The tow boat market is fun to watch because it changes so rapidly, and the Centurion Ri237 is a great example. Just when you think you’ve got a grip on what’s new and hot, the industry is changing yet again, adding some new feature or function that takes wakeboarding and now wake surfing to new heights–literally and figuratively.
How has Centurion changed things up with the Ri237? For starters, beneath the deck, the Ri237 comes standard with 300 pounds of ballast that fills in 45 seconds thanks to the Ramfill system. Optional ballast capacity is available in the form of a U-shape plug-and-play bag under the bow that holds 500 pounds of water weight, and two additional 550-pound bags in the rear. The optional Quick Surf Pro system lets riders surf the port or starboard side, or even switch sides mid-session.
Centurion changed the hull shape to elevate the water behind the boat, and sharpened and extended the strakes for greater hull displacement. The Ri237 also comes standard with the Centurion Articulating Tracking System (CATS), which partially rotates the tracking fin from left to right, which deflects the bow to one direction or another to change the water contact on the running surface. It’s the first articulating tracking fin ever offered in the tow boat market.
At the transom, the Ri237 features asymmetrical trim tabs to adjust the vertical attitude of the boat or eliminate bow rise, even when weighted with ballast. Due to propeller rotation, the tab is larger on one side. This gives as clean a wake on the starboard side as it is to port, the conventional side for surfing.
Tow boats have gotten heavier and heavier in recent years and the Ri237 is no exception. It tips the scales at 5,450 pounds, and that’s before you begin adding water weight. In standard trim, the Ri237 comes with Pleasurecraft Marine Engine’s 355 HP H5DI engine augmented with C-Force, the combination of a powerfully efficient GM Marine Direct Injection Engine marinized by PCM, a 1.72:1 gear reduction and torque-optimized propping. Buyers who want more can opt for the 465 HP H6DI engine. The truly power hungry also can get the XR7, a supercharged 550 HP monster.
Of course, much of the splash the new Ri237 makes is due to its styling. From its fresh air intake at the bow to its headlights and bold graphics, the Ri237 looks like no other tow boat out there.
On the inside, there are some of the familiar Centurion cues, such as the raised playpen-style bow area, which conceals stowage compartments and a handy cooler in the walk-through. And in the cockpit, Centurion created more ways to watch the action behind the boat. For example, the port side lounge features a bolster that flips up to create a rear-facing backrest. The Ri237 also comes with a three-stage slide seat. Billed as a way to place passenger weight more precisely, the slide mechanism locks into three different positions, and is available with filler cushions to create a playpen in the cockpit, too.
Compared with the reconfigurable seating arrangements on competing models, the three-stage seat falls a bit short. Whereas other builders like MasterCraft and Nautique offer a forward-facing rear bench that converts to a rear-facing jump seat with a comfy backrest, the Centurion system seems a bit meager by comparison.
Of course, that could change as quickly as the tow boat market itself has shown change over the years. The market continues to drive innovation and the manufacturers are happy to oblige—which is what Centurion’s new flagship is all about.
Other Choices: The Super Air Nautique G23 is a similarly-sized tow boat which also places a strong emphasis on building huge wakes for surfers. Same goes for the MasterCraft X46.
See Centurion Ri237 listings.
For more information, visit Centurion.
|Fuel capacity||63 gal.|