Belzona 325 Center Console
Belzona 325 CC
- LOA: 32'6"
- Beam: 10'8"
- Draft: 24"
- Deadrise: 22 °
- Weight: 11,300 Lbs (Std Engines)
- Max HP: 700
By John Page Williams
A half-century ago, a physician friend owned a 32-foot, wooden flybridge, trunk-cabin cruiser built by Tiffany Cockrell in Burgess, Virginia, which he kept at Sandy Point Marina on the lower Potomac’s Yeocomico River. She was powered by a pair of 200-hp gas V-8s and cruised at about 16 knots. Her electronics included a flasher depth sounder, an FM radio direction finder, and a citizens band radio. Although the boat could sleep four and had an enclosed head with overboard discharge and a galley with alcohol stove and icebox, his family never cruised aboard her. Instead, she was a well-loved day-trip and fishing boat, and considered a thoroughbred because of her Cockrell lineage.
Fifty years later, what might a successful doctor’s 32-foot semi-custom thoroughbred day-cruising and fishing boat look like? A good answer is the Belzona 325CC. It’s fiberglass, of course, and twin outboard-powered (Mercury Verado 300s or 350s). It has a roomy enclosed head (with holding tank) and 16-inch Garmin electronic displays, incorporating sophisticated digital fish-finding sonar and twenty-channel GPS with detailed custom charts, comprehensive engine data, a VHF radio linked to the GPS for distress calls, an autopilot, and an optional four-foot open-array digital radar that can see sea birds ten miles away. Belzona fits this rig with a strong bow thruster, comfortable seating for eight to 10 people, an optional electric grill, a refrigerator to back up the multiple coolers, and a powerful stereo system. Want more? How about an easy-open, sliding topside access door on the starboard quarter, which opens to 40-inches for easy boarding (enough to accommodate a wheelchair) and a retractable ladder for swimmers and divers. The door rides on a stainless-steel trolley system with a self-lubricating track and a sturdy latch. Oh, and the boat cruises easily at 30 knots, burning less gas than its wooden counterpart did back in 1968. And the fit and finish are top-grade.
Belzona Marine is a division of Belzona Polymerics, a sixty-six-year-old company that began with corrosion-proofing processes for metals and has evolved into a comprehensive line of industrial protective coatings and repair composites. Joel Svendsen, the son of Belzona’s founder, is the CEO. A lifelong diver and angler, he realized a dream by expanding to boatbuilding with a clean slate in 2013. An imaginative inventor with a “why not?” mindset, he and senior designer, Karl Boehler, conceived of the sliding topside door for diving, developed its details, and patented it. Another Belzona innovation is the scratch-resistant acrylic console windshield, which is raked forward at the top, “West Coast wheelhouse-style” to funnel away any rainwater and spray that manages to make it over the flared bow. The boat also features a robust, all-composite hardtop frame with abundant and comfortable handholds and a sturdy, structural fiberglass beam connecting its aft end to the back of the helm station.
A pair of helm seats with flip-up bolsters are situated on the forward side of a generous station holding a refrigerator, tackle storage, a work surface for the grill, food or bait prep, and a freshwater sink. An aft-facing seat is an option. Against the transom is a folding double upholstered seat with backrest. A retractable sunshade stored in the hardtop can cover the cockpit. In the bow, Belzona provides a nicely-upholstered double lounge onto the front of the console with massive insulated storage beneath. The lounge faces a broad U-shaped, cushioned seating area with mounting for a teak table. Strategically-placed cup holders and grab handles serve all these spaces.
The 325CC’s hull has 22 degrees of deadrise in the running surface from the transom forward with a flat delta pad in the keel to help the boat rise easily onto plane and stay there even as slow as 14 knots. On our sea trial at last fall’s Annapolis Powerboat Show with a pair of 300-hp Mercury Verados the boat topped out around 40 knots but loafed along comfortably at 18 to 27 knots turning 3500 to 4500 rpm while burning 20 to 35 gallons of fuel per hour. With the engines mounted on an integrated fiberglass transom bracket, sound levels behind the console were low enough for easy conversation. The late-October day brought a morning chill with northwest winds of 15 to 20 knots kicking up two- to three-foot seas, which were no challenge for the Belzona as she glided over them like a big Cadillac. It inspired confidence for eating up open-water miles. Power options include 350-hp Verados and Mercury’s Joystick maneuvering system.
There is excellent access beneath two hatches in the cockpit to access and service the operating systems. The 325CC’s standard layout is the Cruising Edition. Belzona also offers the boat in Adventure and Tournament editions, and they are glad to discuss custom additions and configurations. The Adventure edition includes an outdoor galley sink with Corian top and stainless-steel BBQ grill with a 2500-watt inverter to power it, Garmin radar with an 18-inch dome, and underwater lights. The Tournament Edition comes with dual electronic displays, the Garmin radar, multiple livewells, outriggers and a rocket launcher on the hardtop, a tackle center with more rod holders in the helm station, in-sole fishboxes, and fourteen rod holders in the gunwales.
With good maneuverability and long range capability, the boat is a natural for chasing gannet storms over breaking rockfish and jigging around bridges. The sturdy hardtop is perfect for running lines to planer boards to arrange broad trolling spreads. With its anchor davit
system in the bow, the 325CC would even work well setting up over an oyster reef for a couple of families to fish baited bottom rigs for croakers, spot, and white perch.
The base price for Belzona’s 325CC is $376,335 with twin 300-hp Mercury Verado supercharged four-stroke outboards. For more information, visit www.belzonamarine.com. Be sure to watch the seven-minute video of Joel Svendsen and Karl Boehler, discussing how they and their team work together to create these boats.