By James Corns
Wellcraft 252 Coastal: Performance Test
Wellcraft 252 Coastal: An Angler's promised land.
Wellcraft’s 252 Coastal starts with a standard walk-around sportfisher design and adds just a hint of cuddy cruiser to the mix. Walk-around sportfishers generally have a cabin of some sort, but with many of them, it’s like the designers said, “Here’s a claustrophobic space with a hard, midget-sized mattress to sleep on. Good luck.”
That’s not the case with the 252 Coastal, though. The boat’s cabin is spacious and full of light. In addition to the fact that the space is nicely sized, much of the cabin’s openness is due to two things: the sunlight shining in from the overhead hatch and the bright fabrics that cover the V-berth. The two portlights — one to port and one to starboard — also help.
When you step down into the cabin, the V-berth is directly in front of you, and there’s a mini-galley to port; however, the mini-galley consists of nothing more than a sink with a storage compartment underneath. You might not notice it initially, but there’s also a self-contained head hiding underneath the V-berth, on the starboard side. When the V-berth is not being used for sleeping, you can remove the filler cushions, transforming it into a V-shaped settee, or you can make the entire area a dinette by adding the standard pedestal table. The cabin’s molded soft-touch headliner adds a touch of cuddy cabin sophistication.
The 252 Coastal wouldn’t be a true sportfisher without plenty of rod storage, which can also be found in the cabin, along with a rope locker access hatch, a bi-fold locking entry door and a battery storage area with trays. Additional storage is located under the V-berth.
Step up top and the winding lines of the 252 Coastal’s hardtop are all around you. The twin structural supports at each corner of the hardtop not only give it stability but also an artistic flair that greatly adds to the look of the boat.
The helm console — located to starboard — is gray with silver accents and a bevy of black rocker switches. Our test boat had the optional aluminum steering wheel, which comes with a Brody knob and is very attractive. The helm has a decent amount of instrumentation (including a tachometer, a speedometer, a voltmeter and fuel, water pressure and trim gauges), and there’s plenty of room for adding whatever you wish. The helm seat has 92 quarts of dry storage underneath it, with room for safety gear.
Like most walk-around sportfishers, the 252 Coastal’s cockpit has a large, open space at the stern. Fishing fanatics are going to be speechless when they get a good look at all of the fishing amenities that are standard on the boat. In addition to more rod stowage, located under the port and starboard sides of the gunwale, there’s a 128-quart portside fishbox with an overboard drain; a Kodiak Pro Flow 116-quart lighted baitwell with a sealed, clear bait lid, positive latching and an overboard drain; and a tackle storage box with removable trays. Moreover, there are cockpit scuppers, which allow water on the deck to flow overboard, and four stainless steel gunwale-mounted rod holders. Finding one or two of these features on a boat is easy, but finding all of them is extraordinary — especially when you consider the sizes of the baitwell and fishbox.
Other noteworthy items on the 252 Coastal include a high-impact rubrail, a 12v accessory plug at the helm, a 700 gph baitwell pump, trim tabs, tilt hydraulic steering, two bilge pumps (500 gph forward; 1,500 gph aft) and a swim platform with a flip-down swim ladder. We also can’t forget to mention that the boat comes with Genmar’s First Mate program, which is included free for the first year and offers instant access to live information and assistance 24 hours a day.
Ride With the Fishes
Part of the 252 Coastal’s cuddy cabin feel comes from the design of the hull, which has a full bow flare for a dry ride. This gives the boat’s hull a thicker look than typical of most sportfishers — and it equates to an 8-foot, 9-inch beam.
Our test of the 252 Coastal took place off the coast of St. Petersburg, Florida, and the boat was powered by a twin set of Yamaha 150 four-stroke outboards, for a total of 300 hp. The twin Yamahas tie a twin set of 150 hp Evinrudes or Johnsons for the most powerful engine package available on the 252, and the Yamahas felt like a very good match with the boat.
Visibility was good throughout the ride, and after the boat made it to plane in 5.5 seconds, at around 3,000 rpm, we ventured up to a cruising speed of 30.4 mph. As we said before, seaworthiness was very good, and with the twin engines, the boat was able to hit a top speed of 41.3 mph, which we found acceptable.
There was no blowout or cavitation during our run, and the hull felt very solid. On a side note, the boat’s fiberglass liner is made in pieces, so it can be removed in case of damage.
Put a good fish finder on the Wellcraft 252 Coastal and you’ll have everything you could possibly need in a sportfisher. If the abundance of angling amenities doesn’t convince you, the size and quality of those amenities will. The 252 Coastal is an angler’s Promised Land.
Wellcraft 252 Coastal Specifications
|Draft (drive down||2’5.5″|
|Weight (approx.)||4,370 pounds|
|Fuel capacity||140 gallons|
|Maximum power||300 hp|
|Base price (w/Evinrude 225 FPZ)||$59,850|
|Price as tested (w/Twin Z150 HPDI Yamaha)||$76,060|
Dinette table w/filler cushion, self-contained head, 44-quart cooler, 128-quart portside fishbox w/overboard drain; Kodiak Pro Flow 116-quart lighted baitwell w/sealed, clear bait lid, positive latching and overboard drain; tackle storage box w/removable trays, cockpit scuppers, four stainless steel gunwale-mounted rod holders.
First Mate+, Dive Package w/heavy-duty dive ladder and freshwater transom shower, Bimini top, battery switch w/dual trays, Fishing Seating Package, Deluxe Seating Package, optional colored hull sides.
For More Information
Wellcraft Marine Corp.
1651 Whitfield Ave.
Sarasota, FL 34243