What happens when you mix a brand new 22’ boat with 225 horses on the transom, an itchy throttle hand, and a 20-knot breeze that has the bay whipped up into a fearsome frenzy? One heckava boat test, that’s for sure. So I cinched down my foul weather gear, gritted my teeth, and climbed aboard Nautic Star’s new 2200 Tournament for a test run that was guaranteed to be wet, bumpy, and down-right fun.
Of course, they say there are no guarantees in life and as soon as we broke a plane, the old saying proved true: much to my surprise, the 2200 Tournament didn’t throw spray, nor was the ride very bumpy even as we charged into a two foot chop. Nautic Star’s construction techniques explain why: the one-piece foam-filled fiberglass stringers are fiberglassed into the hull, the deck is glassed on top, and all the cavities are pumped full of foam. The hull and deck fit together tightly, because the tooling for this boat was created with a computer-controlled 5-axis router. You want a solid boat? You’ve got it.
The lack of spray can be chalked up to the Nautic Star’s design, which is wider than usual up forward, creating some flair in the bow (which throws the water away from the boat) and a large foredeck. That also makes for a lot more room up front then you might expect, including a wide casting deck, 43 insulated gallons for icing down fish under the casting platform, and plenty of stowage space. That extra beam up forward also helps improve stability, and during the test I noticed there was less rock and roll than I would have expected, when waves struck us on the beam.
As is always the case with boats, there’s bound to be a down-side to different design choices. In this case, it must be noted that the wider bow creates more drag, reducing speed. Still, if you go for the 225-hp Yamaha on our test boat it shouldn’t be much of an issue considering that we broke 50-mph. And should you so desire, the boat’s rated to take up to 250 horses. Sure, there are tournament guys who aren’t happy unless they’re sizzling along at highway speeds, and this won’t be their boat of choice. But for most of us this is plenty of juice. Back off to a normal cruise at 4500 rpm and it’s economic speed, too. At 36.2-mph this rig sips 10.7 gph, which means you’re getting better than three mpg—that’ll get you get to the hotspot with plenty of fuel left in the tank.
You want fishability? The Nautic Star has got it: six vertical holders on the console, four in the leaning post, two flush-mounts in the gunwales, six racks in insets under the gunwales, and locking rodboxes in the foredeck with removable rodrack inserts that hold 10 rigs. Room for improvement: the forward rodbox hatches will bang on the inwales if you open them without care. A rubber bumper here would solve the problem.
The boat’s pre-wired for a trolling motor, so shallow water/light tackle anglers can add an electric kicker easily. Those more inclined to live-lining will be interested in the 20-gallon lighted, aerated well under the console seat, and if you like to toss a cast net to catch live peanut bunker or spot you’ll appreciate the compartment under the foredeck which is sized for a five-gallon bucket. There’s also a lighted 37-gallon well in the stern which has an aerator with a timer. Both wells pull water from brass high-speed pick-ups, and neither spilled water all over the place when we ran across the chop, thanks to their light, strong, tight-fitting RTM hatches. Those hatches also boost the boat’s fit and finish appeal, since they’re smooth, shiny, and gel-coated on the underside. And, since the boat looks nice, you’ll want to keep it that way. Good thing Nautic Star incorporates a raw water washdown in a self-coiling hose holder in the console. Just remove a pie plate, pull out the hose, and you can wash down the entire boat with a high-pressure blast.
While we’re at that console, we need to poke inside for a moment. When I stuck my head in there, I got some deep insight into just how well though-out the 2200 Tournament is. I looked up at the bottoms of the console-mounted vertical rodholders, and the cupholders at the helm, and I saw little tubes running down from all of them—the holders are all plumbed with drains, so they don’t fill with water nor do they allow it to drip down into the console. On most boats, they’d simply drain onto your gear, battery, or whatever else you have stowed inside the console.
Next I looked up at the back of the dash, and saw water-tight Deutsche wire connectors. Nice. And supported, well-loomed wires. Nice, again. Yup, it all points to one thing: a boat that’s been designed and built with a lot of attention to detail.