The Stuart Boatworks 23 is a boutique-level center console with an unusual bottom design concept -- the company says that their slightly rounded keel on a 17-degree deadrise bottom, with a very sharp forward entry, allows the boat to stay on plane at lower speeds than deep Vs, yet still deliver an exceptionally soft ride under all sea conditions. The hulls are resin-infused for an ideal ratio of resin to fiberglass. Our test boat was powered by an Evinrude E-TEC G2 300.
- Maximum outboard horsepower of 300-hp
- 100 gallon fuel capacity and 20 gallon water capacity
- 17-degree deadrise, rounded bilge design
|Length Overall||23' 3'' / 7.08 m|
Acceleration Times & Conditions
|Time to Plane||3.3 sec.|
|0 to 30||7.0 sec.|
|Props||19 Rebel 3-blade ss|
|Load||3 persons, 1/3 fuel, full water, 50 lbs. of gear|
|Climate||75 deg., 65 humid.; wind: 0-5 mph; seas: 1-2|
1 x 300-hp Evinrude E-TEC G2 300
Stuart Boatworks is targeting the 23 at owners who want a center console with an exceptionally soft ride, contemporary resin-infusion construction, and the ability to customize to the buyer's desires.
The Bottom Shape.
Stuart Boatworks touts the 23’s bottom design as much as any individual feature so let’s start with that. Most competitive boats in this size range have a conventional deep-V bottom design with a pair of lifting strakes and a reverse chine.
The Stuart 23’s bottom starts with a sharp bow entry that rolls out into the rounded bottom that has a 17-degree deadrise at the stern and a subtle keel that improves tracking. There is a single strake on each side of the boat. The idea behind this design is to keep as much of the boat in the water and allow the rounded shape to flow through the waves rather than ride on top.
We ran the Stuart 23 in 1’ to 2’ seas and calm winds and found that the 23 rode smoothly with and against the waves. Because the boat is designed to have more of the running surface in contact with the water, she carved through turns with the chine adding grip and the bow cutting through waves and chop.
Evinrude E-TEC G2 300 Engine
The Evinrude E-TEC G2 300 is probably the most technically advanced outboard engine on the market in class. In a nutshell, this 3.4 L engine provides 4-stroke fuel economy at cruising speeds with 2-stroke torque at the low and mid RPM ranges. Its strongest suit, however, is its low-maintenance design which integrates this steering and gear shifting into the body of the engine with no external rods or cylinders. Scheduled maintenance isn’t required for 5 years or 500 hours.
The E-TEC G2 has an internal oil reservoir, an 81-degree tilt range, and has auto-winterization. Its beltless magneto system is more reliable than the automobile-type alternators used on most other outboards. The engine was designed from the beginning to be saltwater-ready and carries a 5-year factory backed warranty which includes corrosion.
We tested the Stuart 23 with an Evinrude E-TEC G2 300-hp outboard turning a 19” Rebel three-blade stainless steel prop. With three people aboard and a third of a tank of fuel, the boat weighed in at 4,245 lbs. (1,925 kg). She has an 8’6” (2.59 m) beam. We hit a top speed of 48.5 mph at 5500 rpm.
came at 3500 rpm where the boat ran 28.5 mph and used 8.15 gph (30.85 lph), boosting the range to 314 statute miles with 10% of the boat’s 100-gallon (378 L) fuel capacity in reserve.
In acceleration tests
, the boat planed in 3.3 seconds and continued to 20 mph in 4.7 seconds and to 30 mph in 7.0 seconds.
While the 23 has a classic look, and Stuart Boatworks builds her with modern techniques. All the manufacturer’s boats are built with resin-infusion, which uses vacuum to saturate the laminate with the correct amount of resin for maximum strength.
Dry fiberglass and coring are laid into the mold in the correct sequence. Then a special material is laid over the laminates and secured to the mold flange. Flow media that consists of a series of hoses connected to a manifold is installed to distribute the resin.
When the manifold valves are opened, the resin flows into the laminate wetting the material without over-saturating it. The end result is a ratio of 40% resin and 60% fiberglass. Stuart Boatworks also cores its bottoms and hullsides for added strength and light weight.
Stuart Boatworks builds the 23 on a custom basis so the manufacturer doesn’t have a standard equipment list for the boat. Our 23 had the Forward Seating ($3,995). That includes seat cushions on the front of the console and, in the bow.
There’s 40” (101.6 cm) of space between the bow seats at the aft end and 14” (35.6 cm) up front. Owners who want to add bolsters/backrests for the bow seats will pay an extra $1,295 and a coaming bolster for the entire cockpit adds $2,495. A folding stern seat with an aluminum frame and removable backrest adds seating for two people for $1,795.
Opting for the bow seating increases the boat’s storage capacity because there are lockers in all the seat bases. Outboard on each side in the bow, removable hatches pull aside and secure with twist and lock latches that we found throughout the boat. There’s a similar locker in the base of the console seat. A larger hatch in the bow sole opens a large, heavily insulated fishbox. In the foredeck, the anchor locker has a hanger for a Danforth-style unit and plenty of space for the rode beneath it.
Working aft, the Stuart Boatworks 23 has plenty of room to pass by the console on each side. This particular helm has the steering wheel centrally positioned with the Evinrude digital controls to starboard. Being a semi-custom builder, many other layouts are available. The Edson wheel with a power knob is a $495 upgrade.
The Evinrude ICON digital gauge
comes with the engine and it’s in view directly ahead of the steering wheel. To the right of the ICON gauge, our test boat had a chartplotter and to the left were a VHF radio and the Fusion stereo head.
Down low, a glovebox-style hatch provides access to the large compartment in the console base, which is raised high enough that a foot can fit underneath.
Leaning Post Choices.
Our test boat had a leaning post fabricated by Birdsall Marine Design of West Palm Beach, Florida. It has space for two people, a fold-down footrest and storage under the bottom seat cushion. On the aft side there were four rod holders and two cup hoders. An owner can upgrade to a 40-gallon (151 L) leaning post livewell for $3,995 or a leaning post with tackle compartments for $3,295. Both of the upgrades have the footrest, and rod and cup holders.
Stuart Boatworks sells many of its boats with full fiberglass hardtops, but our 23 test boat had an aluminum T-top with a Stamoid canvas-like material that prices out at $5,195. It had four rocket-launcher style rod holders, an aft spreader light and an LED anchor light.
The least expensive
top is a removable Bimini for $2,195. Upgrading to a fiberglass hardtop with two LED spreader lights, an LED anchor light and LED overhead lights will cost an owner $10,995. Rocket launcher rod holders for the hardtop add another $595.
The Aft Cockpit
Abaft the leaning post, the cockpit measures 2’9” (83.8 cm) fore to aft and 7’ (2.1 m) across, so there’s plenty of space for anglers. We measured cockpit depth at 26” (66 cm), which should be a comfortable height for an angler to lean up against the inwale when fighting a fish.
Four rod holders ($125 each) were embedded in the 7 ½” (19.1 cm)-wide cap rail on each side. In deck, twin outboard lockers can be used for dry storage and a central hatch opens to provide access to the fuel-water separator and other rigging items.
Available Options and Price
Perhaps the most appealing thing about the Stuart Boatworks 23 is that the manufacturer is refreshingly unapologetic that this boat is rugged center console fishing machine.
The fact that Stuart Boatworks offers her with a towing bracket tells us that the builder sees the 23 as a candidate for a tow-behind tender for a large motoryacht.
But most important, the Stuart Boatworks 23 can be easily customized to fit any buyer’s requirements at a relatively low cost.
Stuart Boatworks sells factory-direct.