Boat Reviews

MasterCraft X55

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Fun and sporty, with attitude and some executive flair, the 2013 MasterCraft X55 is a boat that was born to thrill. In a world where size doesn’t matter, the X55 is one craft which ranks pretty high up the ladder for hardcore wakeboats. The Editor travels to Hartbeespoort Dam for an exclusive review…

The X55 is MasterCraft’s biggest wakeboat – and second in their whole range to their impressive 300. At 7.75-metres, it is big! And within those broad shoulders, it also offers some pretty cool gadgets and toys to keep the young at heart smiling from the word go.

MasterCraft is one of those brands which only produce top quality boats – so when they say that this is an exciting boat, I think that what they’re trying to say is that minds haven’t been blown this much since the first moon walk (Neil Armstrong’s – not Michael Jackson’s).

Deck layout
The X55 measures 2.59 metres across her beam. Rated for 15 passengers, you could easily seat 13 people from the queue that’ll want to join you. But, for true maximum comfort where your guests can lay back in the seats with their feet up, rather go with nine onboard – and then there’s still the sun lounger at the stern. Speaking of the aft section, the X55 has gone the route which all elite boats do nowadays; a large teak swimdeck deck at the stern is present and the chic wood finish is continued forward via the step up and along the lounger walk over section – ensuring sure-footing while keeping your upholstery clean. Of course, the cushioning on top of the inboard can be lifted to reveal the inboard behemoth and there’s ample storage space on either side for towels, life jackets, and much more. At the aft section of the cockpit is a U-shaped lounger. On either side, behind the skipper and co-pilot, the seating finishes off in rear facing chaise loungers which I quite like. This is a big family boat, designed and built to be used for watersports – so it’s only fair that you can get super comfortable while you watch the action. As you can imagine, neat cutouts in the gunwales are in place, providing cupholders and storage for smaller items.

The level of comfort carries through-out the boat and the wide bow section is one of luxury. Honestly, if I could find a couch for me in front of my TV like the bow seating one, I’d buy it. It’s not just about comfort, but how much you can appreciate being there and wanting to spend your time nowhere else. Of course, on the X55, there’s heaps of storage space below.

The middle of the boat is where it all happens. The heads, located just forward of the co-pilot, doubles as a neat change room. The front end of the sound system is found here and is piped to several more-than-decent speakers and controlled from various places around the craft – like at the helm, which is where the X55 is really set to impress. The skipper is the guy (or girl) who is truly treated on the X55. From here, you get a good all-round view, a superb feeling of quality, and plenty to play with – ranging from bells and whistles to seat warmers and the über-fancy control system for the craft. From the touch screen, the skipper can do everything – from choosing the tunes to setting the ballast. Naturally, you can save rider presets and let the boat do the work to give the rider a strong, even pull throughout the session on the wake customized for them.

Aside from all that there is on the deck, the X55 has also got a cool fridge built in behind the skipper and one seriously bad-ass wake tower. The tower is kitted out with swivel board racks, plenty of sound, a light bar and a generously sized canopy. The tower can be raised or lowered should you need to get under a bridge or for towing and storage. It’s all about the ease of use.

Our review X55 MasterCraft was fitted with a 6.2-litre Ilmor inboard engine – created to be reliable, strong and sporty. From the moment you turn the key, the hair on the back of your neck will stand on end. The menacing growl of the 430 HP inboard and the feeling of that much power, comes together in a blend which will have you coming back for more. The X55 has got a good pull off speed, popping onto the plane in just 4.2 seconds. If you open up the throat, she’ll accelerate to nearly 70 km/h. While she certainly can handle speed, it’s not what she’s initially built for. Pump in the ballast and you’ve got a boat which kicks out a massive wake for wake warriors. Slow the craft down some and the wake becomes prime for a surf session.

The X55 is a heavy boat. Her 3000kg’s and size means she’s got a lot of displacement – but it also makes her stable and soft in choppy water. Interestingly, she’s not just for Sunday drives as the skipper can throw her around quite nicely. I had lots of fun putting her through tight corners and I was glad to see that the manufacturers didn’t sacrifice performance for being a dedicated watersport tow boat. The X55 is a combination of everything you could want for water handling while being smooth in a straight line and confident in the corners.

You may be reading this review, thinking that MasterCraft has secretly given me an X55 for the amount that I rave about it. I assure you, it’s not the case – just simply that the manufacturer has done what they always do – produce a boat which is simply without fault. But, and yes, there is a but; although the X55 is beautifully big, I don’t think I’d ever own one because of her size. She’s too big for my car, my garage, and my type of budget. If it weren’t for those, heck, I’d buy three just because the craft is that good!

For more information, contact WaterWorld JHB on (011) 462 4390.


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