My first glance of the Rossiter 23 Classic Day Boat screamed “Century Resorter, 1967,” and it gave me a warm feeling for skiing with my buddies out of Links Landing on Lake of the Ozarks. Both Links and Century are gone — at least as far as classic runabouts go — but their lines endure in the Rossiter 23, and it’s that nostalgia plus the quality construction that made this runabout so attractive on test day.
No, there’s no wood in the 23 — none, except the polished teak dash and console boards, and the rails of coaming compartments beside the port and starboard front seats. Well, there’s also a mahogany wheel, stouter, firmer and sporting more gloss than the best finishes of the ’60s could produce. In fact, all the building components in the 23 are of the most modern boatbuilding materials and composites, making the 23 rot-proof and solid-riding, and allowing Rossiter to offer that first owner a structural warranty for the duration of her or his ownership. If that sounds like a dodge from the mantra of typically worded “lifetime warranties,” consider that Rossiter promises to transfer the warranty to the next owner for 10 more years. Remember, too, if it were a fine automobile, you might get two years or 30,000 miles.
Inside, the Rossiter has facing picnic-bench seating separated with a teak table. Walkways throughout the cockpit are wide for easy passage and, in our test vessel, they were covered in snap-out woven deck matting, which provided secure footing and good looks.
An entry to the cuddy gives access to a small V-berth and a hidden flushing china head. That too is nostalgic of the early runabout days when a closed deck, not open seating, offered comfortable lodging for a night.
While the style and look of the Rossiter 23 are striking, the ride is memorable too. From Ontario, the brand is demanded by Great Lakes boaters who ply some formidable, mercurial waters that can go from placid to violent in a matter of minutes. So, it sports a 22-degree deadrise at the transom but with a keel pad on the hull aft. The pad is a flat planing surface running along the last few feet of keel and meeting with the transom. The pad gives the 23 the ability to sustain on-plane handling at just 16 mph but also tackle offshore waves with comfort. We know. We did it.
* Deep cockpit offers security and safety in choppy Great Lakes waters.
* Square-ish windshield is reminiscent of Century’s Raven model of the early ’70s.
* Self-draining, an outboard extends the season, compared to a sterndrive, by eliminating the danger of early freezes.
* We like the polished stainless steel on the windshield and its shape but wanted to see one-piece frameworks, not riveted extrusions.
* Through-stem windlass would be an option more suitable for the Rossiter’s upper-crust design.
Chris-Craft’s retro-rad Launch 23 design ($92,400) is the only logical competitor for the Rossiter classic mindset, but it’s powered with a sterndrive and takes the barrel-back hull style of the ’40s rather than the progressive design of the ’60s.
Price: $131,421 (with test power)
Available Power: Outboard
How We Tested
Engine: Yamaha 250
Drive/Prop: Yamaha SDS 15.25" x 19" 3-blade stainless steel
Gear Ratio: 1.75:1
Fuel Load: 40 gal.
Crew Weight: 400 lb.
Rossiter Boats - Markdale, Ontario; 866-251-3280; rossiterboats.com