Boat Review by: Rick Layzell
Are you new to boating? Are you making the move from your current tinny up to a more family-oriented boat to suit your needs? Are you looking for a quality boat from a company with deep manufacturing roots in Canada– who also bring a global perspective to their brand? Do you want to buy without having to weave your way through an endless array of options?
If you even remotely answered ‘yes’ to any of the above, then you absolutely must look at the 2021 Princecraft Sport 172 MAX.
Princecraft brings a simple buying approach to the 172 founded on the MAX concept of bringing maximum features at minimum price.
It all starts with an exceptionally well built and proven hull design. They use 5052-H36 marine grade aluminum alloy as the foundation. From there, the engineers build a reverse chine hull design (think stability and dry ride), and the follow that up by adding twin plating from bow to mid ship and at the chine (for increased durability). Princecraft gracefully dresses their hulls in urethane paint, and the 172 features a powerful combination of high gloss black and red colors.
There’s a lengthy list of standard features here. Let me break them into two categories for you: Family & Fishing. The bonus MAX features will be noted as well.
Read that list again– apart from adding your choice of trolling motor to the prewired bow, and maybe a graph on the dash, the Sport 172 MAX is truly ready to go. And yes, there’s even a galvanized bunk trailer with a swing tongue included as standard.
How does she perform? With a refreshing fall chill in the air we eased away from the dock sporting Mercury’s four stroke 90 EXLPT on the transom. Performance focused anglers or families that carry heavy loads of crew and gear can opt up to the 115 EXLPT or the 115 EXLPT Pro XS. We had a near full (91 L / 24 US gallon) tank of fuel, appropriate safety gear and two full grown multi-layered gentlemen on board. Testing took place on Quebec’s beautiful Lac William with calm waters (other than some modest chop) with an ambient air temperatures of around 8 degrees Celsius.
I typically like to run each test boat through a series of starts and stops, followed by some hard turns to port and starboard. These actions give me a feel for not only hole shot but also how she resettles into the water, as well as the moment in a turn when the engine starts to ‘blow out’ (just ease out of the throttle and there’s no harm here). While practicing these maneuvers there’s also an opportunity to learn the boat and engine combinations tolerance for engine trim– all of these are steps every boat owner should take in getting to know their boat. One caution– we do this only in safe conditions, well away from other boats, docks, or any other potential cause for harm to person or property.
I expected the Sport 172 MAX would deliver hole shots in the 4.5 second range and after several tests we landed at a modest and perfectly acceptable average of 4.34 seconds. Keep in mind that all test results are affected by crew, gear, air, and water temperatures.
After capturing a bunch of running footage (which meant more good time at the helm for me), we moved into trials for cruising and top speeds. The Sport 172 MAX wasn’t looking for a lot of trim and gave us a comfortable running speeds of 17 and 21 MPH at 3,000 and 3,250 RPM, respectively. Top speeds came in at 38 MPH with the tach registering only 5,300 RPM (we did advise the factory team that the tach may have been out of sync as the engine should rev up to 6,000). Trim seemed comfortable at ¼ of the way up in most cases. A 90 HP on a 17’ 5” long hull weighing 1,327 lbs (602 kg) delivering those overall results is spot on.
The bottom line is that whether this is your first or last boat, Princecraft have done a marvelous job incorporating the right key features that deliver power packed benefits to any angler or family looking to blend family time with fishing time. The Sport 172 MAX is an easy boat to drive, a pleasure to display, and a boat I would be proud to own.
|Dry weight:||1,327 lbs||602 kg|
|Fuel Capacity:||24 US gals||91 L|
|Base Engine / Drive:||Mercury|