Century Raven 190 - Good looks are a plusBy Andy Adams

Few people ever really define what they mean by “family boat " or what it's function should be . There are about as many categories and criteria as there are individual owners, but in terms of a light, trailerable runabout, there are some points common to the majority of owners. The boat should be seaworthy (deep, dry, and without running quirks or peculiarities); the boat should be simple enough and safe enough for virtually anyone to operate. It should be versatile for a multitude of uses, yet of reasonable size and economical to buy, use and sell.

This Test Bench report deals with the 1978 Century Raven with a 190 h.p. OMC stern drive, which I consider to be a family boat. It is trailerable at 18-ft, accommodates six people and their gear, will handle a multitude of different uses, is simple to operate, deep, dry and seaworthy and offers good value for the money.

Our test boat was a pretty design in a traditional sense with a pale blue hull, contrasting coloured graphics and an off white to tan deck and hull. making it one of the most pleasant combinations in the industry; I warmed to it quickly.

Century Raven 190 - a family boatThe Century has two sleeper seats, similar to the seats I liked so well in the SeaRay. The seat rails are heavy, have locking clips, adjust for reach forward and backward and fold flat. It sounds odd to say they fold flat since they are sleeper seats. But often the seats in other boats only fold into a stretched “W”, making them very uncomfortable for the serious tanners in the group.

Rear jump seats are seldom, a pleasant spot to spend the day, but the Century's are well shaped and padded and would be fine even for a long trip.

The pile carpeting is brown which contrasts nicely with the rest of the boat and shouldn’t show stains or age. There is lots of storage space in the side panels under the seats, and under the centre section of teak flooring. At the front is a teak covered cooler with a drain. There are the usual drink holders and various touches expected in a quality boat, such as the locking glove box for cameras and other valuables.

Century Raven 190 - OMC 190Two things came out during the test that I really didn’t like. The steering wheel is a small diameter wheel with handsome stainless steel spokes. In the spokes are rectangular cutouts. It looks very nice and feels comfortable in the hands, but while the face sides of the cutouts are filed and smoothed at the edges, the back sides are not. The result is a series of knife-edges where you least expect to find them. This isn't uncommon on inexpensive boats, and would certainly not be enough to prevent me from buying a Century, but I was very disappointed to see a lapse in quality control in such an obvious spot when the rest of the boat is so carefully finished.

My second objection was to a new feature from OMC. In place of the oil pressure gauge found on many boats there is a warning light which is large and bright, supplemented by a loud buzzer. This is probably a good idea for careless owners who never take the time to read the gauges they have paid for and if it ever saved you from seizing up an engine, it would be worth the aggravation.

What I didn't like was that it came on when the ignition was turned to the 'on' position because the engine is not running and therefore has no pressure. I found it distracting when trying to start the boat and also when the engine stalls. It is most disconcerting to have the buzzer sound when you are docking. It turns the simple act of re-starting the boat into a wild emergency drill. I mention this because if I found it annoying so will other owners and I expect some people will disconnect the buzzers as they do in their cars. That defeats the purpose of the whole system and could prove to be costly.

Century Raven 190 - sleeper seatsThe test boat was equipped with an OMC 190 h.p. stern drive which uses a large V8 engine. From rest, the boat would pick up with a rush. There's the usual induction roar from the carburetor, and the strong velvety smooth V8 acceleration that many people like. It has all kinds of power for skiing, and would plane off a big load without strain, but there' s a penalty to be paid for all this; weight. It's a really heavy engine for a boat this size and since the Century is rather light, due to its foam core fibreglass construction, this weight is all the more noticeable.

There are good things to be said for the OMC unit. It has dual-cable, push-pull steering that never gets too tight, a solid, soft gear change that never grinds and should take a lot of abuse and its trim mechanism is one of the more dependable ones. However, I believe that the boat would be a better all round rig if it were equipped with a lighter power plant.

Century Raven 190 - Teak trimWhen the Century moves off from rest the bow comes up more than necessary because of the heavy engine. The extra weight is also noticeable in docking where the bow does not respond to helm as well as some boats during tight manoeuvres.

At 1,000 r.p.m. idle in gear, which is 7 mph, the boat tends to make a snaking path. Any correction from the helm is an over -correction and starts the snaking motion fairly common to deep -V boats. Advancing the throttle slightly will straighten out the slow-speed steering and the boat would be much easier to dock with a load to hold the bow in place.

