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Review: Edgewater 280CX Crossover

Just as the SUV merged the comfort of a daily driver with the utility of a truck and versatile performance of an off-road vehicle, the EdgeWater 280CX Crossover expands the concept of the burly fishing machine into a full function family-friendly vessel with all the amenities one expects of a compact cruiser without sacrificing any fishability. Perhaps they should have named it the 280SUB (Sport Utility Boat).

The deep-V, one-step laminate hull rides like it’s on rails. When you’re in a Gulf chop as the clouds move in while you’re miles from home — weather any obsessive angler will tell you is often some of the best, as the darkening skies mean the fish don’t realize how close they are to the surface — this is a hull that will get you back from your favorite fishing spot efficiently. It’s equally nimble when you need to rapidly move out of the way of unexpected barge traffic on the Mississippi River that pops up suddenly around a tight low-visibility bend.

Designed for twin outboards (in our case dual Yamaha F250XCAs) the stylish 280CX jumped onto plane in a mere 3.99 seconds, reaching 30 miles per hour in 5.8 seconds. Top speed with twin 250s, a hardtop, the optional air-conditioning system, 70 gallons of fuel and two people aboard was 53.2 mph, perfect for a fishing tournament shotgun start or racing back for the weigh in. The sleek hull cruises comfortably in the 3000 to 3500 rpm range (25.1 to 31 mph respectively), consuming a mere 13 to 16.4 gallons per hour. Want more oomph? It’s rated for up to 600 horses.

As impressive as the 280CX is performance-wise, it’s above the waterline where the design flexibility really shines. The functional and social dual console layout manages to address all demands without slighting any: inshore fisherman, bluewater fisherman, family day cruiser, comfortable overnighter, sporty wakeboard/waterski boat, evening cocktail craft and more.

The boat easily accommodates 12 with plush bow seating for seven, port and starboard oversized helm benches, and fold-up transom bench seats that stow out of the way when the rods are out. The expansive bow allows free range of motion for casting and unobstructed movement to fight vigorous fish. Though open, the circular seating makes one feel secure at top speed. The wide bow is more than just spacious, its reverse hull chines provide additional buoyancy and a drier ride. At the end of the day, enjoy the serenity of stretching out forward with the latest electronic copy of HeartLand Boating on your iPad — secure in its waterproof housing, just in case.

The EdgeWater 280CX’s crossover potential is further enhanced by the handy cuddy cabin, which features a convertible double berth, marine head, sink with pullout shower, custom countertops as well as optional microwave and air conditioning. The well-laid-out design means you can efficiently overnight aboard, though we think one of the best uses is to tuck in happy, tired children out of the sun and weather for a much needed nap. There’s plenty of storage both in the cabin and on deck for angling, watersports and entertaining gear while keeping things streamlined and open.

First and foremost, however, this is a fishing boat. Standard equipment comes in the form of a 28-gallon livewell with a second 28-gallon livewell as an option. There are three fish boxes aboard. The largest at 500 quarts is in-floor, with an additional 110-quart box in the transom and a 155-quart box in the bow. Handling bait is easy with the convenient prep sink. The starboard tuna door gives the design the feel of a much bigger boat.

The company’s renowned SPI (Single Piece Infusion) construction vacuum infuses a durable vinylester resin into robust Penske Xtreme grid structures and the hull laminate in a single process. The result of hardening the resin and fiberglass laminate simultaneously is an extremely heavy-duty and rigid single-piece bond. What does this mean to us during everyday boating? A higher strength-to-weight ration than traditional open molded, polyester boats. Add in the deep-V hull, and the 280CX maximizes performance, handling, fuel efficiency and range.

While we’d all like a multi-million dollar sportfishing yacht, the 280CX is much more attainable and equally fun.

EdgeWater 280CX Crossover
Length Overall: 28 feet
Beam: 9 feet, 6 inches
Draft: 1 foot, 9 inches
Dry Weight: 6,500 poounds
Fuel Capacity: 200 gallons
Water Capacity: 34 gallons
Max. Power: 600 horsepower
Base Price: $205,294 (with twin 250-hp Yamaha F250 outboards)

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