26-30 downeasters low'n'slow boats, 27 oceanmaster, contender 25 open, yellowfin 29-36. Any of those that fit my budget I haven't been able to find with things the wife needs or they are ancient with old motors.

Coming from a heavy fishing background I love the little 23 contender, but the wife isn't too happy about the lack of seating and amenities. I could pay cash for a 2000-2004 contender 23 open ( the 23 LOA model not the 25'). Paying cash makes me happy but I hear about the ride of a 23' boat (even the contender) not being able to get on top and span the chop. Any opinions or experience with the offshore ride of the 23 open?

The other option I've got right now is a new or slightly used Sea Hunt 27' gamefish with the coffin box. Again I come from a heavy marine background ( both fishing and oceanography) so the idea of going with a boat because my wife likes the seating and the price is good makes my skin crawl a little bit. BUT, the payment would be extremely modest, I'd have new or near new 200 yam's on the back (wife hates exhaust smell), tons of seating for the family, and it seems like a fairly nice 2 piece boat.

I don't need to fish in the 4-5 footers anymore. I'll be picking my days and trying to go with wind less than 13 kts. I have plenty of friends with bigger boats to fish the bad days if needed. I don't know anyone with the 23 open or the 27 gamefish but I'd love to go for a ride. I can pay for fuel and your time if needed.

Budget right now is Cash $40k
Loan for a new or new used boat is ~$120k where I'd put down ~ 20-30 and use the other 10 to outfit the boat with aftermarket things like a giant trolling motor etc....

Trailering either boat isn't an issue.

I'm 27 and have plenty of time to upgrade over the next 5-10 years to a higher tier newer boat. Right now I'd just like to get into something before summer that we can really enjoy all aspects of.

Thanks everyone!
Old 01-08-2020, 05:32 PM
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My brother n law loves his seahunt. I'd take that 27 over a contender 23 as it's a much bigger boat

​​​​​​My friend has a sportsman 23 and went out of st Augustine Monday. Many 25 foot boats were turning around while he went out 24 miles at 25mph. Slow and steady. 2-3' with a 4 sec period and 15mph wind.

you don't need a top of the line fishing boat or hardcore fishing boat to land the fish. It's not always about the brand name




Old 01-08-2020, 05:52 PM
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Happy Wife.....Happy Life !

Your wife isn't going to like that 23 Contender.
Old 01-08-2020, 06:11 PM
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If it were just for fishing I would pick the Contender but the Sea Hunt is a much bigger family friendly boat! Both boats are capable of making an offshore run... The Sea Hunt with 21deg deadrise will beat you up a bit more on a long choppy run.
Old 01-08-2020, 06:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Swift Buzzard View Post
If it were just for fishing I would pick the Contender but the Sea Hunt is a much bigger family friendly boat! Both boats are capable of making an offshore run... The Sea Hunt with 21deg deadrise will beat you up a bit more on a long choppy run.
So you think the 23 will run better in tight chop than the 27? This is something I'm curious about. On the same day which boat will run better in the tight 2-3 chop? Which boat is smoother, less wet, etc...
Old 01-08-2020, 06:31 PM
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Iíd have to imagine some of the difference in deadrise would be mitigated by the added weight and 4 foot extra in length. Depending on how choppy it gets, 24* deadrise or not a 23 footer is still a 23 footer.
Old 01-08-2020, 06:38 PM
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Originally Posted by jtav2002 View Post
Iíd have to imagine some of the difference in deadrise would be mitigated by the added weight and 4 foot extra in length. Depending on how choppy it gets, 24* deadrise or not a 23 footer is still a 23 footer.
^^^This^^^
Old 01-08-2020, 06:58 PM
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Originally Posted by jtav2002 View Post
Iíd have to imagine some of the difference in deadrise would be mitigated by the added weight and 4 foot extra in length. Depending on how choppy it gets, 24* deadrise or not a 23 footer is still a 23 footer.
That's what I would like to think as well. I just don't have the experience on both types of boats to back it up.
Old 01-08-2020, 07:10 PM
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The Contender will eat that 27 SH up in a rough ocean. Trust me.
Old 01-08-2020, 07:12 PM
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Most of
the advantage of a boat with 24* deadrise is it can run faster under the same conditions but only if it can span the waves and be heavy enough. The contender sure is a good boat but unless the sea hunt has an 18* deadrise which it doesnt i wouldnt take the contender. Under same conditions i feel like both boats will have to go fairly slow i guess high 20 mph range with the contender having to slow down a bit due to lighter and shorter so lets say 23mph on the 23 and 25 or 26 on the sea hunt. If it were me i would go bigger. My 2 cents
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Old 01-08-2020, 07:16 PM
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I have a 25 open (28í) and love it but my wife doesnít. She gets sea sick with the 24dd. I think the SH is 21. We do mostly bottom fishing and a 24dd is tippy, it doesnít bother me but if someone is prone to sea sickness their gonna see their breakfast in moderate conditions.

