Boat Buyer's Guide 2014
Author: Alan Jones
If you have the kind of skiing family that likes to mix it up with a variety of disciplines, the MasterCraft X30 is ready and waiting to accommodate everyone. The X30 is one of only two boats in the MasterCraft lineup to feature the more traditional pointy bow (the X10 is the other) rather than the pickle-fork bow. But there’s still plenty of room forward on this 23-footer, including a wide rearward-facing bow seat for watching skiers. One of the X30’s most clever innovations is a stern bench that transforms when you pull the billet aluminum grab handle forward to create a rearward-facing doublewide, which can be accomplished in about two seconds. With a capacity of 16 human ballast bags, aka passengers, you’d better have loads of seating, and the cockpit is ringed with bench seating. For added safety, passengers stepping on the rear gunwales to board will be treading on nonskid matting rather than slippery gelcoat.
Our test boat is powered by the Ilmor 6.0L V-8, which cranks out 382 hp. For folks not familiar with Ilmor, it’s the company that built the engines for Honda a few years ago when it was the sole supplier for the Indy Racing League. These bulletproof powerplants actually had several seasons of racing without a mechanical failure, so yes, Ilmor knows how to extract power while providing reliability. The X30 weighs a beefy 4,700 pounds, unladen, but has a relatively flat hull that sports 9 degrees of deadrise at the stern, which helps it get out of the hole quickly, as evidenced by its 2.8-second time to plane. The Ilmor delivered smooth acceleration as the MasterCraft reached 30 mph in 6.3 seconds and hit a top speed of 43.2 mph.
Although the X30 was totally redesigned in 2012, for 2014 it received a few tweaks to help it create bigger, badder, better surfing wakes. The aft outboard portion of the hull now has small flares that are more than decorative. Advanced hydrology studies have shown they help clean up the impressive wall of water. And for building an even bigger wake, there’s a new surf package that adds 1,200 more available pounds of ballast. Software for the optional 7.5-inch touchscreen display has been upgraded to make it more user friendly, so tweaking the ballast or entering a rider preset is totally intuitive.