No doubt about it, the people at Checkmate know the market for midcabin, performance-oriented bow riders has boomed. A couple of years ago, only a few builders offered this type of boat. Today, there are a dozen or so companies with a midcabin hot rod in their lines.
Checkmate's entry in this market segment is its Convincor 270BR, a boat based on the same hull as the Convincor 270 closed bow. Measuring 27'-long and 8'7" wide, the bow rider weighed 4,100 pounds dry and carried a base price of $53,855.
The boat came to our Captiva Island, Fla., trials equipped with options such as MerCruiser's 385-hp 454 Magnum MPI, Boat Leveler dual-ram trim tabs, custom gauge bezels and a tab-position indicator. It also came with a dual-battery selector switch, and an extra battery holder, a Ritchie electronic compass and a Lowrance depthfinder. What's more, the 270 featured a Sony CD stereo and custom in-the-gelcoat checkered-flag graphics to bump the base up to an as-tested price of $73,970. Compared with other models in this class, the the 270 is competitively priced.
The modified V-pad-keel hull had four full-length strakes. At the stern, the 270 featured a notch about 4 inches long and roughly 5 inches tall. Measuring 14-inches wide, the pad was angled to approximately 8 degrees, forward of which was a standard deep-V bottom. The inside strakes were even with the outside edges of the notch and the outside ran parallel with the chine. All the corners of the transom and strake edges were beveled at about a 45-degree angle, something of a Checkmate trademark. At the edges, flat chines measured about 5 inches wide.
At the transom, Checkmate bolted a Bravo One drive with a 1.5:1 gear set, which spun a Mirage Plus 14 3/4" x 21"-pitch propeller that had the ventilator plugs installed. Powered by the optional 385-horse 454 Magnum MPI, the Convincor 270BR hit a somewhat unconvincing top speed of 59.4 mph.
On the way to its top speed, the 270 clicked 34 mph in 10 seconds and 51 mph when the stopwatch hit 20 seconds. During acceleration tests, the 270 went from 30 mph to 50 mph in 9.5 seconds. It stayed on plane down to 21.5 mph with the tabs engaged and took 6.9 seconds to climb on top of the water from a dead stop.
During the Captiva tests, the Gulf of Mexico whipped up 3-to 4-foot waves, which unsettled the 270 a bit. Launching the 270 required some skill. When the boat landed, it hit kind of hard and tended to bang a bit.
On the plus side, the 270 had excellent visibility on plane and exhibited no deceleration reaction. The boat slalomed respectably at 30 and 40 mph and didn't show a trace of sensitivity to wind or weight shift. Even at full throttle, the 270 didn't exhibit steering wheel torque. It also was easily maneuvered around the docks.
The sides of the 270 had slight waves in the mold work, but nothing anyone other than a finicky inspector would notice. The 270 also came with Checkmate's standard graphics package, which consisted of yellow stripes above and below the deck/hull line split by a blue stripe that finished at the stern in a simple checkerboard. Simple and straightforward, the graphics, the gelcoat finish and rubrail installation all exhibited above average workmanship.
Underneath the gelcoat lay a lamination schedule that began with two layers of 1.5-ounce matting, after which the strakes were filled with putty then covered with 1708 matting. Checkmate then applied one-half inch balsa coring and covered it with another layer of 1708 matting.
Hullsides and deck got a layer of 1.5-ounce matting followed by 2-mil Coremat, a 1-ounce mat covered with a three-eighths sheet of balsa and a cover of 1708 matting.
The engine hatch opened by an electric screw jack to reveal a 454 Mag MPI secured with standard MerCruiser mounts and L-angles and through-bolted to the stringers. For what could be considered a "production boat," rigging was fairly sanitary, with cables and wires secured to the transom with nylon cushion clamps. The hatch opened high enough to provide excellent access to the engine bay. To port of the engine lay a partitioned storage compartment, with a strap-in 36-quart cooler to starboard. In addition, access to minor services was excellent, with lots of working space.
At the helm, our inspectors found the instruments to be well placed, with the tach and speedo dead center on a dedicated pod. Testers' hands fell naturally on the steering wheel and Mercury Zero Effort throttles, forward of which lay tab switches and indicators.
In the cockpit, seats mounted to proprietary stainless-steel framework and featured drop-out cushions. To port, the front passenger could hang onto grab rails on the gunwale and on the dashboard. Outer rear-bench passengers were treated to gunwale grab rails just behind each bolster.
Moving forward, the 270 had a midcabin, with twin facing lounge seats and storage behind each. The cabin also had a pull-out Porta Potti concealed beneath the floor of the bow area.
Perhaps the best aspect of the midcabin was how easy it was to get in and out. The cockpit door was wide and high. It also locked. The door to the bow featured a deck hatch and an extra step, which meant easy access.
The forward-most seating area was spacious and comfortable. Front passengers sat on long lounges and leaned against gently angled backrests.
What the 270 lacked in performance, it made up for in ease of use. Upgrading to 415-hp 502 Magnum or even a 470-hp HP500EFI would certainly liven things up. Plus, even with that equipment, the 270 Convincor would come in around $100,000 or less, which is pretty convincing.
Hull and Propulsion Information
|Deadrise at transom||24 degrees|
|Hull weight||4,100 pounds|
|Engine||MerCruiser 454 Magnum MPI|
|Lower-unit gear ratio||1.5:1|
|Propeller||Mercury Mirage Plus 14 3/4" x 21"|
|Price as tested||$73,960|
Hull graphics, handlaid balsa-core construction, foam-core hull and deck, snap-in marine carpeting, pull out Porta Potti, customized bow area with removable fiberglass entrance hatch, Teleflex tilt steering, custom wheel, Sony AM/FM cassette four-speaker stereo, 32-quart removable cooler, electric hatch lift, full instrumentation, stainless Pop-Up? cleats, Mercury Zero Effort controls, custom tinted windshield, one-piece fiberglass swim platform, stainless swim ladder.
Options on Test Boat
Upgrade to MerCruiser 454 Magnum MPI engine ($13,785), Corsa Quick & Quiet exhaust tips ($1,235), custom gelcoat graphics ($1,065), Boat Leveler dual-ram trim tabs ($965), Sony AM/FM CD stereo ($740), dual-battery selector switch with extra battery holder ($600), Lowrance 3500 depthfinder ($500), Ritchie electronic compass ($465), color-keyed instrument bezels ($315).
|5 seconds||21 mph|
|10 seconds||34 mph|
|15 seconds||45 mph|
|20 seconds||51 mph|
|30-50 mph||9.5 seconds|
Rpm vs. Mph
|Speedometer||68 mph at 4800 rpm|
|Radar||59.4 mph at 4800 rpm|
|Nordskog Performance Products GPS||NA|
|Time to plane||6.9 seconds|
|Minimum planing speed||21.5 mph|
|At 45 mph||2.4 mpg|
|At 55 mph||1.8 mpg|
|At WOT||1.7 mpg|
|Fuel capacity||75 gallons|
3691 St. Rt. 4 N.
Bucyrus, OH, 44820