What we think: A steady rain was falling on the day of our test with the all-new 2400 Bay. Such dreariness can affect a person's impressions about anything, especially when raindrops are falling at 53 mph. But then our tester found an acrylic-hatched storage box on the helm to keep his GPS and test papers dry. The optional T-top and canvas, coupled with the medium-height windscreen, gave the rain only a sliver to penetrate the helm.
Real-life situations are at the core of the development of NauticStar's latest flagship bay boat. We found it full of every feature a serious angler could want -- two livewells, a fish box, storage for 16 rods, dedicated tackle tray storage, vast casting decks, you name it. But what stood out in our walk-through were things like a special compartment for the five-gallon "catch-all" bucket every angler uses (but which usually gets stuffed into the console) and an anchor locker holding a standard anchor. The deluxe leaning post sits in front of a stainless-steel footrest, and the boat uses so many angles and cavities for storage that it allowed the designers to drop the forward casting deck down a few inches. This forms a higher lip around the gunwales for more security when casting from the huge deck.
Though the 2400 is built primarily for avid anglers, NauticStar is also solidly rooted in family boating. That's why there are flip-up corner seats in the stern and a hull that pushes the boat onto plane in barely three seconds. In the end, our time on the 2400 Bay was actually pleasant, defying the conditions.
Who should buy it: This is a true do-it-all boat for anglers because it has a 12-inch draft with the motor up, yet can also go light offshore. It has the space and enough comforts for families.
Vital Stats * Length Overall: 24'3" * Beam: 8'6" * Dry Weight: 2,500 lb. * Seating/Weight Capacity: 10/1,800 lb. * Fuel Capacity: 80 gal. * Max HP: 300 * MSRP: (test boat w/ Yamaha F250): $58,059 * NMMA certified: Yes
Suzuki 200 $46,494
Mercury 225XL OptiMax $47,394
Yamaha F250 (w/o test options) $51,607
Also Consider ...
Max HP: 150
Still has the stainless-steel hardware and lined storage for saltwater use, and is priced at around $25,000 with a 115 hp motor.
Max HP: 200
Fits in between the entry-level bay boat and the larger models, so it's best suited for inshore pursuits.
Test Drive * Test Engine: Suzuki 175TX four-stroke * Test Prop: 15.25 x 23 * Test Load: People (190 lb.); Fuel (35 gal.) * Top Speed: 49.6 mph @ 6,300 rpm * Time to Plane: 2.5 sec. * Time to 30 mph: 6.3 sec. * Minimum Plane: 18 mph @ 3,200 rpm