Yachting Review By Peter Frederiksen October 4, 2
If you enjoy driving a boat hard, you'll like getting behind the wheel of an Intrepid. The transverse stepped hull with 22 1/2-degree transom deadrise and vacuum-bagged construction responds to engine power effortlessly, like waves breaking on a pristine shore. Controls and gauges fill the dash in a logical fashion, so your brain and hands instinctively work together as well as the first string on a championship team. If you also enjoy the intrinsic thrills of being noticed when you pass other boats, or when squeezing into a tight space at a busy fuel dock with barely a ripple, you will love the new Intrepid 377 Walkaround.
Powered with triple Mercury 225 hp OptiMax V6 outboards, the 377 hustles to a top speed of 49.7 knots. The 11-foot, 6-inch beam creates a wide, workable cockpit for fishing, diving and other water sports with deep fish wells, a transom door, dual dive platforms and a boarding ladder. Add the removable aft lounge and you have plenty of seating for cruising with guests. The cabin has a full-size berth forward, a settee to port and an in-line galley and head with shower to starboard-a great combination for traveling or weekend island hopping.
The helm is my favorite area aboard any Intrepid, and more so on the 377. Hard lines are difficult to find aboard this boat, and the curvy helm station is a case in point. The Edson wheel with a knobby handle is offset slightly to port. Connected to dual-cylinder hydraulic steering, the 377 carves turns like an Olympic ice skater. Stepped hulls are nothing new, but the transverse step in the 377 takes performance up a notch. Steps create a vacuum to reduce drag and get the boat on plane quickly. At speed, the step allows the hull to ride on specific points, and this wetted surface gives the boat directional stability from idle to top end. The dash is sculpted with eye-pleasing shapes that easily accept a waterproof electrical breaker panel under clear plexiglass; triple Kiekhaefer controls; flush-mounted electronics; and a bank of Mercury Smart Craft Gauges. An L-shape settee is forward, and the low, raked windscreen does a good job diverting the breeze. The low-profile bow rail adds to the boat's stellar looks, yet is handy to grab when you travel forward on the wide side decks to sweat a line around a piling or work the anchor.
A friend who delivers boats for a yacht company told me he does his quality control in three steps because on the second and third tries, he always uncovers details missed on the previous pass. The 377 also benefits from a few passes, only each time you look, you'll find more you like. While the helm is nice, an inspection inside the console is more telling. Intrepid uses tinned wiring in its electrical systems for better corrosion resistance, then neatly paints each terminal end with liquid electrical tape to seal out moisture and insulate against vibration. Wiring is neatly bundled, well-secured and easy to trace. This is important because every Intrepid is built to order, and many leave the factory with sophisticated custom systems. Our test boat, for instance, had a five-battery DC system with one battery a dedicated source to run the optional Vetus bow thruster. At the flip of a switch, any combination of batteries can be paralleled to turn over the engines should a starting battery malfunction. A 12v battery converter is standard, and our test boat also had an 7.3kW Kohler genset in a well-insulated, dry compartment abaft the helm seat. On most small boats, the light plant gets jammed in so tight, there's only room left for rust. On the 377, the generator is accessible for daily checks and routine maintenance through a large hatch that sits in an even larger removable deck section, should the generator need to come out.
Lift a hatch anywhere aboard and you will see cosmetic and sea keeping detailing. The underside of each hatch is gelcoated, and all hatch pulls flush lock to create a solid connection to the rubber gasket that seals out rattles and water. Hinges and stainless-steel cleats also are flush-mounted, and stern-line and spring-line cleats pass through fairleads. A deep, interconnecting gutter trail leads from every hatch to 3-inch-wide scuppers in the full-height transom. The transom door locks in place with the kind of hardware you'd expect to see on a 60-footer.
To maintain a smooth deck profile, the optional electric windlass is recessed within a hatch on the integrated pulpit. Abaft, a second hatch accesses the deep rode locker. Two steps molded into the deck assembly lead to the walkaround with its pronounced toerail. The bottom step is rounded to protect shins and bare toes, and to provide more nonslip footing surface. Small, hinged hatches on both sides of the walkaround reveal fuel fills. A transom hatch neatly conceals the oil reservoir fills.
Intrepid manufactures its cushions with Starboard inserts to eliminate rot, which can damage wood supports. Long life is further ensured on the coaming bolsters by mounting them one inch below the covering boards, to prevent foot scuffs from marring the edges when boarding from the side. Additionally, cutouts are built into the optional stern seat to ease the reach to the cleats. The combination helm seat and leaning post is electrically adjustable and reinforced with a wraparound grab rail. Fishermen will appreciate the built-in rocket launcher for rods, as well as the drink holders and freshwater shower. Tackle stows conveniently in a locker full of trays abaft the seat back, and a well-placed strip of plastic trim guards the door seam to prevent spray and washdown water from seeping inside.
The 377 is manufactured with handlaid, knitted, uni- and bidirectional fabrics, Kevlar and PVC foam coring of various densities. Vacuum-bagging achieves a high-tech level glass-to-resin ratio. Liners are bonded to the hull to reduce upkeep and increase stiffness. No wood is used anywhere.
Because every Intrepid is custom, base price is, too. With air conditioning and options including electronics, a 377 will likely retail around $235,000. Intrepid does not rush at the expense of quality; each hull sits in its mold for as long as a week while the materials cure and bond. The wait is worth it. And not just for your ego, either. When you are out on rough water, it's nice to be able to tell your guests exactly how long it will take to get back to the dock. When you are behind the wheel of an Intrepid 377, you can do it with a smile.