The new 27TE model from Sea Lion Boats makes a great case for the theory that your boat doesn’t need to be a Battle Wagon in order for you to be a warrior on the blue water frontier. In an age when more and more outsized center console boats emerge onto the market and it seems like we’re watching a race to build the biggest boat, the 27TE is here to remind you of the days when a 27-foot open boat was plenty big enough for serious offshore duty and the hull size of choice for many south Florida fishing guides.
Not so long ago, a boat in this class was ideal from an efficiency, economy, performance and fishability standpoint but as the nation’s economy flourished and boats doubled in size, the 25 to 30-footers seem to have been left behind. After spending the day running and fishing the 27TE I was pleasantly reminded why a 27-foot boat worked so well back then and why it remains a great design.
The benefits of a boat in this class are many, beginning with cost. Your cost to own, run, and maintain are still important factors regardless of how brisk the economy may seem. Simply put, a boat that will perform well with a single engine offers a lot. The fuel economy realized along with the savings in maintenance every 100-hours can add up when you double, triple, or quadruple it on a larger boat. With a single Suzuki DF350 this boat ran like a thoroughbred. If a 40-MPH boat that provides 2.7 MPG economy at 30 MPH is in your wheelhouse the 27TE will make you smile. If you require something a little sportier and don’t mind spending the extra money, the boat is rated for twin engines up to 600-HP and will make your heart pound. Rigged with the single engine, our test model jumped up instantly with no perceptible bow rise and planed off smartly. Cruising directly into a 2 to 3-foot chop was all we could throw at her on our test day and she barely seemed impressed; never pounding or landing sharply all day and keeping everything above the rub rail bone dry.
From a fishability standpoint, the Sea Lion is clean and simple. Rather than loading a boat down with unnecessary gadgets and luxury cruising options this boat is built to fish hard. A clean deck that offers plenty of legroom and space to move around the boat while multiple people are connected to a fish is important to serious anglers and the 27TE has it. Beginning at the forward single level deck there are three compartments below the deck level. A large insulated 360-quart fish hold with macerator is located along the centerline and flanked by a pair of 140-quart dry storage compartments. A drink cooler/seat at the front of the console is offered on the Tournament Edition or an optional Coffin Box can be added to the console face. The walk-in console offers plenty of storage and an electric head is optional.
The helm station provided a helmsman and companion seat with a highly efficient round 40-gallon live well at the rear. The cockpit deck is roomy and uncomplicated. A pair of 140-quart insulated boxes to port and starboard surround a large bilge access compartment and across the transom an additional 30-gallon live well is perfect for a back-up supply of baits.
All of this clean fishability is appreciated by someone who earns a living on the water fishing and likes an orderly deck. The Sea Lion 27TE isn’t strictly built for work however, this model was trimmed out in very classy bolsters, upholstery and cushions and also featured removable forward seating as well as a cockpit bench that when deployed provided room for a group to cruise comfortably if the rods and reels needed a day off. For anyone in the market for a versatile and effective fishing platform that will take you the edge and back, won’t send you to the poor house and will get you there in style, this boat deserves a hard look.
Sea Lion 27TE Specifications
Beam: 8-feet 6-inches
Maximum Horsepower: 600
MSRP: $162,000 nicely rigged with single DF 350 Suzuki ($130,000 base price)