At first glance, you might mistake Steiger Craft’s 255 Nantucket as one of the classic Downeast cabin cruisers that have been around for decades, like a Dyer 29, an Ellis 28, or maybe a Nauset Marine 27.5. Yep, she sort of looks like a lot of beautiful boats marketed under the “picnic boat” moniker. But I don’t think the picnic boat label completely does this rugged, fast, and efficient boat justice. Let me explain why.

steiger craft 255 nantucket

Classic looking? Youbetcha - but there's a lot more to the Steiger Craft 255 Nantucket than meets the eye.

With comfortably upholstered cockpit seating for six, a split wet bar, and an integral 40-gallon cooler, you could darn well argue that picnicking and happy hour festivities are what this boat is all about. But when you look at her outboard power, 21-degree transom deadrise, and deep-vee hull design, you also find a capable, stable, and remarkably fast boat that can open up the world of fishing, cruising, and longer weekend overnighters.

The Steiger Craft 255 Nantucket is built in Bellport, NY, on Long Island. As with all of Steiger’s boats (many of which have fishing pedigrees), the 255’s hull is constructed with hand-laid fiberglass in a female mold, as are the decks and superstructure. The hull is further strengthened with an integral fiberglass grid for stiffness. Open areas of that grid are utilized for stowage or are filled with closed-cell foam. The decks are bonded to the grid system, and a flanged hull to deck joint finishes the job and brings all the components together.

On deck is a heavy, one-piece stainless-steel rail that runs all the way forward to a hefty bow pulpit and anchor platform. Teak trim caps off the superstructure and integral windshield for a rich look and high-grade stainless deck fittings are plentiful, although I’d like to see cleats also placed amidships, not just at the stern and bow.

steiger craft picnic boat

Picnic boat, fishing platform, or weekender - your choice.

The helm is situated forward on the starboard side with a swiveling captain’s chair, ample instrumentation space, and a stainless-steel wheel. A long bench is located just to port on the left side of the companionway, which leads to the forward cabin. Twin aft-facing upholstered seats and a full-width bench at the stern round out the cockpit accommodations. A split wet bar further enhances the cockpit with stowage for bottles and happy hour snacks.

Below decks through a lockable companionway there’s a three-piece V-berth arrangement for light-duty, two-person overnight sleeping, and a manual head. Four opening ports and an overhead hatch provide plenty of ventilation.

Deadrise21 degrees
Displacement6,500 lbs
Fuel capacity150 gal.

Standard power comes from an integral bracket-mounted Yamaha F250 outboard on the stern, as part of a swim platform with a foldable swim ladder. The boat lists at around $130,000 with this powerplant and several other important items, such as trim tabs with helm indicators and actuators, a windlass, and a 40-gallon livewell, are included as standards. Optimum cruising performance comes at 24.3 mph and 3500 rpm, where the engine consumes 8.7 gallons per hour of fuel, equating to 2.79 miles per gallon. Put the hammer down and the 255 Nantucket will jump to a top speed of 47.7 mph. If you’re a horsepower junkie, you can strap on up to 300 horsepower, the maximum rated powerplant.

In a field dominated by legendary builders such as Dyer, Hinckley, and Eastern, Steiger Craft has done an admirable job of filling that “in-between” space where utility meets function and good looks. In this class of boats, high speed usual means jet drives and big money. But with the Steiger Craft 255 Nantucket you get good looks, entertaining capabilities, fishing utility, ruggedness, speed, and stability at a reasonable cost—all in one shot.

For more information, visit Steiger Craft.

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