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Ebbtide 188 SE G/B.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Last year, Ebbtide made it easier than ever to own one of its sweet-riding bowriders, with the addition of the 188 SE sterndrive model. This year, the family owned boat builder from White Bluff, Tenn., has trumped itself with an outboard version that's even more wallet-friendly. Entry-level boats can be brutally plain-Jane, but the 188 grabs your eye, with interior design features such as the red and gray accents throughout that give it a rich look.

Because this was adapted from an I/O version, all the room that would normally house a bulky sterndrive is turned into voluminous storage compartments on either side of the large splashwell, with more storage under the stern bench and bowrider seat bottoms.

At the helm, the driver will find ample legroom, plus a footrest, as he gazes at Beede gauges. For crew comfort, a pair of upscale Veada seats with their wrap-around design will hold well when the captain decides to aggressively spin the racing-style sport wheel. Attention to detail is shown on the driver's-side gray dashboard panel that all but eliminates annoying reflections in the windshield. On the port console, there's a top-loading cooler that also has a gray lid.

Powering the 188 is a Yamaha F115 outboard, the minimum power choice for this model, which can take up to 150 hp. Despite the lack of pony power, it performed well, with a time to plane of 3.2 seconds and very little bowrise. Time to 30 mph was 7 seconds, and top speed was a surprising 42.7 mph. Another pleasant surprise was how it handled the choppy conditions on a large lake. But then again, the 18-foot, 4-inch boat has 20 degrees of deadrise and a proportionally narrow beam of 7 feet, 6 inches--it's designed for slicing rather than bashing.

Usually, boats under 20 feet have bowrider seatbacks that are nearly vertical, with limited legroom for people to recline, but the 188 SE blows that stereotype away with comfortable bow seating for a 6-footer. Under the port side, there's a cooler, and riders in the bow are treated to the tunes, too, with two of the four speakers powered by the MB Quart MP3/iPod stereo system in front.--AJ

SPECIFICATIONS

LOA                 18 ft., 4 in.
BEAM                7 ft., 6 in.
CAPACITY            8 people/1,200 lbs.
DRY WEIGHT          1,720 lbs.
FUEL CAPACITY       26 gals.
MAXIMUM HP          150
DEADRISE            20 degrees

TEST STATS

                     MPH       RPM       DBA

PEAK                42.7      6000        88
CRUISE              28.5      4500        76
TIME TO PLANE                      3.2 secs.
0-30 MPH                           7.0 secs.

PRICE WITH TEST POWER

Yamaha F115 115 hp                   $23,440

Circle 5 on reader service card, page 33

3 FAVORITE STANDARDS: No Feedback single-cable steering,
33-ounce marine vinyl w/ topcoat, ski locker

3 FAVORITE OPTIONS: Bimini top, trailer, snap-in carpeting
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Title Annotation:SPORTBOAT/BOWRIDER
Author:Jones, Allan
Publication:Boating World
Article Type:Product/service evaluation
Date:Jan 1, 2011
Words:470
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