What’s up with the folks at Sportsman Boats? Did they discover an untapped well of ingenuity, determine how to manufacture sheer motivation, or get some sort of galactic energy infusion? A while back they wowed us with a slick little 20-footer called the Masters 207, then last summer they splashed the 267 OE Bay Boat, and now they’ve come out with their largest center console ever, the Open 352. And for the third time in a row, this new model is a serious eye-opener. Let's take a look at one up close and personal, on video.
Surprise number one: the boat is totally teched-out, even in stock form. We’re not talking about the silly stuff like USB ports and stereo speakers that blink colors to the beat of the music, but big-ticket tech like a SeaStar Maximus digital switching system, a fully integrated Garmin electronics package headed up by a GPSMAP 8622 22-inch (22 inch!!) display MFD with an Airmar B175M through-hull CHIRP transducer, Optimus electronics power steering, and a Yamaha Command Link Plus CL7 touchscreen display. Heck even the boat’s structure is high-tech, with the hull, deck, and stringers all resin-infused. Surprise number two: while having a side-opening dive door has become commonplace on CCs of this size, the Open 352 has them both port and starboard. That means you can board easily—or drag a mammoth swordfish into the boat—from either side. Surprise number three: this is a model that can be had with some exceedingly high-end touches that are usually found only on uber-expensive center console yachts, like a Release Marine teak package with custom helm chairs, helm pod, and ladder-back bowseat backrests. Or, how about that Seakeeper 3 gyroscopic stabilizer?
Wait a sec—won’t these three surprises add up to a fourth somewhat less-pleasant surprise, when you look at the price tag? Not so much. We’re not going to assert that the $295K base (with your choice of twin Yamaha F425s or triple F300 V-6 outboards) shown on Sportsman’s website is inexpensive, nor that it’s affordable. That’s a call that only you can make. But when you look at the numbers in comparison to similarly-sized and equipped boats you’ll notice that this is actually quite reasonable. And if you load the boat with each and every available option (including the stuff we anglers scoff at, like a bow sunshade and custom engine colors) you can’t even come close to the half-million mark. We tried the same check-all-the-boxes exercise for a well-known competitor of the same size, and it more than doubled the boat’s price while breaking three quarters of a million dollars. Interesting side note: the exact same Seakeeper gyro option added about $20,000 more to the other boat’s cost than it did on the Sportsman. Hum.
The other features you’d hope for on a boat of this size and nature are waiting for your inspection: there are six flush gunwale rodholders plus four in the transom; a pair of 30-gallon pressurized livewells with viewing ports; integrated fishboxes in the deck; a sea chest system; the front of the console is topped with a double-lounger with arm rests; there’s a flip-down aft-facing bait-watching seat in the back of the leaning post; and a head compartment in the console (air conditioning’s optional).
We know that seeing a boat like this with your own eyes is a must, if you want to gain a solid grip on just how impressive it may or may not be. But we can’t line up a sea trial for you— that’s between you and your local dealer. And yo, Sportsman folks: We’ll have a little of whatever you’re having, please.
Sportsman Open 352 Specifications
LOA – 35’2”
Beam – 11’2”
Displacement – 9850 lbs.
Draft (hull) – 2’0”
Transom Deadrise – 23 degrees
Fuel Capacity – 330 gal.
Max. Power – 900 hp
Area Dealers – Riverside Marine, Essex, MD, (410) 686-1500.