Boat Review by: Richard Crowder
Limestone® boats were for years a favourite choice of knowledgeable boaters and cottagers throughout the Great Lakes and the choppy waters of the St. Lawrence River in the Thousand Islands. Renowned naval architect Mark Ellis, who studied under legendary deep-V hull designers C. Raymond Hunt & Associates, designed the first Limestone® 24 specifically at the request of Canadian department store magnate Fred Eaton for his cottage on Georgian Bay.
The original Limestone 24 was sterndrive powered and had a sizable cockpit, a V-berth, head, and generous freeboard and bow flare to handle the waters of Georgian Bay. It was named after the limestone rock that forms throughout the region. The design quickly morphed into the smaller Limestone® 20 closed deck runabout. These boats were known for their solid construction and accommodating ride and handling when the going got rough.
The newly resurrected Limestone® Boat Company has corporate headquarters in Collingwood, Ontario and manufacturing facilities in Tennessee. Well known and respected Aquasport saltwater center consoles and Boca Bay inland center consoles share the same ownership and manufacturing facilities.
For 2023, the Limestone® L-200R Runabout reflects the design and quality objectives of the original while incorporating modern materials and construction techniques only dreamed of back in the day. Like the original, it is all hand laid but utilizes stronger fiberglass cloth and resins simply not developed back then. This new Limestone® has a molded structural fiberglass backbone grid bonded to the hull, thus providing greater overall hull strength and engineered load distribution. In addition, Kevlar™ is used for extra reinforcement and protection along the chines, keel, and stem.
Most original Limestone® models were sterndrive or even direct-drive inboard powered. This new L-200R Runabout, in keeping with current trends and market demands, is outboard powered. You have your choice of an efficient Mercury® 200XL FourStroke DTS (Digital Throttle & Shift – i.e., fly by wire) in either Mercury® Black or optional Warm Fusion White. 200 horsepower will be plenty sufficient for all your cruising, exploring, fishing, and especially watersports activities.
The new L-200R Runabout bucks the current trend that all runabouts must seemingly incorporate bow seating and instead is, like the originals, a closed-deck design. This design is timeless, classic, and instantly recognizable with its slightly upswept sheer, significant bow flare, and retro high flat windshield sections with extended side wings. The windshield frame is painted white. To starboard is a standard windshield wiper.
The flat cockpit sole has a molded-in non-skid surface and is guttered and self-draining utilizing flapper-valves to allow draining while preventing back-water entry. Two levels of under-gunwale storage have classy teak shelving. A central in-floor finished storage compartment is ideal for watersports accessories such as waterskis, wakeboard, etc. Dry storage is found within the enclosed bow area and within which is a separate lockable storage compartment.
A pair of classic, wide, and comfortably padded back-to-back seats provide seating for four for the helm and front cockpit passengers. A four-place full-width stern bench seat has three sections, each of which are hinged to flip forward to access a large storage area beneath the seat. There are several deluxe upholstery choices including Ultra White tuck and roll with White, Navy, or Dove Grey piping and with or without French stitching. You can instead choose the above with Light Tan (instead of Ultra White) tuck and roll and with Light Tan replacing the White piping choice. The French stitching option is also available with the Light Tan.
The helm of the L-200R Runabout retains its classic heritage while providing the latest in available electrical, electronic, instrument, and navigational accoutrements. Your attention will undoubtedly at first be drawn to the classy solid mahogany-rimmed chrome-spoked tilting steering wheel controlling standard hydraulic steering. Mercury® digital engine readout display as well as a single binnacle-mount engine control with Digital Throttle & Shift® (DTS) are also standard.
An upper level on the dash provides a tidy and easily readable DC switch panel. Both 12-VDC and USB power outlets are provided as well as drink holders. There is lots of room on the flat upper level of the dash for the available flush-mounted Garmin 7-inch chartplotter complete with transducer and maps. You may also want the Garmin weather receiver and/or VHF radio. A dash-mounted JL AM/FM stereo with amplifier and four speakers is also available as is VesselView Mobile® and trim tabs with dash-mounted controls.
Additional standard equipment includes a portside transom-mounted swim platform with synthetic teak topside and integral telescoping boarding ladder. Polished stainless steel grab rails are found throughout as are integrated cupholders and stainless steel pop-up mooring cleats.
There is a great selection of additional available optional equipment to allow you to personalize your Limestone® L-200R Runabout according to your boating or personal needs and tastes. Your first choice may be for a bimini top complete with front, side, and aft curtains and available in your choice of Captain Navy, Toast Tweed, Cadet Grey, or White Sunbrella®. You could also go for the convertible top with enclosure instead. A cockpit cover is almost a must have.
A portside windshield wiper would be an excellent choice as would be docking lights. Both raw water washdown as well as a freshwater shower are available as are underwater lights, a removable synthetic teak cockpit table, a pair of gunwale-mounted rod holders, ski pylon, a handy stainless steel anchor roller and a classy and classic high bow rail.
Optional hullside colours in Navy, Dove Grey, Fighting Lady Yellow, or Majorca green are available as are the same choice of colours for the hull bottom plus the choice of Candy Apple Red. Striping options are also available, the standard being a single two-inch or narrow double chine stripes in Navy or White. You get these same chine stripe choices in optional Silver or Candy Apple Red. Instead of chine striping, you may want the waterline/boot top two-inch stripe in Navy, White, Silver, or Candy Apple Red.
However you choose to outfit your Limestone® L-200R Runabout, it will be classy with classic looks on the outside with the most modern and up to date construction on the inside to provide that solid smooth ride when the waters run rough.
|Dry weight:||3,100 lbs||1,406 kg|
|Fuel Capacity:||71 US gal||269 L|
|Base Engine / Drive:||Mercury Outboard|