Monterey 298SS Super Sport April 2007 Boat News, Review & Advice

28 Янв 2014 | Author: | No comments yet »
Monterey 234FS boat

Monterey 298SS Super Sport (April 2007)

It’s not often that we get a bowrider in Trade-A-Boat, we usually leave that to sister publication Trailer Boat, but with a length of more than 30 feet, a beam of nearly 10 feet and 640hp on tap, this ain’t no trailerable, as Geoff Middleton found out

Bowriders have been with us for more than two decades and it seems that all manufacturers of trailerable boats have a few on offer. They started life in the US as a way to take full advantage of all the available space in a given-size hull and provide more than just the old back-to-back seating of the runabouts of yore.

Bowriders can provide the classic wind-in-the-hair boating experience for a large crew of eight or 10 in a compact and easy-to-store package.

Over the years, bow riders have evolved to include more and more luxury and amenities to the point where you can get just about everything on a modern bowrider that you can on a small cruiser.

Monterey’s big 298SS is the perfect case in point.

The 298SS is the grand daddy of all bowriders tipping the tape at 9.7m or 31’10” LOA with a beam of 2.9m or 9’6”. Obviously, with dimensions like these, the 298SS is no trailer boat.

Our test boat was kept in the dry stack at Melbourne’s Pier 35 and when we arrived it was already in the water and waiting for us. Even sitting at the dock the big Monterey looked like it meant business. The big hull with high freeboard and rakish lines presented an imposing figure among the smaller boats and the huge side exhausts hinted at the power lurking below in the form of optional twin 6.2lt Mercruisers.

Stepping aboard the ample swim platform I was impressed at how little the Monterey moved. At 3629kg dry, this is no lightweight, and that translates to a stable and solid-feeling boat whether at rest or on the go. Construction is of hand-laid multi-directional woven-roving fibreglass with extra layers at the chines and keel. Monterey tell us that all their boats are designed to stand the test of time and, as such, they come with a 10-year transferable warranty.

BIG SPACE

The 298SS is the biggest in the Monterey range and, once aboard, there are plenty of places to sit and relax. The Australian Builders’ Plate (ABP) has this boat rated for eight but there’s more room than that. You could easily seat a dozen if you wanted and more if pressed. There’s a double sunpad aft, two double lounges amidships, a rear-facing chaise lounge to port, a big, comfy helm seat and then seating for five or six up front.

However, the big deal with the layout of this bowrider is that it offers a double cabin to port as well as a full-sized head to starboard with a hot and cold shower.

The double cabin is accessed via a lockable door just for’ard and opposite the helm station. It runs aft under the chaise lounge and offers a double quilted berth that would sleep two comfortably, a stereo unit and cupboard space to keep some clean clothes for the next day.

There’s a port in the hull for light and a big, round opening port to the cockpit for light and ventilation. It’s not somewhere you’d live for days on end, but it would be fine for a weekend or if you stayed a bit too long at your favourite restaurant and didn’t relish the drive back to your home or berth till the next morning.

There is an option for a 15in flatscreen TV with DVD and an option for shorepower for longer stays.

The roomy head on the starboard side also has a hull port, a hot and cold shower, 12V lighting and a vacuflush loo.

There’s a holding tank with a 68lt capacity and the fresh water load is 57lt so you could have a shower to freshen up in the morning. There’s also a deck shower on the transom for sandy feet or to wash the salt off.

In the cockpit to port there’s an entertainment area that features a sink with pressurised water, storage, drinkholders and an area beneath for either an optional fridge or ice maker.

There are optional covers for the bow section, the midships between the targa and the top of the windscreen or, to completely enclose the boat, from the targa aft to the transom.

In all, it’s a well thought-out layout that incorporates a bit of style, luxury and good use of the available space.

BIG POWER

As mentioned, the test boat was fitted with the engine upgrade option which brings the power up from the standard 5.0lt GXI Volvos to a pair of 320hp Mercruisers.

The engines are housed in a roomy engine bay accessed via an electrically-operated tilt mechanism which raises the rear sunpad.

The engine bay has standard blowers and standard automatic fire extinguishers. There’s plenty of room there to house batteries, chargers and the like, and still get around the engines for routine servicing.

The engines on the test boat were fitted with the Quick Quiet exhaust systems which can either direct the exhaust out of the big side pipes for maximum power (and pose value) or to underwater exhausts for quieter running in stealth mode.

Personally, I preferred the quieter running but if you’re up for the full burble of the V8s, then the quick mode is easily dialled up with the flick of a rocker switch.

We fired up the big Mercs and headed out of the marina in a sedate manner. The speed restrictions in the Yarra River gave me a chance to familiarise myself with the layout of the dash which is functional and attractive. The Merc option provides a full compliment of gauges and while the host of rocker switches is at first confusing, an owner would soon come to terms with what was where.

The helm is comfortable and provides a good view all round. The wrap-around screen has a walkthrough which can be locked open or shut and does a good job of keeping the spray out, as we were to find later.

Once out of the speed-restricted zones, we opened up the throttles (and the exhausts) to get a feel of just how powerful this big boat was.

With a snap of the throttles, the bowrider fairly leapt out of the water. No cruising up onto the plane here. The 298 went from five to 30kts in the blink of an eye. Our host for the day, Peter Blackman of Squadron Boat Sales told me that the boat was good for 54kts and, although the seas state was not conducive to these speeds, I didn’t have reason to doubt him.

The hull’s deadrise of 22degrees combined with the weight of nearly four tonnes loaded makes this a very comfortable boat over chop. We found a comfortable cruise of around 32kts at 3100rpm and, even with a short and sharp chop on Port Phillip, we simply powered through.

Monterey 24 boat

We found a quiet and flat bit of water and put the Monterey through its paces. I found that in terms of handling it was light on the helm and very responsive for such a big boat. At speed and with full lock, it did tend to grab a chine here and there but it wasn’t a huge drama. The screen took care of any spray and its rake kept wind buffeting to a minimum. This boat would certainly make a comfortable and quick passage maker as well as a great boat for family watersports.

It’s good to note here that the fuel load for the boat was quoted at 538lt which would certainly be necessary for high-speed cruising on the big Mercs.

BIG ON HARDWARE

I noted that the Monterey sported quality deck hardware with an electric anchor winch, a sturdy bow roller and quality spotlights up front. It also had pop-up cleats for a neat gunwale line (although I did find when berthing that they could have been a tad bigger) and the boat also offered plenty of handholds which I find important and sometimes overlooked by some manufacturers.

The owner of the test boat had gone to a lot of trouble and expense to fit the boat with teak decks which looked classy and felt nice under foot. Carpet is offered as an option with the standard being plain fibreglass.

According to Peter from Squadron, the owner was looking for a quick dayboat that was big on luxury and which he could comfortably take family and friends out on the sometimes-choppy Port Phillip Bay with no worries. Added to that, he wanted something fast that gets him to destinations quickly and safely. With the Monterey 298SS Super Sport, it would appear he got all that.

HIGHS

Comfortable ride due to the deadrise and weight

Excellent performance and top speed

Overnight capability

Very accommodating seating layout for ten or more

LOWS

Pop-up cleats could be bigger

No fridge standard

Sometimes grabbed a chine in tight turns


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