MasterCraft MariStar 280 STS
No other boat in this WaterSki guide is nearly as huge and powerful as the MariStar 280 STS. At the Miami International Boat Show last year, MasterCraft introduced a dramatic change to its popular 28-foot-plus family cruiser: a second engine. Now not only is the 280 the biggest boat in this or any company's lineup, it's the only one (along with its X-80 sibling) that can boast up to 700 horsepower.
The twin engines aren't just about the hole shot, which happens to rival that of smaller ski boats. When used in coordination, the engines greatly enhance the responsiveness, allowing not just nimble handling but docking without touching the steering wheel.
Spaciousness and features are beyond top of the line, from the nearly square bow stretched across the two-pronged front design to the captain's helm and observer's station and back to the rear lounge.
The 280 STS comes with a stainless-steel ski pylon, and its acceleration to skiing speeds gives up only about a half-second to smaller slalom boats. So while two V-drives and a 114-inch beam don't exactly make for the softest, smallest wakes, the skiing is like nothing else — in a good way.
While the counterrotating props aim to preserve the water-sports performance, and each engine adds about 800 pounds of weight to the back, the wakes are big and wide but without the fine pro-level sculpting of, say, the X-Star. No tournament-winning wakes here, but a wild weekend of riding with the family — and everybody's friends — is the real prize.
• No other model in this industry or the I/O world rivals its 28-foot-3 length, 114-inch beam and twin V-drive engines.
• Available with single engine and with new Saltwater Series package.
• X-Pod-equipped driver's console includes separate gauges for second engine.
• Yacht-like interior space and luxury amenities are married to the performance of a water-sports boat.
Top Speed 50 mph 5,000 rpm
Accel. to 30 mph 5.7 sec. 133.4 ft.
Accel. to 36 mph 7.2 sec. 212.4 ft.
Noise Levels (db) Neutral 62 D 61 R, 36 mph 82 D 81 R
Length 28 ft. 3 in. Beam 114 in.
Seating Capacity 15
Fuel Capacity 103 gal.
Test Prop OJ 13.7 x 17 4-blade
Test Engine Twin Indmar MCX 5.7L, 350 HP