By Capt. John--
Mission Statement for the Cruisers Sport Series Brand
As a business strategy, the mission of the ten-boat Cruisers Sports Series is to acquaint younger boaters with KCS's big boats down the line. When these owners are ready to graduate up to the cruising lifestyle they will be on a first name basis with the dealers, management, and products of Cruisers Yachts and Rampage Sport Fishing Yachts. Obviously, that is a long-term venture, but it is one that augurs well for the consumer. In addition, KCS expects to impress beginning boaters with the quality and functionality of KCS boats as well as to acquaint consumers with KCS' customer-friendly culture and dedication to consumer satisfaction.
Mission Statement for the 238 Bow Rider
The 238 Bow Rider is designed to be an entry-level, yet luxurious, bowrider that can be used in both freshwater and saltwater for all sorts of watersports activities. By keeping the base MSRP down and providing an extensive option list, customers will be able to customize the boat to suit their specific needs rather than get a general “one-size-fits-all” package. With a relatively high freeboard and deep cockpit the boat should be dry and little ones in the family will be more secure. With a 21-degree deadrise and weighing in at 4,640 lbs. (2,105 kgs.) dry the 238 Bow Rider should be one of the best riding boats in her class in choppy conditions at speed.
Unusual Swim Platform Design --
The swim platform on the 238 Bow Rider is tapered inward at a 30-degree angle from the side of the boat which keeps the stern from hitting the dock when casting off and going forward. It is also raised so that it doesn't drag when getting underway or when making a tight turn. The swim ladder has four steps and there is a special "activity" lighting on the platform which looks cool at night.
Self-draining Cockpit -
- In our book, this is a biggie. While some other sportboats also have self-draining cockpits, many do not. We have seen too many boats sink at the dock after a prolonged hard rain as a result.
Two Bilge Pumps --
Most sportboats have one, the Cruisers Sport Series 238 Bow Rider has two, rated at 1100 gph each.
Halogen Bow Docking Lights –
Getting home in the dark after a long day on the water can be an unsettling experience for a new boater. This is a nice little addition which will help, and it’s included as standard equipment on the 238.
Plush, Thick Seat Cushions
-- One of the first things that stands out when seeing the 238 Bow Rider is the plush seating. Clearly, the seats are going to be comfortable and guests should feel pampered. We equate them to what one might find in an expensive automobile vs. those found on an economy model.
– A cockpit sink and a shower aft utilize the standard 12 gallon tank and freshwater pump.
Stylistic Molded-in Highlight in the Hull
-- When a boat that is supposed to be fast and sleek also has a deep cockpit, designers need to work extra hard to create the optical illusion that the freeboard is low. This builder has gone farther than most by molding in a gentle crease in the hull side from bow to stern which catches the light and makes it look as if there is another cove stripe on the hull side.
Five Standard Hull Color Choices
-- Most builders still charge extra for colored hull gel coat. We think that colored hulls add immeasurably to enhancing the pride of ownership as well as to set the boat apart from the pack on the used boat market when that time comes.
Standard Bimini and Canvas Covers
-- All boats should have these no matter what the activity and Cruisers Sport Series makes them standard in a choice of colors.
The forward cockpit offers comfortable seating, and I could even stretch my legs out. A forward swim ladder, drink holders, safety rails, and an optional table are some of the details added for creature comfort.
For those who are going to be using the boat primarily for a sunning and beach-visiting platform, there are two optional filler cushions ($835). Additionally, sun worshipers will like the sun pad on the stern which has a three-position back rest.
A sturdy walkthrough windshield (with magnet holding the window open) leads to the helm and main seating area. To port is a compartment suitable for a head. It’s a small space, but this is only a 23 footer.
There is an optional bow windscreen door ($420) which I recommend because on a crispy, cool morning it will help keep the cockpit cozy.
Below the deck are storage lockers for water toys, and there’s storage available under the seats; fore and aft.
Behind the helm and companion bucket seats is a U-shaped wraparound seat surrounding the cockpit. It’s snug but the boat is rated for 12, a sizeable crowd on a twenty-three footer. Folks who like to entertain aboard will go for the optional cockpit table ($565).
On the centerline, aft, is one of the features that make this boat special-- the convertible sun lounger. Use it facing forward for running or socializing. Flip it facing aft when on the hook and playing in the water or relaxing on the swim platform. It can also be folded fully forward, where it serves as a comfortable sun pad. A small gate leads to the swim platform; and the deck design provides for a smooth transition in and out of the cockpit. Cruisers Sport Series has done a particularly clever job of designing this passageway. When underway, a filler cushion fits into the passageway to form the U-shaped conversation pit. The transom gate is padded and serves as a backrest and fits in well with the rest of the cockpit.
Not just a bolt-on type, the swim platform is the result of a well-considered design process. It’s higher off the water than most, so it doesn’t drag underway, and it extends completely over the outdrive unit for safety.
The height also makes for an easier step on and off the floating dock. But the most striking feature is the tapered shape of the aft, outboard corners. These corners often get pretty beat-up over time; typically a trouble spot as you leave the dock. By trimming away the corners some platform area is lost but it makes it easier to avoid clipping the dock when getting underway. In the end, I like what I see.
Performance and Handling
Our test boat was powered by a single 300-hp MerCruiser 350 MAG engine driving a Bravo III lower unit. With about 25 gallons of fuel aboard, two men, and 50 pounds of gear we had a test weight of 5,290 lbs. (2,400 kgs.) We planed out in 3.8 seconds and we reached 30 in 6.9 seconds. Our WOT speed was 48.5 mph at 5300 rpm. We calculated the best cruising performance to be at 3000 rpm where our speed was 24.6 mph burning 7.5 gph for a range of 162 statute miles. You could trade 15 miles of range per tankful if you want to run at 3500 rpm and 30 mph.
I moved around the boat to experience the 238 from both the helm seat and from the aft bench seat. I felt comfortable and secure in both, even as the breeze increased. Bow rise was minimal, and I didn’t lose vision forward. Steering was smooth, true, and responsive; both at slow speed and when I pushed the throttle up and put her through her paces. The noise level was mostly wind, the engine noise was acceptable and I heard no rattles or other unusual noises. Overall, a quality ride.
Our Thoughts on the 238 Bow Rider
The folks in Oconto, Wisconsin (KCS International) have put their experienced yacht building team to work at reviewing every aspect of this model line-up. The results look good so far. In fact, I was given a list of no fewer than thirty different improvements and updates. The molds were re-surfaced, and it shows in the beautiful gel coat work. Attractive color combinations look great, and the attention to detail shows in the upholstery in the cockpit as well as the deck and topsides finish work. Engineering improvements include better cockpit drainage and engine ventilation, changing motor mounts to metal from wood, and updating the fuel system to comply with ABYC and EPA Standards. The effort towards a “job well done” was evident in the attitude of the engineering staff, the quality control department, and the finished product.The 238 Bow Rider is one of four bowrider models in the Cruisers Sport Series. The other models include three sport deck models, two cuddies and one pocket cruiser. Assuming the Sport Series team can maintain its high standards for quality control, I’d bet that this newest member of the Cruisers/Rampage family will deliver on the new KCS mission.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Cruisers Sport Series 238 Bow Rider (2013-) is 48.5 mph (78.1 kph), burning 23.06 gallons per hour (gph) or 87.28 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Cruisers Sport Series 238 Bow Rider (2013-) is 24.6 mph (39.6 kph), and the boat gets 3.28 miles per gallon (mpg) or 1.39 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 162 miles (260.71 kilometers).
- Tested power is 1 x 300-hp MerCruiser 350 MAG.
Standard and Optional Features