Until our testing day on the Contender 32 ST, I was sure I’d ridden on every size and model version this company had to offer but after boarding her at the dock I quickly realized that somehow this model had escaped me. As soon as we cleared St. Lucie inlet into a fresh east wind I knew I was in for a pleasant surprise. I was instantly made aware of the fact that although only a foot longer than the original classic 31, this was a distinctly different animal. The 32 ST felt much more substantial under my feet- taking each oncoming wave on with solid authority for a boat her size. A snotty 3-5’ condition had little effect on us running and at rest the boat seemed to drift with a much more measured roll than her earlier counterpart.
Directly from the manufacturer these boats are each highly customizable so you’re never sure which version of any model you’re going to see for review. Since none of them have ever disappointed us nobody was surprised to see the show stopper sitting in the slip on this morning. This model offered all of the necessary weapons on board for serious tournament fishing. From the 160-gallons total availability of bait storage split between three wells, (2) transom forty-gallons and (1) in-deck 80-gallon tank each fed independently from its own Hooker pump via the Contender sea chest system, to the full circle 360 gunwale rod holder array and Carbon fiber outriggers. This boat was rigged to handle any fishing scenario head-on and efficiently. Like every Contender model available both insulated and dry storage was everywhere you looked. A giant hold under the foredeck along with a pair of long boxes to port and starboard located alongside the console and in the cockpit corners alike could handle twice as much storage capacity as you’d ever need on a 32-footer. The forward console lounge also features a split gull wing style opening cooler/storage space and a Frigid Rigid drink cooler beneath the Cockpit Tackle Center on a powered sliding track is available for food and drink storage.
This model also featured a new console windshield and helm design which proved to be universally admired. A new one piece curved Strataglass design offered unobstructed viewing over a beautifully laid out helm face including a pair of 19” Simrad units. This windscreen design is not only more aerodynamic, it shed water much more quickly in the rain. It was evident that the owner of this vessel enjoyed cruising and hanging at the watering holes as well as fishing due to the elaborate Fusion audio system. An assortment of JL audio speakers capable of plenty of sand bar mayhem and a removable L-shaped cockpit seat betrayed the fact that this boat was capable of more than just working at your next tournament victory.
Over the course of a day we were faced with multiple obstacles from wind and waves to unfishable expanses of Sargasso weed requiring the need to switch tactics several times. The Contender 32 ST met each of our needs at every turn. We finished up our test at our local sand bar spot for lunch where there was little doubt that although I had saved this Contender model for last the 32 ST was not too big, not too small, it was in fact just right.
Contender 32 ST Specifications
Length: 32-feet 7-inches
Beam: 9-feet 8-inches
Weight: 11,560-pounds (loaded)
Maximum Horsepower: 800
Base price: $247,676