The first thing I noticed about the Starcraft Star Step 221 was what it was lacking, most notably bow rise. Thanks to its stepped-hull bottom that extends the running surface, the 221 planes flat as if it had deployed trim tabs. The step reduces friction, which improves efficiency, helping the 221 achieve solid performance numbers with a smaller 220 hp engine. Impressively, I was able to keep the boat on plane as slow as 14.6 mph at 2,200 rpm, which translates to excellent slow-speed control.
The second thing I noticed about the 221 is that it is a true deck boat. Starcraft didn’t follow the recent trend of deck-runabout hybrids. It has a large bow platform and a standard extended swim platform off the stern. The 221 also carries its full beam far forward, capitalizing on the extra width to create a massive bow seating area. I liked the stainless-steel grab rails that run along the bow topsides, giving everyone up front a secure handhold.
A full windshield protects the passengers riding in the cockpit, a bonus of the dual-console layout. The cockpit features two bucket seats, and the transom bench has backrests on the gunwales so passengers can kick back sideways. There’s a lighted head in the port console so you don’t have to run back to the dock on relief missions.
The Star Step 221 we tested had the optional snap-in carpet to cover the fiberglass liner, which makes the windshield-fitted deck boat easy to clean and maintain. I’d also opt for the bow filler cushion to keep the spouse and kids happy. Why not go for the wake tower too? The 221’s got the performance chops to make it worthwhile.
The lighted head with portable MSD in the port console is a family-friendly feature.
The premium upholstery has a sporty colorcoordinated design.
Front and rear boarding ladders are great for beaching or at anchor.
A full wraparound windshield protects the cockpit from the elements.
» Test Engine: MerCruiser 220 HP 4.3L MPI Alpha
» Test Prop: MerCruiser 14½" X 18" Four-Blade Aluminum
» Test Load: People (180 LB.); Fuel (51 GAL.)
» Top Speed: 45.3 MPH @ 4,500 RPM
» Time to Plane: 4.9 sec.
» Time to 30 MPH: 10.5 sec.
» Most Economical Cruise Speed: 23.1 MPH @ 2,500 RPM, 5.2 GPH, 4.4 MPH
» Length Overall: 21'7"
» Beam: 8'6"
» Dry Weight: 2,945 LB.
» Seating/Weight Capacity: 13/1,900 LB.
» Fuel Capacity: 51 GAL.
» Max HP: 425
» MSRP: $32,893 (w/ test power)
» NMMA Certified