How do you explain a $15,000, 4,500-watt stereo system in a midcabin performance-boat that, in terms of interior square footage, is roughly the size of a small bedroom? You can't, really, at least to someone who hasn't spent an afternoon at the Sandbar on Lake Havasu in Arizona or some other Colorado River hot spot, where such stereo systems are based on the "hear and be heard" concept. Big sound and big speed—both score big points on the Colorado River.
The midcabin Advantage 30' Victory we tested in Parker, Ariz., a famed spot in river lore, delivered both. The 30-footer ran 90-mph, thanks to a pair of Mercury Racing HP525EFI engines. And thanks to owner Jeremy Lachenmyer's passion for fine audio, it boasted the above-noted stereo that could drown out wind and engine noise at that speed.
Among the strongest offerings from Mercury Racing in recent years, the closed-cooled HP525EFI engines proved ideal for the 30' Victory. With the 1.5:1 Bravo One XR drives—part of Mercury's Integrated Transom System, which includes hydraulic steering—handling the power and lab-finished Bravo One 15 1/4" x 30" four-blade stainless-steel propellers putting it to the water, the boat delivered impressive all-around snap.
Just as an Advantage representative said it would, the 30' Victory topped out at 90.7 mph with its engines turning 5,300 rpm. Better still, the boat cruised easily at 80 mph—a speed it took only 20 seconds to reach—with the motors running a little more than 4,500 rpm. Wind deflectors attached to a stainless rail on the fairing proved useful.
Propped for overall performance and not just the "big number," a mistake many manufacturers make, the 30' Victory came on plane in less than 5 seconds. Midrange acceleration was bracing. When our lead test driver hammered the throttles, the boat shot from 30 to 50 mph in 4 seconds, 40 to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds and 40 to 70 mph in 7.7 seconds.
The 30' Victory's triple-step, 23-degree bottom delivered comfortable handling. Like most stepped-bottoms, it did not appreciate negative drive trim in turns, but with the trim set neutral or just above, it carved clean slaloms and circle turns at all speeds. The boat tracked consistently well and its Eddie Marine trim tabs kept it settled in substantial river chop.
Advantage absolutely nailed the 30' Victory's patriotic in-gelcoat graphics package, which featured red and white stripes over blue with white stars. The crispness of each color gave it nearly three-dimensional depth, and the gelcoat's shine was brilliant. Tooling was spot-on smooth, particularly on the hullsides.
Advantage hand-laminates every one of the roughly 150 boats it builds each year. Balsa-cored and vacuum-bagged, the 30' Victory was laid up with 1 1/2-ounce mat and 10-ounce cloth; 1208, 1708, 2408 and 4808 knitted fabrics, 1 mm and 2 mm Coremat and vinylester resin. A grid stringer system comprised the boat's skeleton.
A variety of stainless-steel hardware was provided for the boat. Notable pieces included an elliptical handrail atop the gunwale on each side of the open bow, four judiciously placed Accon Pull-Up cleats in molded recesses, an Accon Pull-Up navigation light on the nose and a boarding ladder on the stern.
For a boat of its size, the 30' Victory had a surprisingly spacious engine compartment, which had a power hatch/sun pad for access. Even with the two big-blocks installed on L-angles through-bolted to the stringers and four 24 Series batteries in GIL boxes, the compartment did not appear overstuffed. All wiring was protected in flexible conduit, neatly bundled and supported by tie-wrap-style cushion clamps.
We found much to love about the 30' Victory, starting with its deep carpeted cockpit. Sitting on the four-person rear bench, our 6-foot-tall lead inspector noticed that the gunwales, which featured an intermediate tier for boarding and debarking, were higher than his shoulders. That kind of depth makes bench passengers feel secure.
Naturally, either one of the two bolsters, one for the driver and one for the co-pilot, with manual drop-out bottoms and angled footrests would be the best place to be in rough water. Ahead of the port-side co-pilot's bolster, the dash was outfitted with a draining cooler and a carpeted glove box.
An array of privately labeled analog instruments with the Advantage logo was arranged around the tilt steering wheel. For those who prefer to get their operating information in digital form, there was a Mercury SmartCraft System View 5000 readout screen ahead of the Morse shifters and throttles, with a bolt-on trim switch on the inner throttle handle. For access to the deck above the midcabin, the builder molded steps into the dash.
It's fair to say that the carpeted midcabin was as much a stereo component cabinet as it was a place for passengers to escape the elements. In addition to 150 pounds of cable it takes to run a 4,500-watt stereo system with 36 speakers, multiple amplifiers were on the bulkheads and elsewhere. Still, the midcabin did have facing lounges, molded lockers, a blender and a stainless-steel sink.
The 30' Victory was delivered to us with 40 hours on its engines. By the boat owner's estimate, that was one-tenth of its total use time. What accounts for the other 360 hours? Beaching at hot spots such as the Sandbar with the stereo blaring. That, and getting there thanks to the 30' Victory's stout performance, is a fine way to spend a day on the river.
Hull and Propulsion Information
|Deadrise at transom||23 degrees|
|Hull weight||5,225 pounds|
|Engines||(2) Mercury Racing HP525EFI|
|Lower-unit gear ratio||1.5:1|
|Propeller||Mercury Bravo One 15 1/4" x 30"|
|Price as tested||$179,245|
Options on Test Boat
Upgrade to twin Mercury Racing HP525EFI engines ($43,000), Mercury Racing ITS ($10,600), full-hydraulic steering with tilt helm ($4,400), open bow with doors ($4,000), SmartCraft System View 5000 with GPS ($2,800), Sport Master drives ($2,600), TCM ST-450 exhaust ($2,600), drop-out bolsters ($835), bimini top ($725), electric hatch lift ($700), storage cover ($650), electric blender
($280) and windscreen flaps ($155).
|Site||Colorado River, Parker, Ariz.|
|Wind speed||10-15 mph|
|Water conditions||1'-2' chop|
|5 seconds||29 mph|
|10 seconds||55 mph|
|15 seconds||71 mph|
|20 seconds||80 mph|
|30-50 mph||4 seconds|
|40-60 mph||4.4 seconds|
|40-70 mph||7.7 seconds|
Rpm vs. Mph
|Radar||90.7 mph at 5300 rpm|
|Nordskog Performance Products GPS||89 mph at 5300 rpm|
|Time to plane||4.9 seconds|
|Minimum planing speed||21 mph|
|At 25 mph||1.7 mpg|
|At 35 mph||1.5 mpg|
|At 45 mph||1.5 mpg|
|At 55 mph||1.4 mpg|
|At 65 mph .||1.5 mpg|
|At WOT||.1.1 mpg|
|Fuel capacity||142 gallons|
For More Information
1000 N. Lake Havasu Ave.
Lake Havasu, AZ 86403