A Top of the Market Classic
By: Christopher Hughes
While some designs come and go, the center console has not only endured throughout the years but has exploded in the last decade with fierce global competition from various manufacturers. The result is a boon for those interested in this versatile style. The once small, narrow-beamed boats whose reputation often involved a somewhat rough ride and poor handling, inferior performance when venturing out into deeper waters, and a noticeable lack of creature comforts among other unenthusiastic attributes, has given way to larger models offering all the engineering and bells and whistles one would find on a family oriented cruiser.
These multipurpose and rugged boats, such as those rigged for hard-core offshore fishing or doing double duty as megayacht tenders, now come in a variety of sizes ranging from 16’ to 65’ and are available in a wide range of styles, configurations, and power options. If you happen to be in the market you’ll notice that just like choosing a new car and most other big-ticket manufactured goods, you get what you pay for.
Offerings in the center console market were always quite plentiful, and part of the reason for its popularity was due to the relatively low cost of ownership. This, in turn, prompted several of the bigger brands to build larger, more capable and far more comfortable models, with the average size for a premium center console now landing between 33 and 40 feet. While this was great news for many boaters, a large percentage of potential owners could not afford these $400K to $600k models; it also did not address the issues of the under 30-foot market. A solution presents itself in the exciting Vanquish 23 Center Console.
Part of the Bristol Harbor series and designed by Greg Beers and Cory Wood of the world-renowned Bristol Harbor group, this boat now stands as the premium example in its class thanks to the vision and dedication of the founder and owner of Vanquish Boats, Morgan Huntley. Huntley has been a lifelong boater and gained his expertise by working in boatyards and building boats since his early teens. The philosophy he and his team apply to each model is typified by the New England values and attitudes of fine boat building: Maximize superior practical designs with a balance of the best materials and features; and have them handcrafted by a team with generational experience that brings art to the craft. The results speak for themselves as the Vanquish brand has become synonymous in the industry with premium quality and best in class ride and performance.
Deep-V entry hull with advanced chine geometry and a precisely balanced variable deadrise ending at 17° at the transom.
The 23 Center Console can be broken down into two main design areas, the deck and the hull. Starting with the latter, to correct the rough ride of a smaller Center Console, the hull of the 23CC takes some cues from larger boats.
Using accurately positioned lifting strakes and precisely shaped and angled hard chines, these two elements work in conjunction with a deep-V entry of 55°, along with the balanced bow buoyancy, to push into waves and use the energy to deliver a safe and stable ride. Also notable in the hull design is the precisely balanced variable deadrise, measuring 17° at the transom, to deliver a stable platform at rest yet be dry and comfortable in a hard chop. Combining these important elements means that the 23CC performs and achieves not only the aforementioned stability but also provides the smoother ride of a much larger and heavier boat. For the boater that means a more enjoyable day on the water, staying out longer while other boats in the same class head for the docks.
Deck design is usually a compromise, driving most often by material costs and structural considerations, but not so in the Vanquish. Being handcrafted and not designed for mass production, the deck design focuses on the function, comfort, and styling. The size and positioning of the console and leaning post are an example of comfort and function, while teak trim, stainless hardware and beautiful lines give her a distinct style.
Biaxial and triaxial E-glass used in the hull and deck for strength and durability.
Boat building is full of myths and misinformation as well as a few old wives’ tales thrown in for good measure. One myth is that the more expensive materials are the best, which is not the case at all in small center console builds. Huntley’s rule is to use the right materials based on many factors such as strength, weight, longevity, ease of maintenance for the owner, and overall comfort of the owner and guests.
To take advantage of the design, the hull of the 23CC is constructed from an ultra-durable Vinyl-Ester Epoxy resin, and an inner and outer skin of biaxial and triaxial E-Glass that is then foam filled and resin-sealed. This provides the optimum strength to weight ratio, reduces noise, and makes the 23CC unsinkable.
Another myth is that a heavier boat is more stable. This is somewhat confusing as stability comes from many factors, and an all-important one being a low vertical center of gravity (VCG). Choosing the right materials for different parts of the boat can ensure a light boat with a low VCG. The Vanquish 23CC has just the right balance.
The choice of a canvas T-Top is an example of keeping proper balance. While it is identically effective for protection, it is lighter than a hardtop, and therefore able to help keep the vertical center of gravity low with the result being better stability. In addition, the teak hatch for the console not only looks great but also provides a better fit than a molded fiberglass hatch. All hardware and upholstery have also been considered based on the above factors. The result of all this is a properly constructed vessel.
The hardtop features teak topside grab rails, accent lighting, speakers, work lights, and durable powder coated aluminum frame.
