Recreational power boating only gets better with each passing year. Advancements in technology and cutting edge features are allowing boats to become faster and more efficient. So, when it comes to selecting the Boat of the Year, there is an ample amount of quality products available.
Boating Magazine looks at more than 150 of the most advanced and innovative boats that hit the market each season. For 2019, they selected the Solace 345 as Boat of the Year, and with good reason.
Boating Magazine’s Boat of the Year for 2019
Stephen Dougherty is now considered one of the best boat designers in Florida. His top-of-the-line creation won not only Boat of the Year, but also the Innovation Award at the Miami International Boat Show. The 35-foot center console fishing boat offers state-of-the-art technology combined with never before seen luxurious features. Dougherty’s out-of-the-box thinking has set new industry standards, leaving fishermen around the globe drooling.
The Solace 345 rides on a deep-V hull, which allows for 34 feet of running surfaces and has 22 degrees of deadrise at the patent-pending center walk-through FishThru™ transom. It has a dry weight of 12,000 pounds with an MSRP of $650,000 for the base model.
Boating Magazine explained that they named the Solace 345 as Boat of the Year because, “Its arrangement, which extends the cockpit aft between widely spaced outboards, is as much a stand-alone innovation as it is an integration of the latest in propulsion, with courageous design and flawless execution.”
Impressive features of the award-winning boat
The most prominent feature of the Solace 345 is the patented FishThru™ transom that measures 38 inches wide at the aft end and can comfortably accommodate two anglers side by side. The transom extends aft between twin outboard Yamaha XTO V8 engines strategically placed along the hull’s outer edges.
There are two pressured 45-gallon live wells with adjacent tuna tubes and a swimming platform with a foldable boarding ladder that extends under the deck. The spacious 52-inch-long platform features a pair of gunwale rod holders that sit above the waterline and three-rod racks on both sides of the deck.
A hydraulic riser in the cushioned helm pad elevates up to 10 inches to extend standing height at the wheel. The wraparound tempered-glass windshield opens hydraulically to let in the ocean breeze. Navigation is simplified by using twin Garmin GPS multifunction displays that are flush-mounted on a 53-inch-wide dash. The Yamaha Helm Master docking system comes with two joysticks for ease of operation.
Passengers ride in comfort seated in one of the three helm high-back Llebroc Billfish chairs with fold-down armrests and footrests. The bolsters are mounted onto a Shockwave S5 base to absorb the bounce of rough seas. There are two-person loungers in the bow and forward console. An optional second station half-tower is available for the flybridge, providing the ideal surface for mounting a radar dome and antennas.
How the Solace 345 stands out among the competition
On the port side of this luxurious boat is a wide access door that leads to the console interior. The air-conditioned living quarters scream luxury with dark wood cabinetry throughout. There are 77 inches of headroom with a settee that converts to a sleeping berth. Corian countertops accentuate the vanity with an electric-flush marine toilet and illuminated glass vessel sink.
The multipurpose workstation includes an electric barbecue grill, stainless-steel refrigerator/freezer, and dual-basin sink with freshwater access. There is additional seating for three people that hydraulically lifts from within the workstation.
The solid construction of the hull is achieved by using vacuum-infused carbon-fiber materials that add to the boat’s strength and durability. The FishThru™ transom provides unique value in that fishers can work lines around the outboards, which is often tricky in traditionally built transoms.
The Solace 345 is second to none, hitting a top speed of 55 mph at 5,700 rpm. Time to 30 mph is 13.5 seconds, and the propulsion rate to plane is 7 seconds. There is a 323-gallon fuel capacity with a range of 300 miles.
The trim angle adjusts effortlessly and helps the outboard-powered V-hull respond with ease. An optional DC-powered gyrostabilizer keeps the boat on an even keel and eliminates rolling without using tabs to correct for weight or load shifts.