BLACK­FIN

No plea­sure craft of­fers more com­fort in terms of seat­ing and ameni­ties while main­tain­ing its sta­tus among se­ri­ous fish­er­men.

Boating - - FEATURES - — Randy Vance

272 CC

This new cen­ter con­sole lives up to its leg­endary name.

WWe had a float plan set for the Hump on our trial date. It’s ac­tu­ally one of sev­eral seamounts ris­ing from a few hun­dred feet to over a thou­sand feet in the At­lantic about 30 miles east of Duck Key, Flor­ida. There is usu­ally an up­welling there, and, of late, it was swarm­ing with black­fin tuna. You can call us chicken for opt­ing to chase tar­pon in­stead as NOAA called for 7-plus-foot seas. But we had a big crew of nine with pho­tog­ra­phers and gear.

Turned out, we were wise: Seas built to over 12 feet that af­ter­noon, and we still bat­tled ocean-wor­thy chop pound­ing in on us from all direc­tions. Tightly

packed 6-foot rollers squished through the stone arch­ways of the old Over­seas High­way Bridge. This was a mad­house of con­fused chop do­ing its best to knock us all off our feet.

But it did not.

Once an­chored, Bran­don Sim­mons, our skip­per, stood at the tran­som, deftly spin­ning Bi­mini twists and ty­ing in 50-pound leader with 5/0 cir­cle hooks. He cast a sus­pi­cious eye at my spi­der hitch and tugged just as doubt­fully at my leader con­nec­tion and im­proved clinch knot to the cir­cle hook. I’m no­body’s fool at fish­ing, but as he said, “I don’t know you.”

We didn’t know the Black­fin 272 CC either, and that’s why we were there. This out­board pro­to­type is a con­tin­u­a­tion of a long and sto­ried brand of rugged, highly re­spected sport-fish­ers. In our tests at wide-open throt­tle (the dual 300 hp Ver­a­dos pushed us to over 61 mph), we could tell this 272 CC was ev­ery bit as tough as its leg­end de­manded. A full com­pos­ite stringer grid is

bonded into the hull, and car­bon-fiber re­in­forc­ing makes it so rigid, no hatches rat­tled, and even the rugged cus­tom hard­top shud­dered not a bit.

Ma­son Cum­mings was on board, one of the en­gi­neers re­spon­si­ble for the de­sign, and he iden­ti­fied some fine points for us. The livewell, for in­stance. Thirty gal­lons fed by an 800 gph pump seemed light at first glance un­til we looked in­side. Gem­lux drains and valves, all com­pletely ad­justable from within the well, let us ad­just the flow at the top and bot­tom drains and reg­u­late in­flow. For our choppy wa­ter, we nearly closed both drains and let the over­flow squeeze out the gas­keted lid and drain over­board via a smart gut­ter in the tran­som. Though there is no sea chest, the tank filled to the top and pres­sur­ized the well.

Eight rod hold­ers on the gun­wales and six un­der­neath kept gear ready. Rocket launch­ers in the hard­top were in easy reach of most of our crew. A clear acrylic livewell win­dow lets crew mon­i­tor bait.

The helm is en­closed in glass, but an elec­tric vent at the top pro­vides fresh air. The dual helm seat is bol­stered and sports arm­rests. Black­fin is cus­tom-de­sign­ing the stain­less-steel hard­ware. It cut the hinges for the ex­tra-wide tran­som seat too, and the back­rest is a real seat back ideally slanted for com­fort, un­like most ver­ti­cal, rigid tran­som bol­sters. It pulls out quickly with one hand and slaps back in place one­handed too.

The fam­ily com­forts are car­ried for­ward with two smart in­serts in the coam­ing bol­sters that slip out of their sock­ets and fit to cre­ate for­ward-fac­ing back­rests.

We had a large crew, yet Black­fin’s en­gi­neers cre­ated amaz­ingly wide walk­ways be­tween the gun­wales and the gen­er­ous helm sta­tion; two could pass by at once. The con­sole door opens only inches into the star­board walk­way on cus­tom hinges that let the door swing more for­ward than out­ward. An­glers or the gaff man can work freely there even if the door is open.

Com­pa­ra­ble in size to the Black­fin 272 is Grady-White’s Canyon 271 FS ($211,600 base with Yamaha 300s). It also boasts con­vert­ible for­ward lounges and a fold­away tran­som seat. The Grady’s con­sole is all busi­ness with­out the up­hol­stered brow, and it has a man­i­fold livewell and rig­ging sta­tion more hard­core than Black­fin’s pro­to­type. But we’ve heard Cum­mings is al­ready sketch­ing out up­dates to those.

When you choose a boat like the Black­fin, it’s not enough to buy the fisha­bil­ity, plea­sure and per­for­mance this one ex­hib­ited. You want last­ing good looks too, ac­com­plished here by mul­ti­tex­tured, drum-tight vinyl and knife­like cor­ners. Black­fin-em­bossed pull-up cleats, and cus­tom hinges and hatches are glis­ten­ing pol­ished stain­less steel. The black gel­coated sides are smooth enough to read a pa­per in their re­flec­tion, and the glossy hard­top sup­ports sport two durable black-pow­der­coat­ing treat­ments and two clear top­coats for dura­bil­ity.

This was Black­fin’s first sea trial and a pretty solid “get to know you” by all of us. Our test clearly re­vealed the 272 CC as a solid com­peti­tor in the sport-fish­ing mar­ket, and that it has the added en­tice­ments to pamper fam­i­lies. But Black­fin is just get­ting started; it’s al­ready got a 32 cen­ter con­sole in the wings.

In our tests at wideopen throt­tle (the dual 300 hp Ver­a­dos pushed us to over 61 mph), we could tell this 272 CC was ev­ery bit as tough as its leg­end de­manded.

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