IF MasterCraft’s new, super-sized XT25 runabout takes your fancy, the first thing you’ll need is a tribe of 18 people to fill it. In fact, your kids might have to issue a party post on Snapchat.
The 25-footer is the largest and most expensive multipurpose crossover boat in the US builder’s five-boat XT range, targeting the towsport enthusiast who truly appreciates the finer things in life and has a Brady Bunch of family and friends. It’s not just big in capacity – the all-around performance and luxury features apparently set the industry standard for towboat activities.
The interior layout has more rear-facing seating than ever, giving passengers a front-row view of the wake action. This includes a standard flip-up rear facing seat that can convert into a bench seat, plus an optional starboard pull-up seat with a raising backrest that also converts into a bench.
Mastercraft employs three full-time naval architects, more than any other builder, to perfect the hull shape, drive system, surf tabs and ballast distribution of each new model. Here, they’ve opted for a traditional vee bow, rather than a pitchfork.
The underwater entry is kept relatively sharp to cushion the ride beneath the bow but the vee flattens considerably as it travels aft.
Soft ballast tanks are located centrally beneath the helm and aft quarters.
The 7.7-metre hull delivers everything from huge wakeboard wakes to massive customisable surf waves and smooth slalom skiing.
The optional Gen 2 Surf System has been customised for the XT25, creating three zones of sculpted lips and curling surf waves. To this you can add almost 1.3 tonnes of water ballast.
There’s an easy-folding, shock-assisted tower as standard, though MasterCraft’s premium Power Towers are options – these bring custom colours, speaker layouts and vertical storage.
Naturally, the XT25 carries the exclusive Klipsch audio system that gives concert-level sound to every corner of the cockpit as well as aft to the skier.
A single 4.5-inch touch-screen dash is standard but it’s worth stretching your budget to the optional dual-screen version that simplifies the driving mode and improves helm styling. You get diagnostic information, navigation data and a Go-Pro view astern.
Another innovation is the DockStar handling system, which places two smaller rudders ahead of the propeller to direct the waterflow when reversing and counteract prop torque. It would be a godsend when manoeuvring such a large and powerful boat in confined marinas and ramp areas.
The XT25 has a choice of GM-sourced petrol V8 engines, all marinised by Ilmor Marine. Base motor is the 5.3-litre direct injection 5500, while 6.2-litre and 7.4-litre powerplants are optional.
If you’re planning to party, and carry a hefty water ballast load, the additional power wouldn’t go astray.
The prop is shaft-borne, running through a vee-drive to an angle of around 16 degrees. This helps keep the bow down at displacement speeds, with a heavier bow wave integral to creating more energy astern. Sydney’s Blakes Marine is the NSW dealer.
FAREAST LIVING LARGE
PERFORMANCE yachting brand Fareast is heading northwards with its size ambitions, developing the 37R for the bigger boat market.
It’s a milestone for Fareast as they fill a void in the cruiser-racer segment that’s been vacated by bigger brands over the past few years.
Hull lines are reminiscent of the R-series, capitalising on the proven track record of the 28R in mixed-fleet events like Sail Port Stephens.
The 37-footer features a large asymmetric kite and a carbon keel fin sporting an 1800-kilogram lead bulb. The interior includes carbon and stainless inlays with ambiance backlighting, while keeping weight to a bare minimum.
Toasting our top sailors
A SPECIAL dinner at Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club on February 23 will honour the 20 Hunter sailors who took part in the recent Sydney-Hobart.
“We’d love to have a big crowd celebrate with us,” Club CEO Paul O’Rourke said. “If you’re interested in the race, you’ll find the event fascinating.”
A guest panel will include Sibby Ilzhofer, skipper and owner of Dare Devil. She’s the Culprit co-owner Glen Picasso will also speak after gaining second place in PHS and third in the Corinthian division.
It starts at 7pm, with tickets just $55. All funds go to the Youth Sailing Academy Keelboat program.