By: David Lockwood, Photography by: Murray Fredericks

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Summer and bowriders go hand in hand, and there are several very good reasons why you might consider a new Larson 212 this boating season, writes David Lockwood

LARSON 212 I/0



Bowriders and choppy waterways are among the certainties of summer. The daily double, a Larson 212 bowrider powered by an upgraded Volvo 270hp V8 (a 4.1lt block comes standard) and a stiff 15-20kt south-easterly wind were a case in point.
A relatively new badge in Australia, Larson is in fact more mainstream than Norah Jones in America. I asked Jeff Kruschek, the vice president and general manager of Larson boats, just how big the brand is back on home soil.
"Larson is one of the top 10 builders of fibreglass runabouts in terms of volume," he said. "Currently, Larson is number seven in the top 10 volume manufacturers. But if you removed the 16-17ft market segments - as we don't currently produce a model in that size - we'd definitely be in the top three."
Evidently, Larson does things a little differently to most US bowrider factories. Not only does it not make a boat below 18ft, but those it does produce are also unique in some way.
Designed for lounging, the 212 had a seating layout that broke the popular bowrider mould. On the construction front, the boat is made with the VEC closed-mould process, which is backed by a lifetime warranty. As such, it has a one-piece feel derived from its deck mouldings and fewer joins.
The beige vinyl upholstery was similarly top quality and abundant, especially over the aft sunlounge, though the metallic bronze/gold/silver trim was somewhat glitzy to my eye. The red canopy was dashing - much like the boat itself, which features a matching hull stripe.




Overall, the wide (2.50m) beam leads to superb interior volume and load-carrying capacity so you can load those big lounges. This augurs well for those summer outings with the family, friends, the dog, esky and watersports gear.
Storage ranges from the bow to the stern. While there was no dedicated on-deck anchor locker, the boat had a removable centre bow cushion concealing a space intended to hold the anchor and a short length of rope. The remaining sub-seat storage lockers were lined with carpet.
The cockpit storage includes a subfloor ski and wakeboard locker, a starboard-side storage net and room under the rear lounge to the sides of the motor in the engine bay. However, the unique feature was the huge storage compartment ahead on the portside lounge.
The 212 hasn't a dedicated co-pilot seat to port but rather a longitudinal lounge running forward to a padded backrest so you can kick back at rest. Behind the backrest and moulded dash is massive storage well big enough for a stowaway. Inside was the boat's supplied Igloo cooler.




It was comforting to find stainless-steel grabrails, the ubiquitous drinkholders and an optional canvas package that includes a bow cover. There was no supplied bow dam to stop wind rushing under the windscreen in winter, however.
Back aft, the L-shaped lounge can seat about four people around the boat's drop-in moulded fibreglass lunch table. The helm seat swivels within a short reach of the table, too. The courtesy lights were a nice touch.
The transom, meanwhile, includes the sunlounge and starboard-side walkthrough, a detachable boarding platform to assist with boat storage, mooring cleats, stainless grabrail near the fold-down swim ladder, and centre ski hook.
The helm bucket seat was tres comfy, adjustable every which way, with a bolster to raise your driving position and assist with tricky navigation. The dash was loaded with Faria engine gauges, rocker switches for bilge bumps, the blower and lights, a 12V accessory plug and a Clarion marine stereo.
There were a few fittings, such as the flimsy plastic lid over the subfloor watersports locker, that could be improved upon. And the steering wheel was very flexible to the point where it felt almost flimsy.
Overall, however, the boat revealed no unpleasant surprises; and the optional 12V air compressor will come in handy for inflating tubes and other toys.




The V8 Volvo 5.0Gxi gave good holeshot and at 2000rpm the boat held a 22kmh planing speed. At 2500rpm it cruised
at 42kmh, which seemed right for the conditions.
A smooth note at 2800rpm returned 49kmh, though the boat, which has a deadrise ranging from 21° up front to
a modest 14° back aft,
became skittish in the gusty downwind conditions.
Fast cruise speed of 58kmh at 3400rpm sees the boat's complement of three grasping the rails and getting some serious air. At 4800rpm and 86kmh the boat is going
way too fast for the bumpy summer conditions.
So, along with everything else, the Larson 212 isn't short on poke for those times when the wind isn't blowing. Being in the bowrider market, you should know the best part of a summer's day is always early morning.




Specifications: Larson 212 I/0




Price as tested: $55,000 w/ Volvo
5.0 GXI, options and Ezy Tow trailer
Options fitted: Engine upgrade, canvas kit and 12V inflatable pump
Priced from: About $49,000




Material: GRP w/ foam flotation
and foam chambers
Length (centreline): 6.25m
Beam: 2.50m
Deadrise: Delta 14-21°
Rec/max hp: 260/280
Weight: About 1380kg w/ std motor




Fuel: 132.5lt
Water: n/a
Passengers: 748kg load
Accommodation: n/a




Make/model: Volvo 270hp 5.0GXi
Type: Fuel-injected V8 four-stroke petrol inboard
Rated hp: 270 @ 5000rpm
Displacement: 5.0lt
Weight: About 468kg dry
Drive (make/ratio): Aquamatic
Props: Duoprop




Coastlife Marine, 300 Pacific Highway, Wyong North,
tel (02) 4353 3644



Originally Published In TrailerBoat #188

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