Capt. Don McGee founded Miami’s SeaVee Boats in 1974, and the company quickly gained a reputation for good-riding, fishy center-consoles. A young Ariel Pared ordered a boat and became very involved in the build process; taken with the experience, he formed a partnership with friends Moises Rodriguez and Ralph Torres to purchase SeaVee and started a venture that continues to build high-quality fishing-focused boats. Today, the line stretches from the 270Z Bay to its largest to date: the all-new 450Z.
I had the opportunity to fish with Pared on his personal 450Z, Top Vee, on a nice January day out of Palm Beach—we caught four sailfish and had a great time experiencing all the characteristics and amenities the boat has to offer, of which there are many. Purpose-built for the South Florida sailfish circuit as well as summer fishing and family time in the Bahamas, the boat lacks nothing.
In talking with Pared, he laid out the requirements for his personal boat: “I do a lot of live-baiting for sailfish, so one thing that was very important was having healthy baits and the capacity to carry different kinds of baits without having to bring above-deck wells and other gear. The boat is set up with five built-in livewells with dual pump boxes for redundancy. I also have bait tubes rigged into the boat, and a lot of fish storage with three insulated fish boxes, which are standard.” The 450Z has 200-gallon fish boxes on each side of the dual-row console seating right near the hullside doors, so gaffing fish like tuna, wahoo and large dorado is no chore—they can be slid into the boat and directly into the fish boxes. Forward of the console is another in-deck storage/fish box and in-deck rod storage.
“Another thing that was important for me was the ability to travel. I spend time in the Bahamas, so I set up a freezer box forward and also put in the Seakeeper 6, which is standard.” Always focused on the center of gravity for performance and ride, the folks at SeaVee have positioned the gyrostabilizer, generator and fuel tanks so that as fuel is burned off, the boat remains level.
“We can accommodate up to six people at the helm, with the dual-row seating and an elevated platform on the second row that gives everyone good visibility, but yet it has a cockpit that is totally fishable. We brought the motors in tight to the boat to save space and also to be able to fish around them.” This attention to layout detail allows for maximum storage and also excellent fishability. On our fishing day, we had 12 passengers on board, and it wasn’t crowded at all.
As a boat junkie who marvels at the build process and the use of advanced composite technology, one of the most novel things to me is the hardtop with molded-in storage for fully assembled kites over the helm. Pared explains the setup: “We built this massive hardtop and we needed a place for the kites, so we built this mammoth storage box. I think we had 18 kites up there—we went from 40-hole kites to ultralights by the end of the day as the wind dropped out. That’s kite-fishing, and without that kind of storage, it’s tough to be efficient.”
The optional tower features a fiberglass ladder structure, which is integrally molded into the hardtop leading to the tower. It was a design challenge; Pared explains: “The tower legs are one-piece infused parts. It is the easiest tower I’ve ever had to climb because every step is in front of the next, and every angle is designed so as your foot comes down, you just naturally meet the next step. We spent weeks tweaking the design.”
The console area is just as detailed, inside and out. “You’ll notice the ergonomics and how everything flows,” Pared says. “The windshield is all safety glass, with no middle divider for optimal visibility and great protection.” Below, a convertible settee, air conditioning, a private head compartment with a shower, as well as a galley equipped with refrigeration and a microwave are all standard.
The boat can be rigged with triples or quads; Top Vee has quad 450 hp Mercury Racing power and tops out at 70 mph. It carries 780 gallons of fuel and another 30 gallons of diesel for the generator.
The passion and experience of the SeaVee team has shone brightly on this 45-footer, which is a testament to the fishing focus of the company. Top Vee will prove to be a very capable boat in a wide variety of situations.