TEST: MAXUM 1900SR3

By: David Lockwood, Photography by: John Ford


The Maxum 1900SR3 is a fun boat that will entice family and friends rain, hail, or shine, writes David Lockwood

TEST: MAXUM 1900SR3
TEST: MAXUM 1900SR3

TO THE MAX
Who said bowriders were just fair-weather boats? There we were, drifting hopelessly midstream in Middle Harbour, the rain bucketing down, the sky as grey as a retiree’s crown, the wind fairly whistling through the wakeboarding tower.
Then, like an angel out of the mist, came our savour — the Sydney Harbour cappuccino boat.
We ordered a round of coffees and sat back under the supplied bimini top, sipping contentedly on top coffees as drops as big as marbles pelted the surface of the harbour.
But, for all our bravado, the Maxum is a crowd pleaser. It’s a slick boat with a cut-above-the-pack finish and some all-too-rare design innovations, especially for a high-volume factory-rolled American trailerboat.
On top of this, there was some eye candy by way of a groovy graphics pack and polished aluminium wakeboarding tower, an upgraded JBL marine stereo with iPod/MP3 jack and a dash-mounted remote, and an optional pop-up cleats package.
It also featured a sports seating layout that included a full-width rear lounge instead of jump seats, to which you can add an extended swim platform, bow filler cushion and snap-in carpet as standard on every Maxum 1900SR3 imported to Australia.
Piece it all together and you have a very complete boat pitched at the upper end of the burgeoning bowrider market.
And this is a big 19-footer that has more in common with a 20-footer than an 18-footer. It is also the smallest boat in the range, with a V8 MerCruiser option.
While you can still buy the 1900SR3 with a MerCruiser inboard petrol motor as small as 190hp V6, we had the perky 5.0lt MPI MerCruiser with 260hp to spare.
But spare the horses we didn’t, clocking up a top speed of more than 50mph during our wet and wild test under leaden skies and teeming rain.

ATTENTION TO DETAIL
Packaged on a dual-axle American-made Karavan trailer, Maxum’s 1900SR3 has a towing weight of about 1800kg, which means you can haul it behind cars such as a Subaru Outback.
The hull deserves a word or two, too. It’s based on what Maxum calls an Integrated Hull System with extended running surface for lift at low speed, tapered chines for additional lift, and large reverse strakes to redirect water flow and reduce drag on the running surface.
Being an American marine giant, parent company Brunswick Corporation also makes MerCruiser motors, which means you get a boat built for the powertrain using cutting-edge manufacturing methods.
Maxum goes to some effort to outsource the very best components, such as the Taylor Marine wraparound windscreen, and it gets the detail right.
The boats have double top coats of gelcoat, vinylester resin, a rigid matrix stringer system bonded to the hull for stiffness, which is important in a 19-footer with 260hp, and a full fibreglass liner bonded to the same composite stringers.
The deck has a five-year warranty and there is a lifetime transferable hull warranty for all of Maxum’s sports boats, of which the 1900SR3 is one of eight models from 18 to 24ft in length.
I also noted colour-coded wiring looms, underfloor foam flotation and a better grade of vinyl and upholstery than your average bowrider.
The 1900SR3s imported here also have a full set of covers, including a bow cover that would make this bowrider more of a runabout for winter.
Needless to say, the integrated bimini top under the wakeboarding tower was put to good use in the rain. Besides protection from the elements, there’s standing room under the canvass. 

TOUR OF DUTY
We pulled into the beach where I hastily scrawled down my soggy notes. Happily, I found a lot of good gear, neat details and design touches to keep me entertained.
For example, the bow has non-skid features right where you might want to plant your feet and step ashore or back aboard from a wharf. And the deck fittings, rub rails and navigation light are all stainless steel.
The boat doesn’t skimp on storage space, either. There’s a dedicated anchor locker with anchor-holding clips under the centre section of the bow seating, as well as the usual bow lockers under the remaining seat bases, which are hinged so you don’t get left holding the cushions.
There is a dry storage locker under the starboard seat backrest that ranges back under the helm console.
It also has two-tiered side pockets with drink holders (eight in total on the boat) in the cockpit, a large underfloor ski locker with a heavy-duty stainless steel catch and gas struts, but no rubber liner.
And, get this, three, yes three, built-in iceboxes. I kid you not.
There’s a dedicated partitioned icebox inside the lockable glove box ahead of the co-pilot. Though the boat’s stereo is also located here, a rotomoulded polyethylene insert ensures the ice is kept safely to the side.
The next potential icebox, with a moulded liner and drain, exists under the removable cushions that create walkthrough access to the transom.
Remove the cushions and you won’t have to worry about wet kids with sandy feet climbing over your upholstery.
But it’s the novel inclusion of a boot or near full beam wet locker in the transom that appealed to me most. The large lined area, which has a drain, can be used to stow water toys or wet togs or, filled with ice, enough refreshments to keep a party well watered.
And still there would be plenty of room left over to stow lunch in Tupperware containers - or plonk a bucket of prawns.
I found a simple single catch tucked under the upholstery of the rear lounge that grants access to the engine bay.
Reach in, flick the catch as you would to release the bonnet of a car, and the sunpad lifts on gas struts to reveal the motor. The fuel filter, dipstick and belts were at hand and I could see into the bilge and the senders on the underfloor polyethylene fuel tank, which has a reasonable 132ltr capacity.
Oh, and there was some additional storage space nearby, too.

