Sliding into the helm seat of MasterCraft’s X2 wakeboarder, I had a slight flashback to the ’60s, when the fashion on American motor vehicles had dashboards bristling with protruding rounded gauges and dials. Maybe it was just another sign of my advancing age, but once I started pushing a few buttons, I was certainly brought back well and truly to the present.
The X2 is a rocketship, jam-packed with the latest in instrumental video technology, available right at the skipper’s fingertips.
Owners of X2s can rest assured that they will be popular. Whether your family and friends board, ski or ride tubes, you can rely on the fact that you’ll be seeing a lot of them on weekends. The X2 is like that; it’s nice to be seen around.
With so many contenders to tow on the ropes, there will be just as many variations in their personal preferences. Ideal speed, wave height and so on are all dependent on who is on the end of the ropes and all need to be factored in when you get ready to take up the slack.
On the X2, the main video dial gauge can be set out in either four quadrants or a full screen and an individual’s preferred speeds can be saved to a menu and recalled when required. The speed can then be locked into the cruise control. It’s then just a matter of easing the smooth gearshift into forward and the boat automatically adopts the programmed settings. The ballast levels can also be factored in and recalled when required and monitors will display at a glance the levels in the three tanks. The skipper has no excuse for not knowing what is going on with his craft because there is an array of gauges spread around the helm station giving him feedback on pretty much everything.
A comfortable right armrest hosts the control panel for the ballast tanks and the gear lever is neatly positioned in line at the aft end of the rest.
Seating for the skipper is on a comfortable bucket lounge, with a fold-up bum seat to jack the head up high enough for safe viewing over the dash and bow when getting on the plane, or for when the transom is bogged down in curly wave-making mode.
NOOKS AND CRANNIES
Not only is the X2 big on everything electronic, it is full of nooks and crannies for stowage of all manner of goods and chattels.
A sizeable ski locker extends from midway along the port side observer’s lounge to under the dashboard bulkhead. Included is a 40lt reservoir for the freshwater deck hose and one of the batteries. Further forward on the same side is a rebate in the seat base that can accommodate an ice box of about 50lt.
A short lounge behind the helm seat runs aft to the full beam rear lounge, under which is maintenance access for the gearbox. A three piece sun lounge across the transom offers access to the top of the powerplant and large stowage bins are located either side of it in each corner. The inner walls of these compartments are removed to access either side of the engine block. Their proximity to the engine means that they can be used to stow wet gear, with heat from the engine helping in the drying process.
Forward of the passenger and helm module is the bow riding cockpit, which is richly upholstered, and offers more stowage options beneath the seat cushions. Sturdy grab rails are within easy reach for the white knuckle brigade. A moulded alloy bi-fold door, with an intricate design in relief, separates the two areas and is easily stowed into a rebate on the inside edge of the passenger dashboard module.
Strategically flush-mounted throughout the boat are the various speakers for the sound system, the heart of which is secreted in the glove compartment and capable of running MP3, if required. A couple of speakers facing aft are mounted on the very well-engineered wake board tower, on which is a tow pole, in addition to a low-level pole mounted through the transom bulkhead.
The tower, which is standard fitment, has wakeboard clamps and also a swivel lock system that allows the boards to be swung into the cockpit ready for use.
When it comes time to get wet, a wide and sturdy swim platform that will easily handle three adults assisting boarders or skiers in the water complements the user-friendliness of this boat.
The burble of the X2’s V8 will certainly be appreciated by boating petrolheads. So, too, will its performance out of the hole, with or without the ballast tanks full and three adults and three children aboard. It offers very capable performance, indeed. Its bum-down attitude when its belly is full of H2O sends a nice curl out the back for the boarders to make the most of.
Loafing along at 3500rpm, the speedometer registered just over 43km/h. At full throttle, the tacho showed 5300rpm, which worked out to just over 73km/h.
Throughout the speed range, and with varying attitude depending on ballast, steering was a one-armed affair, even for the less muscular skipper, and the X2 could handle plenty of power in the turns, with enough lean to offset inertia for the passengers. Speaking of passengers, when everyone is moving around I found the X2 to be impressively stable. Its shallow deadrise in the forefoot and its broad beam across the forward section of the hull gives it a flat, steady attitude when dead in the water.
MasterCraft’s X2 is certainly one very impressive boat. It performs and handles very well, is fun to drive and ride in and is certainly a real head-turner. If you don’t like being stared at, best you shop around for another boat.
Based in Tennessee, MasterCraft has been building water sports and tow sports boats for more than 40 years. The company is represented in Australia by a dealer network spanning WA, Qld, SA, NSW and Vic.
SPECIFICATIONS: MASTERCRAFT X2
Length overall: 6.73m
Hull length: 6.1m (not including swim platform)
Dry weight: 1588kg
Engine: Close-cooled Indmar MCX 350hp 5.7l MPI std
Fuel capacity: 170lt
Fresh water: 36llt
Construction: Fibreglass, foam-filled fibreglass stringers.
Price as tested: $111,990
Options fitted: Full boat cover, bimini top, freshwater wash down, fibreglass boarding platform, transom stereo remote, tower speakers, extreme mirror attachment, paint over galvanising and mag wheels on trailer.
Priced from: $105,600, including trailer and on-water costs.
For your nearest Australian MasterCraft dealer, go to: www.mastercraft.com.