Captain's ReportReady for AdventureBy Capt. Bob SmithPremier has done a great job with the 221 Explorer by packing functional space and performance into this 20-foot model. Honda has also done a great job of providing a power-packed 90-hp outboard that really delivers on its 4-stroke performance.Bow FeaturesStarting up front, the 221 Explorer has its docking lights and horn mounted in the first cross member which protects them and gets the docking lights low to the water where you need them. High polished cast aluminum corner guards protected the deck from bumping the docks and large 6” cleats mean you can use the correct size docking lines rather than twine that is seen too often on the docks. The bow entry gate on the Explorer features a large gap at the bottom to allow a trolling motor to be mounted and still be able to use the gate. The pearl essence rails are media blasted and then anodized for a great look and long life. Side panels are siliconed into place then crimped to make a rattle-free finish that stays in place. The spacious bow area leaves lots of room to cast your lines. Two bow captain’s chairs come with a small corner pod with a drinkholder and lure tray and a small cargo net storage pocket on the side. Two side entry gates allow you to dock along side and still safely get onboard. In front of the helm and next to the starboard gate is a single seat lounger with a roto-cast base. The seat bottom is hinged and mounted to a sturdy storage base. Across on the port side is a large L-shaped seat arrangement. You can set up a single post table for drinks and snacks or store it away in the lounger seat base to make more room for play or casting. This lounger base has plenty of storage for gear and canvas. In the lounger end cap is a concealed trash bin with a side door for quick access without lifting the lounger back.At the ControlsThe helm is very functional and features a quick release smoked glass windshield such as the ones found on most bass rigs. Beneath the helm is an access door with room to mount a first aid kit and store a small cooler. The helm itself has brushed aluminum looking accents and a tilt three spoke wheel. The switch for the aerated livewell is mounted on the left side of the dash. The rocker control switches for all other electronics are mounted together with push-button circuit breakers and a 12volt connection for portable gear. Faria gauges are located across the top for easy viewing underway. The stereo is mounted in the center and to the right of the dash is a Lowrance X-52 bottom/fishfinder. Behind the helm seat is a locking compartment for storing up to 4 fish rods.Our test model also came equipped with a changing room that you will definitely find useful with family on board. The standard 9’ bimini top provides plenty of protection from the elements and has stainless steel quick connects, eliminating easily broken plastic fittings.Stern Fishing FeaturesThe bi-fold rear gate is innovative and doesn’t have you doing a dance to get out to the 5-step flip-out boarding ladder. The center of the stern features a large fishing box with two rod holders and a gas filler cap across the back. On the side is a handy 12 volt connection for connecting more portable gear. In the center are two lure trays and drinkholders. A large aerated livewell fills the middle forward section of the box. In the port corner is another fish chair and corner pod with drinkholder, lure tray, and cargo net storage. Three rods can be stored vertically on the port side next to the changing room.Specifications & PerformanceThe 221 Explorer measures 22’2” length overall with a deck length of 20’6”. This model is 8’6” wide and weighs 1700 lbs; the three tube model weight is 2100 lbs. The 2-tube model is rated for up to 115-hp engine while the 3-tube model boosts up to 150-hp. The Explorer carries 30 gallons of fuel.I tested on a cold, rainy and windy day and found the Explorer handled these conditions well. She reached a top speed of 25.2mph with the 90-hp Honda 4-stroke engine on her stern. She cruised most economically at 13.3 mph turning 3500 rpm for a range of 170 miles on a full tank. She was up to 20 mph in only 5.6 seconds.If you enjoy fishing and cruising or just relaxing in the sun, the Explorer 221 is ready to for you.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Premier 221 Explorer (2007-) is 25.2 mph (40.6 kph), burning 9.2 gallons per hour (gph) or 34.82 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Premier 221 Explorer (2007-) is 13.3 mph (21.4 kph), and the boat gets 6.31 miles per gallon (mpg) or 2.68 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 170 miles (273.59 kilometers).
- Tested power is 1 x 90-hp Honda 4-stroke (outboard).
Standard and Optional Features
5-year bow to stern