Crestliner’s new 1850 Super Hawk gives one-boat families several boats in one.
Author: Alan Jones
For 2013, Crestliner took one of its most versatile and capable boats and created a bigger, deeper, improved version called the 1850 Super Hawk. While it looks like a tournament-style walleye boat, its real mission is to provide owners with a family friendly do-it-all boat that’s as at home taking everyone skiing as it is fishing for dinner.
With seating for eight, it eclipses most sub-19-footers in passenger capability. It starts with four pedestal seats in the cockpit (the fourth is optional), which are clones of the captain’s, giving you incredible versatility. Because the seats are movable, they can be placed in several locations, such as side by side on the stern fishing platform when you want to chat or one at the bow when you want the honey hole all to yourself. At the stern, you have several options, including the permutation found on our test boat, which has a pair of flip-up jumpseats to either side of the standard 22-gallon livewell. Another unique option is a stern bench seat that flips down to enlarge the already spacious rear casting platform. The huge windshield was greatly appreciated on a cool test day on Table Rock Lake near Branson, Mo.
Up front, owners can choose a filler-cushion option that turns the bow into a giant playpen for sunning or bow riding. In addition, angled side bolsters are included to allow passengers to stretch out beam-wise when chilling at rest. This year, more gunwale height was added to give riders in the bow more security. Well-placed grabrails keep riders securely in place. But when it’s time to fish, the standard port-side bowrider seat bottom flips down to create a casting deck, and the cushion stows neatly in the in-floor locker.
Crestliner offers a wide range of power options for the 1850 Super Hawk, from 115 to 200 hp. The only constant is that your motor will be black, since Crestliner is a Brunswick company, which also manufactures Mercury outboards. Our test boat seems to have hit the sweet spot with the Verado 175 four-stroke, which uses a supercharger for immediate throttle response. On plane in 2.3 seconds, the 1850 reached 30 mph in only 5.4 seconds.
Its top speed surpassed the magic 50 mph mark (50.4 mph), and though the Mercury is a high-revving engine capable of reaching 6400 rpm, it is far quieter than its OptiMax sibling, which is a direct-injected two-stroke that tops out at 6000 rpm. The Verado is more than a $3,000 upgrade, but everyone on board (especially those sitting at the stern) will be glad you spent the extra jing. We tested the 1800 Super Hawk (the previous version of the 1850) in 2010 with a 150 hp OptiMax, and at WOT it registered 96 decibels. Even with 25 hp more, the Verado FourStroke measured 4 decibels less, which will make a huge difference in rider comfort over the course of a long day on the water.
The 1850 Super Hawk’s nonriveted aluminum hull is 0.100 gauge in thickness, which is the industry norm, and uses 17 degrees of deadrise. Because the hull is pretty light at 1,650 pounds of dry weight, side-to-side stability is provided by the perfect amount of “Vee,” which also gives the boat a comfortable ride in the chop. Our test boat is equipped with the hydraulic steering option, which makes it a pleasure to drive. Even if you drop down in horsepower, hydraulic steering is a worthy option, especially if watersports are on the agenda. We cranked the Super Hawk hard over and only experienced a little blowout at the very end of the turn. Holding a steady line when cruising requires little correction from the driver.
The 1850 Super Hawk is the equivalent of a floating Swiss Army knife, as it quickly switches from one role to another. To go skiing, simply drop the optional ski pylon, which is as thick as a baseball bat, into its receiver, and you’re ready for towing. The large stern livewell makes a good wet locker for stashing the tow line and life jackets when the skiing is done. For reboarding, there’s an optional swim platform to starboard with a two-step stainless steel ladder (a one-step safety ladder is standard). Unless you’ve optioned the centerline storage compartment to be a rod storage locker, there’s room for water skis under the deck. It would be nice if the rod tip-guard module could be more easily removed, so it is more “ambidextrous.”
The Super Hawk has the fishing chops to satisfy even rabid anglers in the family with features such as the port-side under-gunwale rod storage rack and the option for a 15-gallon bow livewell. With seven pedestal receivers, fishing chair placement is very flexible.
Crestliner allows would-be buyers to get exactly the model they want, with a variety of choices in this boat class. The 1850 Super Hawk costs $3,563 less than the slightly shorter yet wider, more feature-laden 1850 Sportfish, which gives you pro fishing seats and a recirculating livewell, to mention a few of its standard perks. Although the more expensive model offers slightly more gunwale height, it’s also rated for one less person and carries four fewer gallons of gas. All things considered, I like the value and extra capacity of the Super Hawk version.
There are two worthy convenience packages to consider. For $1,833, the Sport Package gives you tilt steering, a swim platform/ladder, reclining helm seats, the Conversion Stern Bench, and the Clarion iPod/USB stereo upgrade with four Alpine speakers. The Fishing Package runs an extra $1,379 and includes features such as a washdown system, tilt steering, reclining crew seats, in-floor rod storage and a three-bank charging system. In addition, a wide range of options bump up its fishing quotient, such as your choice of gimbal-mounted electronics and several available trolling motors that can be mounted slightly to starboard to allow an optional bow roller and anchor locker, which is a rarity on boats in this class.