Since the cockpit is long for the boat's length, the helm is far forward. This gives a clear view of the water ahead and even with the bow up as high as it will go when planning off, the boat never obstructs the drivers line of sight. In other words, the boat is not as good with the large engine as I think it would be with a smaller one, but it still isn't bad. If you have a large family, or frequently run with a load then stick with the big motor, otherwise a smaller one will do.

In large waves the Century rides high in the water like a much bigger boat and it will handle turns in the rough stuff as well as any boat its size. It is really soft coming down on a wave, and I'm sure much of the credit must go to the strong, foam core glass hull. It just soaks up the big impacts like a sponge.

Century Raven 190 - steering wheelThe boat banks steeply in a turn and hangs on very well, with little slip. It's directionally stable and would pull a skier nicely. I would hate to see the carpet marked up by sloppy fishermen, but it seems to be fairly impervious to stains and marking, so even that is within the Century's range of capabilities. The beam is not as wide as some boats in this size range and this will make the Century easier to trailer.

In terms of real performance, the Century is quite good. It accelerates strongly, and with a top speed of 45 mph @ 4,200 r.p.m., is going places fast without straining the engine. Its fuel mileage of about 4.85 m.p.g. at a cruise of 32.5 mph. is as good as most boats in its class and probably would improve with a lighter power plant. Also, the test boat was new and still very tight so all the figures reported will tend to improve slightly with age.

The Century Raven 190 has a list price of $11,545 and there is little in the way of options. There are other boats in this size range that cost less initially but over the years, and considering the re-sale value of a quality boat like this. I anticipate that the Century will fill my last requirement for family boats - overall economy of operation.

Originally Published in Canadian Yachting’s February 1978 issue.

Specifications:
Length: 18’1”
Engine: 190hp OMC stern drive.

Photo Captions:
Photo1 - Good looks are on the plus side but there were criticisms to be made of the engine size and finish details.
Photo 2 - The Century Raven 190 fits all criteria for a family boat including maneuverability, dependability and economy.
Photo 3 - An OMC 190 is on the heavy side.
Photo 4 - The sleeper seats really do fold flat.
Photo 5 - Teak trim is good and plentiful.
Photo 6 - The poorly finished steering wheel is a hazard.

Related Articles

 

 

Beneteau Oceanis Yacht 54By Zuzana Prochazka

Beneteau saw an opportunity to add a little thrill to any cruising adventure, so they took the hull of the First 53 racer (introduced just last year), and with a few fashionable changes, created the Oceanis Yacht 54, the new entry-level of Beneteau’s swanky Oceanis Yacht line. The result is a performance cruiser that sails like a witch and looks like a grande dame.

Design

Roberto Biscontini is the naval architect and Lorenzo Argento created the details of the exterior and interior design. 

Read More

Destinations

  • Prev
Over the course of four days in September 1864, representatives from Prince Edward Island, Nova ...
The new owners of L’Orignal Marina offer boaters a new destination. Located in a charming ...
Commemorating 100 (+1) years of through-navigation on the Trent-Severn Waterway National Historic ...
On Friday, April 2 at 7 pm ET on TVO and streaming anytime after that on tvo.org and the TVO ...
Salt Spring Island, the largest among the Gulf Islands, has a certain mystique—much of it having to ...
Located in Lake Huron, the internationally significant Manitoulin Island is the largest freshwater ...
In Part I, Sheryl Shard ended the story at June and the start of Hurricane Season when they were ...
You likely aren’t quite ready to travel yet, but we have our fingers crossed that we can all fly ...

Riverest MarinaThe new owners of L’Orignal Marina offer boaters a new destination. Located in a charming francophone village in Eastern Ontario, this joined marina and restaurant venue is the ambitious initiative of long-time entrepreneur André Chabot and biologist Alexandra Quester, both residents of L’Orignal.

The purchase of the L’Orignal Marina was made official in November 2020. The new year was barely underway when all 50 available slips were already reserved. No wonder the addition of member and visitor slips is already planned for the 2022 season – the 2021 count is up to 62 power and sail already. At the moment, the Riverest Marina offers boaters a stop where they can launch their boat...

