Most deckboats are designed for general chasing about on the water. They have lots of seating, boarding ladders fore and aft for easy swimming and beach-ing, comfort amenities like coolers and drinkholders and maybe ski stowage under the deck. The Tahoe 215 CC OB has all these features, and more. Along with the Bimini top, twin helm chairs and bow lounge, Tahoe includes two removable fishing seats, with sockets for mounting both forward or one aft; a tackle tray for lures and hooks; an aerated well for live bait, with pump-out; rod stowage under both port and starboard gunwales and pre-wiring for a trolling motor.
All of the above is standard; a trolling motor (even semi-serious freshwater fishermen need one) will add between $780 and $900 to the price, depending on which one of the five on offer you choose. Other options you'll likely want are a custom tandem-axle trailer (single-axle brakes, $2,895; dual-axle, $3,095); hydraulic steering, with tilt wheel, to replace the standard rack-and-pinion, $675 ($1,400 for the 200-hp Verado, and required with that motor); maybe an upgraded stereo ($100 to $545).
Wakeboarders will want the tower ($3,000 with racks, $2,300 without). Add a few more odds and ends, and you're still in for under $40,000 with the 150-hp XL OptiMax, which we think is power enough for this boat. (With the 200 XL Verado, the most expensive power option, MSRP is $36,095.)
Boat of Many Colors
Like most boatbuilders today, Tahoe uses composites throughout, with no wood in the structure. The 215 CC OB has fiberglass stringers supporting the bottom and a heavy-duty rubrail with stainless insert protecting the hull-to-deck joint. The cockpit is all fiberglass, too, with molded non-skid. Buyers can choose among Citron Yellow, Black Cherry, Victory Red, Onyx and Blueberry for their hull color and matching Bimini top.
Her upholstery is marine-grade, stain-resistant vinyl stitched with UV-resistant thread; nevertheless, we recommend investing in a cover, or storing the boat indoors. All hardware is stainless steel. The centerline bow cleat is a pop-up, so it's out of the way for fishing; the anchor well can hold a Danforth-style hook hanging upright by its stocks, where it's easy to grab.
For 2011 Tahoe will rig the 215 CC OB with either Mercury OptiMax 2-stroke or Verado 4-stroke outboards; either is available in 150- or 200-hp. The company says that other options may be available, so check with your dealer if you want another motor. Tahoe claims 44 to 46 mph top speeds with either of the 150s, but we cannot confirm that: We haven't tested this boat ourselves. The builder says the 200-hp outboards will bump top speed up to 52 to 55 mph. Folks planning on always carrying a boatload might want the bigger engine, but we think 150-hp is probably enough for family use.
Pros, Cons and Recommendation
The trouble with multi-tools is this: They both do many things, but nothing as well as a purpose-built tool. The same holds true for boats: If you want a top-notch ski or wakeboard boat, you're better off buying one designed just for that. Ditto fishing – you can't beat a bass boat for no-holds-barred angling. And if you just want to ride around with a bunch of friends, there are similar-sized deckboats with more seating. But the Tahoe 215 CC OB does all these things, so you give up a little of each to get the others. We can deal with that: We rarely know from one day to the next what we'll want to do, and bet you're that way, too. So this Tahoe is an acceptable compromise: It looks to us like it will do all of the above well enough.
We think the 215 CC OB is competitively priced against similar boats: The Hurricane SD 2000 OB deckboat we reported on recently costs about $10,000 more, base, with 150-hp and is 11" shorter; it doesn't come with much fishing gear as standard, but is nicely rigged otherwise. If you prefer a stern-drive boat, Sea Ray's 220 Sundeck starts at over $52,000. It's 10" longer than the Tahoe and much heavier; standard power is a 260-hp MerCruiser. If you really just want to fish, the 20'1" Nitro Z-8, another Tracker Marine product, sells for $31,995 with 200-hp OptiMax outboard and a trailer – it's an excellent fishing boat, but not much of a family boat, unless your whole family loves bass fishing.
In short, we think when you balance price, function and features, you should take a look at the Tahoe 215 CC OB; if there's a Bass Pro Shop nearby, they probably have the info you need, and maybe even a boat to look at. You can buy some fishing gear at the same time. And maybe a Leatherman multi-tool, too.If you like the concept of a center console, outboard-powered fish and ski deckboat, you might as well by this one -- because there is nothing else like her.
Standard and Optional Features
|Carpet: Cockpit||Optional Snap-in|
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!
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