here’s no shortage of big outboard-powered center consoles charging around the ocean these days, both as fishing boats and megayacht tenders. But in this sea of familiarity, the 41.5 by Sea Force IX drums the water to a different beat.
What makes this boat so different? The philosophy of the manufacturer based in Palmetto, Florida, for starters. The typical drill for a center console builder is to begin with a small boat and eventually go larger as experience grows. Sea Force, however, works in the opposite direction. At 41 feet, the 41.5 is a scaled-down version of its larger boats.
Sea Force has been making custom sportfishing convertible yachts from 70 to 94 feet since 2001; another division builds steel and aluminum yachts and patrol boats. The company runs a full-service yard, too. This soup-to-nuts operation is headed by Capt. Ron Rookstool, whose “been there, done that” reputation is based on his life’s work creating premium vessels, one boat at a time.
I stepped aboard the 41.5 at the Buccaneer Yacht Club in Palm Beach Shores, Florida. The plan was to go offshore for a day of sailfishing; we’d troll lines just south of Lake Worth Inlet in about 120 feet of water. The boat’s custom-yacht pedigree was immediately evident. Fit and finish were exemplary and the hull gleamed under its Awlgrip/Awlcraft top coat.
You won’t see any print-through on this boat, even with the dark blue hull, because parts are baked after lay-up to eliminate any possibility of post-cure anomalies. Built on a jig, composite construction includes hand-laid multidirectional knitted laminates that are vacuum-bagged to DIAB structural foam. The hull, deck and liner are fusion-bonded to the stringer grid and the bulkheads, then glassed in place with West epoxy. The result is what Sea Force calls its monolithic construction, a process also used on the company’s larger yachts. It makes for a hefty boat that’s more than ready for blue water, particularly with its deep-V hull (23 degrees of transom deadrise).
The 41.5 is the first in a new series of performance sport yacht center consoles that will extend to 55 feet. “It’s for experienced yachtsmen who want the same features, comfort and quality they enjoy aboard their larger vessels,” said Todd Albrecht, the company’s sales and marketing director.
During our run offshore, the one-piece wraparound windscreen offered unobstructed visibility. The boat revealed itself as a tight, quiet and stable platform. And because it’s heavy, it rode more like a convertible than a highly powered center console. In addition, the three Yamahas provided a comfortable choice of cruising speeds between 3500 and 5000 rpm (21 to 38 knots respectively), with good fuel efficiency throughout the range.
Because it’s custom, Sea Force can equip the 41.5 for the customer’s preference. If the owner wants to cruise, he can get a watermaker and a Seakeeper 5, and even color match the hull to the underside of the hardtop. A cockpit grill, mezzanine seating and joystick controls are additional options. Sea Force builds its fleet one boat at time, and as a result every model—particularly this 41.5—is sure to please.
We never found a sailfish that wanted to take the bait; fishing happens like that sometimes. Even so, the ocean experience was valuable as it revealed the performance parameters of the 41.5, demonstrating what the boat is all about: quality. —Peter Frederiksen
Sea Force IX, 941-721-9009; seaforceix.com
Displ.: 21,660 lbs.
Fuel: 505 gal.
Water: 60 gal.
Power: 3/350-hp Yamaha V8 outboards
Cruise speed: 30 knots
Price (as tested): $850,000