Takeoff power earned the highest marks from testers, whether they were behind the wheel or in the water. (Photo by Tom Newby)

Takeoff power earned the highest marks from testers, whether they were behind the wheel or in the water. (Photo by Tom Newby)



Were it not for the advent of wakeboarding, the in-board boat market may have remained status quo, as it had before the "skateboards for the water" burst onto the water-sports scene in the early 1990s.

But that market is anything but status quo today. In fact, the market still enjoys tremendous growth. Centurion has prospered from that growth, and it has wisely reinvested in its product line, as was evident from the Typhoon we tested in Parker, Ariz.

Part of the company's "Storm Series," the Typhoon arrived at the test site with the Storm I option group, which included a wakeboard tower, custom gelcoat graphics and a center ballast system. It also came with a MerCruiser 330-hp 5.7-liter Black Scorpion engine, tower speakers, tower-mounted board racks and a Bennett trim tab (for wake tuning) bolted to the transom. All totaled, the 23'6"-long, 8'6"-wide craft rang up at $47,461. Strip away the options and you'd end up paying a cool $39,995.

Skiing

Fortunately for Centurion—and all tow boat companies—people will pay a premium for a competent wakeboard boat. Equally fortunate for Typhoon buyers, they'll get one.

Our ski-test team enjoyed their time with the Typhoon, in fact, more than they expected. Call it a pleasant surprise.

Takeoff power earned the highest marks from testers, whether they were behind the wheel or in the water. It yanked the skier and boarder right up with no loss of horizon.

"It just kind of slithered right out of the hole, not like some of the other V-drives where it seems like they sit down a little bit lower in the back when you take off," remarked our ski tester.

Once up and running, the Typhoon exhibited impeccable tracking manners, also earning the highest marks. Even when our ski tester, a former world champion, sliced from side to side, it required only minimal correction. Obviously, if it tracked well for the often violent pull of a short-line slalom skier, it aced tracking tests for our wakeboarder.

It also laid out some nice wakes for our 'boarder, who remarked how little turbulence the Typhoon threw behind it. The only thing missing, he said, was the kicker lip that makes good wakes great.

When it came to skiing, our tester would have scored the wakes higher, but he found them a little larger than a tournament inboard and a touch on the "hard" side. Bear in mind that this V-drive was aimed at hard-core wakeboarding.

When they return from their testing, our ski team stows its gear and uses available stowage just as any owner would. Not only is there an abundance of stowage on board, but it's also reasonably easy to access.

The team also appreciated the intelligent walk-through to the real teakwood swim platform. The walk-through kept them from having to shimmy over the sun pad, and—love the maintenance or hate it—the teakwood, we feel, is still the best material for a ski platform.

Performance

We've been praising MerCruiser's Black Scorpion ever since it came out. Centurion must have heard us, because the 330-horse small-block came in the Typhoon.

All that power hit the water through a 1:1 V-drive transmission and an OJ bronze four-blade 13" x 12 1/2" propeller.

That combination was good enough for a 47.2 mph top speed. It leaped on plane in 2.5 seconds on its way to hitting 32 mph in five seconds and 43 mph in twice that. Midrange acceleration drills from 20 to 40 mph produced a time of 6.41 seconds.

More than just a stump puller, the Typhoon earned the second highest marks in slalom drills at 20, 30 and 40 mph. It also impressed in turns at full and cruising speeds.

Obviously, throttle response was stellar down low, but not quite as strong in the upper reaches of the rpm range. One thing testers did notice was that the well-placed gauges would have been easier to read if they had white or red needles instead of gray.

Workmanship

At the ramp, our inspectors gave good marks to the application of the boat's gelcoat and its mold work. Centurion blended subtle metaflake into its black gelcoat and applied a "ghosted" checkerboard toward the transom. The Typhoon script was done in vinyl, which was free of any bubbles or other application errors.

Beneath the gelcoat, Centurion used a proprietary stringer system called ICS, which is similar to the system used in FAS3Tech Formulas. A positive-molded fiberglass "rib cage" lays into the hull and is bonded in place with Plexus adhesive. The design allows for strength without a lot of added weight.

Centurion also uses the ICS system to secure the engine—accessed via an electric hatch—which was through-bolted to the inner liner, as was the rear ski-tow pylon. Rigging was up to production standards, with all wiring and plumbing supported adequately with nylon ties, conduit and cushion clamps.

Interior

The design and ease of use of the Typhoon's cockpit and bow areas, which were fitted with snap-in carpeting, drew raves from testers and inspectors. There was a lot of "walking-around room" behind the windshield, which was especially handy, given its intended use.

Up front, the playpen-style bow seating area was actually more spacious than it appeared. Cushions fit tightly in the wood-free boat and stowage areas were plentiful. As a result of its design, many of the stowage areas were accessible from different locations. For example, an item stowed beneath the observer's seat was accessible from the port-side bow area.

At the helm, Centurion put a lot of effort into its new dashboard, which wrapped around and swept onto the gunwale. It featured 6" electronic gauges, including an instrument that measured water temperature, ballast tank level and other functions.

Overall

Throughout the course of ownership, ergonomics play a role in how much an owner enjoys his or her purchase. No worries. The Typhoon is as usable as it is nimble.

Test Results

Hull Information and Propulsion Information
Deadrise at transomNA
Centerline23'6"
Beam8'6"
Hull weight4,000 pounds
EngineMerCruiser Black Scorpion
Cylinder typeV-8
Cubic-inch displacement/horsepower350/330
Lower-unit gear ratio1:1
PropellerOJ four-blade bronze 13" x 12 1/2"

Pricing
Base retail$39,995
Price as tested$47,461

Standard Equipment

MerCruiser 350 Mag MPI engine, in-mold gelcoat, snap-in carpet, courtesy lights, drink holders, storage compartments, built-in ice chest, removable swim step, step-around rear access, double access rear storage area and extra large glove compartment.

Options

Upgrade to MerCruiser Black Scorpion ($2,430), Storm 1 package ($2,995), stereo with CD player ($549), two tower speakers ($499), Bennett trim tab ($499) and two tower board racks ($494).

Acceleration
3 seconds23 mph
5 seconds32 mph
10 seconds43 mph
15 seconds46 mph

Midrange Acceleration

20-40 mph, 6.4 seconds

Rpm vs. Mph
10009 mph
150010 mph
200019 mph
250026 mph
300030 mph
350036 mph
400040 mph
450044 mph

Top Speed
Speedometer46 mph at 4900 rpm
Radar47.2 mph at 4900 rpm

Planing
Time to plane2.5 seconds
Minimum planing speed15.5 mph

Fuel Economy
At 25 mph3.1 mpg
At 35 mph2.7 mpg
At 45 mph2 mpg
At WOT mph1.9 mpg
Fuel capacity38 gallons

Test conducted at Parker, Ariz.

For More Information

Fineline Industries Inc./Centurion
Dept. PB
455 Grogan Ave.
Merced, CA 95340
(209) 384-0255
www.centurionboats.com.

Advertisement