Crownline’s E23 XS blurs the lines between the traditional sport- and deck-boat platforms. In profile, the design fits a sport boat’s personality, with aggressive style lines and a raked wraparound windshield. The squared-off bow cockpit suggests a deck boat, but only till you note the gently inward-curving hull sides. Rather than make the bow take on an old-school deck’s boxlike appearance, Crownline introduces welcome style without compromising interior space. To port or starboard, stretch out lengthwise with a supportive backrest and flip-down armrest. Or welcome a few more friends to join you and gather around the side-mounted pedestal table for snacks and conversation. When it’s time to nose into that favorite beach, a four-step ladder pivots out of the anchor locker; a recessed 3-foot-wide platform covered in nonslip traction material adds practicality and garners style points.
The main cockpit continues to break the mold. A generous ski locker with woven matting includes extensions fore and aft for longer items. Dual captain’s chairs, a starboard jump seat and an L-shaped lounge are often the status quo for both deck boats and sport boats, but check out the shared backrest between the lounge and aft sun pad. Dual electronic actuators enable it to be tilted at virtually any angle, meaning you can recline facing the swim platform or, when flattened, stretch out on a 5-foot-deep sun bed.
The sport-boat half of this boat’s blended personality, however, definitely shines through in the E23’s spirited ride. Crownline’s F.A.S.T. Tab hull features vented chines to aerate the running surface and reduce drag. Behind the vent, a subtle fin aids overall handling. The design works exceptionally well. Slamming the throttle forward, the Mercury Verado 250 on the transom planed our test boat in 3.4 seconds, avoiding any significant bow rise while never causing the captain to lose forward vision. What really put a silly grin on our faces, however, was the aggressive handling. Repeatedly, we cranked the wheel hard over and felt the hull nimbly roll into the turn with absolute precision, the prop not once losing its bite as we continued to push the boat’s limits. Turns were razor-sharp with an intuitive inside lean and tenacious bite at the prop. Top speed: 54.5 mph.
* Full and spacious head compartment with port-a-potty, solid-surface countertop, sink with hand-held shower sprayer, and opening port light for ventilation.
* Standard audio system includes Kicker KMC10 waterproof head unit with Bluetooth, USB and eight Wet Sounds speakers.
* Abundant stowage is found in the open area at the front of the helm console, the multiple drawers that offer organization under that same console, below most seat cushions, and within the expansive ski locker below the cockpit floor.
Price: $56,995 (nationally advertised price; see dealer for full details)
How We Tested
Engine: Mercury 250 Verado
Drive/Prop: Outboard/Mercury Enertia 14 1/2″ x 17″ 3-blade stainless steel
Gear Ratio: 1.85:1
Fuel Load: 145
Crew Weight: 350
Crownline Boats – West Frankfort, Illinois; 618-937-6426; crownline.com