When you put the throttles forward, the Davis 50 imparts a sensation much like a 5-liter Mustang. You hear a throaty rumble and the acceleration sets you back a step or two if you aren't holding on and it gets up on plane in short order - eight seconds, to be exact. Our test boat had twin 2000 series, 900-hp DDC/MTUs, but Davis says that next year, most boats will get 1,050-hp MAN diesels. Seems everybody likes to go fast. Don't get me wrong; the Davis 50 I ran was no slowpoke. It topped out at 33 knots, backed down at 6 knots and turned 180 degrees in four boat lengths at a 25-knot cruise. But speed isn't this boat's greatest attribute.
With the conditions that frequent the Outer Banks, boats need to be seaworthy above all else. In fact, that's exactly what the Carolina-style hull specializes in, and so it goes with the Davis 50. The super-fine forefoot slices through oncoming waves like a deli slicer through bologna. The bow experiences virtually no lugging or deceleration when entering a wave, and the spray blows well out to the sides thanks to hard chines and that signature Carolina flare at the bow.
Down-sea, the Davis 50 tracks straight as an arrow and only heels slightly when waves lift its stern. You expect it to swerve from the boat's motion, but it doesn't. Drifting also offers a particularly interesting performance characteristic. The knife-like forefoot acts like a keel, keeping the bow into the wind for a much longer time than usual. It took five or six minutes for the bow to fall off the swell. When it finally reached beam-to, the roll motion proved very comfortable. Discounting the flare, maximum beam on this (and other Davis boats) is at the waterline in the lower half of the boat rather than at the rail. This provides increased roll stability as well as greater interior volume in the engine room.
The channel from Oregon Inlet to Pirate's Cove contains some hellacious tight turns that must be negotiated at idle speed. Even at 6 knots, response to turning the wheel couldn't be better and docking provided inch-by-inch control even when not in low-idle.