Caravelle’s lead designers spend almost as much time at auto shows as they do at boat shows. This shouldn’t be a surprise, seeing as the company tightly embraces sports-car technology, performance and looks. It was two years ago, in fact, when Caravelle engineers were strolling through floor displays of Ferraris and Porsches when they came upon a Lamborghini Renventon.
They stopped. They stared. They could see in their minds the same piercing lines of the Renventon’s grill and front fenders on the bow of a Caravelle sport boat. They could hear the ooh-la-la’s. They could sense a permanent change in the way they develop midsize family boats. They’d call it a Crossover — a sharp bowrider that quickly lifts onto a V-hull, but with the storage and seating capacities of a deck boat.
But then the daydreaming stopped. There would be a major hurdle: the rubrail. Yes, the challenge in turning a futuristic mental image into the real thing would be as marginal as shaping the protective metal-and-rubber strip around the lines of the bow. It wasn’t until they found a rubrail manufacturer who could follow the proposed shape that the Crossover 240 became reality. (Web search the car and you’ll see the similarities.)
The goal of this new sport boat takes an opposite tack from the forked models that are setting the latest trend, some of which use the angular shapes to exude a lot of “show” without the “go” to match. Not in the case of the Crossover 240.
Caravelle already had the performance ride dialed into its wood-free bowriders long ago, thanks in large part to the XPV hull that includes a pad along the running surface. Our tests confirm how the XPV (a planing surface that extends back and around the outdrive) pushes boats onto plane faster than the norm, and keeps them there at slow speeds. That was left alone. In this latest design, the bow was shaped to add 1) style and 2) width and depth for the kind of space not found in a performance-oriented bowrider. Every square inch of the boat’s 24 feet becomes useful thanks to the new design. We sat three across the front of the bow. The same flair is followed in the stern to expand the lateral room along the swim platform.
You’d think the wider footprint would create more drag on the hull. But as we found in our tests, the outer chines that stretch the interior space through the bow and add stability at rest actually lift clear from the water when the boat’s on plane — up to 50 mph in our test. So, the 240’s race-car appeal has some on-the-go thrills to mimic its Lamborghini predecessor. But don’t worry. The 240 Crossover does not try to match the car’s price.
• A doublewide seat on the transom and two aft-facing speakers make this a prime spot to use at anchor.
• Armrests along the bow seats flip up, turning those seats into true loungers when desired.
• The Softech seats are made with a unique spring and cushion system to make the boat more comfortable in rough water.
• Storage compartment in the walkthrough to the swim platform is extra deep, thanks to the girth of the new hull and deck.
• The outer chines create enough depth to turn the port console into a head unit.
Vital Stats * Length Overall: 23’8″ * Beam: 8’6″ * Dry Weight: 4,800 lb. * Fuel Capacity: 55 gal. * Maximum HP: 320 * MSRP (w/Mercruiser 350): $52,536 * NMMA Certified: Yes Test Drive * Test Engine: Mercruiser 350 Mag * Test Prop: 19-Pitch Vengeance * Test Load: People (800 lb.); Fuel (30 gal.) * Minimum Planing Speed: 17 mph @ 2,500 rpm * Top Speed: 50.1 mph @ 5,000 rpm * Time to Plane: 4.8 sec. * Time to 30 MPH: 10.0 sec.