Boat Reviews

Solace 345 – Unleash The Imagination

The Solace 345 is unlike any fishboat you’ve ever seen before. Period.

Month after month and year after year we check out a slew of new center console fishing boats.  Some are plain vanilla, some are more unusual than others, and a rare handful are truly distinctive. But it’s been years since we’ve run across a new center console fishing machine so ground-breaking and unusual that we could call it a completely unique one-of-a-kind boat. Meet the Solace 345.

Solace 345
Unusual? That doesn’t even begin to tell the story behind the Solace 345

The most unusual design trait of the Solace 345 hits you the moment you see it: the cockpit extends aft between the Yamaha F425 outboards – which provide a cruise in the mid-30s and a top-end of around 55 mph – mounted far apart towards the outboard edges of the boat. This isn’t just a walk-through transom, it’s a walk-out transom which Solace calls the “FishThru”. You can literally stand aft of the outboards as you fight fish – and the extension doesn’t end there. Swing open the door, press a button, and a hydraulically-actuated swim platform slides out from underneath.

Solace 345
For anglers, the swim platform extension isn’t exactly critical, but holy cow, how’d they think of that?!

Flanking the cockpit as you head aft there are 45-gallon livewells to either side. But these are no common livewells. They’re pressurized, fed by a sea chest system, have clear viewing ports in the hatches, and incorporate a tuna tube into each side. Rounding out the cockpit fishing features there are three vertical rod holders on each side, a pair of seven-foot fishboxes in the deck, plugs for your electric reels or downriggers, dedicated stowage compartments for a pair of five-gallon buckets, and beneath the waterline, there’s a pair of Shadow-Caster full-spectrum RGB LED underwater lights.

Solace 345
Have you ever seen a cockpit quite like this? We didn’t think so.

Now turn around and look forward. There’s a hydraulically-actuated three-wide aft-facing seat that pops out of the back of the base for the helm seats, plus a sink, tackle stowage drawers, and a refrigerator/freezer. There’s also an electric grill. We admit that these goodies will be enjoyed by many people and probably has to be included on a modern boat in this class, though we also point out that a simpler rigging station with more room for gear and fewer fancy gadgets might be preferred by the blood-and-guts crew.

Solace 345
Along with the aft-facing seat, bench seats fold out from the cockpit inwales.

Move forward a few feet, and there’s not an angler alive who won’t be thrilled by this helm. The three flip-up bolster seats rest atop Shockwave S5 shock-mitigating mounts. The flush-mount electronics flat is lockable and has enough space to support a pair of 17-inch Garmin 8617 MFDs with room to spare. Take a swipe on the screen, and play with the CZone digital switching system.

Now look up. Hopefully, no one made the mistake of failing to opt for the upper station – we say not getting it would be utterly tragic. It comes with full controls, a folding buggy top, and flip-down bolster seats with flip-up backrests.

Solace 345
Solace says the upper station is an option. We say it’s a must-have.

As is the case on many larger center consoles these days, the console is blown out a bit to create a cabin as opposed to a mere head compartment, and forward-facing loungers sit atop the front section. Yes, there’s a price to pay for this design in the loss of forward deck space. And in another nod to comfort over carnage, the bow is also flanked with a pair of forward-facing lounges. Inside the console, there’s a small settee that folds down into a berth, a mini-galley with a microwave oven and a sink, and the head, all of which are kept chilled by a 6,000 BTU air-conditioning system.

Solace 345

Solace 345 Specifications

  • LOA – 38’0”
  • Beam – 10’6”
  • Draft – 1’10”
  • Displacement – Approx. 14,550 lbs. wet
  • Transom deadrise –22 degrees
  • Fuel capacity – 325 gal.
  • Water capacity – 40 gal.

Construction-wise, the Solace 345 continues its unique streak – epoxy infusion and carbon fiber are part of the mix, but so is Innegra. This stuff is one of the most advanced fibers around, which is lightweight, hydrophobic, high flex-fatigue, more impact-resistant than regular fiberglass, and even has vibration-dampening properties. Fasteners are chrome-plated 316-grade stainless-steel, wiring is all tinned-copper, and all-aluminum gets a CeraKote anti-corrosion/anti-adhesion ceramic coating treatment.

Solace 345
Oh, did we mention the standard Seakeeper gyro-stabilization system? Yup, they planned that into the Solace, too.

Okay, so where did all this craziness come from? Does the name Dougherty ring a bell? In should, because this family has played a huge multi-generational role in the world of center consoles. Bob Dougherty was a legend at Boston Whaler, and a founder at both Edgewater and Everglades. His son Stephen, who apparently also has resin running through his veins, was at Edgewater and Everglades. And his latest brainchild is – surprise – the Solace 345. We’ve never seen anything quite like it.

For more information, visit Solace.

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Lenny Rudow
Lenny Rudow …has been a writer and editor in the marine field for over two decades, and has authored seven books. He is currently the Angler in Chie...