Captain's Report by Capt. John Wenz--
In my other life as a marine surveyor and build captain, I recently completed work on a five-million dollar “gold-plater”. As you can probably guess, I’ve gotten a little spoiled when it comes to quality. When BoatTEST asked me to take a look at Doral’s Elite 235 Bowrider, I felt like I might have to re-train my eye. Not so: I was impressed before we even rolled the trailer down the ramp.
Doral International isn't as well-known in the U.S. as it should be. This Canadian builder has focused on boating areas north of the border since they began producing fiberglass boats back in the fifties. If you don’t see a lineup of Dorals at your marina, you’re not alone. But as I understand it, that may change soon. Doral is currently exporting to about twenty-five countries, so given the quality of the boats these folks are building up in Quebec, the word is getting around.
Doral's Elite series comprises this 235 and a bigger sister, the 265. Both boats are built in bow rider and cuddy versions. Although smaller, this twenty-three footer is as loaded with features, like an enclosed head and an attractive overhead arch, just like her bigger sister. And she has a great ride. But aside from that, which I’ll tell about later, the Elite 235 Bow Rider has some little details and some bigger features worth mentioning.
Here’s something unique: The engine hatch lifts so that access is from the stern platform. This may seem a little strange, at first, but it allows you to perform any engine work, for example winterization or an oil change, from outside of the cockpit. Doral has put an ignition key and a trim control on the transom as well, so there’s no need for a mechanic to set foot in the cockpit. This goes a long way towards keeping the 235 clean. It also makes maintenance easier at the dock and on the trailer.
Performance and Handling
We performed our test ride on a freshwater lake in central Florida. The 235 Elite Bowrider responds quickly, runs smooth and quiet, and at a cruise speed of 27.4 mph burned 7.5 gph and got 3.65 mpg. As I maneuvered, I liked the accurate and true feel to the helm.
The Volvo 5.7L Gi DP sterndrive makes a nice package which compliments the boat's overall feel of quality. Trim tabs may not be necessary; the boat performs well without using them. But when I put them down for a hole shot test, the bow on the 235 barely lifted. That’s a nice little bonus if you’re concerned about visibility upon acceleration. We reached a plane in 3.5 seconds, and if we tabbed down all the way, we were on a plane almost instantly. We topped out at 49.2 mph, and cornering at high speed was impressive. Overall, this is a great handling boat and a pleasure to run.
Whether you intend to run this boat on Lake Altoona, Great South Bay, or as a tender to your mega-yacht on the Med, you won’t be out of place with the Doral Elite 235 BR. She is not a low-priced boat, which means she's not for everyone, and that's usually the way it is with anything this strikingly good-looking. For those who appreciate owning the very best, and who do not want the same boat as a dozen others in the marina, this boat should be on your short list.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Doral Elite 235 BR (2011-) is 49.2 mph (79.2 kph), burning 22.7 gallons per hour (gph) or 85.92 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Doral Elite 235 BR (2011-) is 27.4 mph (44.1 kph), and the boat gets 3.65 miles per gallon (mpg) or 1.55 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 230 miles (370.15 kilometers).
- Tested power is 1 x 300-hp Volvo Penta 5.7 GI DP.
Standard and Optional Features
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!