Issue: July 2002
The Modern Boating team all suffer the same problem. And it’s a difficult one to cure. You see, we just love messing about in boats. Whether it’s a 10′ rubber ducky, a 40′ cruiser, or a sportsboat that’s more like a missile on water than a pleasure craft. Size doesn’t matter, they are fun and we want them all! On the wages of mere marine writers it’s hard to fulfil such desires, but at least we get to have brief affairs with a wide array of sleek vessels. Which I guess makes us a type of nautical floozie! But every now and then a boat comes along that will remain etched in our memory for many years. For the Modern Boating team, our experiences with the Bayliner Capri Classic 2152 is shaping up like that, because she’s definitely not just a one-night stand.
The simple combination of high topsides, long waterline and well-balanced power produces a real pleasure package. No wonder Bayliner has been producing these boats for more than 20 years now. It’s mid week at the end of autumn. Finally, the weather has cleared enough for the team to make a quick trip down to Berowra Waters to attempt this double test. Typical mid-week stresses can be hard to shake. But sitting on the Berowra Waters car ferry, munching on sandwiches as we head across to the marina, sees them pale into insignificance. As it turns out, the 2152 Cuddy Cabin we are to test has come straight from the factory, making today the inaugural launch of this new boat.
Down on the marina, Bayliner’s service manager Peter Klumper is doing his final checks on the boat’s set-up. And after a brief introduction and a quick run down on the new boat, we arc up the 260hp MPI MerCruiser for the first time. The original plan was to do a side-by-side test, comparing the cuddy cabin with the same length/powered 2150 bowrider version. But a skin fitting for the bowrider’s heatexchanger cooling system is still on back order, so a double on-water test is out. But this doesn’t cause any real dramas, because both boats have the same hull, same engine and are of a similar weight. Only the layouts differ. The plan now is to shoot back across Berowra Creek to the factory, then get the shots of the Prestige 21′ Heritage Bowrider before she’s launched.
With her striking blue topsides and a stern flagpole, she looks a treat just sitting on the trailer. When she’s finally on the water the 2150 will be a real showstopper. So, with the 2150 shots in the can, it’s back to put the Bayliner 2152 Capri Classic Cuddy Cabin through her paces. Out on the water the Capri performed brilliantly. Considering this is the boat’s first outing and she is fitted with a 21′ propeller, the 2152 rockets out of the hole and planes extremely quickly. The hull reacts well to trim, while the large downturned chines throw spray down and away from the boat, giving an excellent dry ride. The engine winds out to 55mph before the rev limiter kicks in at 5100rpm. But Peter and the team all feel that a 23′ prop would deliver better top speeds closer to 60mph, which isn’t bad for a 21’/260hp combo.
Punching the boat through a series of hard turns the hull tracks extremely well. There’s no tail slip and the hull’s deep-vee slices through other boats’ wakes with ease. We can only assume the hull would also shine in choppy conditions, because today the water is as flat as glass. On-water performance figures were: 20 knots at 2600rpm; 26 knots at 3000rpm; 37.5 knots at 4000rpm; and 46 knots at 5000rpm. An optimum cruising speed is a comfy 35 knots at 3800rpm. This boat’s layout gets the priorities right. The large cockpit is open and comfortable, which is the way it should be considering this is where most time is spent when onboard. But the cuddy cabin feels a bit like an afterthought. It features a simple V-berth with a Porta Potti located under the mid-berth cushions.
There’s enough room for a midafternoon kip and that’s about it. But if the cabin did offer more it would also alter the craft’s character. More weight would be added, which would slow this fast, open, harbour boat slightly and possibly affect her ability to plane so quickly. As it stands, the cuddy cabin arrangement is only around 100kg heavier than the bowrider version. This is only a moderate increase in weight, a trade-off for the benefits offered by a couple of simple berths and the handy loo. Simplicity is the key to the cockpit layout. The two comfy, back-toback seats easily convert to sleeper seats. The aft seat, covering the engine box, also converts to a sunlounge.
Across the transom there’s a boarding platform with a folddown ladder. This is standard on both the bowrider and cuddy cabin models. The ample storage areas are easy to access, with good use of underfloor space, lots of storage under the beds/seats in the forward cabin and a reasonable bow anchor locker. Standard with both models is a bimini cover, which is easy to remove should you want to maintain the clean sporty look with which the hull is graced. The standard helm layout boasts a vast array of instrumentation including: speedo; fuel; tacho; volt; oil; and water temperature gauge. The throttle is also located in a comfortable position for the driver and the wheel doesn’t impede the driver’s view of the instruments.
A touch of simulated woodwork on the dash also adds to the style of the craft; as does the wooden flagpole mounted on the Classic Heritage model bowrider. Both craft come standard with a weatherproof cassette player and outdoor speakers. There are plenty of drink holders scattered about the cockpit, including the allimportant captain’s drink holder. Overall, it is hard to fault the 21′ Bayliner Capri Classic range of vessels. They deliver everything that is required from a boat of this genre ‘ plenty of power, great performance and tremendous looks. They have all the necessary features, but not the expensive extras.
Prices start at $49,790 for the bowrider with a 220hp, 5lt, carby engine and $55,990 for the 220hp cuddy cabin, which represents excellent value for money. The 2152 test craft would cost $57,990 on the water with trailer, rego and the 260hp MPI engine