TEXT BY BARRY TYLER
When you have a picturesque lake or quiet island bays to explore, it is important to enjoy its offerings from the right waterborne platform. One such variable is the flexible Bayliner 225 Runabout.
Bayliner of course has an expansive range of boats within its ‘master’ ranges of cruisers, deck boats, sportfishers and runabout turn-key packages, but it is the runabout range that
is perhaps the most versatile and all encompassing.
I mentioned versatility, and the ‘large carrying capacity, harbour cruising’ 225 was to me the best of all worlds for as the lead-in photo suggests, with the addition of a ‘wake’ tower it offers the versatility of a bonafide wake-boarding option with its rear end weight, efficient hull and copious quantities of low-down grunt that all combine to provide a steady and
effortless wake speed. And of course, put the hammer down a bit more and you also have a good ski-boat combo, again with plenty of power to handle the acceleration from a standing start, and the tight turns.
The largest conventional trailerboat model in the ‘runabout’ range, before crossing over to the deck-boat range, this lifestyle package also offers a typically American bowrider frontal styling that is tailor-made for thrill-seekers who like the wind in their faces, at speed! For the discerning driver there was an ‘appropriate’ helm station with all the right appointments laid out in a most ergonomic manner within an area that to all intents and purposes followed the traditional parameters of a ‘runabout’ style of hull.
Throw in the power of the 260hp MerCruiser, combine it with a 2006 (new) hull design that capably handled speed as well as aggressive cornering – and you have a hull that was simply a lot of fun to drive.
When the ‘fast stuff’ was out of our system, what better way to finish any day off than to install the pedestal table in the aft cockpit, pop a cork on a bottle of our favourite chardonnay, and laze back on the plush lounges. Either moored in an idyllic bay or as we did simply enjoying the sights as we ‘tootoo’d’ around various bays.
The 225 in fact was just brilliant for The 225 in fact was just brilliant forwhile a big boat at 6.71m in length with a beam of 2.59m, despite its generous rear deadrise of 20 degrees it still very much offered good stability as we moved about the boat.
I don’t k n o w about you, but to me this is what boating is all about, and many is the afternoon back at home base when with my family and friends, we will just idle up and down the canals, soaking up the sights and the ambience of the occasion whilst at the same time may I add, getting some wonderful ideas for layouts and features for our own back yard! As agile and accurate as this particular sports hull was it too was one of those boats that was also every bit the consummate entertainer, ideal for MerCruiser Power As is typical of the mid to upper Bayliner trailerboat range, the 225 Runabout was sterndrive configuration.
Power options ranged from a 220hp 5-litre MerCruiser, through 250hp 5.7-litre and 260hp 5-litre MPI (all running through an Alpha 1 stern-drive system), to the top of the line 350hp 5.7-litre MAG MPI running through a Bravo III twin-prop drive configuration.
I’d reccomend the top power in the Alpha I range, the 260hp 5-litre V8 MPI MerCruiser – one down from the actual pocket rocket 300hp MPI option. There is more than enough power for whatever your passion in boating may It’s an ideal engine, so you can go skiing and not have to worry about trick props and the like.
It literally leaped out of the hole and was up and planing in an instant. Running a stock standard 3-blade 21-inch pitch alloy propeller which is certainly towards the lower end of the ‘performance scale’, it still had more than enough power out of the hole to capably handle a skiing situation, yet we still managed a very creditable top speed of 50.4 mph at the maximum 5200 rpm. That I felt was most acceptable, considering the propeller, and considering the fact we were on less buoyant fresh water.
Out in the middle of the lake during our speed trials, the 225 sat up nicely and traversed the chop like it wasn’t there. Even when a wind squall arrived, preceding a significant dumping from the heavens, the boat was able to still run at full speed through the chop. The ride as expected, courtesy of a liner system with foam filling, was pleasantly quiet, and another significant plus in these conditions was the dry ride – apart that is from what hit us from above.
Presented in standard form other than the engine upgrade, the 225 featured a full GRP interior liner that in this instance provided these great helm, bow and cockpit features, but into the bargain also satisfied the sun worshipers with a deck-style rear sun lounger over the engine cover. In true runabout styling there was the traditional portofino-style aft boarding platform so synonymous with American and European boats, that was presented complete with remote freshwater (the 225 carries 40 litres of freshwater) transom shower, and a grab handle and a three-rung boarding ladder recessed into the platform surface.
The enveloped cockpit as stated was every bit the entertainer, with its Lshaped lounge that lay across the rear and up the port side, providing a most ambient setting. Lift the (hydraulic) ram-assisted engine hatch / sun-lounger up and beneath it (as well of course as the battery and engine and generous space) was a round cockpit table and pedestal mounted in beside the engine.
