WHAT’S NEW FOR 2017
By Mike Milne
Day-boats, pontoons and fishing boats still lead the way in new model launches and designs for 2017, with big cruisers continuing a comeback. Aside from watersports boats — led by new wake-surf models — personal watercraft remain a growing part of the small-craft market. Many new fishing boats add family-friendly features.
Pontoons are still an expanding part of the day-cruising marketplace with a continuing emphasis on luxury, performance, new layouts and even twin outboard power. Centre consoles are finding their way onto a variety of boats — including pontoons. And big, luxurious bowriders with outboard power remain as an alternative to big, fast, high-end pontoons.
Countering a continuing trend toward outboard power is the growth in surf boats. Aside from dedicated inboard watersports boats, more surf-oriented boats this year are powered by Volvo Penta’s Forward drive. With the right accessories and a Forward Drive, a well-designed runabout can be made ready to go surfing.
On the cruising side, most new production yachts are sizeable, including the Chris-Craft Commander 42, Sea Ray 460 Fly, Carver 52 Coupe, Cruisers 60 Fly and Viking 72 Convertible, but the mid-range of cruising boats seems stagnant, with one builder dropping its entire line.
The 23-foot 230 Outrage centre console introduced early last summer joins the 250 Outrage launched last February and a 280 rolled out last year. The three new boats and a 330 make up the outboard-powered Outrage lineup, designed and built for fishing as well as all-round family fun on the water. The smallest and newest in the series, the single-engine 230 still boasts wide-open deck space for fishing, plenty of storage space for rods and gear, plus wraparound seating in the bow and even more seating against the front of the console and in a fold-up transom seat. Like its larger siblings, the 230 also has a head in the console compartment. A 54-gallon cooler fits neatly under the helm seat, but dedicated anglers can opt for a Fishing Leaning Post at the helm, with a built-in 30-gallon livewell. Boaters who want to opt for relaxation and entertainment can add a table that fits neatly in the bow area.
At its dealer meeting in late August, Canadian boatbuilder Campion introduced five new models, including four Allante bowriders, including two Watersports Editions — equipped with Volvo Penta Forward Drives and aimed clearly at the wake-surf market — and one new model in Campion’s Explorer fishing/adventure series. The 21-foot 6-inch Allante 595 and 25-foot 6-inch Allante 645 Watersports Editions are equipped with ballast systems plus Wake Worx Super Suf’R tabs to create the surf-worthy waves. At the same time, the boats are equally capable of meeting the needs of water-skiers and wakeboarders. The Volvo Penta drive system keeps surfers safe, while extended swim platforms on the new boats keep them close to the action. The new 23-foot Allante 635i has sterndrive power and the Allante 635 OB is an outboard-powered version. The new 23-foot Campion Explorer 632 SC is powered by a single outboard.
After introducing its C52 Command Bridge at last February’s Miami International Boat Show, yacht-builder Carver has a 52 Coupe on the drawing board for the 2017 model year. Much like the Command Bridge, the 52 Coupe will have a three-stateroom, two head layout, along with a wide-open cockpit and a full-beam master suite. Wide side decks will mean easy access to a large seating area on the coupe’s foredeck.
With a history of mining its own 142-year heritage and coming up with new boat and yacht designs for the 21st century designs, Chris-Craft unearthed another classic nameplate. It launched the first in a new series of Commander yachts last summer. The Commander 42, designed and built in conjunction with Italian yacht building firm, Austin Parker, is described as a modern interpretation of a New England lobster-style boat. Powered by twin Volvo Penta diesels linked to IPS 600 drives, it has a thoroughly modern propulsion system. There are two entertainment areas plus a galley in the cockpit, a large sunbed on the bow and room for five to sleep belowdecks. Chris-Craft plans to expand the line next year, adding a Commander 36 and Commander 52. A smaller open boat, the dual-console Calypso 30, made a brief appearance at the company’s dealer meeting last summer. A sibling to the Calypso 26, it may be officially launched later this year.
