Bayliner 225 Runabout Review

Issue: October 2006


Cruise the waterways or wall up a wake….it’s your choice on this versatile vessel.

A little under two years ago FPC Magazines relocated a young graphic artist from Melbourne to Sydney to take on the prestigious role of Art Director, Modern Boating magazine. And from the moment he flew into the harbour city, he was blown away by the amount of water surrounding the region. He may have now moved on to sister publication Golf Digest, but he still raves about his times on the water with Modern Boating.

And here’s why. To the north are Tuggerah Lakes, Brisbane Waters and Broken Bay, incorporating the mighty Hawkesbury River system and Pittwater. After a quick run down the northern beaches, chuck a right turn into Port Jackson (Sydney Harbour, the biggest and most beautiful deepwater harbour in the world), which is fed by Middle Harbour estuary and the Parramatta and Lane Cove Rivers. Back out through “The Heads”, turn south and past such notorious landmarks as The Gap (where many sad souls have jumped to their deaths) and Long Bay Jail, before rounding Cape Banks and entering Botany Bay – just like Captain Cook. Th e bay isn’t a huge expanse of water, but the Georges River, which winds its way for miles out to the southwest, runs into it. Still not enough water for you Then head south again, round the Kurnell Peninsular, across Bate Bay and enter picturesque Port Hacking.

Its pristine waters are an angler’s delight and home to one of Sydney’s biggest wakeboarding communities. Like most places around Australia, the boating options are limitless and unless you’re tied into one form of boating (such as game fi shing) finding an ideal boat that’ll handle all the pursuits available around Sydney will be something of a compromise. If you’re looking for a top all-rounder, check out the new Bayliner 225 Runabout. The team at Avante Marine (the importers) call this model a runabout, but for all intents and purposes, it’s a bowrider- a bloody big bowrider!

Bayliner upgraded the Capri hulls this model is designed around to improve performance and handling. Computer Aided Design ensures the moulds are extremely accurate, so the hull and deck come together precisely, before being bond-keyed together to create a solid unit with excellent stiff ness and a responsive feel. Bayliner now uses what it calls a ‘SmoothRide’ system on the underside of the hull, which has wide tapered chines, large reverse lift ing strakes and a delta step pad for quicker ‘hole shot’ performance.

The results speak for themselves. The 225 rockets onto the plane with no bow-up attitude, so the driver’s line of sight isn’t obscured at anytime, which is extremely important, especially when skiing or wakeboarding. Air becomes trapped between the outer chines and the keel, so the boat rides on a cushion of air with great stability, even across extremely choppy water, without banging or crashing.

There’s also a fair amount of flare in the 225’s bow, which helps throw water and spray down and away from the hull. So her ride’s not only smooth and stable, but also dry. A 350 Magnum 300hp 5.7lt V8 MerCruiser powered the Bayliner 225 Runabout and gave this big boat impressive performance fi gures. She’ll cruise around eff ortlessly all day at 38mph at 3500rpm, but put the hammer down and she tops out at 56mph at 5600rpm. If that’s a bit too fast for you, why not opt for the standard engine fitment (and save yourself quite a few bob), a 5lt V8 220hp MerCruiser. Also worth noting was the fact that during this test, even in tight turns with the leg at a quarter trimmed out, the prop didn’t cavitate.

One option many buyers are taking up is the wakeboard tower. This adds another dimension to this already versatile boat. Apart from the obvious (Tower), because this boat’s engine is mounted at the transom, when travelling at slow wakeboarding speeds, the engine’s weight helps wall up a reasonable wake to board off . Sure, it’s not competition stuff , but it will suit most new to intermediate riders.

Throw in a couple of ‘Fat Sacks’ and it’s a whole new ball game. What about skiing? Well, get the boat moving along above 35mph and the wake fattens out beautifully. Again, it’s not tournament stuff , but it will suit most families. Water toys, kneel boards, and even those old tyre tubes we used to have a ball on as kids, are well within this boat’s realm of fun.

Th is boat is 22ft long and has a beam of 2.59m, which is 0.9m over legal towing width in this state, but a permit is easily obtainable from the RTA. Th is extra beam adds plenty of extra room inside the boat. She’s licenced to carry 11 adults, but that might get a tad squeezy. Eight would be ideal. The main cockpit, including the helm area, is enormous. For the driver there’s a slide adjustable pedestal-mounted bucket seat that allows the skipper to stand and drive in comfort if they wish. For the observer there’s a back-to-back seat that forms a sun lounge on the portside and an aft lounge across the ransom. The engine cover is padded and acts as another sunpad. There’s a removable aft table for a bit of alfresco dining that can also be positioned in the forward bowrider. The skipper gets a full set of Faria fogless gauges and an adjustable steering wheel, making life comfortable at the helm. While the catalogue says the forward bowrider cockpit was designed to carry four, that would also be a bit tight; three’s perfect. Other features of the Bayliner 225 Runabout include: bow infi ll cushions, carpets, swim ladder, AM/FM CD stereo, transom shower, drink holders, bimini and the list goes on. Oh, and don’t forget, all of your new boat’s upholstery and vinyl padding is protected from kids and mildew by ‘KidClean’, Bayliner’s vinyl protection treatment.

As a day boat for places like Sydney Harbour and her surrounds or the Gold Coast, the 225BR is an ideal entertainer, but don’t sell this Bayliner short. That hull can handle those aft ernoon winds that we battle against getting back across Moreton Bay aft er a day at Peel, or the seemingly endless months of 20-knot south easterlies that plague the Whitsunday Islands. She delivers a sure-footed ride and has a pedigree to make her shine in all but the worst of conditions.

A 350 Magnum 5.7lt 300hp MPI
MerCruiser powered the Bayliner 225.

With two adults onboard in calm conditions the 225 produced the following performance figures.

21 …2000
30 …3000
38 …3500
45 …4000
50 …4500
56 …5600
LOA: 6.71m
Beam: 2.59m
Draft: 0.89m
Weight: 1528kg
Fuel: 190lt
Freshwater: 38lt