Dual consoles, initially introduced back in the 1980s as a “Tournament” alternative to center consoles, have been making a big comeback over the past few years as the outboard powered “do-everything” sport utility boat. EdgeWater was certainly not the first manufacturer to have introduced a 28-foot dual console design. However, they may have achieved the unique distinction of introducing one of the most thoughtful variations on this layout to date, with some truly singular features that will not be found on the majority of competitive craft in this genre. With the introduction of the 280CX, the EdgeWater folks now have a quartet of craft in their dual console lineup, including the 188, 205 and 245 models, so this 28-footer is the queen of their crossover fleet.
I was able to jump aboard the 280CX at the Sandy-battered Ft Lauderdale Boat Show last October and was really impressed with this crossover’s unique layout that seems to address all missions with equal efficiency. It didn’t take much to imagine how this seagoing sport utility craft could be an effective bluewater sportfisher, in addition to a capable family beach buggy, wakeboard specialist, cocktail barge, weekend overnighter and a water taxi to your favorite watering hole with six of your friends. The singular feature that separates this crossover from the competitive under 30-foot dual console pack is her spacious cabin that features six feet, eight inches of headroom, a galley, a head with electric toilet and holding tank and a sleeping berth. That’s a HUGE plus for the EdgeWater 280CX that leaves others in her wake – essentially it’s a dual console and a cuddy cabin all rolled into one. Topsides, this crossover has it all, with circular seating for seven in the bow, twin double-wide helm benches port and starboard, plus a pair of fold-up aft bench seats at the transom, including a tuna door in the starboard corner.
One of the most impressive aspects of the new 280CX Crossover is her proprietary “Single Piece Infusion” construction process. In SPI, vinylester resin is vacuum infused into both the Penske Xtreme PermaGrid stringer structure and the deep-vee hull laminate in one step. By infusing them together, the resin in the grid cures at the exact same time as the resin in the laminate, making the hull components bond as one extremely strong and rigid piece. According to lab tests conducted by Owens-Corning, this vacuum bagging process achieves a strength-to-weight ratio that is greater than most competitive craft that employ an open-molded process which typically use less expensive polyester resins. A secondary benefit of the EdgeWater’s more costly vinylester resin is its excellent resistance to osmosis, or water entering through the porous gel coat, which is the #1 cause of hull blistering. SPI constructed boats are usually a few hundred pounds lighter than their counterparts due to the loss of excess resin weight, with no sacrifice in inner strength, so there’s an increase in fuel efficiency as well.
When designing this crossover to appeal to the masses, the EdgeWater engineers did not neglect her fishing features and this dual console can bend rods with the best of them, either inshore or offshore. A 28-gallon recirculating livewell is standard, with a second 28-gallon livewell an optional feature. There’s a bait prep station with freshwater sink and plenty of storage drawers for your tackle, plus a roomy 65-square-foot cockpit. The fishboxes on this 28-footer are not an afterthought either, with a 155-quart insulated fishbox in the bow, a 110-quart box in the transom and a huge 500-quart box with overboard pump-out set under the cockpit sole. There’s a six-pack of flush-mount rodholders, plus a trio of horizontal storage racks under the starboard gunwale. The 280CX’s generous 27.5 inches of cockpit depth offers thigh-high leg support when bringing big gamefish to boatside, which is a major plus for both the angler and the crew. To protect you and the crew from both sun and weather, an aluminum framed fiberglass hardtop is standard. Another nice touch is the Lewmar Profish 1000 S/S anchor, with windlass, S/S anchor roller and 200 feet of rode.
Rigged with a pair of Yamaha’s breakthrough 4.2L 250 Horsepower four-strokes, this multi-tasker will tweak maximum miles per gallon out of her 200-gallon tank and still get top speeds in excess of 40 mph, with fuel-efficient cruising from 25 to 35 mph. The MSRP of the 280CX at the Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show was $240K with a show special street price of $206K, rigged with dozens of optional features including the aforementioned F250s, a cabin A/C and inverter, TV/DVD entertainment package, optional hull color, a cabin cruiser package, Garmin radar/sounder/chartplotter electronics package with 15-inch multi-function display, underwater lights and more. One of the best things about this EdgeWater is her transferrable lifetime structural hull warranty, which puts this crossover at the top of your “must see” list if you are in the market for a do-it-all dual console.