Whenever we idle through one particularly narrow canal at our test site, it inevitably raises the driving tension, even if just a little bit. Where are the stumps? Why is the bow turning away from dead ahead? Will the stern "walk" too close to the breakwall?
None of those fears were a factor when piloting the new 22 Flats. It drafts a mere 11 inches, and the gunwales are practically nil, giving us the best round-the-boat view of any boat we've tested for 2009. It also helps that, aside from the console, driver's seat and motor, the boat is all hull and deck, with no obstructions.
The whole concept behind the Pro-Lite lineup is simplicity. The 22 Flats is built on the same Pro-Line hull that's stood up to tests in serious coastal waters. But above deck is open space. Walk around in bare feet and you don't have to worry about stubbing a toe on a square edge or a corner — there are none. The surface of the deck has a light texture instead of diamond nonskid, so it's easier to clean with a hard stream from a hose. All of this should be attractive for anyone who's had an inkling to buy a boat but thought it might be too daunting.
Our test boat topped out at nearly 50 mph with an Evinrude 150 and one person on board. We doubt losing a few mph will turn anyone away, so we'd seriously consider a 115 hp motor. With it, a full 40-gallon fuel tank would last even longer.
This is the essence of simplicity, if not the essence of boating.
• Use the cooler at the front of the helm to keep fish fresh.
• The livewell at the transom is perfect for live bait.
• Each side of the console has two vertical rod holders to help keep the deck free of gear.
• The low profile makes any bow rise on the hole shot unimportant and allows an unusually clear forward view.
- Vital Stats
- Length Overall: 22'5"
- Beam: 8'3"
- Dry Weight: 1,774 lb.
- Fuel Capacity: 40 gal.
- Maximum HP: 200
- MSRP (w/150 hp Suzuki or Evinrude): $25,889
- NMMA Certified: Yes
- Test Drive
- Test Engine: Evinrude 150
- Test Prop: 14.8 x 17 Aluminum 3-blade
- Test Load: People (190 lb.); Fuel (30 gal.)
- Minimum Planing Speed: 15 mph @ 2,400 rpm
- Top Speed: 49.2 mph @ 5,900 rpm
- Time to Plane: 2.0 sec.
- Time to 30 MPH: 4.6 sec.