Boat Review by: Rick Layzell
If you’re at all like most boat buyers, the journey begins with a few dreams, some online shopping, and a list of all the things you deem necessary for you and your crew. Then you take that list to your local boat show or dealership to see if their wares meet your needs.
If your list includes items like capable performance results, quality design elements, and backing from a proven manufacturer, then the Princecraft Vectra 23 XT is worth a close look. But, if your list has a high priority that you want a spacious interior with seemingly endless room for family and friends, then the Vectra 23 XT should be a must see on your shopping journey.
Princecraft has been building quality watercraft in Princeville, Quebec since 1954. Their pontoon boats carry a limited lifetime structural warranty to the original owner. The Vectra 23 XT cuts no corners as she shares the same manufacturing process using the same quality materials as her larger, more expensive siblings. The tenure, backing and manufacturing commitment add series of strong check marks to the list above.
The Vectra lies in the water at 23’6” length overall which hits a sweet spot for many families and entertaining type couples. Our test boat was equipped with a handful of reasonably priced options which added interior and exterior LED lighting, upgraded upholstery, snack table, ski pylon, 200 watt Kicker sound system, battery switch and camper canvas. Mercury’s 115 Pro XS outboard was set up neatly on the transom and I felt confidence in knowing that our test boat was equipped with Princecrafts’ Sport Configuration underneath her deck which includes a bow central half 3rd tube, lifting strakes and under deck spray shield.
In model year 2023 she’s available in four colour options, Ruby Red, Black, Classic Blue, or Steel Grey like our test boat. The treatment of the 1 ¼” anodized aluminum rails on the two-tone fencing gave her a sporty look that was nicely complemented by chrome housed docking lights and the raised Princecraft logos.
Her interior design is where she hits it out of the park with an intentionally configured spacious layout. In the bow section, you’ll find yourself treated to loungers on both port and starboard with each capable of seating three grown adults. Both loungers incorporate an angled, forward-facing backrest if stretching out to enjoy the ride is the plan for the day. The snack table, complete with four beverage holders, can be positioned here and you’ll find roto molded self draining seat bases underneath all her furniture to keep your gear moisture free.
Her helm station features a comfortable swivel and sliding captain’s seat with armrests (the co-captain gets a matching seat on this model), the console itself carries tach, fuel and trim gauges, toggle switches, sound system control, beverage holder, tilt steering wheel, cell phone storage and charge point as well as storage underneath.
The rear seating section offers up another pair of comfortable loungers (more storage underneath), an ‘open feeling’ rear entry gate design which is mounted to centre, telescopic reboarding ladder, and the optional ski pylon.
We ventured off the docks to begin our testing on a drizzly, 7 degree C, September afternoon. After a series of ‘getting to know you’ driving trials and with my camera man on board with all his gear and ¾ of a tank of fuel (she carries 102 L / 27 U.S. gal), we set about to see how the hole shots results would deliver. I am pleased to state that we ran four passes and each time the 115 pulled the Vectra up and on plane in four seconds or less. Impressive.
We moved on to cruising speed trials and with as little as ¼ trim the Vectra delivered yet again – she will stay on plane as low as 17 MPH but she loves to cruise at 22 MPH at 4,200 RPM and 25 MPH at 4,800 RPM. These are excellent cruising speeds and would be typical use application for a boat of this size. We did check top end as well and at 5,900 RPM she turned in 32 MPH on my hand-held GPS.
When we safely did our fly-bys so Jeff could accumulate some desired footage, I was able to get a feel for the benefit of the sport configuration package. Certainly, the lifting strakes can be thanked for the hole shot results, but I also felt the 3rd tube supported some sharp cornering trials and the spray shield definitely helps to push the water back down when on plane.
All in all, the Vectra 23 XT absolutely delivers on performance (if you’re a power junkie just go the larger HP). Most importantly her spacious layout felt larger than her spec sheet. She was certainly fun to drive bringing a smile to my face repeatedly on what was a chilly and wet test day. Building boats since 1954 means Princecraft will soon arrive at their 70th Anniversary. The Vectra 23 XT is a solid testament to everything the brand is committed to and more.
|Dry weight:||1,900 lbs||862 kg|
|Fuel Capacity:||27 US gal||102 L|
|Base Engine / Drive:||Mercury|
|Engine HP:||115 Pro XS|