Boat Review by: Rick Layzell
One of the benefits of aluminum manufacturing is the ability to take an existing platform and design a new model without the burdensome costs of a complete re-engineering. Success in this process is realized only when the company’s marketing offers comprehensive input to the engineering department after listening to their customer base. The new Sportfisher 23 – 2S RL is a great example of this methodology, and we firmly believe this model will be a home run in Princecraft dealer showrooms for years ahead.
Our test boat was outfitted with the following options:
• Mercury 150 XL with hydraulic steering
• Sport configuration with lifting strakes, dolphin noses, under deck spray shield, and bow central half 3rd pontoon tube
• Classic Edition – raised logos, LED lighting, upgraded helm and passenger seat, upgraded steering wheel, chrome docking light, horn, and cup holders
• Upgraded multi texture vinyl
• Select dark grey flooring
• SeaStar hydraulic steering with tilt wheel
• Stainless steel waterski tow bar
• Humminbird Piranha MAX 4
• Battery switch
Dockside I would describe the Sportfisher as subtle, with a dash of elegance. Elegance comes from the play of the colours, textures, and chrome. Her subtlety is knowing there’s a 150 Mercury resting quietly on the transom, anxious to deliver great performance.
The 1 ¼” aluminum anodized rails integrate beautifully against the black fence panels, and the look transfers flawlessly into the colours on the interior vinyl. I was struck immediately by just how much space there is in the interior of this design. The bow forward swivel and foldable fishing seats serve the basic needs of anglers and there are storage modules with cup holders tucked neatly into both bow corners, one of which was set up with a livewell and 3 rod holders.
The mid-section of the cockpit features a 2-person bench to port and a full size chaise lounger to starboard. The seating on the Sportfisher package was dressed in multi-tone and multi-texture vinyl, seat backs are angled for maximum comfort, and seat bases are deep enough for the longest of legs. All seating in the Sportfisher models are enhanced with Princecraft’s roto-cast self-draining furniture bases – the owner benefit is comfort in knowing your gear stays dry. The dark grey vinyl flooring throughout the boat means regular maintenance and daily cleanups are a breeze.
The helm offers a basic and yet completely functional layout with lighted switches, a quick release smoked windscreen, and the 160 watt Jensen sound system. The swivel captain’s chair is tastefully complimented by the co-captain’s passenger seat, which can readily be fully turned to face the stern to utilize the large dinette table complete with two pedestals for stability.
The magic in the RL model is the addition of the new rear lounger to the Sportfisher series. The simplicity of this design is something any parent or avid boater will appreciate. Simply lift the backrest to the rear position and you face forward to the dinette and the action forward. Time to relax while the kids are playing in the water or your guests go for a swim? No problem, just give that backrest a lift to the forward position and you open up a generously sized lounger for two.
The transom is equipped with a telescopic stainless steel reboarding ladder. As a watersports enthusiast, I greatly appreciated the optional stainless steel tow bar. Access from the dock is either the transom mounted gate, the portside gate or the bow gate – giving owners plenty of options depending on docking position.
The Sportfisher comes standard with a black bimini top, latches, and travelling struts. An understated benefit of the Princecraft lineup is that they factory install snap fasteners meaning adding camper enclosures or mooring covers is an easy process.
Princecraft lists the Sportfisher at a reasonable weight of 1,888 lbs (856 kg) with a 23’ 6” (7.2 m) length and an 8’ 5” (2.6 m) beam. Underneath you’ll find 25” tubes and, as noted earlier, our test boat was equipped with the Sport Configuration package.
My performance expectations were modest, but admittedly she surprised me a little. With two of us on board, 20 km winds on a 20 degree Celsius day, camera gear, safety equipment and ¾ tank of fuel we set off to put the Sportfisher to the test.
Every test boat is put through a lengthy series of hole shots, hard turns to port & starboard, top speed trials, and cruising speed options. I will always appreciate hydraulic steering whenever engine horsepower exceeds 100 and the Mercury 150 XL includes that feature – it just makes the helm that much easier to manage.
Hole shot results were consistently in the 3.25 second range – I would deem that as excellent. Cruising results were admirable at 18 mph @ 3,000 RPM and ¼ trim as well as 24 mph @ 3,800 RPM and the same ¼ trim. There was little doubt the package would break the 30 mph barrier, and I had certainly hoped we may see 35. I was pleasantly surprised when we reached 37 mph @ 5,800 RPM and ½ trim.
All owners should be encouraged to take time, safely, to find their own cruising speeds while respecting that the variables of load (gear and humans) will affect your results.
The Sportfisher 23 2S RL is a capable performer with a functional and sensible layout. Families with a desire to fish a little, cruise a little, and entertain a little while enjoying the boating lifestyle will find years of memories to be made with this package. There is no doubt that this model addition was a smart one from Princecraft.
|Dry weight:||1,888 lbs||856 kg|
|Fuel Capacity:||29 US gal||110 L|
|Base Engine / Drive:||Mercury|