It was one of those mornings after one of those nights, the kind where your only hope for salvation is a boat ride. Sure, you can go the greasy breakfast route, but that's a dicey proposition at best, as likely to make things worse as better. But a boat ride, one that delivers a blast of wind to your face, is a known cure.
So, staggering along the docks at the late-July Wellcraft dealer meeting in St. Peterburg, Fla., I headed straight for the Wellcraft 190 Excalibur Sport. The lines of the 18'6"-long, 7'10"-wide bow rider appealed to me — it sure looked like a boat that could put the wind in your face. With me were Gregg Mansfield, managing editor of Powerboat magazine and Steve Rosenberg, editor of Boating World magazine.
Both looked to need a boat ride. Desperately.
Rosenberg and Mansfield are big guys — I'm 6' tall and I have to look up to make eye contact with them. As I pulled the boat away from the dock and idled through the channel, I wondered how the 19-footer would come on plane, much less put wind in our faces, with our combined 600-plus-pounds of body weight. After all, the 2,600-pound boat was equipped with a 205-horsepower Volvo Gi SX engine, not a wimpy motor but by no means a powerhouse.
Once clear of the manatee zone, I hit the throttle. The boat's nose did point skyward, but it stayed there only a few seconds. Several seconds later, we were running along at 40 mph on our way to a top speed of approximately 45 mph. Though the throttle was all the way forward, the engine didn't sound strained, a credit to the boat's efficient deep-V hull.
Engine noise wasn't the only thing pleasantly lacking sound. Running in 2' to 3' chop, the 190 Excalibur Sport didn't rattle or groan. It felt solid and, when launched off a fairly steep wave, flew level and landed softly.
But the most delightful aspect of the 190 Excalibur Sport's performance was its handling. The boat had a light — though not flighty — feel. Trimmed down and cranked into a corner, it carved precisely. It never slipped or hopped and didn't excessively scrub speed. And straight line tracking was true at all speeds.
Each of us took a turn at the starboard-side helm, which had a tilt steering wheel, complete instrumentation and a back-to-back seat, as did the co-pilot's position to port. The back-to-back seats extended to create mini sun lounges. Raised and set into place on the gunwales, the rear jumper seat on each side of the padded motor box created a large sunpad.
All the way forward in the open bow were two contoured lounges with stowage space underneath the bottom cushions. There were additional stowage areas for smaller items in the portside glove box, in port and starboard gunwale trays in the cockpit and in a locker in the carpeted (snap-in) sole. (For those who need still more amenities, the 190 Excalibur Sport is available in a Platinum package that includes a woodgrain steering wheel, woodgrain accents, an engine upgrade and more.)
The seating arrangements were so comfortable, the boat's layout so surprisingly spacious, that we could have stayed out there for hours. That's saying something for three big guys in a small boat. But we reluctantly headed back to the docks. The morning was still young and there were other boats to drive — and other editors who needed a breath or two of fresh air. No doubt, the 190 Excalibur Sport delivered that and more.
190 Excalibur Sport Specifications
|Dry weight||2,600 pounds|
|Fuel capacity||29 gallons|
|Draft down (approx.)||31"|
|Draft up (approx.)||15"|
For more information
1651 Whitfield Avenue
Sarasota, FL 34243