Captain's Report by Capt. Steve
By building a modern bowrider with retro styling and colors, Glastron is signaling that it has not lost the design daring that was the hallmark of the company at its sales apogee in the 1960s and '70s. Remember, in the early days of fiberglass boat building, Glastron was the largest builder of boats in the world, bar none. To a large extent Glastron was a driving force in the expansion of sportboats in the popular imagination. Its curves, metal fleck gel coat, and even hardtop models were exciting, and perhaps, the first "sports cars" afloat. Many of the Glastron models of that day took their styling cues not from traditional wooden runabouts, but from Detroit.
The new Glastron GT 200 has all of the features one expects in a new value-oriented bowrider, but with a nod to the boat lovers among us who remember the exciting days of our youth on the water. The Glastron GT 200 is a model designed to recapture that excitement. Her relatively high freeboard makes her better for big lakes than some other boats in class.
As mentioned, the design theme is retro, something we have been seeing a bit of here and there on some sportboats, but none quite as comprehensive as the GT 200. The retro look is due to a number of signals, some subtle, some not. The bright red and white, two-tone color scheme is a reminder of what boats were once like and it is hard to miss. Red means hot and fast, so the GT 200 will be catnip to all of the hot shots on the lake. The graceful, imitation sheer line is off of the 1950s Rybovich drawing board. In the cockpit are round, chrome deep-set analog instrument bezels that seem to be right out of a 1957 Corvette. But it is pretty much there that the retro theme stops, giving way to other styling elements that are as modern as tomorrow.
While over the first few years we have seen a few bowriders introduced that are outboard powered, there still are not many. Most are under 20' (6.09 m) so the GT 200 stands out as being one of the larger outboard-powered bowriders. The GT 200 we looked at was powered by an Evinrude 200-hp engine, 65-hp more than what we commonly see in value-oriented bow riders.
Stainless steel hardware.
Glastron is very much a price-conscious builder, but when it comes to hardware, it is uncompromising in its use of stainless steel. The boat's cleats, handholds, drink holders, rub rail, speaker grates and other items are all stainless steel.
Large swim platforms.
One of the drawbacks to an outboard-powered sportboat is that it loses the large swim platform across the stern that almost all sterndrive models feature. Glastron's designers have gone a long way toward solving that problem by making extra-large platforms (3'3" x 2'/1.0 m x .6 m) to port and starboard of the outboard engine, the GT 200 has almost as much platform space as the largest sterndrives in class, and more square footage than many.
While there is a lot about the GT 200 that is retro, there is also much that is as modern as the latest designs coming out of Turino, Italy. For example, the angular molded-in accents on the topsides are au courant. The sloping sheer line aft that sweeps down to the long swim platforms reminds us of what we see on the sleek, large Pershing sport yachts.
High freeboard forward.
The GT 200 has a relatively high freeboard forward compared to many boats in class. This means that not only can the boat be used on freshwater lakes, but also in saltwater locations, and stay dryer.
There are several other details that we rarely see on boats in this class that should be pointed out: First, the seat on the port side of the aft bench seat pulls out to make a sunning lounge. The two-tone color scheme is standard. There is a 7" reverse chine that is carried fairly far forward which will add stability at rest and knock down spray.
A pull-up cleat at the bow is center-mounted directly behind the running lights. We like the location of this cleat for tying off the anchor line because boats should usually only by anchored from the bow. Glastron has cleverly moved the anchor locker from the gunwale level where you might normally find it to below the forward seat where it can perform double duty. All seat cushions are removable to expose storage underneath. The space between the seats is a bit narrow for facing one another but as that rarely happens this shouldn't be much of a factor. Spreading out with my back against the rest on the front of the console, I found more than enough room for my 5'8" (1.72 m) frame. The safety factor of the high freeboard starts here with 15.5" (39.4 cm) from the seat top to the caprail. Two cushions fill in the space between the seats to form a forward sun pad. There is 20 " (50.8 cm) of space between the two consoles which is more than on some value-oriented boats.
The helm has such an uncomplicated look that I find refreshing. A shaped vinyl covered sunshade over the four gauges is a pleasing offset to the red panel and the deep set gauges. The tack and speedo seem to have been taken right out of an old Corvette with white faces, black numerals and extended bottoms to the bezels. Even more of a throwback to the retro styling are the pull switches that are the same as I had on my first boat back in the late 60s. For a brief instant, as I sat behind the helm, I had the feeling of being in an antique boat lovingly restored to its original glory, but it was all brand-new, fresh from the factory.
With an average cockpit depth of 32" (81.3 cm) the GT 200 carries an inherent air of family safety. The bulwarks are finished off in bright red gelcoat with an offsetting colored vinyl upholstery. Chrome grab handles and speaker grills add functionality and good looks to the interior.
The captain and the observer get individual bucket seats and four across seating runs across the stern. Embedded in that seating are two convenient features. To starboard the seat retracts into the transom to reveal a nonskid step with storage underneath. The opening, rather than the hatch cover, is gasketed all the way around and should eliminate vibration rattle. The step serves as the main entryway to the cockpit from the swim platform.
Clever lounger seat.
To port, the seat pulls out to form a relaxing chaise lounge. This is a clever feature that I haven't seen before, and full marks to Glastron for inventing it. We suspect by this time next year it will have been imitated. In the center of the transom is a ski tow pylon.
Because this is an outboard powered boat there are two swim platforms measuring 3' 3" x 2' (.99 m x .6 m). The size of these platforms is quite unusual, and I cannot recall seeing platfroms this large on a monohull in this size range. In the center is a 200 hp Evinrude E-TEC two-stroke engine. The engine is mounted to a transom with 6" (15.2 cm) of extended running surface beyond the mounting bracket of the engine. Similar designs have shown that this approach can lead to lower planing times and reduced bow rise upon acceleration. We have not tested this boat as yet, so you'll have to wait for conformation of those possible attributes.
Walking along the exterior of the GT 200 is where you get more of a feel of the retro look. There are a lot of sharp angles and molded in curves with an relatively high freeboard. With the topsides colored in high-gloss red offsetting the white above the rub rail and an abundance of chrome it's hard not to see just how good looking this boat is. The styling and overall look is further enhanced when she is sitting on the color-matched painted trailer.Creating a modern boat with retro details is a great way to celebrate Glastron's 55 years of producing boats. I think she makes a very attractive combination of styling from the halcyon days of the sport and all of the technical advances that have come in the meantime.
Standard and Optional Features
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!