By Capt. Steve--
Cypress Cay is owned by the Brunswick Corp., the largest boat builder in the U.S. Also, as most everyone knows, it also own Mercury Marine, so not surprisingly the Cayman 250 is powered with a large black engine. This means that one company has built both the engine and the boat, sort of like the automobile you buy -- the same company has made both the engine and the car. This can save a lot of hassle down the road if there are performance or warranty issues: the responsibility for the whole boat rests with one company.
The Cayman 250 is powered by a 225 Mercury Verado. The aft deck is really two sections with the engine in the middle. Both sections measure 2' 7" x 2' 4" (.79 m x .70 m). There are accommodations for storing a watersports tube on top of the sun pad, and a net goes over the tube to hold it in place. It's a nice storage option, but negates the ability to use the sun pad. I would rather see Cypress Cay use the same netting, but store the tube vertically, right between the sun pad and ski-tow rail. That would only prevent you from accessing the port side platform, but since there's no ladder there anyway, no loss.
The reboarding ladder is a four-step, which I'm always happy to see. The steps are wide enough to not be a pain on bare feet, and the ladder is also angled out slightly to make it easier to find the lowest rung. For nighttime there is an LED courtesy light just under the deck.
Entry from Stern
The gates all open inward, which keeps your kids from falling out when they push against them, and the steps are lined with logo'd non-skid. The sun pad measures 5' 3" x 2' (1.6 m x .6 m), and by lifting the pad you have access to a changing room. As we move into the main cockpit, we are met with L-shaped seating with the usual storage underneath, but here that storage is sharing space with the batteries and the hydraulic steering pump. A Lexan cockpit pedestal table is standard and it even features wine glass holders.
The helm station on our test boat is on an optional raised platform and I highly recommend taking advantage of the option. It will allow you to see over the heads of the forward guests much more easily. The captain's seat is extremely comfortable. It offers slide and swivel, in addition to being able to recline. The panel is a basic layout with a nice sunscreen just above and a Lexan windscreen overhead that extends well past the panel. A speedometer, standard depth gauge, and trim gauge line the upper panel along with an optional SmartCraft gauge which is an upgrade that I highly recommend as you can specify exactly what information you'd like to display. A second optional extra to consider is the keyless ignition. Steering is effortless thanks to the hydraulic Seastar system. Our test boat also featured an upgraded Sony stereo mounted at the helm which was connected to Alpine speakers and subwoofer. The helm switches are lighted toggles and include those for the underwater lights at the back of the starboard tube, a reboarding light just under the deck at the rear ladder, and docking lights under the forward deck. Off to the left is an MP3 holder that happens to be the exact size of an iPhone or iPod iTouch. Our boat was also equipped with the optional Mercury DTS controls mounted at a 45-degree angle.
In front of the helm is a flip open cooler that can be swapped out for an optional sink. Additional storage is found on the side of the helm console, and this is roomy enough for your safety gear or a pull-out cooler. Your circuit breakers are just above. When the door to this compartment is closed, it lies in direct contact with the door frame and I expected this to generate an annoying rattle, but none was present. Cypress Cay thoughtfully added a boarding gate on both sides of the boat, which means easy boarding regardless of which side the dock is on. Behind the port side seat is a clever fender caddy. The fenders are supplied as standard and feature quick-release clips that attach to mounts on the sides of the fences, the same type of quick-release clips that are found on the Bimini top. The Bimini top allows for an upgrade to a wider version -- up to 11'6" from the standard 9'6", and a second Bimini can be installed forward.
The foredeck is flanked with two more comfortable loungers that are set up opposing each other, which makes the bow a natural gathering and conversational area. Drink holders are in the centers and both aft ends of the seats. The back of the starboard side seat flips forward to access a waste receptacle. A fourth boarding gate lies fully forward.Sole storage lies in between, and this is a feature that is only available with the triple tube T3 package. The hatch is held open with a gas-assist strut and is gasketed all around for moisture and vibration protection. The bottom of the compartment is lined with a rubber mat to protect your gear. The opening measures 13" across x 3'7.25" (33 cm x 1.1m), and the compartment itself is 6' (1.83 m) in length. The nav lights are in the middle of the fences, rather than on the foredeck trip zone.
Handling and Performance
With the 225 Verado bolted to the stern of our test boat, I found pretty spry performance. Acceleration was crisp, but not to the point of tossing people and things about. We reached planing speed in 3.6 seconds and accelerated through 30 mph in only 7 seconds. This is a good hole shot time for any boat, but particularly for a pontoon boat. It means that novice skiers will have an easier time getting up.The T3 package, with it's triple tubes and lifting strakes did a good job of maintaining controllability in the turns. With the center tube being lower than the two outer tubes, we were able to actually bank into the turns, which you and your guests will find much more comfortable than in a toon that remains flat in sharp turns. I did notice a significant loss of speed in the turns, consistent with every other pontoon boat I have ever tested, but adding power alleviated that. Because of this loss of speed, you'll want to be sure to lower your trim before entering the turns. Once you find that sweet spot of turning speed and trim, you can simply crank and bank to your heart's content. The turning agility will be enough to keep any of the kids on the ends of the tow line screaming with glee (or terror, your call). With a top speed of 43.5, this boat was right in line with where the performance should be. Faster becomes uncomfortable for any crowd, and slower has you wanting more. Cruise speed was a comfortable 16.2 with a 4.8 gph fuel burn, but my hand seemed to settle in at 4000 rpm which produced a 26 mph run. At that speed I was burning only 8.7 gph and could keep doing so for 134 miles.
Back at the dock, you need to drive the Cayman 250 right up to the dock. If you try the sliding approach of a V-hull, you'll end up stopping about 3' (1 m) off the dock and having to try again. There is no slide at maneuvering speed. Drive right to the dock and reverse to brake and you'll be fine. Overall, I think Cypress Cay did a good job of combining the sporty handling of the T3 package with butter soft luxurious seats. If I were to spend my money on this boat, I'd also need to be adding amenities such as the grill, but the luxury feel is certainly there.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Cypress Cay Cayman 250 (2012-) is 43.5 mph (70 kph), burning 23.4 gallons per hour (gph) or 88.57 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Cypress Cay Cayman 250 (2012-) is 21.2 mph (34.1 kph), and the boat gets 3.19 miles per gallon (mpg) or 1.36 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 143 miles (230.14 kilometers).
- Tested power is 1 x 225-hp Mercury Verado.
Standard and Optional Features
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|
||Limited structural lifetime|
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