Most buyers picture themselves as captain, but the Grand Mariner SL 230 makes a strong case for relaxing as part of the crew. The appeal starts with the luxurious, pillow-top facing lounges forward. It continues with the more intimate solo lounge adjacent to the helm. All feature lush vinyl, bolstered support below the knees and flip-down armrests, as well as the requisite roto-molded stowage below. The latter is easily accessed thanks to the seat cushions’ two-part hinges, which allow the seats to pivot out of the way for easy loading and retrieval of gear. The very best seats in this house just may be the dual, rear-facing recliners. These beg occupants to stretch out and relax, enticing them with cup holders, stereo controls and adjacent speakers. The crew will enjoy the standard Polk sound system with handy Bluetooth to seamlessly stream all that music on their phones. A stylish, stainless-steel rail rings the perimeter. Step through the center gate onto the faux-teak aft deck for easy boarding at the dock or on the water.
A number of worthy upgrades demand attention. Our test boat’s powder-coated Delta water-sports arch nicely complemented the optional black rub rail and ladder. Interior fence “upholstery” also softens the interior, hiding the aluminum behind. Captains will appreciate the Raymarine A-Series dash unit.
Below deck, the Grand Mariner featured the Performance III package. The upgrade allows for greater horsepower and stability, but also improves handling by adding a performance-strake-equipped center tube, dropped an inch below the outer tubes, to produce the inside-lean handling familiar to those with fiberglass V-hulls. PIII also adds aluminum underdeck skinning. With a Mercury Verado 250 Pro, our test boat planed in 3.2 seconds, reached 30 mph in less than three seconds more, and topped out at captain-and-crew-approved 46.8 mph. That’s more than enough juice for the serious boater and water-sports enthusiast.
*Dual-facing aft recliners invite lounging whether underway or at anchor.
*Optional water-sports arch increases towing potential while adding dramatic style and shade for the crew.
*Performance III package provides V-hull-inspired handling and improved stability.
*Plush pillow-top cushions on the forward-facing lounges make for cruising and lounging comfort.
*The Raymarine A-Series nav system and the Polk stereo combine for a great electronics package.
*Roto-molded plastic seat bases help keep the gear stowed under the seats immune from funk.
How We Tested
Engine: Mercury Verado 250 Pro
Prop: Enertia 15″ x 15″ 3-blade stainless steel
Gear Ratio: 1.85:1
Fuel Load: 6 gal.
Crew Weight: 280 lb.
$65,715 (with test power)
Harris Fort Wayne, Indiana; 260-432-4555; harrisboats.com