Gloucester 20 Center Console
APRIL 2003

Length Overall20'2"
Displacement2,795 lbs
Fuel Cap63 gal
Fresh Water Cap6 gal
Std EnginesYamaha F225TX Outboard
Std PowerSuzuki 140 hp 4-stroke EFI

The Gloucester 20, recently launched by the Gloucester Boat Building Company at Cape Ann Marine in Gloucester, Massachusetts, is a moderately priced semi-custom runabout with a center console and an exaggerated 'Carolina' flare to the bow, like a miniature version of an offshore flybridge sportfisherman. And like her big sisters, the Gloucester 20's solid fiberglass modified V hull provides an astonishingly soft, dry ride. Rigged with a Suzuki 140 hp four-stroke outboard, the boat can do a thrilling 36 mph, which we proved one misty day last fall on a quick run out of Gloucester Harbor.

The hull is simply a beauty to behold. There's a sweet tumble-home around the transom. The sheer sweeps gracefully up to the bow. Marine architect Doug Zurn drew the unique lines for the boat according to the specs of Drew Dominick, owner of Gloucester Boat Building. His main sales guy, Jeff Arsenault, took us out on the prototype to see how the boat would run on the big swells outside the jetty, where the bottom falls off from 90 feet on down, so there's often a chop, Dominic explained.

The ride was a lot of fun. Doing the lobster-pot slalom through the channel, the Edson no-feedback steering made the little boat delightfully responsive.

The wind was freshening out of the east and the seas were building, but the Gloucester 20 took them like a much bigger boat. Out in the open, with the rocky shore fading in the mist behind us, we were flying over the swells with the hull literally in the air and landing softly every time. The flare kept the bow absolutely void of any water, with not a drop to be seen or felt. Back at the marina, Drew Dominick filled me in on the background. The boat, he explained, is assembled from three separate pieces: hull, deck, and cockpit sole. One advantage of this method is a toehold under the console at the helm. The transom is built with triple layers of high-density fiberglass to accommodate the extra weight of four-stroke engines.

The interior finish is pretty basic and no-frills. Still, there's a nice wraparound windshield at the console and plenty of storage underneath. The helm features an instrument panel that lowers into the dash, and it's gasketed to protect the electronics from the weather.

A deep Kodiak 27-quart livewell fits underneath the leaning post. There are rod holders under the gunwales. There's a fairly deep anchor locker under the forward elevated casting platform. All the cleats and even the bow light are retractable, so you won't snag flies or lures.

'I've run just about every center console there is under the sun over the last 25 years, and I've never run a boat like this,' Dominic told me.'The designer and the builder are top notch. This is Doug Zurn's first small boat design, but he obviously knows what he's doing.' This is a semi-custom boat, he explained, so they can finish it out to the owner's specs. 'I set this boat up the way I wanted it because I'll probably keep it for myself. That's how much I like it.'