The Interceptor 192 was a slightly sportier version of the award wining Caravelle 196 that Modern Boating tested last year.
WORDS + PHOTOS: ANDREW RICHARDSON
Take time out in this Caravelle.
If you have a good family runabout then you know it's all about spending good times with your mates or loved ones in an environment that is removed from life's domestic realities.
Derek Rodway, who owns Good Times Marine, took time out and brought his family along for the test and a bit of a midweek holiday. Once we finished putting the Interceptor 192 through its paces, Derek and his wife Karen headed off with the younger kids for a lunch down the river at Como. I'm going to take a leaf out of Derek's book. That's the kind of thing we should all do if we have a boat.
The Interceptor 192 was a slightly sportier version of the award wining Caravelle 196 that Modern Boating tested last year. On paper the performance looks similar and as Derek pointed out, the 196 and 192 have the same beam, but on the water the shorter 192 felt sprightlier and she was a bit more agile in the turns.
Room to relax
The vessel was quite large for its class and the aft sun pad and extended swim platform really added a sense of living space once a crowd was aboard. In fact, as Derek explained, the imported Caravelles are one of the beamiest boats in the category. The quality of the fittings and features ? like the removable carpets and flush cleats ? also put this vessel at the elite end of the 18-foot runabout spectrum. I have seen a few boats this size with a lower price point but it doesn't take long to notice the difference in quality. A good example is that the underside of the rear seat/engine room hatch is moulded fibreglass instead of the easier flowcoated/soundproofed option.
With all this emphasis on quality, I was surprised to see the vessel fitted with a standard spec three-blade aluminium prop. Derek explained that for not much more, the four-blade aluminium offered more grip in the turns ? but personally, I would be looking at a stainless steel prop as an option for a boat priced just over $50,000.
The Caravelle's 100 per cent wood-free construction used closed cell foam in the stringers and high-density "Coosa" composite panels in the transom and the floor. The decks were reinforced with a honeycomb material called Nida Core and vacuum infusion is used during construction to smooth the inner surfaces and reduce overall weight.
The great entertainer
The vessel had quite a few appealing features that would make a day out all the more entertaining. The Caravelle 192 comes standard with a bimini (sun protection) and a bow infill that creates a forward sun pad. The bow also features a lined anchor well, a cooler and extra stowage. The stern has an extended swim platform with an integrated boarding ladder and separate controls for the Kenwood Stereo system ? very cool! The stowage was abundant, including a large under floor area big enough for kids!
Smart blue was the theme across the boat and the matching alloy on the helm instruments defined the Caravelle as an Interceptor. Gauges covered speed, rpm, fuel, trim, temp, volts, hours and oil pressure, plus there were switches for a range of things including the cockpit lights, accessory outlet and the horn.
The helm seat had a bolster so there was a choice of over or through screen driving. During my trial I chose the up position because there is nothing like the wind on your face to add to the sense of boat speed.
The vessel offered rewarding performance. The 220hp MerCruiser got us up to 30 knots in well under 10 seconds and then the vessel ran quite flat. The hull design is such that it extends slightly past the leg position, hence trimming out the leg does little to yield bow lift. But that is the design. The XPV (extended plank) hull is supposed to take most of the chop in its forward and midsections, which smoothens the ride and allows aggressive cornering around the vessel's midsections.
Derek was keen to show how the XPV hull design carved and turned and after a few trials. I can confirm that hard turns are one of the Interceptor's fortes. It was interesting that the vessel's handling had a bit of a grounded inboard shaft drive feeling about it.
The $52,490 price as tested included all safety gear and a well-built Dunbier Super Roller Trailer. The Dunbier rep came along for the launch and pointed out that Dunbier trailers have moulded plastic guards, which are strong and easy to replace if damage does occur. This slight twist on the previous Caravelle we tested offers a sportier alternative to a well-constructed package.
And doesn't the Interceptor look a treat!