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Boat Reviews By Owners

2003 -- 23' 6" VENTURE

Model: Hybrid 23

Cockpit: These boats were originally manufactured in Sarasota as the Tides 23. They were bought by Venture Marine in late 2003 and are now built in West Palm Beach. Basically nothing has changed other than the name and now the bottom is solid fiberglass with Kevlar in lieu of the foam cored bottom when Tides manufactured them. First and foremost, these boats are no-nonsense. They don't have goofy gadgets or flashy decal graphics, etc. Only the best componets and equipment are used. Excellent boat for inshore and for offshore when conditions are right. There is even enough room for scuba tanks if you want to go diving. I have mine equipped with a Birdsall T-top and leaning post, Garmin 188 GPS / sounder, Icom M-402S VHF, and a Poly Planar waterproof stereo (which IMAO is overated and has given me more trouble than enjoyable use).

Cabin: Well there's no cabin but there is probably the nicest center console with the best access than you'll ever come across especially on a small boat like this. You can get to everything like the electronics, batteries, oil tank, fuses, you name it. You can access the front, side, or back of the console via nice large starboard hatches that lock. If you're like me and like doing your own installations or maintenance then you'll really like what the builder has designed here. Plenty of storage up foward in the bow, large anchor locker, livewell (37gals) and two aft 40gal storage / release wells.

Construction: This boat is light and is foam cored but it is built very well. Fit, finish, and materials are the best available. Pumps for the jackplate, release, and livewells are underneath the deck behind the console. The access hatch is about 22x13 inches and you can get to everything easily and quickly. The bilge is even faired out smooth and painted for a nice presentation. Fuel capacity is an aluminum 70gal tank mounted slightly foward from amidships which helps the boat ride especially in a decent sized head-sea.

Handling: Speaking of head-sea. You really have witness the ride yourself to believe it. When I went for a sea trial the wind was probably 15-20mph and the lake was an easy 2-3ft during the ebb tide. I thought that I was going to get the snot kicked out of me and my wife but it wasn't to be. These boats ride very soft and suprisingly dry despite the fact that they have very low freeboard. They are stable at rest with minimal chine slap. And as far as I know have one of the highest deadrises (20 degrees) compared to anything in the bayboat category.

Engine Room: My particular boat is powered by a Yamaha 200 OX66 fuel injected two stroke with a 6-inch jackplate and 14.25x17 4-blade SOLAS propeller. I am extremely happy with this motor overall. Very good fuel / oil economy. Excellent product history. Cruise speed loaded with fuel, gear, and 3 people is 38-40mph and around 48-49mph WOT.

General Comments: I used to own an Island Runner 31 (see my review on this website) but needed to downsize after purchasing a house in the Fla Keys. This boat, atleast for me, is excellent for backcountry fishing, offshore fishing when its calm enough, diving, cocktail cruising, you name it. It is economical, simplistic, and easy to maintain. If you can afford one they are well worth the money although they are pricey ($55-60K). A used one will be alot less but good luck trying to find one. In a boating world of sheep this boat is most definately the shepherd.

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Date Submitted: 2004-12-13

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