Boat Review by: Rick Layzell
Starcraft have been building boats since 1903, and that means experience abounds within the brand and the talented personnel who craft them. From R&D, to quality control, to carpenters, highly skilled fiberglass technicians, electricians and so much more, the talent pool at Starcraft is deep, and it is that pool of proud professionals that make Starcraft the legacy brand that it is today.
Standing along the SVX 231 OB port side at the dock the immediate visual impact is the sheer spaciousness of her interior. The open concept design strategy creates a massive free flowing interior. If entertaining multiple family and friends is high on your boating wish list, then I simply cannot understate the amount of interior space in this 22’ 8” (6.91 m) package.
But before we jump inside, let’s look at the SVX 231 OB from the outside. Starcraft’s design teams have done an exceptional job of flowing three different gelcoat colours through her hull and deck, and the exterior gelcoat lines playfully pull themselves into the vinyls in the interior. The Starcraft logo proudly stands midship, and from here forward the hull is pure white giving her a fresh and clean appearance. Our test boat was equipped with a deluxe watersports tower, outfitted with a pair of rear facing speakers and the tower itself was finished in matt black – playing nicely once again with our interior and exterior finishes.
As we step into the boat from the swim platform it’s near impossible to not notice the Yamaha 250 VMAX SHO. The lines on the engine cowling had me humming Darth Vader sounds. I must admit, she’s a cool looking engine. I also smiled when I noted the entire rear deck surface was treated in soft touch traction mat. There are additional speakers on the transom and the platform itself is extended on both sides with the starboard side incorporating a reboarding ladder. Comfortable rear facing seating is available for when the time has come to hang out on the sandbar, and there are lots of beverage holder options. Egress in and out of the boat is also dressed in soft touch traction mat and the starboard side steps ensure passenger safety and eliminate vinyl damage as there is never a need to step on a cushion.
The sporty feel at the helm starts with the captain’s seat which has a flip up bolster and moves to the wrapped tilt steering wheel with chrome inlays. The dashboard itself is angular and incorporates a full slate of gauges backed with chrome bezels, sound system control, cell phone storage, Simrad display, and it’s all capped with a tinted angular windscreen. Forward of the helm you’ll find a large head compartment, the upper lid hosts side and front canvas adding a change room and the main door is wide creating a deep space down below. The head compartment flooring is treated with traction mat. There’s a waste bin secured here and this standard inclusion means extended boating seasons and happier guests on longer day trips.
It was when I first sat in the comfortable captain’s seat that that I truly began to appreciate the massiveness of the interior and the significance of the amount of freeboard. For any parent freeboard means safety and the SVX 231 OB delivers exceptionally well.
To the port side you’ll find a matching seat for your first mate and a generously sized L-shaped seating layout for guests with ample storage below. Forward of the passenger bulkhead is a large freshwater sink with lots of storage underneath.
Moving into the bow section it’s all about safe and secure, deep back seating and there’s plenty of it. Not to be missed is the inclusion of stainless steel grabrails on both sides of the bow seating section.
Up on the bow deck you’ll experience more traction mat, an additional reboarding ladder and an anchor storage locker. From bow to stern the Starcraft SVX 231 OB is well appointed and I was blown away with her spacious interior. But how does she ride?
Test day was another beautiful August Indiana day with clear skies, loads of sunshine and calm waters. I eagerly pulled her away from the dock with the rest of the crew on board the camera boat leaving just me, 3/8 of a tank of fuel and that 250 VMAX ready to rock and roll. Holeshots were virtually instantaneous as she leapt out of the hole consistently in under 3 seconds with ease. It’s like the Yamaha wasn’t even at work yet and we were pushing a 3,263 lb (1,480 kg) boat.
Turns were a drivers dream and she never heeled or cavitated. Tuck the trim down and this combination never misses a beat. Cruising speeds were endless, I liked 26 mph at 3,200 RPM and 35 mph at 4,300 RPM – this is something all captains need to take time to learn for themselves as there are many variances that affect best cruising speed and most efficient fuel burn. Top speed was slightly lower than I had anticipated at 49 mph at 6,200 RPM. I fully expect this was a propeller issue as the engine had lots to give and I am positive this combo would easily surpass the 50 mph mark. But top speed for me, while fun to experience, is not the sweet spot in boating. That spot is your cruising speed to satisfy you and your crew.
In the end, the Starcraft SVX 231 OB gets top marks in a lot of crucial categories. Certainly her interior space and freeboard is a home run, her looks are fabulous and her performance is fantastic.
|Dry weight:||3,263 lbs||1,480 kg|
|Fuel Capacity:||60 US gal||227 L|
|Base Engine / Drive:||Yamaha VMAX SHO|