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Breakthrough Design and Fresh Thinking

Scarab 255 OpenBy Andy Adams and John Armstrong

You can imagine,at the GroupeBeneteau dealer meeting in Michigan last fall where all the Four Winns, Scarab, Wellcraft, and Glastrondealers had come to see the latest new models, the docks were lined up with gleaming brand-new boats to show the dealers and media – and they certainly put on a show! But for me, the Scarab 255 Open was an immediate stand out. This is a boat that breaks new ground and brings fresh thinking and interpretation of the boating experience to a wide range of buyers.

We had a quick look around but the test drives would have to wait until the next day. First, we had dinner, followed by speeches, dealer awards [our Canadian dealers did very well], and a tech briefing on the new models. Taking to the stage was Christophe Lavigne, the Groupe Beneteau VP of Engineering and Customer Service at their Cadillac, Michigan facilities.He's very interesting to listen to, having design and construction experience with many different brands and models. We quite enjoyed his insightful presentation.

TouchscreenAt the helm, the large touchscreen allows you can to control a wide range of operating functions including Cruise Control, Ski Mode, ECO™ Mode and the handy and effective Docking Mode.

While talking about their many new models and theRotaxjet drive propulsion systems, Lavigne noted that, “…women like the jet drive because it "sticks," so the jet pump holds the stern of the boat down and helps it to go where you point it.”It is an interesting observation and only one of many reasons why the Rotax 4-TEC engines and jet drives will appeal to buyers.

Back to the docks, what caught my eye was the fact that this is a nice big centre console boat at 25 feet overall and 8'4" on the beam, so it has plenty of room for people and gear. The boat was docked stern-to and I saw that it was a jet drive (as all Scarab boats are) featuring aninnovative“tailgate” transom, and I could see the interior layout and packaging was particularly clever. I knew we had to write this up for our Canadian Yachting readers!

 

The SternThis shows the stern layout with the tailgate up. There is still enough swim platform for you to step on plus, two drink holders, stereo speakers and controls. You can see the three removable seat backs positioned here to face forwards.

Exterior Features
Starting at the bow, the deck flares out to have squared off, or ‘pickle fork,’shape, which significantly increases the seating area in the bow. This shape also makes space for a generous anchor locker and it’s equipped with a bow-mounted boarding ladder. That makes it easier to get in and out when you beach the boat. Of course, there's a boarding ladder at the transom swim platform, too.

Overall, Scarab lists the boat as seating for up to 13 people or a load capacity of 2,100 pounds, so you can certainly take the whole gang with you. The spacious bow area has a lot of seating space with storage underneath as well asan under-floor ski locker. Two optional coolers stow under the bow seats as well. Padded coaming on the test boat made it more comfortable to sit or recline in almost any position, plus the designers have given the Scarab 255 Open another clever interior feature: The boat comes with four removable seatbacks. These lift straight out of sockets and can be moved to different locations in the boat. Two of the locations are at the aft end of the port and starboard bow seats, turning these into full-length sun lounges.

Forward DeckThis is the view of the forward deck with the lid open revealing both the anchor locker and the forward mounted boarding ladder. A second boarding ladder is located at the stern.

Speakers for the stereo system and inboard-mounted stainless-steel handholds also contribute to making this a very passenger-friendly area.

The centre console features a forward-facing seat. This seat and the centre panel lift up to reveal a Porta-Potti that has a holding tank and pump-out system. This space is large enough for people to change into a bathing suit - a great feature for day boating comfort.

The Scarab 255 Open has a flat floor andhigh sides with Marine Mat foam padding applied. This is comfortable to lean againstand probably adds a bit of sound deadening as well. It's a good feature for fishing.

 

Forward Side SeatThis shows the seat on the forward side of the center console. This hinges up and opens to reveal a large storage space and available Porta-Potti head with pump out.

Centre Console
Centre console designs are great for fishing and with those high sides, you can safely walk your rod all around the boat. The jet drives have no propellers so your lines won’t get tangled at the motors and you can easily get into the shallows where the fish often are.

The standard equipment T-Top has a welded frame that has a ski tow attachment point up high – great for wakeboarding, tubing, and teaching novices to ski. Avid anglers will want to order the Fishing Package that adds rod holders and other fishing features.

The helm seats three with the wheel in the centre and a drop-down seat section, so the driver can stand to run the boat. Forward vision is unimpeded and there is reasonable shelter in chilly weather. The steering wheel tilts for comfort and the throttle system is on the side with a single lever running both engines. They automatically synchronize – you never have to think about it. I did wish there was a place to brace my hand when running fast. The twin Rotax 4-TEC engines are so responsive that they just jump when the throttle is advanced.

Scarab 255 Open 2On the other hand, the test boat had the advanced electronics with a large touch screen that supported Navionics charts and there is an engine control system that features a programmed Ski Mode, an ECO™ Mode, a Docking Mode, and a Cruise Control so you don’t need to be holding the lever on a long cruise.

At the stern, the aft bench seat is also the engine cover. The upholstery can be removed so you can use it as a casting platform. The four removable seatbacks we mentioned earlier can all be used in this area as forward-facing seats for four, but because the seatbacks are angled, you can reverse them to be aft facing.

The Bow

 

 

The bow is very spacious with lots of seating room, storage under most seats, available removable cooler and on the left side, one of the removable seatbacks is installed and showing its mesh back pouch for loose objects.

If you've stopped for everyone to go swimming, you can lower the tailgate, which becomes your swim platform. Deploy the aft swim ladder and you're all set. Making the area even more useful, you can remove all four seatbacks for a big sun bed. The versatility of the design is really impressive.

Performance
The hull design and running surface are fairly sophisticated and the twin Rotax 4-TEC engines deliver 250 hp each. From a standing start, the engines just race to redline and the boat accelerates very fast. Minimal bow rise makes it hard to time o-planing speed, but in mere seconds our load of six passengers was flying along and tore up to a 53 mph top speed very quickly.

In the choppy conditions of our test day, the boat was fine but we were more comfortable to dial it back to about 30 mph for cruising. The Ski Mode and Cruise Control allow the driver to set the levels and then concentrate on driving; a really nice feature.

The Scarab 255 Open has a host of features that will support fishing, family ski, and cruising, and you can order the boat in the Open G form as more of a cargo boat for islands and carrying other recreational gear. Where the jet drives really pay off is in trailering to new locations. There are no engines or drives to tilt up and you can explore with greater confidence knowing you need so little water depth.

All in all, the Scarab 255 Open is quite unique and will open up a wide range of great boating experiences to its owner.

 

SPECIFICATIONS

ENGINES
Twin Rotax 4-TEC Engines,1.5 L Supercharged HO 250 hp each. Electronic control with low-speed maneuverability docking mode, Lateral Thrust Control, and
single-lever control.

RPM SPEEDS MPH
3,000 7
4,000 8
4,500 8
5,000 10
5,500 14
6,000 30
6,500 36
7,000 43
7,500 48
WOT 53

SPECIFICATIONS:
Length Overall: 25'0”/7.6 m
Beam: 8' 4" / 2.54 m
Weight: 3,800 lbs. / 1,724 kg
Deadrise: 20°
Draft: 15"/38 cm
Fuel Capacity: 56 gal / 212 L
Water Capacity: 12 gal / 45L
Wake Ballast System (optional): 1,150 lbs / 522 kg
Maximum Capacity: 2,100 lbs. / 953 kg
Max HP: 500 HP / 373 kW
Base price: $61,250 USD
As tested: $85,183 USD

Test boat and pricing supplied by: Groupe Beneteau, Scarab – www.scarabjetboats.com