Boat Review by: Rick Layzell
Any brand with 110 years of experience in their field should build a phenomenal product. Starcraft is such a company and their expertise in crafting superior fishing boats stands tall in every model they create.
Built in Indiana with factory craftsmen and women spanning generations, the attention to detail and appreciation for building boats in the eyes of the user is evident from bow to stern. Building an incredible boat is a great first step, standing behind what they build wraps that step in peace of mind for years to come and Stacraft does just that with their transferrable to second owner Lifetime warranty on hull and structure. They extend that support with a 6 year warranty on all components, carpet, upholstery and electronics and this support is administered by the Starcraft team themselves.
The Renegade 188 DC is a brand new model for 2019 and represents a beautifully crafted presentation of Starcraft’s commitment and understanding of angling passion. One of my first smiles at the dock came from the exterior finish. Starcraft painstakingly applies a primer to the finished hull and then adds 3 layers of base urethane, an additional 3 layers of accent colour all of which are baked in a series of infrared coils. Your benefit is a diamond hard finish that resists chipping and fading for years to come.
The generous, lockable gunnel (port & starboard), in floor and center rod storage lockers will readily accommodate your valuable gear. The Renegade 188 is equipped with Starcraft’s ‘Yarblow ventilation system’ which uses pressurized air to eliminate mold and mildew in the bilge and storage areas. Fish all day, plug in the Yarblow system at night and rest assured that your gear is protected.
The forward casting platform is spacious and well equipped for your day on the water with an 18-gallon livewell with bait bucket, one of the standard 6 seat bases, storage and readily accommodates your trolling motor and additional gear.
The sporty automotive style helm is well laid out to get you on the fish wherever you choose. Easy to clean vinyl cockpit floors and casting platforms enhance the fishability of this machine. Starcraft’s IGTS – Integrated Gunnel Track System allows you to quickly set your downriggers, rod holders and more exactly where you and your crew want them to be. Freeboard is a very safe and secure 27” giving peace of mind in all conditions and for anglers of all ages.
The stern casting deck is also spacious, accommodating another seat base to accept Starcraft’s pro style wood free fishing seats, a 25-gallon pro capacity freshcatch livewell and additional storage.
Powered by Mercury’s 115 four stroke our test boat was on plane consistently in under 5 seconds in slight chop conditions with ¾ tank of fuel and me riding solo. Thanks to Stacrafts through bolted transom she can take up to a 200 HP engine and I’d likely up the ante to a 150 if my days involved lots of gear and a couple of fishing pals. Cruising speeds were comfortable at 25 MPH @ 3,200 RPM and 30 MPH @ 3,800 RPM. The GPS gave us a top speed of 41 MPH @ 5,600 RPM. Make no mistake, these are respectable results on a 705 KG dry weight boat.
There’s lots of choices out there in 18’ fishing boats. Starcraft’s Renegade 188 DC adds an excellent option to the mix with great attention to detail, proven power track hull design delivering a super smooth ride and a windshield perfectly matched to early and late season needs. Add that to all the benefits inside the cockpit and this 18-footer deserves a look. Add it to your list as you go shopping.
|Dry weight:||1,555 lbs||705 kg|
|Fuel Capacity:||27 US gals||102 L|
|Base Engine / Drive:||Mercury|