When we told Caravelle Boats that we wanted to take its Interceptor 232 for a cruise, the company was more than happy to hook us up with one of its dealers, Carrera Boats West in Fillmore, California.
When I met the Carrera guys to test one of their new Interceptors, I was in for a bit of a surprise. They had just sold a brand-new Interceptor 232 to a guy named Bill Schneekloth of Simi, California and I was to be testing the boat accompanied by its new owner.
Bill was just as curious as I was to see how his boat would perform. And, I think that we were both somewhat apprehensive; Bill not knowing what he was in for, and me concerned about how Bill was going to react to my hammering of his new boat.
We trailered the yellow-accented Interceptor 232 out to Lake Piru in Ventura County, California with Bill's yellow Chevy Avalanche. The boat and truck combination looked really trick.
As we approached the lake, it seemed fairly calm; however, upon arrival at the ramp, I could see that the wind had kicked up a slight chop. If nothing else, it would make for an interesting performance test.
Bill's Interceptor 232 was fitted with a 250 hp MerCruiser 5.7L with an Alpha One drive and a Solas 21-inch four-blade stainless steel prop. He also had the optional electronic switchable open exhaust, bolster seats, walk-through transom and swim platform installed on his boat. The boat is also available with the full sundeck (SS model).
The switchable open exhaust costs an extra $2,360, but for the person who enjoys hearing the roar of the engine, it's a great addition to the already race car-like craft. The look of the boat alone makes me think of a water version of a powerful Japanese street bike or a compact German sports car.
Sitting at the helm is extremely comfortable, thanks to the bucket-style bolster seats. The steering wheel fit my hand well; the performance-style yellow-accented gauges, which come with a lifetime warranty, were easy to read; and the offshore racing-style throttle with separate shifter had a deliberate and solid feel.
Sitting with the bolster up, there was not much of a gain in visibility because you sit quite low already. To get really good visibility while maneuvering at the dock and trailer, I put my right knee on top of the raised bolster with my left leg extended to the deck.
After pulling away from the dock, I put the bolster back down and easily adjusted the seat to suit my arm length, using a manual lever. The bucket seat adjusted smoothly and braced my shoulders very well, which would prove important as I began the performance test.
Formula-One Grand Prix
After putting the shifter in forward, I gave the boat full throttle to see what it would do out of the hole. It came to plane in about 3 seconds and did 0-30 mph in 7 seconds flat with two people on board and about a quarter tank of gasoline. That's pretty impressive for only 250 hp. Imagine what it would do with the optional 375 hp 496 that's available.
The Interceptor already sounded really tough, but, with the flick of a switch, you can open the exhaust for an even deeper hot-rod sound. With the exhaust open and the Bimini top down, Bill and I were able to get 54 mph out of his boat, at approximately 4,800 rpm. But with the Bimini down, it's kind of in the way for people aft, so you'll probably have it up the majority of the time you're using the boat.
Going into hard corners at top speed in the light chop was a bit tricky. With the trim down, I was able to really whip the boat in and out of the turns. The responsiveness was amazing, and I was able to engage the craft in some very high-speed and tight turns that you probably wouldn't want to try at home.
Even through wakes, the hull held onto the hard turns as I was pushed into my seat. There was little to no rattling as we launched the boat clear out of the water.
The offshore-style throttle control, which was designed by Caravelle, is surprisingly smooth and had the sturdy feel of a high-end offshore racing mechanism. The trim control incorporated into the throttle handle is in an ideal position to comfortably operate both simultaneously during high-speed maneuvers.
The entire boat was upholstered using yellow accents throughout, which added a nice touch to the continuity of its high-performance look. A 100 percent wood-free design ensures longevity of construction.
All of the seats are extremely comfortable and there are center cushions that can be inserted to make the bow into a bed-like area. Under the port bow seat, there is a large cooler with bilge drainage, and under the starboard seat, there is a large carpeted storage compartment.
In fact, all of the compartments are carpeted except the engine compartment. Even the anchor locker was carpeted, which I thought was a little bit strange.
The helm has a decent-size panel underneath, which allows for access to all of the wiring inside the helm. All of the accessories are wired through circuit breakers.
In front of the port bucket seat, you've got a glove box and an AM/FM stereo with CD player. The cockpit has four speakers that really cranked. Not only could you play the stereo much louder than you would normally want to, but it maintained high-quality sound throughout the decibel range.
There is carpeted storage under all of the seats in the aft cockpit and the deck has a fitted removable carpet that is friendly to the feet. There is a fitting for a table, and a large ski and wakeboard storage compartment under the deck above the keel gives you a good place to store the water toys.
The only thing that was lacking was the number of cupholders that were incorporated into the boat's design. With only four cupholders, if you plan on having more than four drinks going around at one time, people might be competing for a place to rest their beverage. So drink up.
The engine hatch uses high-end stainless steel hinges and gas shocks, opening to reveal a good amount of space to service the engine. There are large battery storage compartments to starboard of the engine, and to port, there is additional storage that utilizes a separation panel.
The through-transom walkway makes it easy to get to the optional swim platform, which is large enough to hang out on (when the engine is not running) and has a built-in swim ladder that folds up into the platform when not in use.
In this area, you'll also find the gasoline fill, a stern light plug with chrome cover, a tow eye, and two of the boat's five large stainless steel pop-up cleats. I hate it when builders use small cleats. Caravelle made my day when I saw the large high-end cleats that come standard with this boat.
In any case, after having tested Caravelle's Interceptor 232 LS Bowrider, I had a huge grin on my face. It performed just as well as, if not better than, I expected it to.
However, my excitement with the boat didn't compare to Bill's, who realized that he had just purchased a really sweet ride.
Caravelle Interceptor 232 LS Bowrider Specifications
|Draft (drive down||2'11"|
|Weight (w/engine)||3,500 pounds|
|Fuel capacity||36 gallons|
|Maximum power||375 hp|
Zero Effort racing controls, adjustable tilt steering, two-tier drink holders, bow cooler, molded-in armrests, one-piece stainless steel windshield supports, port glove box, cockpit courtesy lights, adjustable driver's seat, bow filler cushions, carpeted bow storage compartments, interior grabrails, full fiberglass cockpit liner.
Transom remote for sound system, electronic switchable exhaust, flip-up bucket seats, premium sound system, bow cover, cockpit cover, walk-through curtain, transom platform (swim platform), LS option (walk-through transom).
For More Information
Caravelle Marine Inc.
P.O. Box 1899
111 Mathews Drive
Americus, GA 31709