With seven new boats and several significant redesigns, aluminum boat builder Crestliner is going into 2017 with a largely new or improved fishing boat team. The Super Hawk fish and ski line includes the all-new 17-foot 9-inch 1750, 18-foot 9-inch 1850 and 19-foot 5-inch 1950, with appeal that goes beyond fishing. While the line’s angling features include fore and aft casting platforms and aerated livewells, there’s also an easy bow seating conversion, plus flip-up aft seats for other family activities. The new 20-foot 8-inch 2050 Commander is an all-welded dedicated big-water fishing machine, while three new VTC boats (versions of the shallow-water-specialist VT line), are focused on crappie fishing. There are also improvements to other Crestliners, with a roomier bow area on the 1600 Vision, a range of upgrades to the VT line, and an improved interior coating plus a more spacious bow casting deck on the 2200 Bay.
The new Cruisers 60 Fly made its debut at the boatbuilder’s business meeting last summer and was on display along with the new Cruisers 54 Cantius that was introduced at last winter’s Miami International Boat Show. The 60 Fly signals Cruisers’ re-entry into the flybridge yacht market, in fine style. The 60-footer has a flybridge with plenty of lounging space, a wet bar and centreline helm, plus plenty more space for entertaining in the cockpit and belowdecks. There’s also an easily reached foredeck lounge. As for accommodation, the full-beam master suite has a king-size bed and a private head while the forward guest cabin has a queen bed and private access to the second head. For boaters who prefer hardtop express yachts, the 54 Cantius offers a three-stateroom, two-head layout plus the usual luxury amenities.
With eight new models for 2017, aluminum boat builder G3 has upgraded boats almost across its lineup — including tunnel-jet boats, jon boats, modified-V bottom fishing boats and its Angler series. Among the centre console jet boats, the two new models are the 20-foot 3-inch 20 CCJ and 20 CCJ DLX, two ideal boats for operating in shallow water, part of G3’s Gator Tough series. The boats are equipped with fishing features and also come with four-stroke Yamaha jet outboards up to 150 hp. The new Bay 18 DLX Camo adds camouflage features in the Bay boat series while the welded aluminum Sportsman 17 PFX and the Sportsman 19 bass boat are new to the modified-V series. New in the Angler series are the Angler 17 C and 17 SF, plus the Angler 18 C and 18 SF. The SF models are fishing-friendly but also have family-friendly features, to appeal to anglers and non-anglers alike.
Pontoon specialist Harris launches a new boat for 2017, the V270, that’s also likely to form the nucleus of a new series. The 27-foot boat has a unique design with an enlarged centre console that incorporates a full marine head. The new boat’s triple-tube design provides high performance under way as well as stability at rest. The V270’s layout includes a full semicircular lounge aft. Removing one of the cushions and opening a door provides access to the aft swim deck. The doublewide helm seat is another feature. There are retractable ladders aft and at each of the side gates, and one side gate is 56 inches wide for easy access to and from the water, or on and off the boat.
After introducing its CC19 centre console last summer for the 2016 model year, deck boat specialist Hurricane followed up with the CC21 centre console. Launched at the Miami International Boat Show last February, the CC21 has many of the fishing-friendly features of its shorter sibling, including baitwell/livewell, dedicated rod storage and a convertible bow fishing platform/lounge. The CC 19 has a folding canvas change room and the CC21 includes an enclosed head compartment.
The Jet Ski that started the PWC revolution more than 40 years ago — but has been sidelined in recent years by sit-down models — may be coming back. Although stand-up watercraft have been largely left to committed racers and a few die-hard fans, Kawasaki U.S. announced in August that it was “in final stages of development” of a stand-up four-stroke Jet Ski SX-R that would be introduced for 2017. As of our press date, there has been no confirmation or denial on whether the new Jet Ski will be sold in Canada.