Read More

Lifestyle

  • Prev
Last issue we featured a story about the engagement proposal aboard Via-Mara, a 1969 Trojan 42 Aft ...
With thanks to Sail Canada, here’s a collection of photos that are Olympic quality. Clearly our ...
Wow. That was a lot of fun reading the collection of boat names that came in from all over the ...
No individual had a greater impact on the modern sport of sailing than Bruce Kirby. Known and ...
Just off The Ocean Race European Tour, Daniel is setting his sights on competing in The Ocean Race ...
After being our fearless leader and publisher since CYOB kicked off, Greg Nicoll, handed over the ...
Swim Drink Fish is spearheading the Vancouver Plastic Cleanup by installing, maintaining, and ...
With but four weeks to go, Sarah is in Japan, staying safe while acclimatizing to the heat at ...
MJM is a different kind of boat builder, second generation family owned and operated, we design and ...
Stuart Hendrie, a pro photographer sent along this photo of the pirate ship in Jordan Ontario. Many ...

DIY & How to

  • Prev
It’s a scary thought - whether your boat is made of wood, fiberglass, aluminum or composite – it’s ...
It’s a scary thought – but whether your boat is made of wood, fiberglass, aluminum or composite – ...
Last summer there was tremendous interest in buying a boat to have fun in the restricted world ...
The boat buying or selling market is hot now and has been since the late spring of 2020. Sean ...
Last issue we got up with Montreal sailor Marc Robic who has accumulated a lot of tips and tricks ...
While some parts of the country are lucky enough to have year-round boating, there are plenty of ...
A Transducer is a device that is installed below the waterline that provides underwater data to a ...
Spring has finally sprung! At least it has weather wise here in Montreal, so it is with great ...
For most of us, the thrill of being aboard is associated with the motion of the water, wind in our ...
An important, but often overlooked maintenance item on any type of boat is it’s steering system. ...

Galvanic CorrosionIt’s a scary thought – but whether your boat is made of wood, fiberglass, aluminum or composite – it’s slowly deteriorating under you. Part of this is the nature of the marine environment: Sun, moisture, waves, wind, movement and vibration all contribute to components breaking down.

But there are other factors that are much more concerning and act at a significantly faster rate that the environment can take credit for. One of these is commonly spoken of, but not terribly well understood: Corrosion. As boaters, we’re concerned with two main types of corrosion: Galvanic and Stray-Current. This edition will focus on galvanic corrosion – in two weeks, stay tuned for info on stray-current.

Read More

 

  

Marine Products

  • Prev
AkzoNobel Yacht Coatings has introduced a new, easier to apply topside system with two new products ...
Whether for news, weather or just to watch the game, onboard television reception is important. But ...
Kanvaslight® was specifically engineered for a long life in a salty, sun-drenched environment. The ...
Watermakers take ocean water and create perfect drinking water using reverse osmosis. A Schenker ...
If you’re headed out for a weekend afloat or on a week-long cruise you often must park your vehicle ...
Ten years ago, St. Margaret’s Bay (Halifax), Nova Scotia-based SailTimer Inc. made the first ...
Between the odor and working in confined spaces, replacing an onboard sanitation line is never a ...
For many boat owners who have gear to tote and the occasional stretch of bumpy road to negotiate, a ...
The 2022 Sea-Doo Switch is a re-imagined pontoon that makes hitting the water more accessible than ...
On the water audiophile-quality sound is attainable with the new JBL-R3500 source unit. The latest ...

News

  • Prev
Royal Canadian Yacht Club’s Defiant completed a six-race sweep of the Cup for Canada over Zing, the ...
On September 6, Groupe Beneteau laid out its course to develop new boating experiences, new ...
Last Friday, the first ever Canada’s Celebration of Sailing honoured the season for Sailing in ...
Boating Ontario is very proud to have Transport Canada’s Office of Boating Safety jump on ...
Montreal-based Vision Marine Technologies, Inc. is headed to the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout to ...
Summer is in full swing with Canadians enjoying time outside and on the water. So, while enjoying ...
On July 23 last year, CYOB published a piece on a beautifully restored 1967 Trojan 42 Motor ...
HanseYachts AG presents RYCK, its third motorboat brand carrying the "Made in Germany" label. The ...
“We are all proud of our athletes and coaches who have dedicated themselves to push Canadian ...
Collingwood, ON hq’d Limestone Boat Company – owner and builder of Aquasport Boats, Limestone Boats ...

Mia and Caleb's EngagementOn July 23 last year, CYOB published a piece on a beautifully restored 1967 Trojan 42 Motor Yacht in Oromocto NB. (That piece was also expanded in CY magazine later in the year.)

One of our Canadian Yachting contributors, Denise Miller, had shared the article on my social media and a young man reached out and asked if she could connect him with the owners of the boat, Dave and Barb. Denise leapt into action and Dave and Barb were thrilled. They concocted a plan that the young lady, Mia, thought she was coming to model for a sales brochure for Dave to do charter tours.

Read More