Fit this table and the scene was very much set – especially when you lifted these seat base squabs and found a huge concealed esky and storage facility in which to store and cool the drinks! Rather innovatively the passenger seat opposite the driver also slid back and forth to transform from a (small person) two-person forward-facing seat into an aft-facing sunlounger or indeed berth if you wanted a kip while the others were swimming or exploring. Add to this the skipper’s chair that swivelled 180 degrees, and you have a pleasant conversation pit that comfortably seated six adults.
The helm layout was typically ‘runabout’ styled, nestled in behind the wrap-around (glass) windscreen. Very well appointed with wrap-around bucket seat, footrest, tilt power-assisted steering and easily read ‘titanium-look’ Bayliner instrumentation, thankfully the dash was devoid of the typical American gadgetry that for me spoils the very ideal of a ‘boat’.
Fitted as standard, décor in this cockpit helm area was carpeted floor, Frenchstitched colour-coordinated plush vinyl seat, side panels and interior coaming pads, lined topsides, and a bimini.
Without being gushy, it was presented appropriately well so as to offer the impression of opulence, whilst at the same time being entirely practical from a usage perspective. Sensible additional features within the cockpit included drink holders along with stereo remotes inside the side panels on the starboard side, grab handles and drink holders inside the port side panels, and subtle cockpit lighting.
Good Storage Provision
Storage is a major prerequisite in a boat that is American-approved to carry 11 people, and even in this aspect the 225 with its ‘runabout’ approach to interior design, excelled. There was the esky under the lounge for cold storage and if it wasn’t used as in our instance for a concealed mounting point for the stereo and VHF, the passenger side glovebox would also prevail as further cold storage provision. There was as noted wet storage in the rear engine bay, and generous dry storage under the rear lounge and in the side-panel pockets.
If you are into skiing, you would be thrilled with the underfloor storage locker for’ard of the underfloor 190-litre fuel tank, which would easily handle a fair selection of adult-size water skis. A runabout configuration typically incorporates an enclosed deck forward of the windscreen, but such is the diversity of this design that in fact Bayliner have included a bowrider section up here.
Yes, while six adults can relax in the cockpit, the little cherubs can torment from this for’ard aspect of the 225, and even be partitioned off courtesy for the split screen assembly. The only problem area would be the fact you would have to fight the kids for the one table that the 225 carries, for there was even a table mounting point in the floor, up front!
Offering a further insight into the diversity of this vessel, the inclusion of an optional infill for the seating accommodation for three adults, that instantaneously transformed this frontal area into a casting platform. Sure to the purist it probably wouldn’t suffice, but for the average boaters amongst us who like to use our boats for more than one application, the concealed pop-up cleats, the low-profile and uncluttered coaming tops, and the sturdy platform – lent themselves adequately well, to a ‘fishing’ situation.
Despite the fact this frontal feature could ostensibly be used for fishing, it was none the less presented to a standard the equal of the cockpit and helm area. Upholstery was plush enough to be comfortable yet safe to walk about on, and interior coaming pads protected your back well. There were also grab handles, a bow tonneau cover, and speakers and drink holders each side at seat-pad level. Further storage including an anchor locker, was provided under the seating and also in behind the back-rests, up against the bulkhead.
Although Bayliner refer to this model as a runabout, ostensibly it is a bowrider. With perhaps less glitz and glamour but certainly with a heap more practical features and appointments than designated bowrider models in other ranges, the Bayliner 225 Runabout was most capably able to traverse the dizzy heights of both ideals. From what I could ascertain in the time I was aboard this boat, it was built well, with quality fittings used, and there were no obvious rattles or bangs. Throw in the power to burn of the MerCruiser, and the handling and obvious efficiency of the hull, and you have the ideal all-rounder that capably handles and addresses all situations. Perhaps the best feature of all though, of this American model from a branding that New Zealanders see as instantly recognisable, is the as tested price tag of around $73K.
- Model: Bayliner 225 Runabout
- Price: $73,000
- Designer: Bayliner
- Material: Hand-laid GRP
- Type: Runabout
- LOA: 6.71m
- Beam: 2.59m
- Rear deadrise: 20 degrees
- Trailerable Wght: 2500kg approx.
- Power options: Inboard
- Fuel capacity: 190 litres
Performance - Mercruiser 5 litre @ 260hp
|600 rpm||3.8 mph|
|1000 rpm||4.9 mph|
|1500 rpm||7.6 mph|
|2000 rpm||10.9 mph|
|2500 rpm||20.6 mph|
|3000 rpm||28.7 mph|
|3500 rpm||35.1 mph|
|4000 rpm||39.9 mph|
|4500 rpm||43.7 mph|
|5000 rpm||49.1 mph|
|5200 rpm||50.4 mph|