Known for making many of its fibreglass boats using closed-mold VEC technology, Larson has two new sport boats, four new fishing boats and two new Escape pontoons for 2017. The new sport boats are part of the LHX series that began with the 19 LHX, a bowrider with a pickle-fork-style bow. This year the 19 has two larger siblings, the outboard-powered Larson 210 LXH OB and the sterndrive-powered Larson 230 LXH I/O. The four new freshwater multi-species fishing boats include two 17-footers and two 20-footers. The Larson FX 1750 DC is a dual-console boat and the FX 1750 TL is its tiller-control version. Likewise, there’s the new FX 2020 DC dual-console and its tiller version, the 2020 TL. Larson’s pontoon boats include an 18-foot Escape Cruise and an Escape 23 TTT DC, a triple-tube pontoon with high-performance Tapered Tube Technology (TTT) tubes, a starboard-side console and full wraparound windshield. Gone from the Larson lineup are three LX bowriders and the Larson Cabrio 265, 285 and 315 cruisers.
Connor Industries, already well-known for its semi-custom Stanley Boats, is now developing an all-new line of Lighthouse welded aluminum boats. To go into production soon, the line veers away from Stanley’s workboat style to include more sweeping lines, painted finishes and highly finished interiors. The first boat in the lineup is a 25 Hardtop with a walk-through bow area, but will be followed by centre console, runabout, closed-deck cuddy and short-hardtop versions of the 25-footer. Future models in the Lighthouse lineup will likely include 23- or 28-foot hulls with similar model versions. Still finalizing production design and engineering, the Ontario-based builder hopes to have a full model lineup in place over the coming years.
Taking clear aim at bass and crappie anglers for 2017, Lund introduces a new model in the Pro V Bass series, plus two boats in the new Renegade series, all with options meant to appeal to anglers with different prey or fishing styles. The new 20-foot 10-inch Lund 2075 Pro V Bass Boat is intended for bass as well as multi-species anglers, but comes in two versions. Both models have plenty of dedicated storage space, but take different approaches to seating. The Pro V Bass model has bench-style seating intended to appeal to many tournament bass anglers, while the Pro V Bass XS model offers pedestal seats and large casting decks. Flip-up seats in the aft deck also give the boat more potential for family-oriented use. The 17-foot 9-inch Renegade 1775 and 18-foot 9-inch 1875 models are built on Lund’s modified-V IPS modified-V hull and have plenty of well-organized rod and gear storage, but also offer choices. With each model, there’s a bass-oriented version with a 30-gallon aft livewell and a crappie version with a 12-gallon bow livewell. On both versions, oversized casting decks provide plenty of room for two anglers.
New 19- and 21-foot inshore centre consoles are part of Mako’s lineup for 2017. The Pro Skiff 19 CC and Pro Skiff 21 CC have stable and dry-riding Advanced Inverted V (AIV) hulls, bow and aft casting stations (with flip-up jump seats aft), plus standard coolers and livewell/baitwells. Both boats are packaged with trailers and 90- to 115-hp Mercury outboards. T-tops, leaning-post helm seats and two-tone hulls are optional.
An early performance-pontoon leader with its Sport Handling Performance (SHP) hulls, pontoon boat specialist Manitou adds a new ingredient to its speed and performance recipe for 2017. Manitou’s X-Plode, X-Plode XT, Legacy and Legacy LT models are now available with twin outboards, with maximum horsepower ratings as high as 600 hp. X-Plode and Legacy models are up to 28-feet 4-inches and X-Plode XT and Legacy LT models are up to 26-feet 4-inches.
Along with the new XT23 mid-range crossover multisport towboat, MasterCraft rolls out a new handling system to improve maneuverability, a wider range of Ilmor engines and more customizable tower options. The 23-foot 4-inch XT23 has the Gen 2 Surf System, 2,600 lb of built-in ballast and a digital dashboard interface to build wakes or waves for water skiers, wakeboarders or wake surfers. The new Dockstar Handling System is a “flanking rudder system” to improve the inboard boats’ control in reverse for better close-quarters handling.
