North­coast 24 CC


Saltwater Sportsman - - Fishability / Northcoast 24 Cc - BY GARY CA­PUTI

WWhen you think about cen­ter con­soles, the name North­coast might not pop into your head, but you should get to know it. This North­east boat­builder’s lat­est of­fer­ing, a beamy, midrange cen­ter con­sole, han­dles big wa­ter with con­fi­dence and sur­pris­ing per­for­mance.

I met Gregg Weatherby, North­coast’s direc­tor of sales and mar­ket­ing and a long­time fish­ing guide, as Hur­ri­cane José pushed swells into Rhode Is­land Sound and a north­east wind kicked at 20 knots: a per­fect day for a boat test. We grabbed some fish­ing rods and foul-weather gear, hopped aboard, and cruised slowly around Goat Is­land and down East Pas­sage, head­long into the mas­sive swells break­ing on Bren­ton Reef. We’d be look­ing for al­bies for the next few hours.

North­coast is a di­vi­sion of C&C Ma­rine, a pre­mier builder with decades of ex­pe­ri­ence mak­ing high-qual­ity boats and ma­jor fiber­glass com­po­nents for other high-end builders. Owner José Daponte pur­chased the brand some years back, and the re­sult is a line of tough, high-per­for­mance cen­ter con­sole and cabin boats from 18 to 27 feet.

Our test boat was decked out with the op­tional plush lounge seats for­ward of the con­sole, full bol­sters, a fiber­glass T-top, and the deluxe fish­ing sta­tion/lean­ing post that in­cludes seat­ing for three, a four-rod rocket launcher in the back­rest, cup hold­ers, 35-gal­lon baitwell, fresh­wa­ter sink, cut­ting board, two large tackle drawers aft, and a tackle cab­i­net on each side that holds 10 re­mov­able boxes, plus a tilt-out bin be­neath the seats for trash or ex­tra stor­age.

The large cen­ter con­sole is molded as part of the in­ner liner, a nice fea­ture that means it can never loosen up or creak with age. It has a large raised sec­tion for­ward that extends to­ward the bow, cre­at­ing the base for the lounge seats, or you can forgo the cush­ions and mount a large Yeti cooler in­stead. A hatch un­der this area opens to a 72-gal­lon fish box. There’s space enough between the con­sole sides and gun­wales for ease of pas­sage, a re­sult of the gen­er­ous 9-foot-1-inch beam, and when you poke your head in the con­sole-ac­cess door on the star­board-side, you’re in for a sur­prise. The com­part­ment in­side is roomy enough for a full-size ma­rine head with a clever swing-away fiber­glass en­clo­sure to hide and turn the space into a night ta­ble. Why a night ta­ble? Be­cause when or­dered with the Overnight Pack­age, the ex­tra space trans­forms into a berth that sleeps two. That’s right, there’s a sleeper in­side the 24-footer’s con­sole. Talk about Yan­kee in­ge­nu­ity!

The helm houses a pair of flush-mounted 12-inch LCD mon­i­tors, plus en­gine gauges, Lenco trim-tab con­trols with LED po­si­tion in­di­ca­tors, switch pan­els, a VHF ra­dio, and en­gine con­trols. Two stor­age bins, a built-in footrest and a wrap­around plex­i­glass wind­screen round out the helm area.

In ad­di­tion to the four stan­dard gun­wale rod hold­ers and the four on the back of the helm chair, five more line the back of the hard­top, and six ad­di­tional rod racks sit un­der the gun­wales. The T-top in­cor­po­rates an over­head molded-in ra­dio box, light pods, dome lights and radar base.

The two-tone deck and gun­wale treat­ment with non­skid ar­eas done in gray off­set by the rest in white is classy. Be­neath the stain­lesssteel an­chor bow roller and hawsepipe, an am­ple rope locker eas­ily han­dles 600 feet or more of rode. Mov­ing aft, you’ll find in-deck stor­age to port and star­board, a hatch to ac­cess the lazarette, and drop-down seat­ing for three on the tran­som. Valves and spig­ots for the raw- and fresh­wa­ter wash­downs sit un­der the gun­wales, and a ver­ti­cal hatch to ac­cess the raw-wa­ter pump is in the port side of the tran­som. A walkthrough tran­som door on the star­board-side pro­vides en­gine ac­cess.

Our test boat was pow­ered with twin Suzuki DF200 four-cylin­der four-stroke out­boards that fit snugly on the Euro-style tran­som. The en­gine plat­form, tighter than most boats, keeps the en­gines closer to the tran­som and makes it eas­ier to work a fish around them. The boat is rated for 450 hp, but pow­ered with a sin­gle 300, it hits a top speed of 48 mph.

Hull con­struc­tion is cored, hand-laid fiber­glass with a solid bot­tom in­fused with vinylester resins. A foam-filled fiber­glass grid pro­vides rigid­ity, and the tran­som is cored with 2½-inch Penske.

Out on the open sound in rough con­di­tions, the boat’s sea­keep­ing abil­ity and han­dling were im­pres­sive, re­spon­sive to the throt­tle and helm com­mands. The 22-de­gree dead­rise hull worked its magic in the build­ing chop, and it rode the big swells with ease. That and the deep free­board pro­vide a feel­ing of se­cu­rity.

New Eng­land boat­builders have been de­sign­ing sea­wor­thy ves­sels, both large and small, for over 300 years. The North­coast 24 CC car­ries that legacy with fly­ing col­ors, and it was good to see boat­build­ing still flour­ish­ing in one of its most his­toric lo­cales.

SEA­WOR­THY: A deep free­board and 22-de­gree dead­rise tackle rough seas.

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