Comfort, Versatility & Style
By: Christopher Hughes
The Vanquish Boats 21 Center Console, part of the Bristol Harbor Series, is one of those boats whose beautiful lines catch your eye and instantly conjure up the image of a perfect coastal New England village, or a quiet vacation cottage on the shore of a lake where she awaits an early morning boat ride.
At just over 21 feet in length overall, her graceful sheerline and wide cap rail design gives her a district look born from over 200 years of American nautical heritage. Set on a stout beam of 8’5” and with a draft of only 14”, her modern hull design benefits from the latest in engineering, sporting a 17 deadrise and ¾ length lifting strakes for a stable and smooth ride. Instead of the bumping and vibration you feel in other boats, there is a solid flowing feel that greatly reduces fatigue in a heavier chop.
The bow of the 21 Center Console is a comfortable and relaxing social area with plenty of storage.
One of the first things you notice upon stepping aboard is that this is no work boat. Her beautifully finished deck and interior present a stylish and comfortable arrangement equally suited to entertaining friends while spectating at a regatta, or a day of serious fishing. The bow seating is plush with comfort designed removable cushions atop three large storage areas. The gunwales are finished with bolster backs for the seating area with a gently sloped angle to add to the comfort of your guests.
All hardware is 316 stainless to prevent corrosion and is reinforced mounted. The diamond non-skid is molded in and available in accent colors.
The foredeck is clean and fitted with a centerline stainless cleat, a running light, chafing gear, and like the sides decks, has a molded in diamond non-skid surface for safety. The details are never lost on a Vanquish, as seen in the two-part rub rail trimmed in stainless and with all the screw heads meticulously aligned.
The 21 Center Console helm and hardtop have plenty of well placed grab rails and premium upholstered helm seat/leaning post.
The center console was designed to be functional and practical with a large flat fiddled top, cup holders for the requisite morning coffee, and plenty of room for a paper chart if desired. The angle of the helm face minimizes glare and the radio controls and gauges are off to the sides to allow for a variety of electronics screens in the center. The wheel is set slightly to port, which is nice when you have a mate sitting next to you, and the angle of the throttle makes control and adjustments at speed precise and comfortable. The rocker switches are slightly to starboard and recessed, important so that you are not reaching through or around the wheel to get to them, and it keeps them out of the knee knock area.
Made from heavy gauge polished aluminum, the helm seat is ergonomically positioned, and with a calf bolster, serves double duty as a leaning post. Cleverly, the helm backrest fits into two of the four aft-facing rocket launchers and is removable.
21 Center Console forward facing seating.
On the starboard side of the console is a hatch with access to the head, a welcome addition to a boat of any size. It also doubles as a changing room, easily accommodating someone as large as 6’5” with room to spare. The forward face of the console is fitted with a gently curved backrest and a cushion topped removable cooler. This inevitably becomes the fun seat when running out to your favorite anchorage and is part of the bow social area when on the hook or at the dock.
Customization includes hull colors, upholstery color and textures, and decking materials.
For protection at speed, the acrylic wrap around windscreen design utilizes a special shape, slightly concave to help eliminate reflective glare. For defense against the sun, she sports a classic, beautifully styled soft-top T-top. Made from aluminum to save weight and powder coated to withstand the elements, this rag-top design is another example of how the styling of a Vanquish stands out. Also included is an antenna mount and four rocket launchers, necessities for any angler.
A little unexpected in a boat of this size, but not for a Vanquish, is the design of the stern. Some builders simply leave this area open or add fold down seats as an afterthought. The 21 Center Console has two large, comfortably upholstered seats atop molded-in storage compartments. There is also a removable cockpit panel for the engine-well and note the large scuppers for exceptional dewatering.
Aft on starboard side is a swim platform, never easily accessible in an outboard of this size, but Vanquish has a workable compromise, with a comfortable step positioned over the transom and a four-step retractable re-boarding ladder. Along with two stern cleats and the bow cleat, there are also two cleats amidships making her a breeze to cast off or tie up singlehanded.
A significant differentiating factor with all Vanquish boats is the design of the hull and the materials used in their construction. Her hull is wood-free and made from solid polyester epoxy resin and E-glass, which is stronger and cannot absorb moisture as wood does. The hull and deck also utilize a high-tech triaxial-weave Eglass, precision cut, and running full length as the outer and inner surface skin. Every Bristol Harbor Series model is filled with flotation foam that is then glassed over to encapsulate it in place. This overall combination of materials not only make her unsinkable, but a much longer lasting boat that can be handed down to the next generation.
The advanced geometry of the hull utilizes a semi deep-V entry and bow flare as well as a precisely balanced variable deadrise that ends at 17 at the transom. There are two major advantages of this design; the first being that she is impressively stable at rest and delivers a smooth comfortable dry ride, even in a pronounced chop.
The second is a hull with such a high efficiency rating, that it takes much less power to achieve the same performance achieved by other boats her size. She is far more capable than other boats in her class thanks to the overall advanced design of her hull. She achieves a top speed of 38 MPH with only 150 HP and a cruise speed of 28 MPH while burning significantly less fuel, only 6.5 GPH. That works out to 4 miles per gallon. A smaller engine means less weight (operating weight of approx. 3,178 lbs.) and less overall cost, which Vanquish then reinvests in the components and materials. There are six engine options in varying horsepower to choose from.
Another factor that can’t be overlooked is the versatility of the 21 Center Console. Depending upon what features you order your boat with, she can be the quintessential New England coastal fishing boat, your trusty friend for tending to the lobster pots, or an elegant and beautifully styled family day boat. She is very well suited for a day trip up the coast, or a leisurely harbor cruise and cocktails with friends.
Since the 21 is trailerable, another ideal home for her is on a lake, whether a large or small lake. Her stability and ride will allow you to boat on days when the wind picks up and many less well-designed boats on the lake must head back to the dock. Her spacious interior and many storage compartments means there is always room for everything you need for a day on the water. She also makes a great tow boat, sure to deliver many hours of fun pulling the kids around the lake on a summer day.
Many builders of boats under 25’ don’t spend very much time talking about the ride. The simple fact is that smaller boats are generally not designed and built the same as larger boats. Vanquish is different in that they focus on the overall impact the ride will have on the enjoyment of the time you spend on the water. They spend more time on the engineering and materials to ensure the ride and feel of a larger boat, and don’t cut any corners in the construction process. The result is a true boaters’ boat, with a reliable, smooth stable ride. Does this mean you pay more, of course, but a premium product comes with a premium price. As boaters, we can all appreciate the great ride of a well-designed boat, even more so in smaller boats. To this point, Vanquish Boats really shows their commitment to the art of boat building and they focus on the comfort and enjoyment of their owners.