John martino, annapolis school of seamanship and annapolis yacht         management
The following review was written by John Martino and prepared by the marketing department of Chesapeake Bay Magazine. Mr. Martino is the founder and president of Annapolis Yacht Management and Annapolis School of Seamanship. He develops and teaches hands-on training courses for recreational boaters and professional mariners, and offers yacht delivery and onboard training services for powerboaters as well as sailors.
Scout 345
JUNE 2010
Length overall  34'1"
Beam 10'9"
Draft  2'3"
Fuel330 gal
Deadrise22 degrees
Price as Tested$376,653

It's hard to pinpoint a specific category for the Scout 345 SFX. It's a boat that resists being pigeonholed for one particular use over another. "This boat seems to be a mix of sport fisherman, center-console and walk-around cuddy cabin all rolled into one," I said to Nathan Anderson of Scout Boats and Greg Cohen from Grande Yachts of Grasonville, Md., as we returned from our test ride on a perfect Chesapeake spring day. "Maybe you should call it a hybrid," Cohen offered as he maneuvered her back into the slip. Maybe he's right.

At first glance, the 345 XSF looks like a classic Carolina-built sport fisherman with dramatic flare forward and a distinctive sheer. Produced by a family owned and operated builder in Summerville, S.C., the 345 does many things well. She's fitted with twin Yamaha 350s mounted on a robust bracket that doubles as a swim platform complete with teak and holly trim.  A transom door leads to the cockpit which is equipped with a transom freezer and fish box compartments under the sole. An aft-facing seat hides a live well with tackle drawers on either side. Rod holders abound. Pop-up mooring cleats keep the deck clear of snags for active fishing when the boat is under way. The hard-top is supported by a powder-coated aluminum support structure and features an electric retractable sun shade.

Access to mechanical equipment is excellent. A large hatch in the center of the cockpit sole leads to a spacious below-decks area where you can reach everything from pumps to the optional Fischer-Panda diesel generator and air-conditioning compressor. The center console is comfortable and stout, with a ton of dash space for electronics. Our test boat had two large Garmin displays with room left over for more.

Up forward, twin bow seats in a "V" configuration allow easy access to the anchor locker without having to climb over anything. A large sun pad (complete with fold-up arm rests) just forward of the windshield offers sunbathers a comfortable ride. Storage lockers are everywhere, and you can open each one of them separately without having to remove seat cushions first.

Opening the door to the console to peek inside, I was expecting to see a small compartment with a toilet, inadequate headroom and no sink. In fact I was amazed to find a fairly generous cuddy cabin with genuine standing headroom. It is complete with air-conditioning, head, sink, microwave and dinette which converts to a bunk big enough for two (so long as they like to cuddle).

Our test ride on the Chester River didn't offer any choppy conditions, but based on her hull shape, sharp entry in the forward section and 22 degrees of deadrise at the transom, I estimate that this boat would have no problem when the Bay gets cranky. Wide open we were able to reach more than 53 knots.

The Scout XSF offers a lot in 35 feet. Whether your interests lie in fishing, day cruising, overnighting or just plain performance, the Scout does it well and with Carolina style.