Boat construction is an art and when your team of craftsmen is second, third, and fourth generation boat builders, it shows across the board. Achieving the optimal ratio of glass-to-resin throughout a hull, deck, and all the other exacting parts that need to fit just right takes skill and strict attention to detail.
The glass in a boat is its strength, while the resin holding it together is weight. By using stronger E-glass and superior resin, the ratio of glass-to-resin can be kept lower while achieving the same strength. Most builders achieve strength with lower quality materials and lots of resin, which equals lots of weight.
The 23CC, like all Vanquish models, is meticulously handcrafted with an attention to all fit and finish details that takes dedication. The entire process means more build time, translating into more cost, but the result speaks for itself with the 23CC sitting proudly at the top of her class.
If you are looking for a premium boat on which to head out for some coastal or lake fishing, or to bring the entire family out for a day of watersports, the 23CC has all the right features. For the anglers out there, you will appreciate the stability when on the hook or drifting. The hard top features four aft rocket launchers and two port and starboard, these in addition to the six cap rail rod holders. The hardtop also has lockable storage, LED spreader lights, speakers, and a forward-facing LED light. To increase fishability the bow and stern seating cushions are removable to reveal non-skid casting platforms. A favorite is the insulated livewell located forward of the console. This converts to a comfortable seat with backrest and doubles as a wine cooler with a clever insert
Insulated livewell with recessed positive seal clear top – shown with the wine bottle insert.
Clean up is a snap with either a non-skid deck or durable Flexi-teak; it’s just hose and go. When it comes to storing your fishing gear, there is a large, self-draining compartment under the bow seating as well as ample storage under the helm seat. There is additional storage for bait buckets and gear under the port and starboard stern seats.
The casting deck features non-skid underfoot and bow storage with access to the anchor locker.
The leaning post has additional storage under the fold-down and flip-up helm seat along with grab handles and cup holders.
An insulated cooler/baitwell is located bottom aft in the leaning post. Note the positive lock latch and gasket seal.
Removable backrests are used in the family day boat configuration, along with the addition of a fiberglass or teak table.
When heading out for a day on the water with the family, the easily accessed insulated forward storage can handle plenty of gear and supplies. Popping off for a swim is a breeze with the fold-down transom seat and extended swim platform.
The design of the 23 Center Console ensures a stable, comfortable time underway or at anchor in your favorite cove.
Folding down the transom seat makes swimming easy, and the re-boarding ladder can be mounted port or starboard.
The 23CC measures 23’ 3 5/8” length overall with a beam of 8’5” and a draft of 14”. Her displacement comes in at an approximate ½ - load, at 3,650 lbs., making her easily towable for most full-size vehicles. Her size, ease of handling, and convenience of launching and recovery mean your boating fun is not limited. Whether you ply the waters of coastal areas or cruise the lakes, you have it covered.
The combination of design, materials, and construction process ensures a smooth, stable, safe and fun ride.
The obvious feature when you first look at any Vanquish is the beauty and symmetry of profile, and the 23CC doesn’t disappoint. Less obvious, that is until you pull away from the dock, is how comfortable she is. Ultra-plush cushions provide seating for family and friends, and the extra wide helm seat ensures the captain can have a companion, or second set of eyes while navigating.
The Helm seat is constructed from powder-coated and polished aluminum and features teak armrests.
Balanced variable deadrise hull design with full-length lifting strakes, along with a deep-V entry and bow flare, ensure a dry ride.
Do not mistake the Vanquish 23 Center Console as just another boat. This is a premium build that delivers on the capabilities and quality that experienced boaters demand. This makes her a multi-weather design that can stay out longer than the competition when the winds pick up. This also makes her an excellent choice for lake boating, especially on larger lakes that can deliver some chop and unexpected weather.
The 17° deadrise at the transom provides the optimum stability and running surface at speed.
Standard power is a single 150-HP Mercury with a 14.4 X 17” prop or you can choose the optional 200-HP which is recommended. At her cruise speed of 29 MPH you can expect a fuel burn of only 9.5 GPH for 3MPG. Calculated with a 10% reserve, the result is a range of approximately 233 miles. Her top speed comes in at 45 MPH with a fuel burn of 18.9 GPH for a range of 182 miles.
Standard hull and deck colors are a high-durability premium ARMORFLEX® gel coat or Awlcraft paint.
With an average MSRP sale price of $120,000, the Vanquish 23CC is an exceptional value. She provides more boat, higher quality, and select premium features in a best in class handling handcrafted classic. The old saying, “You get what you pay for,” is a statement of fact when you are talking about a Vanquish.