There’s a part of every boat test when I feel like a cop tossing a perp’s apartment. I open every hatch, deck plate and locker, inspecting access, drainage, even the way hinges are fastened. Ransacking Crestliner’s 1800 Super Hawk gave me reason to smile. Aft, I discovered a hatch that revealed this boat is pre-wired for a trolling motor and includes a sturdy platform to secure the battery. Spinning open a deck plate, I found terrific access to both livewell pumps, and was delighted to find both were easy-to-replace cartridge models. The lockable drawer beneath the helm is perfect for securing electronics and stowing personal items, like that special lure you reserve for tough days. But when I flipped open the center section of the bow, I was wowed: This boat turns from big-water fisherman to family runabout in a matter of seconds.
Crestliner calls it the conversion bow. The underside of the casting deck is upholstered, so when you open the side-hinged hatches, two seats are deployed, allowing guests to face forward just in front of the consoles. Coupled with four standard pedestal seats, seven pedestal locations and a full windshield taller than my head when I sat at the helm, this boat provides the fishing family with awesome versatility in a variety of climates.
It certainly provides performance enough for towed water sports. With a 150 hp Mercury EFI swinging a new Enertia prop — thinner blades, larger diameter — my test boat seemed to levitate onto plane rather than rise by the bow. Acceleration squished me into my seat. There was plenty of reserve power, so I see no reason to recommend upping to the 175 hp max. I can recommend that split-personality boaters consider this dual-function boat.
• The conversion bow requires use of an extra-tall bow-casting seat pedestal, dedicated stowage for which is provided.
• The helm is nonglare and features a big, flat surface for the big screens for which anglers lust.
• Order the bow platform pad ($677), with console backrests and drink holders, for the ultimate in bow-riding comfort.
• Huge in-sole stowage locker holds skis and rods.
Test Drive * Test Engine: Mercury 150 HP EFI * Test Prop: 14.25″ X 19″ stainless steel, 3-blade * Test Load: People (370 LB.) Fuel (33 GAL.) * Top Speed: 49.2 MPH * Most Economical Cruise Speed: 30 MPH @ 3,500 RPM, 5.3 GPH Vital Stats * Length Overall: 18’2″ * Beam: 7’11” * Dry Weight: 1,470 LB. * Seating/Weight Capacity: 7/1,625 LB. * Fuel Capacity: 33 GAL. * Max HP: 175 * MSRP: $28,168* * NMMA Certified: Yes