Captain's ReportA Boat for the Active FamilyBy Capt. Bob SmithThe 196 Walkthrough Outboard answers the call for a family that’s looking for the wide platform of a deckboat, with the safety and protection of a typical ski rig. With the high wraparound windshield on this model, you’ve got plenty of protection from the cool breezes underway, and because this is a deckboat design, you’ll still have the fishing features and the ski features you expect from this builder.At the BowUp front, is a wide forward bow fishing platform, with the connection for the optional trolling motor to the left and in the center is a deep anchor locker with chocks to securely latch a Danforth-style anchor in place while stored. The anchor cleat is a pop-up style to reduce trip hazards when not needed. To the starboard side is a concealed beach boarding ladder, great when pulling up to shore. There are two mounts in the deck of the fishing platform ready to accommodate casting chairs.In the bow lounging area is an aerated livewell constructed right into the step. Bench seats face each other and are large and comfortable enough for two. Beneath both you’ll find abundant storage, and the starboard side is insulated, which means it can double as a drainable cooler.Cockpit LayoutMoving toward the cockpit, the tinted walkthrough Plexiglass windshield is fully framed. Cockpit features include a port side refreshment center with drainable sink, sprayer nozzle with pull out extension, as well as an insulated drained cooler on the other side of the pod. A huge in-floor locker provides easy storage of skis, wakeboards, and even the optional trolling motor. The cockpit lounge wraps around from the refreshment center to the step-through transom gate. Beneath the port side is dedicated storage for the fishing seats. This is ideal since most of the time you’ve got to figure out where items are going to be stored. On this boat you won’t have that worry. The carry-on cooler also has its own dedicated storage spot, neatly tucked beneath the stern section.Helm StationThe helm station has a durable bucket seat with flip-up bolster for easy view out of the hole. Analog gauges include the usual speedometer, tach, volts, fuel and trim gauge, as well as water pressure. The Viper wheel has a silver center accent for an even sportier look, and the color-coordinated molded dash has a soft touch finish. The stereo in this boat is equipped with AM/FM/CD set and two directional speakers, and even an ingenious IPod jack.Oversized Swim PlatformThe bimini top is simple to set up and stores neatly away for travel on the trailer. The step-through transom leads the way to a spacious swim platform for an outboard rigged model. The concealed ladder is on the starboard side, and there are two grab handles to help insure your friends and family can board without assistance. Over on the port side is a locker for ski ropes, which can also double as a swim platform cooler.SpecificationsThis new model measures 19’10” length overall and has a 102” beam. The 196 weighs 2,100 pounds without the engine, and can carry up to eight people on board. She is rated for a minimum of 115-hp outboard and can manage up to 225-hp outboards, and this model carries 45 gallons of fuel.Engine Package and PerformanceI tested the new 196 with two people on board in calm conditions. While running this boat for the video shoot, she cut some sharp turns like you want for skiing, without losing much speed and without cavitation. I found the 196 had adequate handling, and was a spry runner. At this time we do not have test numbers due to some optimization which still needs to be worked out with the horsepower on this boat. The 196 WT OB proved to be a feature-rich, family-friendly walkthrough.
Standard and Optional Features
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|
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