It takes a great deal of creative vision to bring an idea from the imagination stage to the creation and production level, and finally to try to market on a grand scale the result of your efforts. When that idea is a design which looks so unlike anything the market currently offers you run the risk of landing flat on your face. When the early drawings of the Solace 345 came across my desk not long ago I’ll admit I was part intrigued and a little skeptical at the same time. Mostly due to the unique transom design on this boat; the looming question on my mind was, “how will this boat run?”
The design innovation in question was a bold new transom style on the Solace 345 consisting of a “Fish-Thru” design which adds a four-foot walkway between the twin Yamaha XTO 425 engines that takes you right through the middle, and aft of the engine cowlings. This extension of the transom offers a tremendous amount of additional space in the cockpit along with the ability to fish around the back of the propellers with no fear of a line becoming entangled in them. An added benefit is the ease with which you can enter and exit the boat from the water whether relaxing at a secluded coastal shoreline, or diving over your favorite reef. A second extension of this walkway is incorporated in the form of a retractable hydraulic swim platform which extends from the bottom of the Walk-Thru deck at the water level. This further simplifies water activities and provides an ideal hub for a gathering at the local sand bar but the question remained.
After only a few short hours running her, my concerns over how the 345 would perform were put to rest and it quickly became evident that this boat was much more than what the unusual transom design had to offer. The Solace revealed herself as a premier luxury sport center console with over-engineered hardware, clever modern conveniences, and fine detail accessories that are only limited by your imagination. At 38-feet actual length by 10-feet 6-inches wide, the ride offered by this 22-degree deadrise hull was heavy and assertive. The feeling that you had a much larger boat under your feet was palpable and much more aligned with the ride of a larger inboard powered sportfish boat. The boat drifted confidently with little roll and the additional calming effect offered by the Sea Keeper 2 once activated, eliminated any excess movement (but was hardly necessary) in the 2-3-foot roll on our test day.
Among the numerous luxury appointments built into this design were several items controlled by hydraulic systems on board. The aforementioned swim platform along with an overhead 8-position rocket launcher which tilts back for easy accessibility and to allow passage of the retractable sun awning over the cockpit deck, a helmsman adjustable deck pedestal to control the height for your wheelman, and a forward windscreen are each actuated with the touch of a button. The helm area is framed in by a three-sided glass enclosure which lends a pilot house feel to the control center. A pair of 16” Garmin displays were the centerpiece of the dash panel which featured controls for a host of onboard systems both digital and manual. Three across helm seats each mounted on Shockwave S5 Shock Mitigating pedestals were incredibly comfortable. Behind the helm a multipurpose workstation includes sinks and rigging surface over multiple storage locations, a pair of refrigerators and an electric grill. Above the molded hard top and pipework finished in an attractive Cerakote texture was an optional second station outfitted for two passengers featuring full controls, electronics and a retractable fiberglass buggy top. The forward deck area configuration combines a plush sun lounge for two extending forward from the console and an additional pair of forward facing lounge/sofa seats. The console/cabin offers a comfortable place to retreat from the sun with a forward berth and seating, plenty of storage and headroom, along with a microwave and electric head.
Amidst all of the luxury found onboard, the Solace 345 is a capable sportfishing and diving platform with professional grade systems from (sea chest supplied) twin 52-gallon live wells, Carbon Fiber outriggers, refrigerated trolling bait bins, and a deck design that allows luxury cruising and serious angling to coexist seamlessly. All of this innovation comes in a package that turns heads at the dock or on the water. My day aboard this boat left little doubt that the risk involved with trying something so unconventional will prove to be ultimately rewarded.
Solace 345 Specifications
Length: 34-feet bow to transom (38-feet overall)
Beam: 10-feet 6-inches
Maximum Horsepower: 850
Fresh water: 40-gallons
Seating: 16 person
Base price: $650,000 nicely appointed/ $750,000 fully rigged