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October 26, 2001

SportCraft 251

This Walkaround features ample deck space AND an expansive cabin.

Although three of us drifted for black grouper and snapper about 12 miles offshore, the roomy cockpit could easily handle twice that number. The full-cockpit coaming padding hit me right at knee level, so reaching the water to gently release small fish posed no difficulty at the transom. The forward end of the cockpit, however, required a bit of a stretch to wet your hands. I also discovered that walking forward to the bow with rod in hand was tight. Once on the bow, however, I found plenty of room to maneuver, and a comfortable, padded seat allowed relaxed angling.

I counted standard rod storage for eight rods - two under-gunwale on each side and four in-gunwale. However, our optional hardtop (which I recommend) also provides four more rocket launchers across the back.

Serious fishermen will approve of the large in-deck fish boxes with a macerator in the drain line as well as live well and bait-prep station with sink and cutting board that fill the full transom.

It's easy to see why the side walkway is a little tight. SportCraft provides a full-width double berth when all the inserts are fitted in place. However, lift one up and it becomes a table around which you can honestly seat four adults comfortably. And the design provides copious storage beneath the berth and seats.

You'll immediately notice how much lighter and more airy the cabin feels compared to the mildew-generating caves on many comparable boats. With a porthole on each side and an overhead hatch, light and ventilation will always be more than adequate.

The 251 boasts solid fiberglass construction, using high-quality, custom-blended isopthalic resin and biaxial knitted fabrics. A fully encapsulated plywood transom and stringers plus balsa coring in the topsides and decks provide exceptional strength. Recent studies have shown that properly encapsulated marine-grade plywood offers better shear and compression strength than any other building material. In fact, overall construction has improved so dramatically that all SportCrafts are NMMA-certified for quality construction and full-foam flotation.