Making the Jump to a Cruiser
Yes, after just one season with our lil’ Maxum runabout the wife and I have been discussing our next boat. Our daughter goes off to college in two years so I doubt there will be much wakeboarding/tubing going on after she’s gone and my wife and I are anxious to get a boat where we can do weekends on the water.
There was a boat show this past weekend at our local expo center. A dozen dealers, boats ranging from 17’ runabouts to 45’ yachts.
My wife absolutely fell in love with the Bayliner Discovery 246. Bayliner has their ‘classic’ models which evoke the lines of boats past. The Discovery is one of them. It’s a stubby little boat but has a surprising amount of cabin room because of the overall design. They didn’t have a brochure for that particular model at the show and the Bayliner website only has exterior pictures (grrrrr, why?). The BL dealer salesman at the show kept reminding me that the Discover is eligible for tax rebates due to the galley/head which isn’t much of an incentive for me as I’m more concerned about getting the right boat, not tax exemptions.
Concerns: The helm in the 246 is placed very far back in the boat with high windshields making what seemed like to me to be a real bear to dock and with one prop and an enclosed helm to limit visibility, it probably is.
Also, there’s the ‘Bayliner’ stigma. I closely examined the fit and finish and quality of vendor pieces and while they were more plain and basic than the Maxum, they seemed sufficient enough. The contemporary BL sport cruisers we checked out were very comparable to the Maxum in over all bolt-ons. It’s the hull integrity I’m concerned about. I’ve been told conflicting versions from quite a few dealer employees. Some say there is a big difference in the hull construction between the three BL/Maxum and Sea Ray and some say they are all the same. Anyone know?
The 246 is a 17 degree hull. How does the degree translate into ride behavior?
Other boats I was impressed with:
Glastron – They brought a few 18-21’ runabouts. Excellent appointments, good quality bolt-ons, nice storage for such a small boat.
Maxum – our big Maxum dealer brought 5 cruisers and six or seven runabouts. The cruisers held their own if not surpassed the competitors. Excellent appointments, great quality feel. The 2700 SE or 3100 Se is the boat I’d eventual like to end up with after I make a jump to an entry level cruiser ( or larger cuddy).
Bayliner – The BL cruisers were right there with the Maxums in term of amenities. I thought there would be a larger difference as there is with the runabouts.
More expensive boats I wasn’t that impressed with (and it’s not that they aren’t nice, but compared to the BL’s and Maxums it seemed like you were just buying into the name):
Monterey – They were nice enough, but at $100K more per model, the Maxums were right there with it.
Sea Rea – I spent a considerable amount of time looking over the 240 Sundancer and talking with the very informed salesman. Nice boat but again, the comparable Maxum was just as nice for less money. I also looked at their 24’ Weekender. I’m considering whether to just get a larger cuddy that is more easily trailered than the 8.5’ beam cruisers and they are starting to put portable heads and single stove tops with sink inside these guys so you can spend the night on them. My wife wouldn’t have anything to do with it.
Chris Craft – Yes I know, I know…it’s Chris Craft and I was impressed on a certain level. They had a few ‘Speedsters’ there, their fresh new look at their venerable classic. It was tre cool, but at that price and not much utility it really is a secondary pleasure boat. If I could afford my cruiser and a Speedster, I would!
Yamaha – Didn’t like them and not just because they are jet boats. Basic quality feel for a hefty price on a small boat.
I’d be interested to know the boat size progression from some of you that are in cruisers. Also, any suggestions/advice/recommendations would be helpful. I don’t know if we’ll make the jump this year, but it’s coming within the next two for sure.