Lotus company founder Colin Chapman famously said that adding horsepower only makes a car faster in a straight line. Making it lighter makes it faster everywhere. Of course, confusing automobiles with boats is a terrible mistake, but the logic that Chapman applied to his racing cars certainly applies to a runabout like the Starcraft 1918 RE I/O.

starcraft 1918 RE i/o

There's a direct correlation between weight, speed, and handling, which the Starcraft 1918 RE I/O takes full advantage of.


The 1918 tips the scales at only 1,780 pounds and measures just under 20 feet long. What that means is you can get V8 runabout top speeds with a 220-horsepower V6. In independent tests, Mercury Marine recorded a 49 mph top speed at 4,600 rpm. That may not make it a raging speedboat, but it's certainly better than anticipated.

That light weight also translates to fuel economy, something Colin Chapman never talked about, but is important to boaters. At 3,000 rpm, the 1918 RE achieved 4.7 mpg, which something you would never get from a V8-powered runabout. Buyers who are even more frugal about fuel can choose the standard 3.0-liter four-cylinder, which is now, thankfully, fuel injected.

1918 RE

The swim platform on the 1918 RE is as spacious as anything you’ll find on a runabout 20 feet long.

Even though it’s offered as an entry level product, the 1918 still comes with some features you don’t often get with a low price tag. For example, the cushions in the bow area flip up on hinges rather than lifting out. The 1918 RE also comes standard with a walkthrough to the swim platform, which has a stowage compartment built into it. There are swim ladders at both the stern and at the bow, too. The one at the stern should have a door to conceal it, like the one at the bow, but the presence of both is welcome.

The driver’s front bucket seat comes standard with a flip-up bolster. You can add the “all star” package, which includes a flip-up bolster on the port-side seat, a gray interior, LED cupholders and speakers, pull-up cleats, sport graphics, a stainless steel rubrail, and tilt steering.

Because this is an entry level product, standard features aren’t exactly in abundance. Tilt steering is a perfect example. If you’re going to tick options boxes, you’re better off opting for the Bimini top and the V6 engine. You’ll also need to check an options box to get colored hull sides. Otherwise, it’s as white as a FedEx truck without the lettering.

The boat itself is standard runabout fare. The dash is molded as part of the deck, which meets the sole and gets some trim lock to conceal the cut edges. The deck also conceals a stowage compartment. Instrumentation looks pretty good for an entry level product, with white-face gauges rimmed with chrome bezels. In standard trim, every gauge you need is there. Rocker switches line the bottom of the dash, which also comes with a 12-volt power outlet and a stereo with four speakers.
Draft (hull)NA
Deadrise14 degrees
Displacement1,780 lbs
Fuel capacity30 gal.

Colin Chapman was never known as a speedboat enthusiast, but it’s nice to know that his philosophies transfer nicely to the runabout world. Plus, the Starcraft 1918 RE I/O will cost you a whole lot less than a Lotus—expect to spend in the mid to high $20,000 range for a nicely equipped boat.

Other Choices: A boat that gets even more speed out of the same amount of power is the Stingray 198 LX. The Rinker Captiva 200 MTX is a slightly larger, slightly more expensive bowrider that runs in the same waters. And although it's a bit smaller, buyers interested in the Starcraft 1918 RE will probably also look at a classic starter bowrider, like the Bayliner 175.

See Starcraft 1918 RE listings.

For more information, visit Starcraft.