Captain's ReportMonterey 253 Explorer SportTest by Capt. Bob SmithMonterey has built boats with lots of extras for years now. Recently I had the pleasure of meeting with Lou Vazquez, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, to see what Monterey has to offer for the 2003 lineup. Their ads speak of “Monterey, more than a boat…a way of life” and “when Luxury is a necessity.” I have heard many salespeople use lines such as this, so Lou wasn’t surprised to hear us ask him to show us how they lived up to this and his claim of safety being a driving force in Monterey boats.The new 253 Explorer Sport was so new, I passed it on the highway on my way from Tampa to test it in Sanibel, FL. With a deadline to meet and shrink-wrap to remove, I was anxious to get going. Lou used this time to tell me a little about the company and how they put more into the boat than just time and fiberglass. Thus far, this is the largest deck boat offering from Monterey. Lou says they are going to roll out more models soon and this is just the first hull for their new design of New Generation Explorer Deck Boats.I tested the boat with Capt. Jack (that’s not him in the video!). We zipped up and down the intercoastal past the Sanibel Gateway in light chop along with several other boats in the waterway. The Explorer handled the chop and the wake from all sizes of boats slipping past us. She maneuvered with ease. Tight turns were sure-footed with little loss of speed or cavitation at speed. Slow maneuvers were equally predictable, even with a strong outgoing current. The only problem I had was slipping past a piling and getting alongside the docks with a swirling current and lots of spectators. Fortunately this boat handled it all well and Lou’s handy dock staff helped with lines to get her safely alongside without banging into one of his other models. Monterey is paying a lot of attention to adding what the customer is wanting in their boats. Now keep in mind, this is a boat under constant revision at this point and some of what I talk about may end up being improved, removed or changed as the reports come in from owners. That is normal for a brand new design.The walk-thru transom makes boarding safe and easy. They are pulling from the Mediterranean styling with their Sun Island. This makes a spacious pad for soaking up the sun while on the hook. There is a remote control panel for the stereo at the Island that is handy. This island top rises to give you access to the power plant. The top of the bench seat in front of the island flips down and out to give you even more access to the power plant. Now that is clever. Now I am not small by any measure, but when I try to get into engine compartments of most boats, I feel like King Kong trying to board the elevator in the Empire State Building. I hope some of the other builders take a good look at what Monterey did and make more room for engine service. My test model had a wet bar for serving your guests while enjoying the waterways. There are two large cooler spaces to keep plenty of sandwiches and beverages chilled just right. All the seating is very plush and the helm and companion seats are adjustable. The walk-thru windshield uses a polyboard panel rather than a canvas cover to shield you underway. A handy ski locker keeps the decks clear when they aren’t being used. The bow cushions latch down. Now you don’t have to keep stopping to snap the cushions back down every few minutes underway. How many times have you wanted to board the boat from a long swim only to realize you are at the wrong end when you get there? Monterey puts a boarding ladder up front as well to give you a break and keeps you away from the sharp blades of the props. You still shouldn’t be running the engine when people are boarding. There is plenty of storage throughout. For the family convenience, a large head is built into this hull, certainly a plus for a long day on the water.She gets on plane quickly at just 5.1 seconds with a Volvo 320hp 5.7 Gxi. She is at 30 mph in just over 7 seconds. At 3000 rpm, she consumes just over 9 gallons per hour and produces about 26 mph. I was able to produce a top speed of around 47 mph at 4700 rpm, although I did briefly see more than 5000 rpm but didn’t get a good speed read. Volvo was also on site doing some testing and they did get 49 mph and 5030 rpm. She certainly is fast enough to satisfy most every boating task a family may challenge her with. This new design from Monterey certainly warrants a closer look from you if you are thinking of buying a deck boat. She has plenty of creature comforts and is a very versatile family deckboat.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Monterey 253 Explorer Sport is 46.9 mph (75.5 kph), burning 24.9 gallons per hour (gph) or 94.25 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Monterey 253 Explorer Sport is 33.2 mph (53.4 kph), and the boat gets 2.87 miles per gallon (mpg) or 1.22 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 155 miles (249.45 kilometers).
- Tested power is 1 x 320-hp Volvo Penta 5.7GXi.
Standard and Optional Features
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!