Monterey 280 SCR

The grades are in.

I've tricked out a few boats, adding the best accessories, improving systems, and enhancing function. It's worth it, but you lose precious on-water hours. If you'd prefer to spend your time on the water instead of at the dock, just write a check for Monterey's new 280 SCR. It's built for those who want it all-and want it done right.

Start with the practical stuff. Check out the stainless steel rail on the 280 SCR's single burner stove. Cruising with women? This inevitably results in the frequent need to clear the shower sump of a gelatinous clog of knotted hair, partially dissolved soap, concretized makeup, and more. Some builders bury the sump where you need to slither under a berth to gain access. Aboard the 280 SCR, just lift the hinged aft berth mattress, pull the hatch-and there it is. The 280 SCR will be appreciated by experienced boaters who know that there's more to owning a boat than fuel costs, bathing beauties, and shouting, "Ahoy!"

On the luxury front, it's hard to top the 280 SCR. Choose from two deck plans. My tester had the Sun Island ($1,417) layout, which includes a cockpit lounge, the aft part of which converts to a tanning bed or provides seating facing the water. The wetbar, like the galley counter and head vanity, is topped in Karadon faux stone. The radar arch incorporates a brow that extends forward over the helm area, alleviating the rattle of a Bimini. Steps molded into the companionway hatch provide good access to the bow through the split windshield. The 280 SCR's sidedecks are only 3" wide, so you can't dash about while underway. But you'll treasure them when adjusting lines and washing the boat while secured in the slip.

The single 375-hp Volvo Penta 8.1 GXi EVC DuoProp stern drive is a great choice of power. It's securely installed and easily serviced beneath the 280 SCR's electric hatch. My tester achieved plane smartly, with no loss of forward visibility. We achieved nearly 2 mpg at 31 mph. The precision of the Volvo Penta control levers allowed for excellent control of the DuoProp's low speed torque, which made docking the 280 SCR in a rushing full-moon current easier.

Contact: 352-528-2628****, www.montereyboats.com