A stylish cross between a runabout and a deck boat, Starcraft’s SCX 231 OB EXT best utilizes a pickle-fork-style bow to make its forward cockpit hospitable for adults, not just pint-size kids. Parallel lounges resemble those of the traditional bowrider, with room to stretch your legs, but if you pop out the middle filler cushion, two seats become four. Each occupies one corner of this deep cockpit, allowing passengers to face each other or gather around the included pedestal table. Or, just enjoy a forward-facing seat with your feet on the floor, something you don’t normally find forward of the windshield.
Step into the main cockpit and the portside console reveals a welcome head compartment, with both a lockable door and an impressive 3 feet 8 inches of headroom. Twin high-back captain’s chairs await the captain and his favorite crew member. A 5-foot-wide aft bench backs up to its mirror image facing aft. Use the latter bench as a spot to gear up for water sports or to relax while swimming nosed onto a beach. A teak-look, EVA swim-platform pad and telescoping four-step ladder are at the ready to get you safely in and out of the water. Lower the shared backrest and these two opposing seats convert to one big sun pad, big enough for a couple of adults to take in the sun. A standard Bimini top and six-speaker Infinity stereo with Bluetooth complete the ambience.
Rather than allow the outboard to bisect the swim platform, Starcraft uses an Armstrong bracket to push the motor out behind. The bracket’s aluminum exterior and positive-flotation core also promise to increase efficiency. With our test boat’s Yamaha 250 outboard, we found we could cruise comfortably at 27 mph while burning 6.9 gallons per hour. We also noted a 5.6-second time to plane, an 11.6-second time to 30 mph and an average top speed of 50.3 mph.
*Deck-boat-like space combines traditional lounges with individual corner seats.
*Portside head compartment offers convenience out on the water.
*Mirror-image aft benches work well underway or gearing up for water sports. The shared backrest lowers to form a roomy sun pad.
*Armstrong bracket positions outboard behind swim platform, retaining the platform’s full width while increasing efficiency.
*Satisfying 50.3 mph is top speed.
How We Tested
Engine: Yamaha F250
Drive/Prop: Outboard/Yamaha Saltwater Series II 15″ x 20″ 3-blade stainless steel
Gear Ratio: 2.00:1
Fuel Load: 50 gal.
Crew Weight: 210 lb.
$55,595 (with test power)
Starcraft Marine New Paris, Indiana; 866-772-4538; starcraftmarine.com