Bayliner's Classic Series combine all of the things people look for from this style of bowrider, traditional styling built with modern engineering and state-of-the-art technology.
Issue: June 2003
According to the Bayliner brochure a classic is something with timeless appeal. Like a burger and fries, or a Motown tune. Boy, is that an American analogy. How about fish and chips, or meat pies, kangaroos and Holden cars. Bayliner's Classic Series combine all of the things people look for from this style of bowrider, traditional styling built with modern engineering and state-of-the-art technology. So why do people go for these older styled boats' Why do people restore old Holdens' Not everyone's into low, sleek lines and besides, for a family boat, the higher freeboard of the Classic Series makes good sense.
It gives passengers, especially children, a sense of security and dad the calming knowledge that if he throws the boat into a tight turn and not everyone's hanging on, he's not going to lose anybody over the side. And even though the Classic Series of boats don't have Bayliner's Advanced Planing System (APS) hulls ' that redistributes lifting forces with every change in hull speed to minimise bow rise, improve handling and increase fuel efficiency ' they are built on Bayliner's tried and true deep-vee hulls and work out less expensive to build. But APS is the only feature the 2150 doesn't have. It still boasts Bayliner's full-length, all fibreglass, box-beam stringer system ' the backbone of Bayliner's hull strength.
Its unitised construction process means key structural components are bonded directly to the hull for increased stiffness and stability for a smoother ride. It's an excellent family day boat with a passenger capacity of nine, so the kids can also take a few friends along. Out on the water during this test, the Modern Boating team was extremely impressed by the fun-boat like performance delivered by the hull/engine combination. She was powered by a MerCruiser 5lt MPI V8 and had power to spare. While the 2150 could be described as a smooth water boat, out on Sydney Harbour in a sizeable wind chop the deep-vee hull sliced through the chop and slop with ease.
The flare in the bow and down-turned strakes and chines kept the spray and water outside the boat where it's supposed to be. Sure, the conditions on the day slowed our progress, but no more than it would have done to any 6m open boat. It was simply a case of driving to suit the conditions. If you gave her too much stick she'd fly off the tops of waves. But if you slowed down to a comfortable cruising speed, the hull chewed through the bouncy conditions. For a still water and bay boat the ride was first class. Back in the calm waters of the Parramatta River we were able to really open her up and recorded the following speed-to-rpm readings on our GPS with the leg at one quarter trim: 6.5 knots at 1500rpm; 9.3 knots at 2000rpm; 18.1 knots at 2500; 26.3 knots at 3000; 30.5 knots at 3250rpm; 31.8 knots ay 3800rpm; 37.8 knots at 4000rpm; and 41.5 knots at 4500rpm.
This was also the first time this boat had been in the water, so we didn't want to push her to the limit and she still had some in reserve. At slow speeds the 2150 tracks straight, while her turning circle at speed was tight. At cruising speeds the wake was good for skiing and definitely great for towing family inflatable toys and their forerunner the good old rubber tyre tube. Boarding the vessel from the jetty was made easy by using the fibreglass swim platform on the starboard side. While the V8 engine box does encroach into the rear cockpit slightly there is still ample room to move about the boat. The 2150, as its designation indicates, is 20" 9', almost 21" long, has a beam of 8" 1', weighs 1309kg and carries 140lt of fuel.
There are rear quarter seats on each side of the engine, which, in conjunction with the padded engine box lid, converts into a reasonably-sized sun lounge. The heavily padded back-to-back seats for the driver and observer also fold down into sun lounges. There was a large ski locker between these two seats and the floor is fully carpeted. For the Modern Boating team, clip-out carpet would be the way to go to make cleaning easier, especially if you intended to take the family fishing. Yes, it's heavy-duty carpet and can be washed, but it could stain after a while.
Seated behind the curved toughened-glass windscreen when underway, the wind is deflected up and over the rear cockpit, protecting passengers seated there. Padded sport steering wheel is standard, as is the full engine instrumentation. But unlike most Bayliners bought into the country the 2150 didn't have a digital depth sounder, or compass, but they are offered as options. There were drink holders in front of the driver and observer's seats another two in the top of the engine cover and two in the bowrider cockpit. A CD stereo was also sited behind a splash-proof cover in front of the observer as was a glovebox/mini ice box.
Access to the bowrider cockpit is through the opening, toughened-glass windscreen. Here three adults can be seated comfortably, or two can stretch out in luxury. All the cushions and backrests are heavily padded and have deep storage lockers underneath. However, like all Bayliner models, there was no bowsprit of line roller. The test Bayliner Classic 2150 was also fitted with a fold-up bimini top, which the team consider an essential option on just about any boat operating under the Aussie sun, except fishing tinnies that is. The striking blue and white hull of the Classic also looked good out on the water and drew many admiring glances.
So how much would it cost to park a Bayliner Classic 2150 in your driveway Around $52,990, on a tandem trailer and ready to go, which represent pretty good value for money for a 21 footer. The young and young at heart may fancy the fast, sleek styling of the latest models, but there's quite a large number of core buyer out there that appreciate the timeless style and beauty the Classic 2150 offers. It's a top family fun boat the goes like the clappers, is ideal for towing family water sport toys and skiing and she can still handle a bit of rough stuff out on the bay without bringing you back drenched.
Words by Ian Macrae. Photos by Ian Macrae and Stephen Cooney