When you are the world's largest builder of recreational powerboats, you can do things that smaller companies can't do. For example, you can order your engines, fiberglass and upholstery by the truckload, use computer-aided design and a high-end, microprocessor-controlled shaping machine to fabricate your molds, and then take advantage of your marketing clout and worldwide dealer network to sell and service your boats at extremely attractive prices.
Understand this concept and you'll give more credibility to Bayliner's promise for its Capri series: "Making deluxe features and superior performance available for families who thought they might have to settle for less." For the past 16 years, the Capri line has remained the world's most popular line of small powerboats for just that reason. And for 1998, they're better than ever. Better because they now ride on a wider, faster hull design, feature unitized, all-glass construction and a composite stringer grid, and incorporate more interior volume and a number of significant interior upgrades.
While there are several Capri models that will appeal to active boaters, the 1850 is a particular favorite with water-sports enthusiasts. Able to fit within a standard garage, easily towed by most full-size cars or midsize sport utility vehicles, and capable of solid pulling performance with an economical 4.3-liter engine, this boat is exactly what a lot of skiing families are looking for.
For 1998, the 1850 has been given a wider hull profile to increase interior passenger space and running stability. Borrowing a page from offshore racing's design book, Bayliner engineers also added a planing step to the midsection of the hull. This new stepped bottom adds lift to increase top-end performance and does not affect low-speed handling.
The interior is now finished in solution-dyed polypropylene carpet to resist fading, stains and mildew, and the new contoured seating layout is made of marine-grade vinyl reinforced by a special backing material. Storage space has also been increased, and the in-floor ski locker has been widened to accommodate kneeboards and wakeboards. With additional dry storage available under the bow seats, in the dashboard and on both sides of the full-width engine compartment, the 1850 can accommodate a day's worth of ski gear, crew baggage and groceries.
Upgrades the driver will notice include an inset, automotive-style dashboard, throttle arm pad and a tilt steering wheel that links to a rack-and-pinion steering system. The older-style five-piece windshield has been replaced with the Clearview 2 wraparound windscreen, giving drivers an unobstructed view forward and to the side.
Powered by a 190-hp MerCruiser, the 1850 turned in a seven-second sprint to 30 mph under the most demanding
conditions a family ski boat will ever face: a drone-simulated pull of a 185-pound expert slalom skier from a deepwater start with both feet in the bindings.
Once up to speed, skiers will find soft slalom wakes that will please beginners and experts alike, particularly at 28 and 30 mph with a 60-foot tow rope. The boarding crew, both young and old, will be able to perfect their moves on wakes our riders called "well-suited for entry-level wakeboarding."
Overall, the Capri 1850 delivers a great combination of solid construction, reliable performance, recreational skiing potential and value.