The new Element E21 is a fresh expression of the Bayliner mission: create boats that are affordable to buy and easy to own. Priced as low as $25,500, the 20-foot-8-inch E21 is a wide-open, dual-console deck boat that in its base configuration has no windshield — a glass windshield is a $1,271 option. The base-price boat is rigged with the Mercury 115 Command Thrust outboard. The upgrade Mercury 150 FourStroke adds $4,142 to the bottom line.
The E21 features a deep transom platform, plus a pair of wing platforms port and starboard. The cockpit is self-bailing, and there is stowage under each of the three U-lounge seat cushions. The battery and battery switch are below the starboard seat and will be easy to reach for service. The backrests curve with the contours of the inwale and are attractive. The console seats are simple cushions mounted on bases molded as part of the deck. Stowage in the port console will hold some of your gear.
The E21 rides on a modified version of the patent-pending Bayliner M-Hull designed to deliver outstanding small-boat stability and maneuverability. The M-Hull features a V center section flanked by deep chines and outboard sponsons. The M-Hull under the E21 places the keel deeper than the sponsons by about 8 inches at the bow and 4 inches at the transom. The deep center section softens the ride and also helps keep the prop hooked up in turns. At rest at the dock, the M-Hull proves to be far less tippy than traditional V-hulls with a narrower beam and steeper deadrise at the transom.
Economy will certainly be another byproduct of this hull design. The E21 pops on plane with no bow rise and will hold plane at just 2,500 rpm. The E21 will take some motor trim, but the boat seems designed to run very level and turns in better when trimmed down. The boat slapped a little through wakes, but that’s going to be the trade-off for the stability of the M-Hull.
The base price includes a trailer, but many popular features, like the windshield and audio system, are options. This builds the price out a little, but on the other hand, you won’t have to pay for things you don’t want. Maintenance on this boat is always minimal. And if all you want is to get out on the water, this Element E21 will be all the boat you need.
* Low, low price point, with a warranty, makes this boat a real steal.
* Full transom platform plus boarding wings.
* M-Hull delivers stability and fast-planing economy.
* Tons of lounging space for friends and family members in the bow and main cockpits.
How We Tested
Engine: Single 150 hp Mercury 150 FourStroke gasoline
Drive/Prop: Outboard/Mercury Black Max 14.5″ x 19″ 3-blade aluminum
Gear Ratio: 1.92:1
Fuel Load: 25 gal.
Crew Weight: 400 lb.
$29,711 (as tested)
Bayliner Boats Knoxville, Tennessee; 360-435-8957; bayliner.com