One thing about a yacht: It’s not hard to make one look luxurious. Not so with a piece of fiberglass less than 22 feet in length. But when I stepped aboard Scout’s 215XSF for the first time this past October, I saw comforts and conveniences that belied the compact design.
Scout’s director of sales and marketing Alan Lang and Capt. James Lavanway (reelfishfinder.com) had met me at a coastal launch ramp just north of the historic city of Charleston, South Carolina. Only two weeks had passed since Hurricane Matthew lashed the Low Country, and Lavanway had just started patterning the bait and the bull redfish.
But even if we couldn’t find the fish, we still faced a fine day on the water in a well-appointed pleasure craft with a forward sun lounge/coffin box and a Fusion Bluetooth stereo: a welcome haven after a destructive storm.
Lavanway nudged the 215 up to speed, and we headed southeast toward the mouth of Charleston Harbor. At a comfortable 3,900 rpm, we cruised at almost 30 mph and achieved 3.8 mpg. Lang did let me know, before I started jotting down performance numbers, that they’d had to temporarily install a larger-than-desired propeller on the Yamaha F200 (due to a national shortage on the correct prop).
That became immediately obvious once I timed our acceleration to 30 mph (12.6 seconds) and after we topped out at just 5,400 rpm and 46.1 mph. The same vessel, powered by a smaller F150, reached 30 mph in 6.9 seconds, and at 6,000 rpm, tapped 45 mph — according to Yamaha testing.
I’d certainly expect even snappier performance and a top speed of 48 to 50 mph with the right prop and the larger F200 outboard engine.
Once we reached the harbor jetties, Lavanway idled, and we prepared to anchor off the south side of the channel. I noted that the anchor locker comes with a recessed hanger for a Danforth-style hook and swiveling Starboard blocks that secure the stock.
Without a sonar unit aboard (the black-acrylic console face can accommodate a 12-inch flush-mount display), he felt more cautious about snuggling up next to the rocks, particularly on a falling tide. But birds crashed the surface nearby and pelicans circled, studying bait schools, so the place looked fishy.
Lavanway had already loaded the 21-gallon livewell in the port aft corner with menhaden. He tossed the anchor and set out live and cut pogies under about 8 ounces of weight. He clearly expected some heavy tidal flow.
The Business End
Almost immediately antsy, Lavanway made a few calls to friends and decided to relocate to a spot just inside the north jetty. He weighed anchor, idled north, and dropped just outside and well ahead of another vessel. He pulled out a cutting board and a frozen American shad for chum.
I walked to the bow as Lavanway set out four rods in vertical holders along the transom — a nice touch for such a small vessel. Placing four rod holders along the aft bulkhead keeps the tackle out of the boat’s living space. (This 21½-footer even comes with a transom door to the starboard swim platform.)
The Relax End
The forward seating aboard the 215XSF seems surprisingly large, given the space. An almost semicircular padded lounge and coaming rim the bow. To port and starboard, Scout offers removable backrests so passengers can really relax on the ride to a favorite fishing spot or sandbar.
A low-profile bowrail adds security; drink holders and a catch-all ledge lie just aft of the backrests. Add an optional, removable teak bow table for a full picnic setup. Ahead of the console, a cushioned sun pad with armrests fans toward the foredeck. Beneath it lies cavernous insulated dry storage, where we had stowed my cameras, all the safety gear, tackle and lunch.
Just as I was considering where to plop down to enjoy a cold drink, I saw the portside rod tip arc like a rainbow. Bull reds don’t smash-strike a bait; they pick it up and power away like a tractor.
I set up in the port corner, thighs against the coaming pads, and worked to keep the fish on my side of the outboard and away from the port swim platform. In this aft section, the top of the gunwale measures 22 inches above the deck — higher than today’s popular nearshore hybrids but lower than many offshore battlewagons.
Indeed, the 215’s 20-degree transom deadrise also gives it a deeper V than a hybrid, though it’s shallower than a go-fast, and still floats in less than 16 inches of water.
I fought the red boat-side, where it lolled as Lavanway gently righted it and removed the hook for a release.
Bull No. 2
Lang picked up the rod for the second fish, while Lavanway and I easily maneuvered around him to take photos, shoot video and clear lines. Even the space between the leaning post and optional foldaway transom bench seemed ample for our crew.
In the cockpit sole, an expansive hatch opens for easy access to the bilge to change pumps or route wiring.
After our second redfish release, we hauled anchor and headed back to the harbor so I could experience the boat’s handling. We had zero seas, so I created some chop with sharp turns to port and starboard.
For the 215XSF, Scout employed its NuV3 hull design, which features variable degrees of deadrise from the chines to the keel. The resulting ride feels secure; turns feel balanced, with no sliding or catching.
The optional trim tabs helped even the load as crew members moved about, and they aided in creating a quicker hole shot, but otherwise the tabs were not needed. Trimming the outboard up slightly provided a perfect running attitude.
The helm seemed comfortable for both Lavanway and me, though we’re of vastly different heights. The cushioned leaning post features lift-up bolsters for standing or sitting while piloting. The nearly vertical console face comes with a single footrest and a tilt‑and-lock steering wheel.
Lang says Scout built this 21-footer for family fishermen. That describes most boaters today, and it’s a perfect fit for a company that knows how to create style and comfort, while remembering to maintain fishability.
Scout 215 XSF Performance Specifications
POWER: Yamaha F200
LOAD: Three adults, 45 gal. fuel, full livewell
TOP SPEED: 46.1 mph @ 5,400 rpm*
TIME TO 30 MPH: 12.6 sec.*
BEST MPG: 3.8 mpg @ 29.5 mph (3,900 rpm)
(* Note: Correct prop unavailable. See article.)
Scout 215 XSF Hull Specifications
LOA: 21 ft. 6 in.
BEAM: 8 ft. 6 in.
DEADRISE: 20 deg.
DRY WEIGHT: 2,776 lb. (w/o engine)
DRAFT: 1 ft. 3.75 in.
FUEL: 82 gal.
MAX POWER: 250 hp
MSRP: $65,464 (w/ Yamaha F200)