COMFY SEATS
I found the bow was fitted with plenty of nice padded backrests, that the cushions were long enough for an adult to stretch their legs, and that the boat had enough built-in buoyancy to support such a load.
Add the infill cushion and the bow seating turns into an instant playpen for kids or somewhere to curl up in the sun.
Both helm seats were fully adjustable and featured padded flip-up bolsters allowing you to drive in a more elevated position, making it easier to look over the windscreen when coming into a beach, a boat ramp and trailer, or a waterfront digs.
Meanwhile, I judge the rear lounge to be big enough for at least three people.
As such, the 19-footer and V8 wouldn’t struggle carrying seven adults or perhaps half that amount and some teens keen to show-off their wakeboarding prowess.
Besides wakeboarding, there’s the possibility of skiing from the transom-mounted hook, a swim ladder and a deep boarding platform for pre-ski prep or just hanging out.
Last, but not least, the rear sunpad, with a fold-up headrest, proved long enough for sunbaking.
Having tried a few of these aft sunpads in her time, my partner assumed the position and immediately gave it the thumbs-up.

DRIVE TIME
I have long been enamoured by Maxum’s metallic, car-like dashes and what again proved to be an ergonomically sound driving position.
The silver but low-glare dash panels housed a full spread of analogue Faria gauges.
There was also a digital depth sounder for navigating through murky water and a switch panel for activating the blower, bilge, lights, horn and so on. Both the skipper and co-pilot get a 12V outlet for recharging items such as their mobile phones and camcorders.
The adjustable wheel and throttle fell to hand and we were off like a scalded cat.
Spinning a 19in stainless-steel Vengeance propeller on an Alpha One sterndrive, the MerCruiser 5.0lt MPI was keen to get going. With the leg fully trimmed in, the boat jumped out of the hole and held a low-speed plane at 2500rpm of 14 to 15kt, where it was smooth, quiet and efficient.
Everyday cruise and social ski speed of 25kt was recorded at 3000rpm, as were persistently low engine noise levels. You could talk without shouting for once.
The view through the windscreen was clear, too, and the rain mostly flew overhead.
Fast cruise was clocked at 31.8kt at 3600rpm and still the boat was quiet, though with all the power in the tail and no weight in the bow it porpoised a tad over the choppy harbour.
At wide open throttle and 5000rpm I recorded 46.5kt as the rev limiter chimed in. When run-in, the 5.0lt MPI MerCruiser would likely create a 48kt bowrider, which is fast by any measure.
My still sodden notes and fresh recollection point to a great 19-foot bowrider, a very amenable and accommodating boat, with plenty of get up and go.
The wakeboarding tower adds to the sporty looks and, for storage and towing, it folds forward in a flash.
The agent said the more upmarket Maxums had taken off in the last few years as more boaters were prepared to pay for — and in fact were beginning to demand — more features, amenities, comforts, style and finish.
And you get a good dose of speed and plenty of pulling power with the upgraded V8.
But the best thing about it is that you don’t need a good day to have a good time aboard.
Come rain, hail or sunshine, Maxum’s 1900SR3 is a fun boat that will engage the family and boating friends.
The cappuccinos from Sydney’s on-water barista cost extra, though.

WHAT WE LIKED
Great finish and feature list
Real innovation by way of a boot, headrest, sunpad and more
V8 pulling power and exciting top-end speed
Very quiet and amenable
Terrific comforts and upholstery
Lots of built-in iceboxes
Sporty looks with cool wakeboarding tower

NOT SO MUCH
Premium price for the extra polish
Boat porpoised a bit over choppy water
No liner in ski locker
American trailer mightn’t be as tough as the best locally-made ones

 

Specifications: Maxum 1900SR3

HOW MUCH?
Price as tested: $56,890 w/ 5.0lt MerCruiser MPI and Avante package
Options fitted: Wakeboarding tower, stereo upgrade with dash remote control, popup cleats package, sports seating layout
Priced from: $52,190 w/5.0L MerCruiser MPI and Avante package, sans options above

GENERAL
Material: GRP or fibreglass with composite stringers and foam flotation
Type: Moderate-vee planing hull
Length overall: 6.40m inc. swim platform
Beam: 2.41m
Weight: About 1355kg (base motor and dry)   

CAPACITIES
Berths: Camp on deck 
Fuel capacity: 132.5lt

ENGINE
Make/Model: MerCruiser 5.0lt MPI
Type: V8 petrol four-stroke inboard motor
Rated hp: 260 at 5000rpm max
Displacement: 5.0lt
Weight: About 430kg
Gearboxes (Make/ratio): Alpha One sterndrive
Props: 19in s/s Vengeance

SUPPLIED BY
Avante Marine,
Silverwater, NSW.
Phone: (02) 9737 0727
Web: www.maxumboats.com

Originally published in TrailerBoat #202

 


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