When Stephen Dougherty designed his new Solace 345, he thought outside of the box. Taking full advantage of digital steering, Dougherty moved the Solace’s motors outboard and added a 4-foot-long cockpit extension between them. Called the Fish-Thru transom, it reclaims space that’s usually stolen by the outboards, adding cockpit area for fishing, and, with a hydraulic platform extending from under the transom, a safe, easy-access platform for swimmers that’s well clear of the props. It’s an idea that makes you ask, “Why didn’t I think of that?”
The 345 is built with a combination of carbon fiber and fiberglass, with a foam core bottom: This saves weight in the structure without compromising strength. There is carbon-fiber reinforcement throughout the boat, in crucial areas of the deck, console and T-top; all support structures are carbon fiber, too. There’s very little metal—rod holders, hinge assemblies and so forth— protected with Cerakote, a ceramic-based finish that’s scratch-, dent- and ding-resistant.
The vessel has a sharper than typical entry for a more comfortable ride, but otherwise there’s nothing strange in the bottom design, said Marketing Manager John Moe. It’s a traditional V-hull, 22 degrees of deadrise aft with some proprietary design elements in the bottom. Moe assured me that every line in the bottom was combed over again and again to ensure it will provide the ultimate ride.