By Go Boating
Starcraft Aurora 2010: Go Boating Review
Starcraft Aurora 2010: Popular package offered with stern drive.
People must have liked Starcraft Marine’s Aurora 2010 outboard deckboat quite a bit. News that the company decided to manufacture an inboard/outboard version of this boat for 2005 is a sure sign that the 2010 platform is a popular one — one worth investing in with the option of a stern drive and the many advantages is provides.
The differences between a stern drive and an outboard are many, with sound reduction and the ability to have a swim platform chief among them. In general terms, a boat with a stern drive is one that is offered with the family in mind more so than the me-and-my-fishing-buddies appeal of an outboard.
So, needless to say we were excited when Starcraft invited us to Lake Wawasee in Indiana to get a feel for the new Aurora 2010 I/O. While this craft was still in a pre-production stage when we tested it, it was far along the development curve with only a few minor tweaks to be worked out.
You might think that converting the outboard version of the 2010 to an I/O would be a simple matter of yanking the outboard, dropping in a stern drive and glassing the motor in with an engine compartment. Not so.
Because the mounting area for an outboard is so different from that of a stern drive, it’s very important to get the new transom set at the proper angle so the boat planes out right — something that can take a decent amount of research and trial and error to get just right.
At idle speed forward the engine was turning at 700 rpm and producing only 83 dB of sound — much quieter than we would expect with an outboard. The boat would come to plane in about 4 seconds, and it took the boat about 10 seconds to reach 30 mph. This is good considering that the boat only had a MerCruiser 4.3L MPI.
At full throttle the boat would do 37.4 mph, but the hull was porpoising significantly. The technician from Starcraft advised us that the mold for this prototype was going to be retooled to eliminate this running characteristic. One could trim the drive down to prevent it from porpoising, but doing this caused a slight drop in speed. Even though we experienced porpoising at full speed, the boat handled the slight chop admirably.
As with most deckboats, the Aurora 2010 I/O is designed to deliver on many promises. The two biggest are plenty of room for a lot of people, coolers and water toys (like a pontoon boat), and an ability to get out in choppy water and still have a good time (like a deep-V boat). In terms of handling and performance, we found the 2010 I/O to be in-line with what one can typically expect from a deckboat: comfort, decent speed and solid handling in slightly rough water. We also found that the craft delivers the goods in the roominess equation.
Sitting in the driver’s seat, which was comfortable even for long periods of time, we found the controls to be solid and smooth, which likely lends to the craft’s confident and easy steering characteristic. However, we did notice that the Alpha drive would knock a bit when shifting the boat in and out of gear.
Up forward at the bow we found a sturdy, telescoping step ladder that folds up and stores in a compartment that doubles as an anchor locker — something we’ve been seeing more and more with deckboats. The walk through bow area, which is accessed via a walk through windshield and has two good-sized chaise lounges with thick back padding and storage below, has two high-end cupholders that are accented to match the color scheme of the boat. Opening up the backrests on each side of the forward seating area’s chaise lounges reveals even more storage for belongings — and the compartments are carpeted.
The bow is also edged with a sturdy stainless steal handrail, and there are two pullout stainless cleats that make quick work of line handling. The step area in the bow walk through has an additional compartment that can be hooked up as a livewell for the fishing version, or as storage or an ice chest otherwise.
On the other side of the windshield at the helm are high-end gauges with accents that match the boat’s color scheme, which gives it a sporty high-end high-performance feel — including a sweet steering wheel.
Just aft of the dual console helm is a bench seat that completes this craft’s 12-person seating capacity (or 1,700 pounds). Under the bench seat there is a large storage area, which is also where the battery is mounted. We think it might be better if there were a separate compartment for the battery in order to keep it isolated. However, we were testing a prototype, so they’ll probably have the boat all squared away when it reaches production. There is also access to the fuel tank through this aft storage compartment.
On the port side of the aft bench seat the cushion comes out so no one has to walk on the upholstery, and underneath there are two compartments. The forward compartment is a sink with a faucet and the aft compartment has a trash receptacle.
Continuing aft, there is another livewell on the other side of the stern walk through – and nearby on the port gunwale is a showerhead that is attached to a fully pressurized retracting hose (all of the craft’s freshwater applications are pressurized).
Thanks to the stern drive configuration, this model had the extended swim platform, which is an obvious plus for the kids. There is also a stainless ski tow loop at the stern – and you can bet that the ability to bring all the neighborhood kids and plenty of water toys will keep the towrope tight for most of the day.
Just keep in mind that the boat we tested is a prototype, so there are some parts of the craft that might be different by the time it hits the dealer showroom floor.
Starcraft Marine Aurora 2010 I/O Specifications
|Weight (boat only)||2,325 pounds|
|Fuel capacity||51 gallons|
|Maximum power||240 hp|
|Base price||$ 31767|
|Top speed||37.4 mph at 4500 rpm|
|Cruising speed||321.9 mph at 3500 rpm|
Integrated stern swim platform w/boarding ladder, bow platform w/boarding ladder, stainless steel bow and stern eyes, ski tow ring, marine-grade UV-stable upholstery vinyl, stainless steel gunwale rail, 4 pull-up mooring cleats, 8 beverage holders, refreshment center w/sink and faucet, freshwater shower, removable 36-quart cooler, color-coordinated free-standing Bimini top and storage boot, domed gauges, AM/FM stereo w/CD player, remote-touchpad stereo control panel at stern swim platform, 4 marine-grade speakers, 2 power points, custom tilt wheel, courtesy lights, docking lights.
SE Package: color coordinated cupholders, interior and seat trim color, gauge bezels and grab handles, sport graphics; Executive Package: regal burl dash, switch panels and steering wheel, beige grab handles, neutral interior; other: color-coordinated cockpit cover, color-coordinated dual Bimini, canvas enclosure; side and aft curtains, bow filler cushions, snap-in carpet, wake tower, satellite stereo, 6-disc CD changer, 15-gallon pressurized freshwater shower w/positive drain, shower on bow platform (requires freshwater system), color-coordinated changing room, hourmeter, digital depth finder, fishing package (baitwell, 2 fish seats, rod storage), fish package (dealer installed – X-125 fish locator and 60-inch, 65-pound thrust, 12/24-volt trolling motor w/electronic steering on quick-release mounting bracket), dual battery switch, mooring cover .
For More Information
201 Starcraft Drive
P.O. Box 517
Topeka, IN 46571