After introducing the new 22-foot Craz and 20-foot 5-inch Helix for 2016 — joining the Mojo and Mondo in the V-drive lineup — Moomba launches AutoWake technology for 2017. As demand increases for boats that can build wakes for both wakeboarders and wakesurfers, Moomba’s new system promises to make it all automatic. Working together with Moomba’s Flow 2.0 surf system and the second-generation Smartplate wake plate, AutoWake monitors the runnings attitude of the boat, digitally calculates alterations needed for a particular wake or wave, and automatically adjusts ballast levels.
With its new GS20, tow specialist Nautique launches a multisport boat with a new hull — with 1,850 lb of internal ballast — aimed at making great waves and wakes for wakeboarders and wakesurfers. Nautique adds other innovations to its lineup including options like a new Bimini top with pockets for carrying surfboards, the Nautique Awareness Camera for an in-dashboard rear view, and the LINC Panoray touchscreen to display video (if available) and information on all the boat’s systems.
As well as new colour options, bass boat specialist Nitro launches the 19-foot four-inch Z19 Sport. Packaged with a trailer and a choice of 150- to 200-hp Mercury outboards, the Z19 has “Nascar inspired” bucket seats, plenty of fishing space on fore and aft decks, plus a 16-gallon aerated livewell aft, a 44-quart cooler and a locking rod or water ski locker. A removable watersports pylon, plus port and starboard swim platforms add to the Z19’s versatility. The Z6 and Z9 are no longer in the lineup.
Last year, Premier launched new models with up to 12-foot beams and up to triple-outboards in its top-level model line. For 2017, the pontoon specialist adds the new Horizon fish and cruise boat to its Level One lineup. Premier also adds a wide variety of upgrades, including standard SeaWeave flooring on Level One boats. Premier’s unique self-retracting Richochet boarding ladder is now standard on all single-engine boats.
After launching seven new boats last year, Princecraft has no all-new models for 2017, but is making subtle styling alterations to all of its boats, plus significant equipment and layout changes in two pontoon lines and one fishing boat series. Interior colours across the board — from flooring to consoles and seats — are now darker for a more dramatic appearance. On the fishing side, the Xpedition series of V-bottom fishing boats gets a complete overhaul to appeal to hardcore anglers. The 16-foot 11-inch Xpedition 170 and 20-foot Xpedition 200 are available in side console (SC), dual console (DC) or full windshield (WS) versions and now have more spacious bow and stern platforms, a foot-throttle recess, new livewell systems and blowers for rod compartment ventilation. In the high-end Vogue pontoon series, Princecraft adds 3-D decals, upholstery options and an upgraded stereo with Raymarine touch-screen. The Quorum mid-range pontoon series now has new layouts. In the SS series, for example, front lounges are replaced by two captain’s chairs while the SE series has a bar. The SE layout — previously available on 25-, 27-, and 29-foot models — now comes on the 23-foot Quorum 23 SE. In the value-oriented Vectra line and the angler-friendly Sportfisher pontoon series, Princecraft follows up on a major revamp last year with upgraded stereos and new LED accent lighting.
With four new boats for 2017 — three fibreglass and one aluminum — Ranger covers dedicated anglers while appealing to family boaters as well. The new 18-foot 10-inch fibreglass 1850MS Reata is a stylish multispecies boat that converts easily from fishing to general family boating. Slightly longer, the new 1880MS Angler is a more fishing oriented version that still has family appeal. The new RT198p and Z185 are more clearly aimed at bass-oriented anglers. The RT198p is a 19-foot 4-inch welded aluminum boat rated for up to 150 hp with a pad-bottom hull for optimum performance. The 18-foot 8-inch Z185 is aimed at buyers who want a reasonably priced bass boat with plenty of standard equipment.
For 2017, Rinker has re-organized its sport boats and cuddy cabins into the QX line, ranging from the 16-foot 10-inch outboard-powered QX17 bowrider, to the QX30, a sterndrive-powered bowider and cuddy cabin. Several models in the lineup have outboard and sterndrive versions, while others, such as the QX26 and QX29, are sterndrives with bowrider and cuddy versions. The former Express line of cruisers has been re-organized into the EX cruiser line, ranging from the EX270 to EX350.
