Best Family Boats | Australia’s Greatest Trailer Boats 2014


We present the five family / sports boats contenders in the 2014 Australia’s Greatest Trailer Boats shootout.

Best family boats 2104

This year we sought to broaden the Australia’s Greatest Boats criteria and focus our attention on one of the largest boating segments in the world – sportsboats i.e. family boats.
So what defines a sportsboat? To qualify for this category, the boat needed to display a broad skill set as shoppers in this aisle demand an equal blend of style and versatility. Far from conservative, sports boats seek to maximise the potential for their occupants by packaging interiors that are flexible, adapting to a host of on-water activities.

From removable dinette tables that convert to sunlounges to folding seat panels that afford easier access and flow through the transom, sportsboats shouldn’t limit your potential on the water but rather enhance it.

 Styling is a no brainer and while most manufacturers take their own slant on this, svelte profiles enhanced by low-raked windscreens are all the rage. Sportsboats are generally athletic in appearance with dropping sheer lines and curvaceous top decks but most retain generous cockpit depths, affording a fair degree of safety and comfort in rougher conditions.

While predominantly designed for inshore and lake use, each of this year’s finalists int eh family boats category exhibited a quality of ride that gave little away to the hardcore fishing rigs we’d tested previously — at least inshore.

 

BEST FAMILY / SPORTS BOATS

 

BAYLINER 175 FLIGHT

Bayliner 175 Flight

Bayliner has hit the mark with this value-packed budget blaster, the Bayliner 175 Flight. All judges commented on the performance the gutsy little four-cylinder MerCruiser sterndrive engine. With a combined boat-motor-trailer weight of around 1200kg the 175 is an easy-tow package. 

Read the review | Watch the video

 

CROWNLINE 19XS

Crownline 19XS

The American giant teamed with its Australian distributor to create an innovative solution to Aussie sportsboating. In a market segment crowded with sterndrives, Crownline went back to the drawing board with its 19XS to produce a beautiful bowrider with a thumping Mercury outboard on the rear. 

Read the review | Watch the video

 

QUICKSILVER 645 CABIN

Quicksilver 645 Cabin

This was supposed to be the Sports Boat category of Australia’s Greatest Trailer Boats. So what was a 6.45m cabin boat with a comparatively small Mercury 150hp four-stroke outboard doing here? Turns out we might have been a bit hasty in judging Quicksilver’s Activ 645 Cabin, because it was pretty…active. Agile. Dare we say…sporty?

Read the review | Watch the video

 

CHAPARRAL H20 19

Chaparral H20 19

They’re a sneaky mob at Chaparral. Rather than just toss another sports bowrider into the mix, they threw a real spanner in the works. Tempting the judges was the H20 19 Sport – an innovative sports/fish crossover boat. It’s a sturdy, assuring, yet assertive sports machine backed by the performance of a MerCruiser V6 sterndrive.

Read the review | Watch the video

 

REGAL 2100 BOWRIDER

Regal 2100 Bowrider

After our judges had taken the Regal 2100 Bowrider for a spin, we approached them for comment. The problem was, nothing they said  could be repeated given our family-friendly website. To quote one of the few clean comments from one judge: "I set out to test the boat, but the boat tested me. The Regal feels like a Bentley and handles like a Ferrari."

Read the review | Watch the video

 

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