I’ve been putting off writing this piece for sometime. Why ? Because I had a bit of a ‘personal’ boat project underway and, as we all know, everything has to stop for ‘my’ boat. However, that one-week project soon turned into a month-long saga, but the end result was the completion of some much overdue maintenance, a partly upgraded interior and a new cabin sole. So, what the hell has this got to do with the Maxum 2400 SC3. Well, the more time I spent working on the old girl the more I reflected on that Maxum and how good it would be to just hop onboard a brand new boat and head out for the day with the family.
My appreciation for the boat grew as my own rebuild project grew. The Maxum 2400 SC3 is an ideal mid-sized powerboat with great onwater performance and facilities that give the whole family the chance to escape for the day, or the weekend. Maxum’s adage seems to be ‘keep it simple, keep the price in check and focus on what’s important’. This adage more than applies to the 2400 SC3. She delivers top performance, but retains the necessary creature comforts to keep the whole family happily onboard. Maxum group this craft with their range of sports boats, as opposed to cruisers, because this boat is essentially a harbour runabout with a small forward cabin containing a head and vee-berth in the bow.
The cockpit has seating for six ‘ at a pinch ‘ and easy access to the generous swim platform. The test craft was set up with a small wet bar and an Esky located behind the helm seat. It’s a small, but useful area for food and drink preparation and makes ‘camping style’ overnighting all the more enjoyable. Music comes from a snazzy JBL sound system. There are speakers located in the cabin and the cockpit. In typical American fashion, there are quite a few drink holders conveniently located around the boat, so no one should end up crying over a spilt beer. The helm station has a full set of gauges including fuel, oil pressure, speed, tacho, leg trim, volts and water temp.
Other instrumentation include a high-temperature engine alarm, engine blower switch, ignition safety switch and a 12V accessory outlet. There is also a conveniently located glove box/personal effects storage area near the throttle levers. A bolster seat offers a choice of driving positions, while the adjustable-tilt steering wheel, combined with power steering, give the driver fingertip control out on the water. Below deck Maxum has also kept things pretty simple. The small neat cabin gets plenty of natural light from the deck hatch and there’s ample storage in side shelves and under the vee-berth.
Perhaps the most ‘luxurious’ feature down here is the curtain around the ‘Porta Potti’ (toilet) ‘ privacy on a small boat is a luxury. On the construction side of the house, this US boat builder uses ‘Uni-Max’ rigid matrix build methods, which cut down on unnecessary weight, but maintains hull strength and stiffness. Using this technique, Maxum has managed to keep the weight of this 7.3m vessel well in check. Powered by a single 350 Magnum 350hp MerCruiser sterndrive, with three adults onboard, the Maxum has a top speed on the GPS of 42 knots, but cruises comfortably between 23 to 35 knots.
For a single engine boat of this size, these high cruise speeds are quite a bonus. I can see this craft being used for a wide range of water sport tasks from towing tubes to wakeboarding, with the added bonus that the fuel bill shouldn’t blow out. The extended swim platform, with its hideaway ladder, will also help everyone mix it up with the water toys. The hull length and moderate deadrise is well suited to handling the mixed conditions experienced on Sydney Harbour and similar waterways. Our voyage started down near Parramatta and it didn’t take us long to get up to Rose Bay. On the way down river we endured plenty of large wakes, created by the vast number of commercial craft that ply this river, then wind chop conditions out on the harbour.
The boat handled the conditions with distain. From the helm visibility is good, the steering is light and throttle response is excellent. Throw her hard into a turn and this Maxum handles more like a small runabout than a 7m cruiser. Seated at the helm, engine noise is kept in check by good engine bay insulation. The windscreen gives the driver and navigator protection from the slipstream, while the aft seats let occupants seated there get the thrill of ‘the wind in your hair’ at high speed. Access to the bow is via the windscreen door, but once you go forward there is no bowrail to brace against. However, there are long centrally located grab handles that give some peace of mind when approaching a dock, or anchoring. Which creates a bit of a quandary.
A bowrail is a good feature to have, but its absence keeps this boat looking sleek and sporty. We tested the smaller Maxum 2100 SC3 in an earlier issue and the comparisons are interesting. The smaller craft weighs about 400kg less, has no water/toilet facilities, but costs about $17,000 less. But what is interesting is that the larger craft with the same engine has a top speed only a few knots lower than the 2100 SC3, but her longer waterline gives better handling in rough conditions. What you make of this is up to you, but the bigger spend will certainly deliver more creature comforts and space without a big sacrifice in top speed.
Overall, the 2400 SC3 falls into the ‘I want one’ category. Maxum have managed to deliver comfort and performance without getting too carried away, so she is well priced at $81,000 as tested.
Words by Andrew Richardson