By Frank Sargeant
Wellcraft Scarab 35 Sport: Fish Fast
Wellcraft Scarab 35 Sport satisfies the need for speed
If you like to get to your fishing spots in a hurry and look good while you’re doing it, you’ll probably love the Scarab 35 Sport from Wellcraft Marine. This boat looks like an offshore racer, not surprising since that’s what has earned the company its fame, and it has the performance to match.
Top speeds hovered in the 50s with the twin 225 Merc EFIs on the test rig, despite a big, air-resistant T-top. (Note that the narrower performance boats in the company’s fleet clock well into the 60s with similar power, but don’t offer the fishing room of the 9-foot 9-inch wide 35.)
If you want more speed, you can order more power, up to triple 250s, which should be more than adequate to satisfy your need. However, you’d be making frequent visits to the gas dock to feed those monsters.
We ran our tests on a day when Florida’s Sarasota Bay was flat calm, so we had no opportunity to see the rough-water capability of the boat. However, with a 23-degree deadrise, it should be outstanding.
The 35 is very quick to plane, averaging about 4.8 seconds, impressive considering the 7000-pound displacement.
Handling is a trip; it’s like driving a 35-foot-long bass boat. The bow goes skyward when you drop the hammer, but as soon as the boat flattens out the seagulls and channel markers start going past fast. The boat likes a lot of trim to get that long bow up and out of the water. Once it comes up, it’s like hitting passing gear as the wheel gets light and speed jumps to the max.
The boat seems to balance almost like a pad hull, but it was no problem to keep it tracking straight with the SeaStar hydraulic steering. Mercury racing tabs sit in pockets in the transom, but we found no need to use them in our test run. You’d probably want them, though, if you had a long run in beam seas; they help to level deep-V hulls, which otherwise tend to lean into the wind. They can also flatten out head seas when you drop the bow.
I noted one slightly unusual behavior when chopping the power quickly while at top speed, ss you might do in an emergency stop. The transom wants to walk sideways slightly. It’s not enough to be dangerous but enough to get your attention if you’re not looking for it.
Fit and finish is excellent throughout, and the boat is loaded with lots of extras as part of the standard package.
Starting at the bow, the cap has a neat, built-in anchor-roller, but with no pulpit to spoil the racing look of the boat. An optional Maxwell anchor winch with step-on waterproof switches makes it easy to handle the long lines needed for offshore anchoring. The bow cleats are pop-ups, also helping to keep the look clean and to avoid snagging fishing lines.
There’s no bow casting platform, as is common in center consoles, but there is an enormous storage box in the front sole. The hatch, a foam-and-glass sandwich, is easily hoisted thanks to a pair of stainless steel Nitro-lift pistons.
There are bolsters from bow to stern, cushioning for your thighs when you brace to crank in a big tuna or reef fish. In front of the console is a racing-type seat with high sides that will help passengers stay put when things get bumpy, though most will probably prefer to ride behind the console in those conditions.
The console seat is also the door into the enclosed head. This whole assembly lifts at the touch of a finger thanks to added piston-lifts. Inside this cabin, the headroom is 5’9″, and there’s a sink, hand-shower and Sea-Land marine head. The back bulkhead of this cabin has a water-tight door offering access to breakers and the instrument panel should you need to fix anything. There are two screened portholes to let in air.
The only noted design flaw inside is the Clarion stereo, which is mounted low near the head. If you used the shower, water would probably find its way into the radio and snuff out your tunes.
The 5-foot-long fish boxes are set into the sole on either side of the console, and Gemlux hinges secure the lids in place without projecting above the diamond non-skid to stub bare toes. There are three smaller fish boxes in the aft sole, all insulated and with overboard pumpouts.
At the helm, the leaning post features racing bolster type seats with a flip-up bottom that makes it easy to stand while you drive, if you prefer. There’s a three-drawer tacklebox and four “rocket launcher” rod holders mounted on the back of the leaning post, with a portable ice-chest mounted underneath.
A couch-type seat on the transom folds down out of the way for fishing, but would provide a soft ride on the run out and back. There’s a roto-cast, rounded livewell mounted in the transom for bait, and a transom door offers easy access to the built-in swim platform/engine bracket.
Construction is all glass and foam, with no wood in decks or transom, thus no possibility of rot after the boat ages a few years.
There’s nothing like being the first boat out to the best weedline as the sun is coming out of the sea, and in the Scarab 35 Sport, odds are you won’t have any company for a while.
For details, contact Scarab Boats, 1651 Whitfield Dr., Sarasota, FL 34243; (941) 753-7811; www.wellcraft.com.
|Weight||7,000 lbs w/engines|
|Fuel capacity||300 gals.|
|Water capacity||40 gals.|