Sea Ray follows up on its launch of the new 450 Sundancer express cruiser and a 290 Sundeck Outboard luxury deck boat at last February’s Miami boat show by launching three more new boats for 2017 at this fall’s Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. The new Sundancer 350 Coupe is a hardtop express cruiser with an overall length of 37 feet 6 inches, with an expansive foredeck area, master stateroom forward and mid-cabin guest quarters. Skippers can choose between inboard and sterndrive power and gasoline or diesel engines. Sea Ray also expands its current five-model SLX line of big luxurious sterndrive bowriders, from 23 to 35 feet with the addition of two outboard-powered models. The 31-foot six-inch SLX 310 Outboard and 34-foot 6-inch SLX 350 Outboard have fiberglass hardtops, twin Mercury outboards, heads and room to take family and friends for a very comfortable day on the water.
For 2017, BRP moves Polytec construction into its Recreation lineup, building the new GTS and GTI models with same high impact polypropylene and glass-fibre material as the popular Spark lineup. With Polytec’s much lighter weight, the two new full-size PWCs are easily powered by fuel-efficient four-stroke 90-hp Rotax 900 HO ACE (Advanced Combustion Efficiency) engines, without sacrificing performance and handling. Introduced three years ago, the Spark 2up and 3up models have a sporty sibling in the rec-lite lineup. The new TRIXX is powered by the 900 HO ACE and adds a list of freestyle-friendly features including adjustable handlebars and step wedges, plus a wide-range variable trim system (VTS), for faster planing and tricks. After introducing the 300-hp Rotax 1630 ACE last year, BRP adds the new 1500 HO ACE. Like the 1630, the new engine promises great mid-range power and a low-maintenance supercharger. Producing 15 more horsepower than its predecessor, the 1500 HO ACE is installed in the 2017 Sea-Doo GTR 230, GTR-X 230, GTX 230, GTX Limited 230 and Wake Pro 230 watercraft. The GTR-X 230 brings BRP’s X-package of race-proven features to the GTR platform.
With two models in the new Explorer series, and a new 20-footer in the American Angler series, aluminum boat builder Smoker Craft expands its lineup of aluminum fishing boats. The new 17-foot three-inch 172 Explorer and 18-foot five-inch 182 Explorer provide layouts with three swiveling seats in the cockpit and folding jump seats aft. Equipment includes the new Integrated Gunnel Track System, top-loading gunnel rod storage, gunnel step pads and the YarBlow rod storage ventilation system. The new Sportsman 20, available as a centre or side console, rounds out the American Angler series.
There are new surf-oriented crossovers and speedy pontoons among new models in Starcraft’s wide-ranging aluminum and fibreglass boat divisions. Five new pontoons include the twin-engine 26-foot 10-inch MX 25 L Twin and MX 25 R Twin models models, rated for up to 600 hp. The new EX 23 C SG is a 23-foot 10-inch cruising boat with a starboard gate, while the CX 25 Q and CX 23 Q are cruise models with convertible stern-facing aft seats instead of a sundeck. In the fibreglass boat division, the new SCX 231 Surf and SCX 230 Surf crossovers are equipped with ballast systems and Volvo Penta’s Forward Drive sterndrive, with plenty of space for day-cruising. Starcraft also adds six new sterndrive models in its Starstep and MDX deckboat lineups, plus six new outboard MDX models. Starcraft’s aluminum fishing boat lineup has improvements but no new models.
For 2017, Stingray rolls out three new outboard-powered boats — two centre-console deck boats and a new sport boat. The 19-foot 1-inch 186 CC and 20-foot 11-inch 206 CC join the current lineup of five side console and dual console deck boats ranging from 18 to 21 feet. The 198 LS Sport Deck joins seven other models in a sport boat lineup from 19 to 23 feet. Stingray discontinues five runabouts and a 25-foot cruiser.
