Review: Mako 234 Centre Console

By: Kevin Smith, Photography by: Kevin Smith


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Among the many American centre console fishing boats coming to Australia, the Mako 234 CC certainly doesn’t disappoint.

If you were interested in purchasing a decent-sized centre console fishing boat six to eight years back, the selection was extremely limited due to there being no real demand for that style of hull, particularly in the fibreglass range. Over the past four years this has most certainly changed with a pretty decent selection of locally manufactured centre consoles to choose from, in both fibreglass and aluminium. At the same time, America, where the serious centre console sportsfishing boats have been around for decades is offering increasing numbers of these craft.

 


CMLOGO

This boat was rated one of the best of the year. It has been nominated to participate at Australia’s Greatest Boats 2016.


 

MAKO CENTRE CONSOLE

Mako 234 Centre Console

One of the latest new American centre console fishing boats to grace our shores is the Mako 234CC. It’s 23ft (7.11m) long and has a massive 2.59m beam. It also has the latest twin 150hp Mercury four-stroke outboard motors.

It’s all of 23-foot and more and with a beefy bow and shoulders, it comes across as a big piece of centre console and most certainly looks the part for some serious offshore fishing.

The layout is configured in the true sportsfishing style of centre console American boats, automatically appealing to not only serious fisherman but families and non-fishos alike.

 

LAYOUT AND FINISH

Mako 234 Centre Console stern

Once you get on board the Mako 234 CC you will note a number of significant features that make it classier than the standard off-the-rack centre console fibreglass fishing boats. For instance the overall finishes are really outstanding on this boat and something you notice straight away.

As a dedicated offshore fishing boat, the stern is set-up to suit gamefishing – having a livebait well/storage hatch on the starboard aft-quarter and heaps of game trolling rodholders spread out along the coamings. It doesn’t have a boat-board suited to bottom fishing but does have enough space to fit one if need be.

I like the fact that the false transom has been kept narrow but still has a flush-mounted rear lounger built-in. There’s even a retractable freshwater shower hose and a nifty little leader line box. Again, it’s a comfortable compact area with the rear lounger folded away, adding to space in the stern.

Like most American boats the deck is fully self-draining with a lightly textured non-slip that’s not hard on bare feet, and coloured in an off-white maintains coolness. Being a larger fishing boat they have also managed to fit in dual flush-mount killtanks, not ultra-deep but long and good enough to lay a few big mackerel into.

Unlike similar centre consoles the Mako maintains a good consistent height along the full length of the gunwales. They also run bolstered padding along the inside edge of the coaming all the way through to the bow and besides looking good, it’s very practical as you can utilise the full gunwale when fishing up against it. Below the coamings they also have recessed rod racks which I like for travel purposes.

Up front the bow is styled to suit a bit of family boating with dual side-seating and plenty of storage space below, a nice, deep deck hatch, drinkholders and recessed full-length grabrails. Because of the beam it’s actually a nice usable area for relaxing and even fishing. The anchor hatch is also a good size and easily fits an electronic windlass retrieval system.

Bow of Mako 234 Centre Console

Onto the console – another part of the boat that’s cosmetically beautiful but just as practical to use. Again due to the wide beam it’s nice and wide with heaps of space for mounting gear and large electronics without it looking crammed.

Another good feature is the inbuilt head or toilet suited to family boating. As well as having the flushable toilet, it’s also the hub for one of the better electrical wiring systems I’ve seen for a while. There’s full access to the rear of the electronics, as well as the dual-battery setup with isolators and fuses. With the wiring and batteries closed up and sealed from sea air, you never have to worry about the major corrosion that’s often found in wiring systems.

Protecting the console is a good-looking hardtop with a stylish anodised aluminium frame, above-head storage, and quality Taco outriggers. A simple but smart idea is the mirror mounted into the door of the storage box in the hardtop – when opening upwards the mirror allows you to see what’s inside.

 

TWIN MERCURY FOURSTROKE OUTBOARDS

Mako 234 CC with twin outboard motors

I’ve come across centre consoles that look really good and have all the bells and whistles loaded into them but unfortunately, you rarely get the complete package – looks, layout and performance – bundled together. But not in this case. The Mako 234 CC had no issues in pumping up my impressed levels again.

This Mako centre console had a twin-outboard motor setup. The new 150hp Mercury four-stroke engines are proving to be quite something already. As a four-cylinder these motors are producing a feisty 110kW from 3000cc. Producing a higher capacity motor like this significantly changes the torque and horsepower while still maintaining very good economy.

The new 150hp Mercury engines are significantly lighter weighing in at a mere 206kg (dry), as well as boasting better vibration management through a new focused mount system, better sound management through the special idle exhaust relief system, a decent 60amp/756 Watt belt-driven alternator, and many more top features to give you some top-class performance on the water.

