In recent years ski-boat makers have been trying to createpassenger-friendly models that might appeal to would-be stern-driveowners. At the same time, the stern-drive builders have beenattempting to woo skiing and wakeboarding families with towers,extended platforms and such. After our tests, we can honestly saythe Captiva 212 is a bonafide water-sports and family pleasurecombo boat. The budget-conscious price, however, puts it in anotherclass.
The 212 is as maneuverable as a 19-foot boat or smaller. Therunning surface maintains a bite in hard turns so you can stay onthe throttle and head the opposite direction without throwingpassengers across the cockpit. Our test boat, with a 5.7-literMerCruiser, was dropping onto plane in barely three seconds on itsway into the mid 50s. We’d recommend less power -- either a5.0-liter or the standard 4.3-liter engine. The difference wouldmake it quicker out of the hole while taking nothing away from thethrills and saving buyers a little cash.
Despite its small-boat responsiveness nobody will mistake the212 for a little runabout. Rinker has packaged an interior thatincludes a big L-lounge, removable dinette table and one of thewidest sun pads (nearly four feet) we’ve seen on a boat thissize. You might not need the optional extended swim platform thatruns flush into the molded-in platform.
In true stern-drive heritage, the 212 has an aft companionwaythat’s accessorized with a wet storage compartment under thestep and a stereo remote. A traditional ski boat doesn’toffer fashionable snap-in carpet and swiveling bucket seats fordriver and passenger. The bow lounges are long enough for full-sizeadults.
One option we’d pay to keep is the collapsible wakeboardtower from Xtreme Towers. We used it often during our tests, andeven the most finicky inboard fans gave it -- and the boat -- twothumbs up.
Final Take: Loaded like a big bowrider, but handles likean agile ski boat
We Also Like …
1. Mahogany wheel and dash play well with the eight-gaugepanel.
2. Hatch on starboard console hinges horizontally and opens to aremovable trash can.
3. Board racks on optional tower keep wakeboards off thedeck.
4. Motor lid has dual gas shocks and clips to hold the sternlight out of the way.
5. Space under stern seat is ample enough for a cooler andseveral day bags.
6. Bow is fully padded to the nose, where there’s an entrystep and anchor storage.
Length Overall: 20’10”
Dry Weight: 3,050 lb.
Seating/Weight Capacity: 10/1,630 lb.
Fuel Capacity: 42 gal.
Max HP: 260
MSRP (test boat): $32,395
Test Engine: MerCruiser 5.7L Mag MPI
Test Prop: 21-pitch Mercury, 3-blade
Test Load: Fuel (12 gal.); People (380 lb.)
Top Speed: 53.5 MPH @ 4,500 RPM
Time to Plane: 3.3 sec.
Time to 30 MPH: 8.9 sec.
Minimum Planing Speed: 19 MPH @ 2,200 RPM
Noise at Idle: 63 db
Noise at 30 MPH: 81 db
Cruise Stats: 86 db; 36.3 MPH @ 3,300 RPM