Captain's ReportRugged Performer with Room for the FamilyBy Capt. Keith BurtonTest CaptainThere was a light chop when I piloted Skeeter’s new ZX24 Bay out of the boat launch. I was already impressed by the look and finish of this new boat and I wanted to get a good feel for its performance.In a nutshell, this is one fine bay boat. The operative word for its performance is smooth. The ZX24 Bay is also packed with the type of features that appeal to the avid fisherman. It comes practically fully equipped right from the factory, so making a purchasing decision should be easy.Impressive PerformerOn the water the ZX24 Bay is composed even in rough conditions. It is also quite fast when equipped with a Yamaha 300-horsepower outboard and 14 ½ x 21 Pro stainless steel propeller. I found the 24 Bay cruised best and around 26.8 mph at 3000 rpm with a range of 273 miles. We saw a swift 61.9 mph at 6000 rpm with two people onboard. That should be fast enough for most folks. But speed isn’t the biggest benefit. It’s the way this boat moves though the water; smooth and confidence inspiring, and it is a boat easy to navigate and steer. No undue bounding, no skipping over waves, this boat was designed to make high speed runs a joy.Solid Construction A big part of why this boat feels so good on the water is Skeeter’s revolutionary Aluminum Torque Transfer Transom and Stringer System. The company bonds high-test aircraft structural aluminum to the transom and stringers, Skeeter says the system eliminates virtually all stress on the transom, deck and hull sides of the boat. The result is the vertical torque forces generated by the thrust of the engine are transformed into a lateral horizontal force that is distributed throughout the bottom of the boat, providing lift along the entire keel.All of this neat engineering provides a really stiff structure to this boat that you can feel. The company says the boat could be suspended by the engine bolts with no loss of hull integrity. We don’t recommend you try that on another boat without such a system. This is also something that you can see when you open up the stern access panels — a nice touch to show off to your friends.DesignNo outstanding fishing boat would be complete if not well equipped. Nothing to fear here. The Skeeter ZX24 Bay comes out of the factory with a long list of standard equipment including a tandem axle trailer, all of which are designed to augment fishing enjoyment.Skeeter’s engineers and designers were careful to build a boat that has the fit and finish that should last for years of heavy use. Stainless steel fittings are used throughout and I especially liked the durable hydraulic supports on all of the compartment doors. The same detailing goes for the latches, which are extra stout stainless steel, and should not snap off after years of use.With a 24-foot length and 101-inch beam, there is plenty of space onboard to move around. When you need to get close to shore the boat only draws between 14 and 16 inches, which means the fish don’t have anywhere to hide.Fishy FeaturesStorage and fishing compartments are placed throughout the interior. A huge 32-gallon bait/releasewell with fill and recirculating pumps is standard, as well as a 24-gallon fish box, and 10-gallon crab/shrimpwell. And if you think the fish have it good, there is also a built-in 24-gallon insulated cooler for a full day of cool drinks.Fishermen will also appreciate the numerous lockable storage lockers, including a locker for your fishing rods.There is one feature that really stood out to me. At the rear deck, just behind the center console, Skeeter’s designers included a really cool hideaway rear bench seat. The cover is normally part of the rear fishing platform, but the hard fiberglass deck cover rises up on its own hydraulic struts to reveal the seats. This is quite handy for such a boat, and a great benefit for passengers who often don’t have a good place to sit down on bay boats.Overall, this is an impressive package with many excellent standard features that delivers a performance that is at the top of its class.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Skeeter ZX24 Bay (2005) is 61.9 mph (99.6 kph), burning 24.2 gallons per hour (gph) or 91.6 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Skeeter ZX24 Bay (2005) is 26.8 mph (43.1 kph), and the boat gets 3.79 miles per gallon (mpg) or 1.61 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 273 miles (439.35 kilometers).
- Tested power is 1 x 300-hp Yamaha HPDI.
Standard and Optional Features
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!