Being twin ouboards you can set them up on a single or twin hydraulic drive system. In this case they had the twin hydraulics on the motors, which is by far the better way to do it as the torque from the twins is quite something and would put serious stress on a single hydraulic. The dual hydraulics also makes the steering ultra-smooth – you can literally spin the wheel with two fingers.

 

HANDLING AND RIDE

Mako 234 CCon the water

When it comes to power a correctly matched set of twins is definitely going to give you the edge, both low down and at the top end. I also prefer them as you can set twins on different trim settings to adjust the list on a boat, working like trim tabs, although this boat did have a set of tabs installed as well.

When knocking the hammers down the low-down torque of the Mercury 150 outboard fires the Mako 234CC out of the hole with ease and literally hurtles the boat to its top end with no effort at all. The more time I spend blasting these 150’s around, the more I like them.

As the solidly built monohull gets up to speed, it’s not hard to notice that it has an awesome ride to it. Heading offshore, the northeasterly wind pushing into a fair southeast swell was the ideal test to see if this boat was everything I had expected it to be. It was.

The offshore ride is stable, really soft, and that even when acting like an idiot on the throttles at high speed. It maintains a dry ride with spray deflecting nicely off the big flared bow, strakes and outer chines.

The harder you drive it the better it just seems to go while still being comfortable. Setup as it is the Mako 234CC is smooth, comfortable and easy to drive at both low and high speeds and definitely feels closer to the comfortable ride found on similar boats of 30ft in length.

 

THE VERDICT

Mako 234 CC

Reviewing the Mako 234 Centre Console was one of my highlights for the year. The layout impressed me, the performance and ride impressed me even more and for a 23-foot centre console under $150,000, it’s a boat that’s most definitely loaded with wow factor.

If budget is a bit of an issue there are other options which allow you to still get into one of these at a reasonable price of around $110,000 including fitting a single outboard motor rather than twins. This would knock around $20K to $30K off the price, with less service maintenance required.

Besides being a versatile offshore boat suited to offshore fishing, the Mako 234 CC has quite a few small creature comforts included to suit family boating as well. Nice seating options, added protection around the console, stereo, toilet/head for the ladies, and a really nice cosmetic finish that looks stylish on and off the water.

 

HIGHS

• Superb finishes throughout

• Comfortable long-range ride characteristics

• Fishing/family layout combo

• Good standard and optional inclusions

• Price relative to size, finishes and inclusions

 

LOWS

• Another foot of open rear deck space would be nice (just to be greedy)

• Widen main windscreen to edge of console

 

MAKO 234 CENTRE CONSOLE SEA TRIALS

Twin 150hp Mercury EFI four-cylinder four-stroke outboards

RPM

SPEED (KTS)

FUEL BURN (LT/H)

1500

7.9

5

2500

12.0

9.2

3500

22.5

18.5

4500

32

2

5500

35

50

5800

38

60.5

* Sea-trial data supplied by author. Fuel consumption is for each engine.

 

MAKO 234 CENTRE CONSOLE SPECIFICATIONS

PRICE AS TESTED

Mako 234 CC price: $149,900 ($139,900 introductory offer)

 

OPTIONS FITTED

Gulf Stream Blue hull, two hydraulic steering rams, bow cushions, removable rear lounge, 360˚ coaming cushions, electric pump-out toilet, electric anchor winch, fibreglass T-top (replaces canvas top), Taco outriggers, clears package on console, twin 150hp Mercury four-stroke motors with five-year Mercury Australia warranty, and tandem-axle electrically-braked trailer

 

PRICED FROM

$110,000 w/ single 250hp OptiMax Mercury outboard motor and trailer as above

 

GENERAL

MATERIAL FRP

TYPE Centre console fishing boat

LENGTH 7.11m

BEAM 2.59m

WEIGHT 3.2t (BMT)

DEADRISE 21°

 

CAPACITIES

PEOPLE 11

REC. HP 225

REC. MAX HP 300

FUEL 515lt

WATER 23lt

 

OUTBOARD MOTOR

MAKE/MODEL 2 x Mercury F150 outboard motor

TYPE EFI Four-cylinder four-stroke petrol outboard motor

WEIGHT 206kg (each)

DISPLACEMENT 3000cc (each)

GEAR RATIO 1.92:1

 

MORE INFORMATIN

Fishing and Leisure Boats

167 Currumburra Road, Ashmore, Qld 4214

Web fishingandleisureboats.com.au

Email tim@flboats.com.au

Tel 0429680504 (Tim Stessl)

 

See the full version of this review in Trade-A-Boat #459, November / December 2014. Why not subscribe today?

 

 


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