More than a decade ago Spectre Powerboats decided to scrap its V-bottom line and focus on building catamarans. Smart move, considering the company's cats are proven winners on the offshore circuit and have won several awards.
But company owner Jay Pilini had heard from customers who were nostalgic for his V-bottoms, so he dusted off plans for a 22' center-console Spectre used to build. He added a couple of feet to the V-bottom, updated the styling and used modern vacuum-bagging composite technology to bring it to life.
What Pilini created in the 24 SCS was a multipurpose boat that was a kick to drive.
Spectre's center console is proof that a boat doesn't need a stepped bottom to offer spirited performance. The traditional V-bottom had an 8-inch wide center pad with four full strakes and 3-inch-wide negative chines. The result was a predictable handling boat, and in rough water it could hold its own with larger center-console models.
Powering the Spectre was a single Mercury Racing OptiMax 250XS outboard with a 23" prop that was good for 66.6 mph at 5,500 rpm. Buyers can upgrade to the 300XS outboard but the 250-hp version provided more than satisfactory performance.
From a standing-start, the boat reached plane in 4.3 seconds with the Dana Marine tabs down, and within 20 seconds, it was cruising along at 55 mph. In midrange drills, the boat ran from 30 to 50 mph in 6 seconds but from 40 to 60 mph the outboard began to show its limitations, taking a little more than 10.8 seconds to get there.
What impressed us was how the 24 SCS handled in slalom turns at 30, 40 and 50 mph. It was a strong performer, cutting through the large boat wakes we could find in the waters off Fort Myers, Fla.
The boat did have a slight deceleration reaction—especially when it was hung out—but our lead test driver found it was easily corrected by backing off the Mercury throttle a little slower.
Spectre says the build quality on the center-console boat is no different from its catamaran line. From what we saw on the ramp and in the water, there was no reason to doubt Pilini.
The 2,800-pound boat was entirely vacuum-bagged and constructed from balsa and Airlite core. Biaxial and triaxial glass were used for added strength. The 24 SCS Pilini brought to our Performance Trials was the first one built and we could find none of the problems in build quality that can hamper early models.
Hullsides were straight and the paint job—a combination of blue and yellow fades—was done by Ocean Grafix and it really popped. A large plastic rubrail with a rubber insert protected the shiny white gelcoat and fine paint work.
At the stern, the motor was mounted to an aluminum box that was powder-painted white and bolted to the transom. The steering was a SeaStar Pro Series hydraulic helm, which was basically a nonassisted hydraulic unit. Access to the batteries and trim pump was through a lift-out panel. All rigging was done properly.
We suspect the 24 SCS will spend plenty of time in the ocean and Spectre used top-quality hardware for improved durability. All the grab handles were powder-painted and the five pop-up-style cleats were stainless steel.
Like most center-console models, the amenities in the 24 SCS were fairly sparse. Built as a go-fast fishing boat or a tender, the boat, however, had most items you would need for a day on the water.
At the helm, the driver and co-pilot are protected from the wind and water by a small plastic windshield. A stowage compartment for glasses or other small items was on the starboard side. For electronics, Spectre used Mercury SmartCraft gauges and installed a Garmin map and chart plotter.
The throttle and shifter were Mercury's drive-by-wire setup, a smooth system that was very responsive around the docks. Another notable feature was the XM-capable Sony stereo that was protected in a plastic marine case. Tab switches, which were powder-painted blue, were from Dana Marine.
Located inside the console was a head, which was accessible through a door on two gas hinges. Inside there was plenty of room on the Porta Potti and a light for the compartment. When the door was closed, there was a seat with back padding that had the Spectre logo embroidered in it.
Up front there was a pull-up cleat and an anchor locker. The builder installed some nonskid on top for a little extra security when tossing an anchor into the water. Several passengers could sit up front with seating on the port and starboard sides. To hold on while underway, Spectre included powder-painted grab rails. Between the benches, there was a spot for a 12-volt blender. To hold the drinks coming from the blender, the manufacturer installed eight cupholders throughout the cockpit.
At the stern, Spectre included a seat on the port and starboard sides. The seats lifted up and could be used as fish boxes or ice chests. (Another stowage locker was located in the sole between the bow and the center console.) Between the seats were two cupholders and a compartment that opened to provide access to the accessories.
It takes a lot of guts to bring the first boat out of the mold to a performance evaluation. That shows the kind of confidence that Jay Pilini has in his products. Rarely is a boat so refined right out of the mold, but Spectre's 24 SCS is good to go.
Hull and Propulsion Information
|Deadrise at transom||22 degrees|
|Hull weight||2,800 pounds|
|Engine||Mercury Racing OptiMax 250XS|
|Lower-unit gear ratio||1.75:1|
|Propeller||Mercury Revolution 14 5/8" x 23"|
|Price as tested||$49,645|
Options on Test Boat
Upgrade to Mercury Racing OptiMax 250XS outboard ($5,800), custom graphics by Ocean Grafix ($3,800), Garmin GPS/Fishfinder ($1,750), Sony stereo system with amplifier ($1,150), Dana billet trim tab upgrade ($750), 12-volt blender with power port ($350) and dual batteries ($350).
|Location||Fort Myers Fla.|
|Wind speed||2 mph|
|Sea conditions||1' to 2'|
|5 seconds||18 mph|
|10 seconds||24 mph|
|15 seconds||44 mph|
|20 seconds||55 mph|
|30-50 mph||6 seconds|
|40-60 mph||10.8 seconds|
Rpm vs. Mph
|Radar||66.6 mph at 5500 rpm|
|Nordskog Performance Products GPS||65.8 mph at 5500 rpm|
|Time to plane||4.3 seconds|
|Minimum planing speed||19 mph|
For More Information
11999 49th St. N.
Clearwater, FL 33762