Boat Review by: Rick Layzell
While many OEM’s have quietly reduced their introductions of I/O (inboard/outboard) models, Starcraft has made a major statement with the 2022 release of their 230 IO model. The Boatdealers.ca team was given the opportunity to test this new craft in August, and the results were impressive.
She’s got great lines from dockside, and I was immediately struck by the tall windshield. It was impossible not to notice how the gunnel mold arcs upward at a near 45 degree angle forward of her swim platform – giving the 230 IO an immense amount of interior freeboard.
Our test boat was dressed in Starcrafts blue and white gelcoat combination and the gel flows evenly from the hull up and onto the deck. There’s a noticeable styling cue in the hullside design just below the helm station, and the Starcraft 230 logo is embedded into the gel at the water line. I also noted how the blue wrapped under the bow section of the boat between the bow ladder and the trailer tow hook.
Her interior feels enormous thanks to all that freeboard (she’s 23’ 4”/7.11 m in length overall). Soft touch flooring is added to both the swim platform and the bow platform giving a feeling of confidence and stability wherever you are reboarding from. The swim platform itself incorporates a pair of beverage holders, reboarding ladder, and the rear sun deck readily converts into multiple seating options for enjoying the action off the back of the boat. Egress into the 230 from the swim platform is done on the starboard side over a couple of easy steps – meaning no one has to step on a seat to board, meaning less wear and tear.
The central cockpit features and L-shaped seat to port, a single seat behind the captain’s chair, and both captain and first mate benefit from sculpted chairs with flip-up bolsters. The play of vinyl colours, stitched in Starcraft logos, and multiple types of vinyl made for a truly pleasurable seating experience. Her helm is nested perfectly behind the tall and robust windshield and the black anodized framing o the windshield plays tastefully with the interior colours and standard black bimini top. The dash is equipped with a full array of gauges all backed with chrome bezel mounts, stereo base is to the right as are a full set of lighted toggle switches. The wrapped and tilting steering wheel adds to the décor with a number of chrome touches, and there’s a small storage compartment below for a cell phone or wallet.
Moving through the windshield and towards the bow you’ll find a cavernous in-floor storage locker for skis, tubes, fenders and more, as well as storage access under the helm and passenger’s dash. I should note there was more storage under the cockpit L-shaped seat and there is even more up and under the bow seating. The bow seating compliments the interior décor with continued use of multiple vinyl types and textures. The seats are deep and comfortable and the one-piece grab rail on either side is a great safety feature for kids. Speakers are nestled in just below the bow platform and four beverage holders are available. The bow platform is readily accessible from a centre step (with storage underneath of course) and you’ll find a generously sized door mounted centre which stores the bow reboarding ladder and offers a location to store a bow anchor.
We eased the 230 IO away from the dock on a 28 degree C (82 F) afternoon under blue skies and a lot of other boat wake on this busy Indiana waterway. With a half tank of fuel in her 167 L (44 US gallon) tank, we had two of us on board plus our standard set up of camera gear and of course safety equipment.
It’s important to note that the Starcraft 230 IO features a ‘tri-hull’ design. A tri-hull essentially has a standard V-hull bottom like most boats, they just add two more ‘hulls’ to port and starboard. Don’t get me wrong – it’s a one-piece hull in manufacturing, and there are some excellent benefits from this design. Number one in my opinion is that a tri-hull delivers exceptional stability when running and it’s worth noting that the design is fuel efficient and the noted freeboard interior is another benefit.
With a Mercruiser 6.2 L, 300 HP engine tucked in the engine room we fully expected the 230 IO to yield promising results during testing. We consistently timed holeshots in the 4.3 second range which was well in line with expectations and our top speed of 45 mph @ 5,200 RPM was excellent. Cruising speed tests found us at 17 & 22 mph at 2,600 & 3,000 RPM respectively. Where she really excelled was in turning. The combination of hull design and power gave us great turning results at a wide range of speeds and turns to both port and starboard with limited to nil cavitation.
Starcraft’s statement with the 230 IO is a winner. She’s fun to drive, has endless storage and copious amounts of seating with exceptional freeboard for safety and she’s a great looking package at the dock. I’m sure we will see lots of these on the waters in the years ahead.
|Dry weight:||3,685 lbs||1,671 kg|
|Fuel Capacity:||44 US gal||167 L|
|Base Engine / Drive:||Mercruiser 6.2 L|