Captain's ReportCrestliner 1950 Sport Fish SSTBy Gary P. JoyceCrestliner’s 1950 Sport Fish SST (the latter for Space Saver Transom) is nearly the largest in the Crestliner line with only the 2150 model bigger. As one of the company’s top of the line models for 2006 (the company’s sixtieth birthday) it has a wide range of amenities, and like other Crestliners, some niceties and innovations that you’ll be hard pressed to find on other boats, whether aluminum or not. The 1950 Sport Fish SST features a welded hull via Crestliner’s UniWeld system (a computer controlled method), that provides a solid no-flex hull. Crestliner puts its money where its mouth is with this hull and its warranty: it comes with lifetime warranty on the welds for the original owner and three years on virtually everything else. The decks are wood core, as is the transom, dead space is filled with foam and nearly all the storage lid covers are lined with a truck-bed-liner type material called, coincidentally, Crest-Liner, that knocks down noise.Because Crestliners are welded the 1950 doesn’t have those Frankenstein-esque bolts all over the place – which for those of you who transit rough dirt (or potholed city) roads does away with a chance of the hull fastenings loosening up. Adding toughness from the inside out, the stringer system is interlocking and then welded to the hull and any hull plate features a tongue-in-channel method of connecting before welding. The 1950 features a variable 17-degree deadrise hull, which provides a smoother, stabler and drier ride than constant degree deadrise hulls. (The difference: a variable tapers from sharp entry forward to softer aft, whereas a constant deadrise remains the same the length of the hull.) The SST, by the way, is sort of an integral jackplate/motor well area that features twin swim platforms (small, ones but, hey, it’s an outboard); the port one has a folding ladder. Other unique features include an integrated keel welded on and integral reverse chines; the latter knock spray down and are part of the hull design; the chine sections are extruded as well. The gunwales are also extruded aluminum that is welded on. The gunwale extrusions have also allowed Crestliner to come up with a new cover system for 2006 that does away with those ubiquitous soft spots of all covers – the snaps. The 1950’s gunwales have a thin slot running completely around the boat that a J-shaped cover edge fits into. An added option, only available on Sport Fish models, is a clever plate that slides into this channel and atop the gunwale providing a moveable base for downriggers; a very neat little touch. Some hidden benefits of all this design work and strength is the way the boat looks: because there is so little flex, the baked-on Armor Guard paint doesn’t flex and thus the paint doesn’t crack, chip or peel as on riveted boats. The clean hull also provides clean water for fishfinders to work better, as well as cleaner water for more effective propulsion. Another feature you’ll find include their Concept DX seating, an ergonomically designed seat that is said to provide 33 percent better weight/compression than most other seats; they are also 100 percent waterproof. Special TouchesWhere to start? Forward in the 1950 there is something called the Conversion Bow. Unsnap a small panel on the floor where the walk-through is located, flip down the seat bolsters on both side of the cockpit and you’ve an instant – and it takes as long to do as describe – forward casting platform, complete with Concept fishing seat. It all converts back just as quickly and you’ve got a two-place, well-upholstered, padded seating cockpit. When you do this for the first time you’ll actually grin at how clever and smoothly it works.You get a MinnKota full remote 12/24 volt trolling motor that’s attached via a gunwale mount and there are big in floor storage lockers as well as a livewell, room for all the trolling motor accoutrements and a tackle storage area in the nose. Our test boat had the optional stern bench seat which, with a modicum more effort, converts into a rear casting platform. Behind the bench’s upright back is a hidden space for Bimini storage – it has a clever collapsible style frame – and with the SST option you’ve got livewells, storage wells and more in the floor. This is another “grin-this-is-pretty-neat” feature. If you opt for this, you’ll notice that there is a cutaway on the side of the platform, which we’ll get to in a second. Along the port gunwale is a rod locker (new for 2006) complete with oblong tubes to protect guides as well as hold rods. But the locking lid is piano hinged for its length. Why? So when you need access to rods and the casting deck in down, the top half of the lid fits in the aforementioned slot. We told you there are neat features.Another nice feature is the windshield. It’s the first boat of this size/class that this tester has driven that had a windshield that was just that, and not a design element. And it looks right as well. It’s high, you really can wear a hat without it heading aft (I am five foot eight), the top of the windshield frame doesn’t fall right at eye level like virtually all other boats’ do and Crestliner has even taken the sharp edges off– the windshield is gracefully curved down from top to gunwale. I am really tired of hooking my temples and forehead on right angle windshield pieces. Well done, Crestliner.There are plenty of other little touches our test model had such as the optional reclining captains chair, plenty of under console storage with netting, a deep glove box, a well laid out instrument panel complete with Smart Craft gauge, AM/FM/CD, rocker switches and circuit breakers, fishfinder and tilt steering. There are eight drinkholders and four pop-out drinkholders, indicative of the utilization planned for the 1950 Sportfish SST: fish in the a.m., take the kids tubing or boarding in the p.m.On the WaterOur test boat was equipped with a 200 horsepower Verado XL, and if you have the wherewithal to get one of these engines don’t pass up the chance. They are incredibly quiet – in tight docking situations they’re actually too quiet, and you’ll have to rely on the tach or Smart Gauge to tell you what the engine is doing! Plus fly-by-wire throttles are a delight to use.This boat handled like nearly all the Crestliners we tested; directionally, in turns and in the big wind chop we experienced during testing it never threw a curve; a well-behaved boat even when cranking full out.The radio could use a different location, the Smart Craft gauge makes nearly all the other gauges back ups, the MinnKota trolling motor was difficult to get into position and there was enough vibration/shaking at the motor’s shaft while we were pounding through chop to make us wonder how long it’ll last. But those concerns/complaints are at best minor and at worst the ravings of fixated boat tester. This is a nice craft, with some really neat ideas that are well executed, and is an ideal family boat for a serious angler.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Crestliner Sportfish 1950 SST (2006-) is 52.9 mph (85.1 kph), burning 20.7 gallons per hour (gph) or 78.35 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Crestliner Sportfish 1950 SST (2006-) is 23.0 mph (37 kph), and the boat gets 3.86 miles per gallon (mpg) or 1.64 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 267 miles (429.69 kilometers).
- Tested power is 1 x 200-hp Mercury Verado.
Standard and Optional Features