At the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, there was some serious power on display—especially when it came to center console fishing boats. A Hydra-Sports 53 Suenos (the largest center console in the world, you can read about it in Hot News from the Miami Boat Show, where we wrote about it just after its introduction last spring) sporting quadruple 627-horsepower Seven Marine engines. A Regulator 41 with quad Yamaha F350’s. A Scout 42 with quad F300 Yamahas. The list goes on and on. But one of the most impressive—and the fastest fishboat of them all—was a Midnight Express 43.
With four 557-HP Seven Marine outboards gracing its transom, the Midnight Express 43 can hit a shocking 90 MPH. It can beat out many boats that carry even more horsepower thanks to techy construction that results in a displacement of only 13,000 pounds. Compare that to something like, say, a Boston Whaler 420 Outrage center console, which tips the scales at 24,800 pounds. The Midnight Express also benefits from a twin-step hull design, which greatly reduces drag and increases efficiency and top-end speeds. (Read Boat Hull Basics: Steps, Deep V Deadrise, and More to find out how hull steps can accomplish so much).
Naturally, there is a down-side to designing and building a “fishing” boat like this. For starters, another way it gets a speed-boost is by incorporating a very narrow design. Beam is only 12’6″, which sounds like a lot at first, until you think about the fact that most center consoles in this range are six inches to a foot wider. That Whaler, for example, is 13′ wide. And a half-foot increase in beam translates into a lot of additional square footage on the deck. Plus, we’re not too sure this boat is really going to work out all that well when it comes to fishing. Much of the deck space is taken up with seating; there’s a full row across the stern, “stadium seating” on the helm-deck, and big lounges in the bow. On top of that the hard top isn’t a “T” but instead has supports that rest on the gunwales, eliminating 360-degree fishability. And besides all that, who would dream of splattering fish blood on a work of art like this?
Okay, let me back-pedal a bit here, folks. IMHO, despite the fact that it’s a center console. the Midnight Express isn’t really a true fishboat. It also costs 10 times more than an average American’s house, and in one hour of joy-riding it’ll burn off enough gasoline to run a single engine inshore bay boat for a year… or maybe two years. Still, you’ve gotta admit, it’s pretty dang cool—90 MPH in a center console!