Boat Buyer's Guide 2013
Author: Alan Jones
For 56 years, the Crest II line has been a value delivery system, but when you check out the 230 SLR 2, all you’re going to see is luxury. Crest II’s first attempt at a split, rear-facing furniture group is a resounding hit. The over-wide chaise loungers feature hot-tub seating, which positions reclining people’s rear end lower than their legs, for greater comfort. They’re exactly the kind of chairs you’d like to have in front of your TV during March Madness. You’ll feel like you’re working a transformer robot when you check out the underneath storage, since three sections of it tilt or flip in several directions for total access. In front of the port-side rear lounger is an oversized club chair that’s even with the captain’s chair, so someone can keep him company.
The Crest II 230 SLR 2 we tested features the teak-and-holly poly/vinyl aft deck, which supplies a nautical look and a place for dripping kids to dry a bit before hitting the new-for-2013 sculpted carpeting. Also new is the helm, which sports a Fusion wheel, a full gauge array and a huge vertical glove box for storing cellphones and wallets. The four-speaker Millennia Stereo is MP3 ready and rocks hard. The overstuffed captain’s chair is extra wide to accommodate NFL-sized skippers.
Our test boat is rigged for action with the CP3 triple-tube option, which gives you twin 25-inch outer tubes and a 26-inch center log that features lifting strakes. The pontoon’s Mercury 150 FourStroke doesn’t have a supercharger — unlike its more expensive Verado stablemate — but it still produces a healthy low-end kick, as evidenced by the 230 SLR 2’s time to plane of 2.6 seconds. It reached 30 mph in 8.9 seconds and hit a top speed of 35.9 mph, which is plenty fast for watersports or skeedaddling if rain clouds pop up. The slightly oversized center tube helped this Crest II ride higher in the water and turn well with a slight lean to the inside.
Because the helm is positioned slightly farther forward than most others, the forward-facing bow recliner on the starboard side is slightly shorter. But it’s long enough for a 6-footer to stretch out and proves that every one of the seats on this pontoon is the best in the house.