Here's a question I often hear from boaters who are looking to step up from a bowrider: Is it possible to cruise comfortably in a trailerable 25' boat? For the answer, I suggest that you take a good hard look at the Bayliner's new 245 Cruiser.
Go belowdecks to see the Bayliner's cabin. Pocket cruisers such as this can often feel cave-like and claustrophobic, but the headroom in the 245 Cruiser is a generous 6'2". Running the length of the cabin on both sides are large frameless side windows that let in loads of natural light. These are in addition to the four portholes and large overhead hatch. Even the midcabin berth, which on some boats can resemble a coffin, seems airy due to colorful bedding and plenty of lights. All the rails are fiddled in the cabin, and there's a neat board hidden in the galley that extends the length of the countertop for when it's time to get your Rachael Ray groove on.
On the reliability and serviceability fronts, the engine compartment has plenty of room to maneuver. The hatch lifts manually on twin struts. What's more, I didn't need to shut the hatch to exit the boat aft, which makes routine engine maintenance much easier. I also discovered shrink-sealed electrical terminals that help thwart corrosion.
At the helm, Bayliner provides a great large space for mounting a flat-screen display, something you'd expect to find only on a bigger boat. The helm seat is a doublewide with a movable back that acts as a sunlounge headrest when at anchor. All the upholstery has been upgraded from previous years to heavy-duty 32-ounce marine vinyl for greater durability. There's a wetbar to port with three drinkholders and a portable cooler sits under the bench seat to starboard. The bow is gained via two molded-in nonslip steps that run the width of the companionway door. Walk through the bowrider-like curved windshield onto the bow. You'll find ample nonslip and a large bowrail forward for support while anchoring.
A single 260-hp MerCruiser stern drive powered the 245 Cruiser smoothly through a 3' chop at 25 mph and 3500 rpm. The 245 Cruiser planes readily in about 6 seconds and it hit a top speed of 36.3 mph. So to answer the question: Can you cruise comfortably in 25' cruiser? Yes, you can -- if it's a 245 Cruiser.
MSRP: Standard power - $60,497 Test power - $60,497 ****
Contact: 865.582.2200 www.bayliner.com