Dad wants a fish boat: fast, seaworthy and economical to get him into the action. Mom wants amenities: a private head, cabin, and space to cook, eat and entertain with the security of lots of freeboard in the cockpit. The kids, well they want it all: fishing with dad, swimming, crabbing, tubing and power for their iPhones. A conundrum? Maybe not because Minnesota-based Striper Boats just added a midsize walkaround to its line that does it all in a mere 27 feet.
Weather: Clear and Sunny
Location: Sandy Hook, New Jersey
Wind: South 10 to 15 Knots
Sea State: Choppy bay; Ocean, 4 to 6 feet
Test Load: Two Adults, 100 Gallons of Fuel
Our test boat, hull No. 1, was powered by a pair of bright-red Evinrude 200 HO outboards and finished in an off-white gelcoat with complementary striped cushions, seats and cockpit combing for a clean, bright look. All-composite construction incorporates the company’s Fibercore one-piece foam-filled stringer system, which adds rigidity, reduces vibration, and acts as a sound-dampening agent to keep the ride smooth and quiet. The transom, decks and gunwales also incorporate structural composites for added strength and longevity. Sitting at the dock, the boat looks more like a 30-footer with its large cabin, the wide forward beam that provides clear walkways forward without sacrificing cabin space, and the hardtop and windshield that provide enough headroom at the helm for the basketball players in the family.
The helm is well thought out and nicely executed with a dark-gray gelcoat surrounding the operations center to reduce glare and enhance electronics visibility. There’s room for a pair of 12-inch displays and a separate pod above for the engine gauge package, in this case Evinrude’s data-rich LCD display. A rocker switch panel sits to the left of the tilt wheel with the Lenco trim tab switch and ignition panel to the right. The shift and throttle controls are ergonomically placed in a recess alongside the padded armrest of the helm seat. The adjustable twin captain’s chairs could be the most comfortable we’ve seen on any boat in its class. Bolsters lift to form a leaning post when standing or drop to provide leg support when seated.
The cabin is accessed through a hatchway opposite the helm. There’s a lot going on in there and the 73 inches of headroom means no stooping. Step down and on your immediate left is a mini-galley with a sink, alcohol stove, and optional microwave and fridge. To the right is a door to the head compartment with a toilet, shower, sink and small storage cabinet for supplies. Farther forward, a roomy V-berth converts into a dining area with an overhead hatch and four windows that provide natural light. A/C is available. Two 12-gallon livewells, one on each side of the transom, are standard, and for the serious live-baiter there are two larger compartments aft of the helm seats that can be plumbed as 28-gallon livewells. Two 34-gallon insulated fish boxes reside in the sole, and a pair of tackle drawers sit forward by the seats. For outside dining a table sets up in the cockpit.
We left the marina with a livewell filled with menhaden and made the run across the bay to the Sandy Hook Rips at 4,000 rpm, making a comfortable 36 mph. The Rips were boiling thanks to strong winds and tide. We dropped baits as the boat settled in for a stable, comfortable drift under rough conditions. The bass and blues failed to cooperate, so we headed offshore into a tall head sea of steep 4- to 6-foot swells with an occasional breaker. The boat handled them well at moderate speeds. The V-Trac hull and engine combination performed extremely well, serving up quick hole shots, strong midrange acceleration and a 50 mph top end. It handled a variety of challenging conditions with ease, and coming back through the Rips easily rode the wave tops. Fuel economy was respectable with the engines providing 2.4 mpg at a 30 to 32 mph cruise. The soft ride and nimble handling made the boat a lot of fun to drive.
Back at the dock, we checked out a particularly interesting feature: The center section of the transom, on hinges, lowers back into the cockpit, allowing access to the engines and twin swim platforms. Raised, the transom houses a drop-down bench-style seat.
The Striper 270 WA offers a combination of fishing amenities and creature comforts in a compact package that will please a lot of families who love to fish.