Water-sports boats have enjoyed a literal growth spurt in recent years, but none come close to the size of the MariStar 280 STS. MasterCraft is keeping one foot in the water-sports inboard world while stepping into the world of family-cruiser runabouts that has long been dominated by stern-drives. This 280 is the flagship of the luxury MariStar line, which encompasses the 200, 215, 230 and 245.
For this particular MariStar, the MasterCraft team obviously enjoyed seeing how many amenities they could pile onto a 28-foot wakeboard and ski boat with a wide 9-foot-6-inch beam. With that tremendous deck space comes the opportunity to create expansive bow seating, made wider by the double-pronged design. There’s also room for an enclosed head, freshwater sink, Corian counter and optional fridge.
Those are all rarities on inboard boats, and none can tout twin engines. At up to 700 horsepower, this leviathan can still boast many of the qualities of smaller tow boats, such as a tremendous hole shot, straight tracking, fast turns and consistent speed. The two-engine configuration even makes low-speed maneuvering easier, once the dual throttles are mastered.
As for the water-sports performance, of course, the 280 doesn’t offer the perfectly sculpted wakes of MasterCraft’s tournament-level X-Star wakeboarding boat. Still, these big wakes open up new possibilities for wakeboarding, wake surfing and tubing. Anyone who really wants to push the envelope can take those sports out off the coast with the available saltwater package. The 280 feels like it’s ready for the ocean.
¥ Twin Indmar MCX 5.7L, 350 hp $117,030
Dry Weight: 5,400 lb.
Fuel Cap.: 110 gal.
Max HP: 700
Seating/Weight Cap.: 15/2,300 lb.
ENGINE: Twin Indmar RTP-1 5.7L, 310 hp
If the MariStar 280 is too super-sized for some families, the other end of MasterCraft’s spectrum is the MariStar 200. It has the two-pronged bow and exceptional construction and performance, just in a smaller package.
More on this boat: www.mastercraft.com