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Sportsman Heritage 229 Review

This center-console combines a big-boat feel with efficiency and innovation

April 5, 2013
Sportsman Heritage 229 Underway

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The Sportsman Heritage reflects the flaring bow and clean sheer line of a Carolina battlewagon, but in a smaller, more efficient package. Courtesy Sportsman Boats

FIRST IMPRESSIONS: A prominently flaring bow and flat, clean sheer line lend the Sportsman Heritage 229 the air of a Carolina-style battlewagon. Indeed, Sportsman Boats designed the hull, as well as the pod-style console, with that goal in mind. This South Carolina builder also incorporated innovative touches within the boat’s solid construction that let you make the most of your time on the water.

TARGET MARKET: Boating anglers who value quality, good looks, versatility and fuel efficiency will immediately gravitate to the Heritage 229. In terms of performance, the new Yamaha F200 four-cylinder outboard on the transom of my test boat offered gutsy power and great range. The 229 reached a top speed of 45.2 mph, but achieved its best fuel efficiency at 23.5 mph, attaining 4.5 mpg.

FISHIEST FEATURES: I applaud Sportsman for equipping the Heritage 229 with two transom livewells. I also liked the leaning-post seat, which features a backrest that incorporates four vertical rod holders. If you order the optional T-top, there are four more rod holders along the aft edge. Four gunwale rod holders are conveniently positioned for trolling or drift-fishing. A trio of compartments in the bow offers abundant dry storage, but they also drain overboard, and so any one of them can also serve as a fish box. The forepeak houses a large anchor locker.

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THE LAYOUT: A two-tier forward platform provides extra elevation for cast-netting, working a fish around the bow or manning the anchor. Boaters who do their own maintenance will love the big, yacht-style Total Access Hatch in the transom, which lets you easily reach pumps and other rigging. Inside the pod-style center console is a roomy head compartment with a screened port light. The helm features an integrated footrest and a spacious vertical panel for flush-mounting electronic displays up to 10 inches. The front of the console features a seat and backrest with a built-in 12-gallon cooler below. The bow platform can be fitted with cushions and optional backrests. Plus, you can convert the transom area to a comfy full-width bench seat.

FINAL IMPRESSIONS: With 55 degrees of deadrise at the bow entry and its Carolina flare, the Sportsman Heritage 229 offered an exceptional smooth and dry ride during my test on the choppy waters off Miami. The boat felt solid underfoot, with nary a creak or rattle as I powered up and over big waves generated by the wakes of passing yachts. The 299 has a big-boat feel, but in a package that’s easy to trailer, easy to handle and easy on gas. If you’re interested a center-console in the 22- to 23-foot range, the Sportsman Heritage 229 deserves a serious look.

SPECIFICATIONS

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LOA: 22 ft. 9 in.

BEAM: 8 ft. 6 in.

DRAFT: 1 ft. 2 in.

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DEADRISE: 14 deg.

WEIGHT: 2,750 lb. (w/o power)

FUEL: 103 gal.

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MAX. POWER: 250 hp OB

YAMAHA 200 HP FOUR-STROKE

TYPE: Inline-4

DISPLACEMENT: 163 cid

MAX RPM: 6,000

HP/LB RATIO: 0.409

GEAR RATIO: 1.86:1

WEIGHT: 489 lb.

ALTERNATOR OUTPUT: 50 amps

MSRP as tested: $69,300

PERFORMANCE AT A GLANCE

TOP SPEED: 45.2 mph

TIME TO PLANE: 4.5 sec.

0-30 MPH TIME: 7.2 sec.

BEST MPG: 4.52 @ 23.5 mph (3,500 rpm)

MAXIMUM RANGE: 465 miles

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The bow platform can be fitted with comfortable cushions and optional backrests for days when you just want to cruise instead of fish. Courtesy Sportsman Boats
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The helm features hydraulic steering, an integrated footrest and a spacious vertical panel for flush-mounting electronic displays up to 10 inches diagonal. Jim Hendricks
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Yamaha’s new F200 four-cylinder outboard on the transom of my test boat offered gutsy power and great range. With this engine, the 229 reached a top speed of 45.2 mph, and achieved its best fuel efficiency at 23.5 mph, attaining 4.5 mpg. Jim Hendricks
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Our test boat featured an optional hardtop with integrated stereo speakers, spreader lights and rod holders along the aft edge. Jim Hendricks
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The optional hardtop also featured an integrated spreader light facing forward for night fishing. Jim Hendricks
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A roomy overhead electronics box blends seamlessly with the interior of the optional hardtop for the Sportsman Heritage 229. Jim Hendricks
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The Sportsman Heritage 229 features a pair of eight-gallon livewells — one in each stern quarter. The hatches of the livewells can also be fitted with padded seats for long runs or cruising. Jim Hendricks
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The big, yacht-style Total Access Hatch in the transom lets you easily reach pumps and other rigging. It also includes storage for a second anchor. Jim Hendricks
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The forepeak of the Sportsman Heritage 229 houses a large anchor locker. Jim Hendricks
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The seat in front of the console opens up to reveal a built-in 12-gallon ice chest that drains overboard. Jim Hendricks
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There’s storage for three fishing rods under each gunwale of the Sportsman Heritage 229. Coaming pads protect your thighs and knees from bruises while fishing. Jim Hendricks
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