Fishing or entertaining, the Finseeker 280 Dual Console has it all. Barry Thompson went aboard to find out more.
Last year I had the opportunity to review a Finseeker 220 centre console. It was a very impressive boat from one of the USA’s fastest-growing builders of serious fishing boats. The company has gone a step further and added the 280 Dual Console, their latest foray into the dual fishing and entertaining market. Fish today, family cruising tomorrow. That’s what the 280 Dual Console is all about.
Three years in the making, the 280 Dual Console is 8.50m, including the outboard and has an overall boat length of 7.90m. With a beam of 2.80m, it is a spacious boat and an incredible fishing platform. But it’s also designed as a boat to suit the family. The 280 DC is filled with well-placed fishing amenities to please even the most serious fisherman, plus luxurious touches and entertainment features to create the perfect all-around family boat.
This boat eats rough water with a 22 deg deadrise at the transom and a steep angle of entry at the bow of 39 deg, consistent with all the Finseeker models. Also continued on all the boats is a wide 7.5 deg reverse chine to contribute to a dry ride in even the roughest conditions.
The Finseeker offers some exclusive features that no one else brings to the market, which makes it something special. For a start, around the transom area, Finseeker has incorporated a drop-down platform formed from the cover for the transom storage. This means you can walk from side to side easily without the engines or any cables getting in the way.
Great if you are hooked onto a Trevally or big Kahawai. The transom recess makes great fender storage.
To port is a large live bait tank, complete with a LED light, with an oversized pressurised lid which helps keep the baits stable in the water.
Around the transom area, you will also find a battery charger connection, an LCD transom remote for your entertainment system and a handheld freshwater shower. A battery charger comes standard with the Finseeker 280 DC.
Another cool feature is the hideaway rear bench seat, which can be raised if you need fishing space and lowered if you want more passengers seating. But it doesn’t stop there. A second drop-down seat to port provides seating for six to eight people in the cockpit.
There are oversized storage boxes under the wide cushioned coamings, which is at the right height for fighting those big fish. Plus, high enough to make the cockpit safe for children. Again, Finseeker has combined the best of both mediums into one well-designed layout.
There are two sizeable self-draining fish bins with macerators in the cockpit sole. Add that to the self-draining insulated tank under the starboard seating console, and there’s no shortage of areas to stow your catch, bait or ice.
Opposite on the port side is a convenient storage module with drawer storage, a slide-out fridge and a compact galley. However, if you intend to use this boat 100% for fishing and don’t require a galley, this can be replaced with what Finseeker calls their Mega Fish Pack. This comprises a second bait station with a second baitwell, a cutting table, and additional tackle drawers. Tackle drawers are already fitted under the twin forward seats in the standard package.
ENCLOSED FOR PROTECTION
The Finseeker 280 DC comes with a fully enclosed cockpit, a centre door, and a large screen for easy access to the bow area. A large cutout vent above can stay open for excellent air circulation with the forward access closed. A Sureshade canopy automatically extends the cabin roof right through to the transom.
Four speakers on the roof provide whatever volume of sounds you want, and there is also an opening sunroof for extra light and ventilation.
The dual console design sees big forward bolster seats, with the helm complete with a drop-down footrest, which is a great feature when driving standing as we are not all built to the same height.Standing, seated or bolstered, the driving position is excellent, with great visibility. Even the tallest basketballer has enough height to stand under the solid alloy and glass hardtop.
The helm comes standard with twin Garmin 9 MFDs and can be optioned up to a pair of Garmin 12 screens, so you can run with the very best electronics that will make it hard for the fish to hide. The Gen 2 dash has push-button switches, DTS shift controls and joystick steering. Lightbars light up the cockpit and make it easier if you are backing up into a dock at night.
The port side console hides the oversized head compartment, which has surprising height. It’s well equipped and elegant with a granite benchtop, sink, handheld shower and freshwater. There’s also enough space to change your clothes should you want to clean up before you come ashore.
A solid folding bow door and central opening windscreen keep the nasty weather from entering the helm area. However, it provides wide access to a large lounging space when open. Even if you are around 2m tall, you can still find a comfortable area to stretch out in the bow. A removable table in the centre can be changed out for a fill-in squab to extend the lounging space. All the squabs have storage spaces beneath. I liked the fact that the squabs are hinged and easily opened. A cutout area in the bow hides the Lewmar windlass, with the anchor and tackle all under the coaming, so there is nothing intrusive on the deck.
PLENTY OF POWER
Base power for the Finseeker 280 DC is a pair of Mercury 200 V8 outboards but is optioned to twin Mercury 350hp Verado V8s. Joystick steering, DTS and twin touch screens are all standard.
On slightly choppy water off Gulf Harbour in Auckland, I managed to see 55 knots (63.4 mph). And that was with a full 644 litres of fuel aboard. What a rocket ship. It was a fantastic boat to drive and sat perfectly on the water. Hang on tight in the turns and is responsive to all helm commands. I let the Lenco auto tabs do a lot of the work, and they really did the job. I saw 6000 rpm and a fuel burn of 140 lph per engine flat out. However, back to a more sedate cruise of around 30 knots, the fuel burn was very conservative at 2.5 to 3 lpnm. The Mercury Smartcraft indicated around 80-85 lph, which given the considerable fuel capacity, relates to a range of around 200-220 nautical miles.
If the 280 DC is too big for you, Finseeker also offers a 260 DC, similar but on a smaller scale. If you are serious about your fishing but also want something the family can use, then the Finseeker 280DC has to be amongst your boats to look at.
- Model: Finseeker 280 Dual Console
- Year Launched: 2022
- Priced from: NZ$459990 (Twin Mercury 200)
- Price as tested: NZ$529990
- Type: Dual Console
- Construction: GRP
- LOA: 8.50m
- LOA:(Less engines) 7.90m
- Beam: 2.80
- Deadrise: 22 deg
- Trailerable Wgt*: 4.5 tonnes (est)
- Power: 2 x Mercury 350 Verado V8
- Power options: 2 x Mercury Outboards 200-350hp
- Propellers: 21”
- Fuel capacity: 644 litres
- MFDs: 2 x Simrad 8412 XSV
- Entertainment: Wet Sound
- Manufacturer: Finseeker Boats
- Supplied by: Eurocity Marine
- It needs COF rated trailer to be legally towed.
- Prices may vary depending on the exchange rate.