Doral builds boats differently than most builders. We have visited their plant in Canada and were impressed by the fact that most of their employees have been working there for 20 years or more. This kind of employee longevity, it seems, is almost a requirement for fine fit-and-finish in sportboats. For the men and women building Dorals in Grand Mere, Quebec their job is not only their livelihood, but they take pride in the sportboats they build. And Doral sportboat owners can feel pride in their boat because they can customize it with over 70 different options.
- CE NMMA certified
- Composite structural hull grid stringer system
- Doral core hull & deck
- Fiberglass air vent covers
- Fiberglass structural hull liner with gel coat finish
- Integrated extended swim platform
- Stainless steel custom ski tow eye
- U-shaped cockpit seat
- Cockpit courtesy lights
- Diamond textured antiskid
- Extra large cockpit ski locker
- Full fiberglass self draining cockpit
- Clarion AM/FM CD water proof sound system
|Length Overall||23' 7'' / 7.19 m|
Currently no test numbers
Doral realizes that every owner wants something different in a boat – even one that is only 23’. For that reason, it offers a standard boat at a relatively low price compared to other boats in its class (read: Cobalt, Formula, Sessa). In that way, buyers can pick and choose the options they want and customize the boat specifically to their family and its needs, without having to pay for amenities and equipment they don’t need or want.
In this way, a savvy consumer, or veteran boater, can get the advantage of the exciting design and the superior fit-and-finish of a Doral, yet have only the equipment needed, and thereby not have to pay as much. It is sort of like buying a Mercedes for the price of an Audi, because you didn’t go for all of the gimcracks and cool stuff that you never end up using.
Dorals Have Sex Appeal
We don’t know if Dorals are so popular in Europe because of their international design flare, the weak loony, or because there is something incredibly sexy about these boats inside and out. Most American boats just don’t have it with their 15 shades of blue with white or off-white. Dorals are, to us, much more Continental than anything else built in North America.
Doral builds boats with dashing design, fresh colors, high-style fabrics and vinyls and lavish use of wood accents. As an example of what we mean, a wood steering wheel is optional on the 235, complete with an elastic covering to protect it when not in use. There are port lights in a 23’ cuddy! The Elite 235 has a curved windshield that comes with an optional ss frame, cockpit upholstery in five colors, and cockpit courtesy lights that add a romantic glow at night.
Beneath the Gloss
But there is more to the Doral 235 than a lusty countenance. It is also built exceedingly strong. Doral cores both the 235’s deck and hull. While many sportboat builders core their decks, few core their hulls as well. By coring, Doral separates the skin and the interior laminates which makes the structure stronger. Laid into the hull is a grid stringer system and on top of that goes a structural glass liner which is bonded in. Now you have at least four layers of structure keeping the water out and you in.
What is Different?
In looking over the boat we see that virtually everything is finished as one might expect of a boat in this class. A few things stand out as noteworthy, however. The swim platform is integral to the hull and not a bolted on afterthought. There are four steps in the swim ladder, instead of the usual three. Its six cleats are larger than you normally find on this size boat. The steering system is extra strong.
We like the rounded shape and green tint of the companionway hatch which slides from the center to the port side. There is another rounded, green tint window into the cuddy on the port side in front of the companion seat that is unlike anything we have seen on other boats. Together, the window and the companionway door flood the cuddy with light keeping it from being the cave that it is on most peoples’ boats.
And perhaps – just perhaps – all of this visibility into the cuddy will keep it from being a handy stowage compartment for a jumble of moldy stuff that we see all too often in cuddy boats. What a clever device Doral has invented to keep the cuddy tidy and ready for its intended purpose!
We like the comfortable wrap-around barrel helm and companion seats. They are made at the Doral factory and there is no wood in them. We especially like the stainless steel “roll bar” on the back of each seat. They remind us of riding in a Shelby road and track sports car.
A Cuddy For All Seasons
Only about 10% of sportboat buyers choose a cuddy. The rest buy bow riders. And while bow riders can get more people aboard, to us there is nothing like the beauty and sporty feel of a cuddy runabout. They are also much dryer in sloppy conditions when no one can sit in the bow anyway. Cuddys also provide a place to get out of the rain as well as having a larger compartment for the Porta-Potty.
While there is room in a cuddy for a couple to overnight, on the occasions we have tried it, we have not gotten a very good night’s sleep. On the other hand, we have found it is a great place to take a nap. Go figure, we don’t understand it, either.
The folks at Doral have thought of all of this and they know how the boat will be used in the evening. There is a wood cabinet to port for whatever, and rolled cushions as back rests thoughtfully placed all around so there is comfortable seating. The center cushion you see in the picture comes out and there is an optional pedestal wood table, which we would spring for.
What a great place for lunch or for the kids to play board games if it is rainy. The fully enclosed head compartment makes a long day on the water something that even mom will look forward to. FYI, there are reading lights at both ends of the cuddy, so if you want to read at night you’ll have plenty of light. (Better go for the optional second battery.)
Pay for Only What You Want
We think that Doral is smart by giving the buyer as many options as possible. In looking over the option list, we would go for about 20 of the options out of the 44 that are available. We can’t think of any builder of a sportboat of any price point that has made as many options available. Just take a look and build your own custom-built Doral 235.
In addition to these 44 options there are 16 different engine configurations available from either MerCruiser or Volvo Penta from 260-hp to 320-hp. Then there are all of the optional colors you have for the hull, upholstery and canvas. Talk about choice!
Doral’s Little Secret
How can Doral make all of these options available? It is simple. Doral builds boats the old fashioned way – one at a time. It is not a slam, bam, thank you Ma’am operation in Gran Mere. It is old world up there in the beautiful wooded countryside of Quebec. Craftsmen lovingly work on one boat until it is finished. This is another reason why Doral’s employees take such pride in the boats that go out the door – once it leaves the mold shop and has the engine installed, a single crew of the same people is involved with finishing the boat. It becomes "their" boat.
Doral doesn’t build thousands of boats each year, rather it builds a just few hundred. That makes all of the difference – and that along with its crew system, and the longevity of its employees is why the fit-and-finish is so good.
Some people like being the only ones in a marina with a particular model boat. Others -- those who might feel a bit insecure, nautical-wise -- will be happier with a brand that many people own. That’s what makes the world go around.