Bayliner Discovery 210 Review

Discover a proficient all-rounder with something for every member of the family.

Anyone in the market for a versatile crossover boat that sits comfortably between a 20ft runabout and a 23ft family cruiser should take a closer look at the Bayliner Discovery 210. She’s a deep-cockpit, beamy (2.46m?well inside Australian towing regulations) vessel with a usable cabin and a rigged length of 6.91m.

In old speak, that’s 22ft 6in and, coupled with her 8ft 1in beam, creates a boat with an extra-large cockpit with high gunwales, making her an excellent and safe family boat. The Discovery 210 is also a soft-riding and stable vessel that will give even new boaties the confidence and peace of mind to take their families boating. But the really good news about these new Bayliners is their price. Yes, interest rates are falling, but the world economy is still in disarray and while we are somewhat sheltered from all the hullabaloo Down Under, most people are still watching their pennies. So, the 210’s price tag of only $59,000 for what can only be described as a ‘big boat’ represents great value for money.

This boat showed a surprising turn of speed and proved herself to be more than capable of handling a bit of rough and choppy water. Her aggressive chines and deep-V hull carved through the chop without crashing and banging all over the ocean, but more importantly she delivered an excellent dry ride.

Powered by a 5L 260hp V8 MerCruiser driving through an Alfa I leg, the Discovery 210 cruised effortlessly at 26 knots pulling 3000rpm and topped out at just under 49 knots, hitting 5800rpm.

That’s not bad for a boat of this style and power and is more than enough speed for a multi-purpose family boat. The V8 also has plenty of bottom-end grunt and wouldn’t have a problem pulling an adult skier or wakeboarder. Speaking of wakeboarding, at wakeboarding speed (17.3 knots), the weight of the sterndrive engine walls up a reasonable wake that should keep learner and intermediate ‘boarders happy.

As far as her layout goes, the cockpit consists of a pedestal driver’s seat (with bolster) and a back-to-back passenger’s seat that folds down into a handy sun lounge for those wishing to soak up a few rays. There are also two aft quarter seats on either side of the engine box. These can be removed for fishing to give anglers better access to the transom, which further increases the versatility of this vessel.

The boat’s wide, bolt-on swim platform and folding ladder makes it easy to set up for wakeboarding or skiing. There’s no transom door, but you can gear up on the platform before you go out. To get back in, you can sit on the transom and swing your legs into the carpeted cockpit.

The carpet in the test boat was imitation teak. I think light grey or a dark cream colour would set the boat off better, but that’s only my personal preference.

However, colour aside, the carpet is 100 percent polypropylene that’s been solution-dyed and is stain and fade-resistant, so it should stand the test of time.

The upholstery used in the Discovery 210 is a heavy-duty marine-grade vinyl that’s also made to last under the harsh Aussie sun. The test boat had a full bimini that will also help protect the vinyl.

The helm features full instrumentation in a well-laid-out panel that’s easy to see and very stylish. Everything the skipper needs for the safe operation of the boat is mounted here. The 2009 models even have inputs for iPods and mp3 players. The only downside is that with such comprehensive instrumentation, there is only room on the dash for a small chartplotter/sounder to be fitted.

Access to the bow is via steps in the dash and through the split screen. Up front, the anchor locker is usable and there’s a low bowrail, which is more for cosmetic purposes or holding the boat at a jetty than for safety. There is a large hatch in the cabin roof through which anchoring can be completed, but you have to stand on the bunks to be able to reach the anchor locker.

The cabin is quite roomy for a runabout, with good seating and head height, as well as twin V-bunks and a portable toilet for the girls. It also has twin portholes, so it is well lit. The bi-fold cabin door is quite wide and can be securely locked when not in use. So your valuables will be protected if you pull up for a meal at a local waterside restaurant.

Two people could easily sleep in the cabin overnight (infill cushions turn the bunks into a sizable bed), but it’s more suited to those needing to shelter from the elements, or a place where the kids can grab 40 winks.

Bayliner’s are renowned for the quality of each boat’s construction. The Discovery 210 runabout is covered by a transferable five-year structural deck warranty and a transferable, limited-lifetime hull warranty.

All bulkheads are ‘glassed in for extra structural integrity and the hull features a vinylester skin coat.

Bayliner has covered all the bases with this vessel and created a top family day boat. Fish, cruise, ski, or wakeboard, this runabout can handle it all and still fill the role of an overnighter for two people at a pinch.

The lockable and roomy cabin does have a portable toilet, which is a must for family boating, and the 210’s excellent overall ride and handling will ensure it wins favour with new boaties. And that’s before we take into consideration her attractive price tag of under $60,000.