Boat Review by: Rick Layzell
The Canadian made Princecraft Sportfisher 23 – 2RS has great curb appeal, or perhaps ‘dock appeal’ is the right wording for this functional pontoon. From the moment we got to the docks on our chilly fall test day, I was excited to be the first to attack this sweet looking package.
Princecraft designers have a unique flair, and on the Sportfisher that flair shines with the attention to detail on the exterior fencing before delicately rolling over into the interior. The 2021 variation is available with your choice of Ruby Red, Steel Grey, or Black, which was the chosen look for our test. With Mercury’s 115 Pro XS strapped on the transom, I was more than anxious to get out on the water.
Our test package was optioned up with Princecrafts’ Sport Configuration package which gave us the bonus of a half-length 3rd log, a built-in 110 L fuel (29 US gal) tank, lifting strakes, under deck spray shield, and dolphin noses. Upon inquiring with the R&D team I learned that the dolphin nose is a more rugged anti spray configuration between all 3 logs and the underside of the deck. This feature was added from studying their rental boat segment, and it clearly worked as never during our tests did we have any water intrusion over the bow– full check marks for yet another feature with proven benefits.
The Sportfisher’s interior is understated, roomy, functional, and flowing. With the absence of a dinette table (in my opinion the most under used feature on a pontoon) moving around the cockpit was a breeze. The optional dark grey vinyl flooring played perfectly with the black exterior and the furniture colour treatment.
The rotomoulded helm console houses a generously sized and comfortable captain’s chair, tach, volt, trim gauges (although I’d like to see a fuel gauge here), and breaker switches. You’ll also find a stash pocket for your cell phone, 12V charge point, cup holder, 160W Jensen sound system with Bluetooth, and storage under the helm. We were treated to the optional SeaStar hydraulic steering with a tilt wheel.
Passenger seating is comfortable, and there’s lots of it. Left of the helm is an L-shaped seating arrangement for 3 or more, and forward are two lounge areas with the starboard side featuring a backrest. All seat bases are rotomoulded and feature a self-draining design to protect your gear. Aft of the L lounger is a small sun pad– I could absolutely see the kids taking turns at who gets that prime location.
The package features 3 entry gates, 4 x 6” deck cleats, and comes standard with a black bimini top including travel struts and factory installed snap fasteners should you choose to add an enclosure or mooring top. Princecraft also includes a quality 3 step telescoping reboarding ladder as standard.
The stern section of the boat is where the fishing action gets serious. Here you’ll find a pair of folding fishing seats, rod holders, and the center mounted fishing station which incorporates a 26” long 39L (10 US gal) electric filled aerated livewell, cup holders, measuring tool, 12V charging port, and a storage pouch. Our test boat had the optional wash down system, battery switch, and a downrigger support.
And finally it was test time! Admittedly our fall day started at a brisk 1 degree Celsius so I was wasn’t disappointed to spend dock time reviewing the boats interior features. By the time we got on the water it was all the way up to a rather balmy +4 degrees.
As we headed out onto Lac William near Princecraft’s headquarters in Quebec, I immediately appreciated the purr coming from that 4 stroke Mercury. Was I ever impressed with how she performed. The Sportfisher weighs in at 926 KG (2,041 lbs) and with a full tank of fuel, appropriate safety gear, camera equipment, and two guys wearing lots of layers we found very acceptable hole shots averaging 3.6 seconds. Top speed came in at 34 MPH at 5,800 RPM and cruising ranges seemed endless although we liked both 18 at 4,000 RPM & 22 at 4,750 RPM. Our water was flat and running tests saw the 115 Merc push the 8’ 5” pontoon across the lake and in and out of a variety of turns with ease.
Overall Princecraft’s 2021 Sportfisher 23 – 2RS is a proud performer with logical, functional and well thought out features. There are lots of pontoons (just like there are lots of cars & trucks) out there with features their owners will rarely use. This package has all the right features designed to deliver all the right benefits in all the right places. Kudos to Princecraft.
|Dry weight:||2,041 lbs||926 kg|
|Fuel Capacity:||29 US gals||110 L|
|Base Engine / Drive:||Mercury|