Intrepid Explorer

20 мая 2014 | Author: | No comments yet »

Intrepid Explorer

Monterey builds a lot of boat into its 240 Explorer

For years, deckboats were stodgy craft used by senior citizens to motor sedately along quiet waterways at sunset. If someone asked you to spend an afternoon on their deckboat, you probably begged off saying you had to sort out your sock drawer. You just couldn t bring yourself to use the words deckboat and exciting in the same sentence.

Today, however, this category of boat is one of the fastest growing segments of the boating market, and many diehard runabout owners are switching to these unique craft not just for the amount of space they offer, but for their sizzling performance as well.

But what exactly is a deckboat? A deckboat is what you get when you let a sporty bowrider runabout and a pontoon boat spend the night together. Unlike runabouts, deckboats usually have a rectangular shape to squeeze every bit of room possible from a given length. But, unlike a pontoon boat, these new deck-abouts have enough oomph to yank single skiers out of deepwater starts.

The 240 Explorer is a departure for Monterey Boats, which has built a solid reputation with their line of runabouts and cruisers. Judging by the immediate acceptance of their Explorer line, however, this may be a glimpse into the future of small boats.

The starting point for the Explorer is a conventional mildly veed hull with two full length strakes and wide chine flats. With an 8-foot-six-inch beam, the 240 is easily trailerable but, from the waterline up, it s unlike any runabout. The deck is rectangular, with no trace of the pointy bow you d expect on a boat of this size, and the result is a remarkable amount of additional room unconfined by the usual tapered triangle forward.

If there is any one distinguishing feature that separates runabouts from deckboats, it is the sheer number of amenities available, and the 240 Explorer takes full advantage of all that space to pack in just about everything a family wants or needs for a day on the water.

In many ways, Monterey started with a blank sheet of paper when they created the 240 and, in the process, solved many of the problems facing owners of small boats. For a start, just getting aboard most boats is a struggle. From the dock, you have to step over the rail and then walk across the seating to reach the floor. From the beach, you have to clamber gracelessly up over the bow. And even getting out of the water can be difficult.

On the 240 Explorer, however, boarding is a breeze from any direction. From dockside, you simply open the boarding door in the port side and use the built-in step to reach the cockpit. Even your Aunt Edna can do it. When the Explorer is nosed bow-first into the beach, just lower the hidden bow boarding ladder and climb directly into the boat. If you re swimming or waterskiing, that same bow ladder also keeps your family far away from the stern drive but, like most small boats, there is a hidden ladder in the transom platform. It s all very civilized.

But that s just the beginning. Using the full beam of the Explorer from bow to stern, Monterey has added spacious seating areas with high backrests that really give support for a long day on the water. Aft, an L-shaped settee wraps around the port side and across the transom, stopping just short of the walk-through door to the transom. There s plenty of storage under the seating, including an area for a pull-out icechest.

Forward, there s a wrap-around lounge that bears more resemblance to the comfortable sofa in your living room that the usual bench seat in a boat. Not only does it provide bow-riding space for guests but, with the convertible table, it can also be an entertainment and dining center as well.

But wait, as they say on those television ads, that s not all. The 240 Explorer has a generously sized wet bar to port, with an insulated icebox, a hidden sink (pressure water is optional), and ample storage underneath for snacks and drinks. It s a gracious way to entertain, and it does away with the usual bag full of chips stuffed under a seat on most small boats.

For families with most runabouts, spending a day on the water means keeping track of where the nearest marina is that has restroom facilities because, after all, you can only eat and drink for so long before nature calls. Hidden in the extended helm console of the 240 Explorer is an amenity that is going to be appreciated more than all the wet bars or spacious lounges: an enclosed head compartment with a portable toilet and a molded liner for easy cleaning. Not only is the head large enough for the usual, ahem, purposes, but it s a place where you can change out of a wet bathing suit without doing a towel-dance.

The helm is a model of functional elegance, and our test boat had the optional Dino graphite package that features a graphite-rimmed Dino wheel with a black graphite dash and stainless-steel bezels on the full array of Faria gauges. That option also includes a premium in-dash CD player, tilt steering, Ritchie compass and hour-meter. A low sweptback Plexiglass windscreen gives the skipper some protection, but this is a wind-in-your-face kind of boat. The helm, with a molded footrest and bucket seat, is very comfortable for sitting or standing.

Our test boat had the Volvo Penta 5.0Gi/DP engine, which is a 305-cubic-inch GM V-8 that pumps out 250 horsepower at the counter-rotating props and provides plenty of zip. With full fuel and two people aboard, the 240 Explorer topped out at just a fraction under 50 mph and took just 3.1 seconds to plane from a standing stop. With the DuoProp drive, handling was precise in tight quarters and, even with the aircraft-carrier shaped deck, there was no problem backing straight into a narrow slip. Hit the throttle from low speed, and there s none of the usual cavitation or prop slip, but a solid push from the back of your seat as the Explorer leaps forward.

With waterskiing obviously an attribute of the Explorer, it s no surprise to find a solid tow ring and hand rail on the stern, as well as a spacious under-cockpit storage locker for skis and kneeboards. A transom shower is optional.

Like all Montereys, construction is conventional but solid, with AME 4000 resin and a hand-laid solid fiberglass hull with four layers of heavy 36-ounce woven roving to create a rigid hull and deck that has a 5-year transferable warranty. There s no problem with engine access and, in fact, the entire engine compartment is get coated for easy maintenance. All the deck hardware, including the stainless-steel hand rails, are through-bolted, and the wiring is neatly loomed and color-coded. All in all, a very seamanlike boat.

The 240 Explorer is delivered with an array of standard equipment usually found on the option list of many builders, including the Bimini top (a full camper enclosure is optional), AM/FM cassette stereo with waterproof speakers, in-dash depthsounder, docking lights, removable cockpit table, and adjustable bucket helm seat.

For family cruising, swimming, skiing, diving or fishing, the 240 Explorer is not just a new breed of boat, but a better one.

Monterey 240 Explorer Specifications

Monterey 240 Explorer
Monterey 240 Explorer

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