Baja 277 Islander

Summer Sizzle.

Given the chance, any kid from 4 to 18 will rush to the forward seating area in a bowrider. It's where you feel the wind and get to see where you're headed before anyone in the cockpit does. But having passengers up front while underway makes it challenging for drivers to see over them. Baja considered this when designing its 277 Islander. I'm 5'8" (around average height for 16-year-old boys) and the bow was so deep, I sank up to my armpits. During my sea trial on the boat, I had an adult sit up front on the starboard side and I could easily see over him. Not only is the bow deep, it's comfortable. The bottom cushions pick up to provide bent-knee support when you stretch out. The lounges are also easy to deploy, always a plus. The forward locker features a clip designed for a Danforth-style anchor.

Convenience reigns throughout the 277 Islander, from the gunwale stowage trays to the head in the port dash console to maintenance items in the engine compartment. The ski locker has enough space for wakeboards or a speed ski.

My test boat had the optional ($1,150) U-shaped seating arrangement and walkthrough sunlounge with nifty lockers under the sunpad. I can't imagine this boat without this upgrade.

Nor can I imagine driving this boat with anything other than the test propeller, a four-bladed Mercury Revolution 4. The more common three-bladed Mirage Plus just wouldn't cut the mustard. Four blades work better for all-around use, providing a quicker holeshot, lower planing speeds, and superior grip in turns. The 277 Islander's True V nonstepped bottom worked perfectly in all maneuvers. Top speed is a solid 60.4 mph.

Wood-free construction ensures that the 277 Islander will be ready to go when your 4-year-old turns 18. And don't worry, you'll still be able to see over him when he sits up front.