Trifecta’s 23RF TS Arch is ready to help expand your sporting lifestyle … in style
The name Trifecta might be new to many pontoon aficionados, but this new marque, formerly known as Xcursion, has used the knowledge gleaned by parent company Forest River Inc. to position itself as a sporty brand with multiple tiers of luxury.
The 23RF TS Arch is all about edgy styling, great performance, luxury and versatility. And our test boat reinforced that ’tude with the Black-Out Package ($1,646), which gives it black anodized aluminum rails, deck trim, rubrails and corner pads, to name a few features. Our model doubled down on this theme with Black Onyx fencing that served as a strong counterpoint to the really luxurious Camel Soft Touch upholstery. Both the artsy forward-swept arch and rear-leaning ski tow were black (of course) and featured a subtle sparkle that dovetailed nicely with the similarly bedazzled Yamaha on the engine bracket. Sometimes arches can be a handful to lower and raise for one person, but this one can be “muscled” by pressing a button — an extra bit of wow factor.
While this model is rated for up to 350 hp, it performed well with 100 fewer wild horses. It didn’t hurt that the 250 hp outboard powering it was the Yamaha V MAX SHO 250, which is Team Blue’s hot rod, originally designed for life on the bass boat pro tour as a two-stroke buster. But Yamaha quickly found it translated well to a wide variety of boats, including pontoons. Although it sports a whopping 4.2L of displacement, the 25-inch shaft version only weighs 555 pounds.
Throttle response was immediate, and the Yamaha put the 23RF on plane in 2.4 seconds and propelled it to 30 mph in 6.8 seconds. We spent some time at wide-open throttle trying various trim positions to crack the 50 mph barrier, but came up less than 1 mph short.
Its linear acceleration curve makes it a good choice for watersports, and the driver can roll on the power as smooth as he likes, even though it’s a cable-actuated throttle. Modern pontoons tend to have a lot of gadgets, our test boat included. It had a Kicker stereo with a subwoofer ($1,775) and lighting everywhere — on the speakers, in the cockpit and even underwater. Sometimes alternators need the engine to be humming far into the rpm range to produce maximum amperage, but the V MAX SHO cranks out 46 amps (out of its peak 50) at only 1000 rpm. So even with the boat ambling along in full leisure mode, the house batteries are being kept fresh.
Our test boat had the 3.0+ tube package ($10,611), which is Trifecta’s top-of-the-line setup. It starts with triple tubes that are pressurized to make them more rigid. To demonstrate the effect, squeeze an unopened two-liter bottle of soda and a used two-liter bottle refilled with water. There is a big difference in how they feel. The 3.0+ tubes have unusually shaped lifting strakes on both sides of the center tube and on the inside of the outer tubes, an arrangement that allowed the 23RF to lean in slightly during hard turns as it carved a tight radius. The tubes have flattened areas toward the stern called the Pad Running Surface, a feature that helped its quick 2.4-second time to plane. For cleaner and quieter running though choppy water, the aluminum underskin improves the boat’s hydrological slipperiness. The 3.0+ Package is more than just tubes; it also includes the Sport Ski Tow Bar, SeaStar hydraulic steering, power steering and a 52-gallon fuel tank that replaces the standard 37-gallon tank.
The helm is positioned pretty far forward, a weight distribution configuration that may have accounted for the fact we couldn’t trim the forward part of the tubes out of the water very far. The tubes themselves have 52-inch nosecones, a bit longer than the usual 47 inches, which causes them to protrude a few inches beyond the extremely short forward deck.
Combine that with the tubes’ pointiness and it creates a bit of a hazard for things it bow-bumps. The helm layout is driver friendly thanks to a Murphy display front and center that keeps the skipper in control of most of the boat’s systems, the radio and the GPS. The Yamaha shifter was positioned a little higher and farther away than I prefer, but thanks to the comfortable helm seat, which is adjustable fore and aft, I was able to scoot far enough forward to be comfortable. I appreciated its height adjustability too.
The arch and Sport Ski Tow Bar leave no doubt this pontoon is ready for watersports. The arch’s tow point is very high, which will make wakeboarders happy, and the lower tow point is really well-braced and can be optioned with a stylish wakeboard rack ($578). Our boat had the optional realistic-looking teak floor ($946), which is also available as part of a Deluxe Option Package ($4,047) that includes a JL Audio stereo/subwoofer/speaker upgrade, a battery switch and a charger. Set into the deck, along the centerline, is a roomy ski/PFD/mooring cover storage compartment ($1,750). The rear platform is large and has a four-step polished stainless steel boarding ladder with swimming pool-style grab handles.
All four full-size chaise recliners, built by Lexington, have Sonora Soft Touch vinyl. And set into the rear of the port bow lounger is a popup changing room. Our test ran until after sunset, and we used the occasion to flip on all the ambiance lighting. Cockpit and speaker lights are standard, but our boat had the optional LED lighting on the exterior deck, under the deck and underwater. Those elements comprise the Optional Lighting Package ($1,846), which bathed us in a blue/purple glow.
Anglers can fish on any pontoon, but if fishing is high on one’s list of will-dos, Trifecta offers models such as the 24RFC, which combines an entertainment-style layout on the front two-thirds of the pontoon with a dedicated fishing module at the stern, which includes twin fishing chairs and a large rigging table that can be used for entertaining when the rods are stored.
Trifecta allows for a wide range of customization at no extra charge, giving buyers a choice of eight exterior fence colors, seven furniture accent colors and four furniture base colors. Also standard is a choice of two tropical weave floors with nary the threat of carpeting anywhere. An oval faux mahogany table and a tilt-out trash receptacle come standard.
Trifecta doesn’t have a huge list of options, but they are carefully chosen. High on the list should be the bow filler cushion ($849), which creates a great semicircular conversation pit up front. To complete the bow’s transformation into a living room, add a coffee table and a cooler for $958. To extend boating season or turn the boat into a weekender, there’s a full camper enclosure available for $4,972.