All-round nice buy

Graham Lloyd | VOLUME 30, ISSUE 3
EdgeWater’s 208CC has an ideal balance of facilities and easy handling.
EdgeWater’s deep-vee, centre-console 208CC has serious fishing credentials and is equally talented as a dive- or dayboat.

Rigged for serious fishing, but also proving an excellent dayboat for easy cruising and fast runs on inshore or offshore waters, the EdgeWater 208CC has plenty of onboard space to move around and the safe access forward for which the centre-console layout is renowned. It would make a great dive boat, too.

While the EdgeWater brand may not be widely known in Australasia, the Florida-based company dates from 1992 and has a top reputation not only for its fishing and family boats, but also as a builder of craft for law-enforcement agencies and the US Navy. EdgeWater’s military-spec models come from the same production line as its recreational boats – so there’s no doubting their strength and safety standards – and its variable-deadrise, deep-vee hulls provide a soft ride and seaworthy handling.

INTELLIGENT DESIGN

EdgeWater’s 208CC has an ideal balance of facilities and easy handling. At 6.25m, and with a 2.6m beam, there’s lots of floor space around the boat, including easily traversed passages either side of the console.

Featuring at the stern are a boarding entry door to starboard, a three-quarter-width drop-down lounge and a freshwater wash-down on the transom. In the port side of the aft deck is a livebait tank, while to starboard there is access to a water-separating fuel filter and more storage.

Triple rodholders in both side decks are on top of rod racks under the gunwales, while rocket-launcher holders grace the back of the hardtop.

The console is well served by a comfortable double seat, which hinges up for good storage below. The seat also covers a large-capacity cooler on the floor. Overhead is a substantial hardtop with a clear screen ahead of a superb electronics set-up.

There’s a vast storage chamber inside the console that is accessed through a hatch on the port side, and useful spots are located throughout the boat to stow all the bits and pieces of equipment that accumulate onboard, especially when angling is involved. Forward, there is a raised non-skid casting platform over a large storage bin; in front of that is a small foredeck with an anchor locker to port.

In front of the centre console is another seat with a cooler below – although standard inclusions on the 208CC, these weren’t in place on the test boat.

The deck hardware is strong and sized properly for rugged duties and includes pull-up cleats, navigation lights, low-profile grabrails and swing-out tackle boxes amidships.

SLICK AND QUICK

Neatly parked on the transom was a new Evinrude E-TEC G2 outboard with bold red cover panels (these are interchangeable in different colours) to highlight its stand-out design even more. We reviewed the G2’s features in detail in a previous edition of Club Marine (see Vol 29 No 4 Two-stroke of genius) so suffice it to note here that the G2s are a classic representation of the saying ‘steel fist in a velvet glove’ – they pack monster power that delivers oh-so-smoothly and quietly.

The EdgeWater 208CC had a high-end 250hp (190kW) version of the G2, which effortlessly swept the boat along. From holeshot, to midrange punch, and on to top speed, the G2 was a delight to handle – as was the EdgeWater. The Evinrude comes with power-assisted steering as standard, so that kept wheel-effort low and gave lightly reactive directional control that seemed just right for the hull.

The wheel had a ‘brodie knob’ that added to the ease of driving and made spinning the wheel for really tight turns an absolute ball … fortunately, EdgeWater’s hull design is up to the challenges that such steering nonsense made possible. These boats are designed for soft-riding and good balance in rougher conditions and the 208CC hurtles around taut turns with equanimity. You wouldn’t (or shouldn’t) drive like this in practice, but to see what the boat/ engine combination was capable of was quite illuminating – and exhilarating. The point is that the boat can handle rougher water conditions and allows a skilled skipper precise control – that calms the mind in tough situations.

The 3.4lt V6 G2 had only just been installed and the optimum propeller selection was still in progress. The engine should rev to about 5500-5700rpm, but we topped out at 5270, so a slightly smaller prop could be the way to go. Even so, the three-blade 20in prop gave us a terminal velocity of 43.6 knots (80.9km/h), which is no slouch for a roomy 6.25m console design.

From rest, we were on plane quick-smart at 2970rpm and 16 knots (29.8km/h). Cruising was good anywhere from 3500rpm at 21.8 knots (40.5km/h), to 4500rpm at 30.6 knots (56.7km/h) and mid-range acceleration was noticeably potent. The throttle control is light and accurate to match the steering, while Volvo trim tabs added to the precise controllability the helm station delivered, including when going astern.

CENTRAL HELMING POSITION

The double seat is well positioned to either stand (best for me) or sit while driving and the console gives good protection from the slipstream. Visibility is perfect right around the horizon, as you’d expect from a centre console.

The helm station was packed with a triple display of electronics that was impressive and mightily useful. Two large 12in Simrad colour displays were mounted into the console dash, while above that was a bracket-mounted, equalsize Lowrance monitor. In addition, the dash had a Ritchie compass on top, in front of the wheel and, to the right of that, a set of switches and circuit breakers plus a couple of drinkholders.

Two digital displays for the Evinrude were partially obscured behind the wheel; only one is usually provided for a single engine installation, but two were fitted to the EdgeWater to cover a hole in the dash from a previous gauge installation. Even so, it was useful to have a pair of read-outs for the engine, as each can display a wide range of data and having two of them enabled dual sets to be concurrently viewed.

Three sizes of instrument are available with the Evinrude G2 engines: a 3in display (as on this boat), a 4.3in display and a 7in display. All are NMEA 2000 compatible, so they’ll ‘talk’ to most current installations which use that networking standard. Each instrument can display analogue gauges or digital read-outs for all aspects of the outboard’s operation, including engine data, external air temperature, power assisted steering settings, fuel consumption (the G2 can be run in eco mode) and onboard diagnostics. Having two displays, we ran one in digital mode and one in analog for an interesting comparison.

Clearly, the EdgeWater 208CC is intended as a serious fishing boat, but it’s definitely more versatile than that – it could just as well be a superb dive boat, or be right at home as a beaut general-purpose dayboat. Particularly with the big G2, it’s superb to drive, although less powerful outboards would certainly deliver great performance. You don’t really need all the electronics, but they sure made for an interesting helm station!

EDGEWATER 208CC

Overall length: 6.25m

Beam: 2.6m

Draft (boat only): 0.43m

Weight (dry): 1134kg

Capacity: 9 persons

Fuel capacity: 329lt

Power, max: Outboard to 190kW (250hp)

Power as tested: Evinrude G2 190kW (250hp)

Price from: $100,000 (boat, motor, trailer)

Price as reviewed: $90,000

For more information, contact Josh Batterson, tel: (02) 9753 3837. Web: EWboats.com.


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