Boarding was easy thanks to the two-step walkway at the transom — yep, we're still in that 18-footer. I slipped into the captain's flip-up bucket seat and the matching passenger seat, then glanced toward the open lake before turning the key. My arm was comfortably placed in the molded-in armrest before I wrapped my fingers around the throttle. When I pressed it forward, those hard reverse chines lifted the boat quickly onto plane (3.5 seconds). Once on plane, I turned the wheel hard over and doubled back on our course for a crisp skier recovery, thanks to the power steering. The chines knocked down spray for a dry ride.