Im a big fan of fast CCs with three piece construction but the Sea Hunt is a nice compromise. The 27 with a coffin is pretty bad ass, I donít know why thatís not the main configuration. Who wants front seats, itís like ridding a bull in rough conditions.
Old 01-08-2020, 07:31 PM
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Originally Posted by GC88 View Post
I have a 25 open (28í) and love it but my wife doesnít. She gets sea sick with the 24dd. I think the SH is 21. We do mostly bottom fishing and a 24dd is tippy, it doesnít bother me but if someone is prone to sea sickness their gonna see their breakfast in moderate conditions.

Im a big fan of fast CCs with three piece construction but the Sea Hunt is a nice compromise. The 27 with a coffin is pretty bad ass, I donít know why thatís not the main configuration. Who wants front seats, itís like ridding a bull in rough conditions.
I have a ton of time on the 25 open. I love that boat and have been looking for one that meets all of our boxes but it is pretty hard to come by without it being 100k for a boat that has 15 year old motors on it and more than just an aluminum bar lean post. I really like everything about 3 piece heavy deadrise boats but have had a hard time getting them to fit in my budget. I even told my wife that bean bags are more comfortable. Talking
Old 01-08-2020, 09:18 PM
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Have you thought about a Contender 28 Sport? I have one and it is a fantastic boat for both family and hardcore fishing. The Sport has the forward seating, removeable rear bench seat and head but still has all the fishing features and tons of floor storage and fish box area. PM me if you want some more info.
Old 01-08-2020, 10:45 PM
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the bigger, heavier, with more fuel capacity boat with more room and forward seating would be my choice, not sure about beam difference? but having seen many 23 contenders up close I wouldn't think that's not even a fair comparison? I've spent some time on a 23 regulator and don't think that would be a good comparison to a 27' sea hunt either. Now if it were a 25 contender? would be a lot closer apples. I get the sharp entry of the contender, but don't think sea hunt would be that much difference
Old 01-08-2020, 11:16 PM
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I have never been in a 23 contender but have spent a lot of time in a 2011 21í contender that belonged to my step brother. The 21 was most impressive at about 40 mph in 2-3í tight gulf chop. I remember the first time out in those conditions thinking we were about to get our teeth kicked in but the boat really handled it great. It seemed to ride worse in any conditions going slower. Overall it was a very impressive boat for its size. I would suggest taking a ride in both. Hull design and build quality count for a lot regardless of size.
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Old 01-09-2020, 04:30 AM
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my opinion is there is no substitute for length. Go big..
Old 01-09-2020, 05:26 AM
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Give Cape Horn 27xs (forwad seating) a thought you can pick up a 1-3 year old for $120ish and it is a hardcore fishing boat that has some creature comforts to keep the ol lady happy. 23 degree deadrise big livewells and fish box. We fish a 31T and for the value its hard to beat.
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Old 01-09-2020, 05:26 AM
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The Contender will outride and outfish the SH. BUT, none of that matters if your wife is not happy. You mentioned sandbar too which both points to SH as the boat for you. IF i had to chose between those two
Old 01-09-2020, 05:44 AM
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I'll put money that the SH 27 is a drier boat.
Old 01-09-2020, 05:45 AM
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I was in a very similar situation. I decided to hold out and wait for the boat I truly wanted (25 open/28 Sport) and saved my money until one came available that worked for me. I believe it saved me money in the long run rather than buying a boat to get me by that I was never going to be completely happy with

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