EVOLUTION 19 LX WAKEBOARD EDITION
I have known the Pitts family from Pietermaritzburg for many years now but was impressed when Dave reminded me that they have been in the boating industry for 37 years. This was a good time to name their new boat ‘Evolution’ as they look ahead to new and exciting models for our boating public.
Dave Pitts has his business in Pietermaritzburg but the venue for the boat test was to take place at their well laid out marina at the pretty Midmar Dam near Howick. After days of rain and cloud it was a relief to drive into the Midlands on a clear day — so conducive for testing a boat. Midmar in these conditions is so inviting and I couldn’t wait to get on the water which was smooth enough for a good ride.
My first impression of the Evolution is that she is an ideal fun boat for any dam, estuary or river around the country – a great entertainer. This 19-footer (2.3m beam) is long and wide enough to take a group of eight people on a day’s outing.
Starting at the front of this spacious bowrider is an easily accessible anchor hatch which sits upfront in the open bow where there’s a non-slip decking within. While there are two small stainless steel bow rails for hanging on to when in motion, I would have been more comfortable with bigger rails fitted to accommodate the whole bow area. Other than being a safety feature aesthetically, they would enhance the looks of the boat.
The bow also accommodates two comfortable seats with back rests against the consoles which give a good view forward. A walk-through section between the consoles takes one into the interior of the boat. On the way you pass the perspex windscreens set in Epoxy-coated anodised aluminium which frame the consoles, along with a folding door in the centre, which gives good protection from the wind. The console on the port side has ample storage for lifejackets, towels etc, and on top one finds a cubby hole for keys, cell phones and other small valuables. There is a double bench seat opposite the driver with storage underneath and a rear bench seat which can be converted into a comfortably upholstered sunbed. All the upholstery is imported vinyl with UV-ray resistance, and there are raised ventilation areas under the seats.
The rear seating houses a built-in battery and a 91-litre fuel tank. An easy-to-clean short-pile carpet in the centre is very comfortable underfoot and makes a change from the endless non-slip decks on most boats. The comfy pilot seat swivels easily into the interior of the boat so when at rest talking with guests becomes a pleasure. The stainless steel mini-wing in the rear is ideal for skiing and tubing but an added bonus is a wakeboard tower with wakeboard storage racks that loomed majestically above the boat, adding class to this boat. A large ski hatch in the deck takes care of combo skis and a slalom ski, leaving the interior clutter-free. A boarding ladder in the transom on the port side gives easy access in and out of the water, and a ski rope locker is also found within. One certainly can’t fault the usage of space and general layout of the Evolution – everything has been well thought out, planned and executed.
Dave chose a Mercury 200HP electronic fuel injection motor for this review which was fitted with a three-blade 19-inch propeller. Unlike the super-quiet four-strokes, the grunt from the 200EFI will excite — if you like the sound of real power. We idled at 900rpm but were on plane in 2.7 seconds, although there were only two of us on board. At a cruising speed of 3 500rpm we were doing 30 km/h, but the speed shot up remarkably to 80km/h (at 5 800rpm.) The motor starts at the flick of the key but it was her smoothness throughout the different rpm that was really impressive. The Mercury EFI is well-known for being particularly fuel efficient and this model should be no different. This was a well-matched outfit and really easy to drive with its hydraulic steering. The deep-V gave a very soft ride even when we roughed the water up a bit. We took a wakeboarder for a spin and he really enjoyed the power of the pull-out, as well as playing on the Evolution’s adequate wake. We didn’t have much in the way of instruments — except for the basics — such as speedometer, rev counter, fuel and trim gauge. The side-mount controls were smooth and easy to operate. I took her for a real joyride up to full throttle and threw her around a bit — she behaved beautifully with no hint of instability. Tight short turns gave no cavitation and overall it was almost all too easy.
The Evolution 190 LX Wakeboard is really well finished and for performance and entertaining she will bring much joy to her owners. In line with their Evolution concept, Pitts Marine is looking to produce other models in the 2012 model year — and thus stay ahead of the market. For further information contact Dave Pitts at Pitts Marine: 033 394 4482 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org or www.pittsmarine.co.za