By Brett Becker
MasterCraft 255V: Tow Boat for Grownups
High-level styling and major comfort factors mark a boat for wake-sport lovers who have arrived.
After you’ve owned a number of boats, you become a more discerning buyer, one who recognizes the differences in quality and amenities. Much like an advanced degree, a MasterCraft is a serious goal, something you aspire to and work hard to get.
Before you reach the point where you can shop for a MasterCraft, you have to understand that wakeboarding is not so much a sport as it is a lifestyle, and it has an effect on the look of a tow boat. Graphics and towers and stereos trend toward the extreme. That look obviously sells, but there’s an alternative — something for the buyer who wants the understated style of a luxury runabout, with the power and responsiveness of an inboard V-drive. That alternative is MasterCraft’s 255V, a spacious V-drive that provides all the benefits of a watersports-oriented tow boat with a more elegant look than its stable mate, the X-55, which rides on the same hull, but weighs a bit more.
“The 255V and its wakeboarding sibling, the X-55, were introduced to the lineup to bring MasterCraft’s notorious wake design and inboard performance to the customer who wants more seating, more space, and more amenities in a larger boat package that gives a stable, dry ride to its passengers,” said Jason Boertje, MasterCraft’s marketing director.
Standard power is a 5.7-liter V8 from either Indmar or Ilmor, rated at 310 and 320 horsepower respectively. You can also get 6.0- and 6.2-liter engines. But the powertrain isn’t the big news on the 255V. On this boat, the interior steals the show.
Step on board and you find that it feels much larger than its 102-inch beam would seem to allow. Seat bottoms are wide, with lots of thigh support, but there’s still an abundance of floor space.
Up front, bow passengers get coddled with fold-down armrests for the forward-facing lounges, contoured angled backrests with ample padding, two cupholders, and their own stereo speaker. A boarding ladder tucks neatly beneath a hatch at the center of the bow platform.
At the helm, buyers have a choice between standard instrumentation and MasterCraft’s optional BIG dash displays. The standard setup features handsome argent gauges set atop a sculpted dash. Even the standard stereo is ample, with a CD player and six speakers arranged where passengers need them most.
To port, the observer seat is wide enough for two forward-facing passengers. The seat also has a nifty feature that allows it to flip forward to create a rear-facing lounge. The port-side cowl conceals a standard head compartment, which can be fitted with an optional vacuum-flush toilet.
The 255V is first and foremost a tow boat, so the stern is designed for getting into and out of the water easily. The sunpad features a center walk-through and step with teak inlays. The swim platform is a classic teak design, with options for fiberglass, also fitted with teak inserts. Either way, a telescoping boarding ladder is concealed neatly on its underside. A filler cushion for the walk-through creates a full sunpad, and the tow pylon stashes out of sight when not in use.
One of the hallmarks of 2011 MasterCraft models is great-looking brushed billet hardware, and the 255V is equipped with just the right amount. Bilge vents—which almost never merit mention in a boat review— are notable on the 255V’s stern flanks because they are brushed billet pieces that add an elegant look to the boat.
With a base MSRP of $87,920, the 255V represents a sizeable investment in standard trim, but MasterCraft does offer a few options to make it virtually hedonistic. For example, the standard wet bar on the starboard side of the cockpit can be fitted with an optional refrigerator. True to its watersports heritage, the 255V is available with the ZFT 3 or ZFT 5p towers. Seating options include a bow filler cushion and even a heated driver’s seat.
Once you’ve arrived a point in your life when you’re able to step into a MasterCraft showroom, it’s nice to know that there’s a boat designed for skiing and wakeboarding that appeals to a more mature eye.
For more information, visit MasterCraft.
MasterCraft 255V Specifications
- Length: 27’8” w/ platform
- Beam: 8’6”
- Max draft: 32”
- Deadrise: 16 deg.
- Weight: 4,850 lbs.
- Fuel capacity: 90 gal.
- Brett Becker is a freelance writer and photographer who has covered the marine industry for 15 years. In addition to covering the ski boat and runabout markets for Boats.com, he regularly writes and shoots for BoatTrader.com. Based in Ventura, Calif., Becker holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s in mass communication from the University of Central Florida in Orlando.