Plenty of pontoon boats have swiveling fishing chairs, but two new SunChaser models available this fall go further, adding fishing-style centre consoles and optional T-tops. The 23-foot 10-inch 8522 CC Sport Fish and 25-foot 10-inch 8524 CC Sport Fish join SunChaser’s Classic series. The 8524 has a bow deck with two seat bases for fishing outside the bow rails. SunChaser’s three other new models in the Classic series include the 8522 and 8524 LR DH models with lounger-style layouts and the 8522 CRS SG, a standard cruise model with a starboard gate forward of the console.
The 20-foot 11-inch SR joins the Supra watersports fleet for 2017, powered by 400- and 450-hp versions of the Indmar Raptor 6.2-L V-8 inboard. Also new for 2017 is Supra’s AutoWake technology. Once the driver selects a rider’s choice of a wakeboarding or surfing wave, the system monitors the boat’s running attitude and makes automatic adjustments in ballast. The system works with Supra’s Swell 2.1 Surf System and the Smartplate wake plate system.
There are seven new models among the four series of Sylvan pontoons for 2017, changing up layout, equipment and performance. The 23-foot 10-inch 8522 Mirage CRS SG adds a starboard gate model to the Cruise lineup, while the new 23- and 25-foot 8522 and 8524 Mirage Entertainers now have stern bar layouts. The new S-5 Flex and Flex Extreme, like all five models in Sylvan’s S series, are equipped with high-performance RPT tubes. But the new S-5 Extreme twin takes performance to further extremes with twin outboards and a combined power rating of up to 600 hp. Sylvan also adds a new twin-engine model in its high-end Mandalay series: the new 26-foot 10-inch Mandalay Sport Lounger Twin rated for up to 600 hp.
The 19-foot five-inch 1950 joins Tahoe’s deck boat line for 2017. Along with a Powerglide hull and 115- to 150-hp Mercury outboard, the new 1950 has wraparound bow seating, a refreshment centre to port, rod holders to starboard, and an L-shaped lounge and portable 36-quart cooler aft. There’s also a trash receptacle aft, plus a swim platform and ladder.
With a capable offshore tournament fishing layout plus four staterooms and five heads belowdecks, the 2017 Viking 72 Convertible is a replacement for the popular 70 Convertible. The 72 Convertible has an all-new hull, sleek profile and wider beam. Viking also rolls out two versions of its 48-footer, the 48 Open and 48 Sport Tower with an enclosed hardtop. Both yachts have a two-stateroom layout.
For 2017, Yamaha launches new WaveRunners aimed at first-time buyers and experienced high-performance riders, plus four new 21-foot sport boats and an all-new 19-foot sport boat series. On the WaveRunner side, the three models in the new EX series are powered by the three-cylinder four-stroke TR-1 HO engine, introduced for 2016. All are three-up machines, with the WaveRunner EX hitting an $8799 price point, the Sport model adding a mechanical reverse and the EX Deluxe including the RiDE dual-throttle control system and other features. The new GP 1800 is a race-ready high-performance PWC powered by the SVHO engine. On the boat side, Yamaha’s new 210 series boats are powered by twin TR-1 HO engines and include the all-round SX210 and watersports-oriented AR210. The 212 Limited and 212 Limited S are powered by twin normally aspirated 1.8 L engines and loaded with Connex helm control systems and premium appointments. All of the 21-footers have Yamaha Quiet Cruise features that cut down cabin noise and vibration, plus handling response features that include the Articulating Keel. The two boats in the new 195 series are powered by SVHO supercharged 1.8 L engines and promise great acceleration and hookup across the power band. The SX195 aims to deliver all-round high performance, while the AR195 is equipped with a tower and aimed at watersports enthusiasts. The 190 series of runabouts and FSH series boats are still in the lineup along with the 24-foot E Series.
This article is featured in the Fall 2016 issue of Boats&Places.