The Larson All American 23 is designed as a celebration of Larson’s 100th anniversary making boats. She successfully combines the newest technology with a mix of old school charm. When going through her features it’s hard not to be convinced that one should be dressed in period clothes that reflect the mood of the moment. But where she departs from other boats from two or three brands in this genre, is that she has been designed with higher freeboard in order to actually be used for towing sports and not just to simply look cool in advertisements.
Swooping Sheer Line. This gives the 23 an distinctive look that we haven’t seen in years, if not decades, in sportboats. It harks back to the 1960s, if not before.
She comes with a standard 220-hp MerCruiser 4.3 MPI but that’s really a builder "must-have" from a competitive price-point perspective. Upgrades include a 260-hp 5.0L engine but the sweet spot will likely be found in the 300-hp V-8 350 MAG.
Faux Teak Mat Decking.
This standard adds a touch of old school charm with new, low-maintenance tech to both the integral and standard extended swim platform, as well as on the centerline walk-over on the engine box.
Colored Hull Standard.
Larson makes a choice of either dark blue (we swoon) or tan available as standard hull colors. (Regular readers know how much we like colored hulls as they raise the eye-appeal of any boat 100% in our opinion.)
Most builders in class do not package the trailer as standard in sportboats at this price point.
Forward-Facing Bow Seating.
Larson has designed its bow seating with optional port and starboard inserts that can be removed, converting lounge seating to forward-facing seating. Some enclosed storage is given up for this amenity, but carry-on bags with gear can be stuffed under the inserts if storage is needed.
Extended Swim Platform Clears Lower Unit.
When down the lower unit is tucked under the extended swim platform so swimmers can slide into the water and not have to worry about where.
VEC Hull Lamination.
Larson's VEC process is not just boat-builder hype. It actually produces incredibly precise hulls using a closed-molded composite lamination process used for expensive steel molds and fabrication tooling. The result is a one-piece hull with an integrated composite stringer and transom system that is stronger and lighter.
The hull has a lifetime warranty which can be transferred to a second owner. The engine and trailer have their own -- shorter --warranties. The "5" part of the warranty covers "virtually all of the boat's components," according to the Larson spokesperson.
In the bow
, Larson went with a seating arrangement that’s a bit of a departure from what we regularly see. Instead of the usual lounge seats, here we have separate seats formed with wraparound backrests just ahead of the consoles. This still allows facing forward or towards the center and an optional table ($447) creates an inviting atmosphere coupled with a third seat forward. Optional filler cushions ($429) create a full sun pad.
to the caprails is 33” (84 cm) and this is generous for this size and style of boat. We like the pop-up cleat on the centerline of the bow for an anchor line, but there is no dedicated anchor locker under the bow deck. An anchor -- which all boats should have -- will have to be stowed under one of the seats. An optional anchor windlass is available.
features sport seating with standard high-back, reclining dual bucket seats with self-leveling arm rests and a bench seat aft. The bucket seats slide fore and aft, swivel, and have optional flip-up bolsters. The cockpit depth is a safe 34.5” (87 cm). Optional reclining helm and companion seats ($286 each) with flip-up armrests and high backs are offered and should be considered, given the class value this boat presents, in our opinion.
The thin, wood grained steering wheel is one item that solidly speaks of the olden days. It’s got a look that’s fresh out of a 57 Chevy and looks well placed in this boat's surroundings. But it’s also connected to standard power-assist steering and mounted to a tilt base.
did not come out until the late 1950s for homes, and appeared much, much later in sportboats. Nevertheless, these days even the most retro bowrider would not be complete with the de rigueur AM/FM stereo with four speakers and MP3/iPod ports, and the All American 23 has them all. The boat shown on this page has the optional Lowrance HDS5 ($993) moving map display, which we think is not only out of place on this boat, but also unneeded in most cases.
Storage to the Rescue.
Larson also did a good job with storage on the All American 23 in spite of eliminating some in the bow. There are a lot of cushions to be dealt with between the walkthrough fillers and the forward playpen. Drawers under the aft bench seats and dedicated storage spots in the engine compartment take care of all items in short order. Under the port side of the aft seat is a ski locker behind a flip-down door.
This 23 footer (7.01 m) is the largest boat that Larson produces with its proprietary VEC technology. VEC stands for Virtual Engineered Composites, and it basically replaces the time-honored method of having a team of guys spraying fiberglass chop strand into a mold and then painstakingly rolling out any air bubbles or imperfections to try and get a uniformed layered hull.
With the VEC system
, water is used to support the form (remember high school physics, you can’t compress a liquid) that contains the specially-formulated fiberglass cloth and compost materials. Under pressure, proprietary resins are injected into the two-part mold and the result is a hull from one to the next with near surgical precision. And the boats pop out of the mold at the rate of roughly one every 45-60 minutes! It can be done by just a few guys and the whole process is computer controlled by people monitoring the (over 400) variables.
The advantage for consumers
of the VEC system is a light-weight, very strong hull with stringers molded in at the same time -- with the same continuous resin flow -- as the hull so there is no stringer-to-hull bond -- it is all one piece. Because it’s computer-controlled, that means we don’t have to worry about a boat being built on a Monday or Friday anymore. They all come out uniformly perfect.
The base price of the All American 23 is $52,206 powered by a 4.3 L MPI 220-hp MerCruiser engine. That is probably the most economical power plant for people wanting to cruise the lake in a boat that will turn heads wherever she goes, but she will not break any speed records. For those wanting to load the boat up to her maximum carrying capacity of 10 people and that want to tow tubby wakeboarders, then we would suggest upgrading to a 260-hp or 300-hp engine option. The most powerful package offered is the MerCruiser 300-hp 350 MAG with Bravo III drive which has an MSRP of $61,779.
We think for people who appreciate the retro look and the era it represents who also want a boat that has been designed for modern-day watersports including wakeboarding, then this boat should be seriously considered. It may have taken 100 years to get there, but Larson has done a fine job of creating a pleasant mix of sporty, old school charm, and new world tech all combined into one boat that is the All American 23.
Standard and Optional Features
|Carpet: Cockpit||Standard Snap-in|
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|
5 to life limited