Boat Test: 2008 Pro-Line Pilot 23 XP

Boat Tested2008 Pro-Line Pilot 23 XP
Price As Tested$59,800
Category Cuddy
Manufacturer Pro-Line
Length23ft / 7.01 m
Beam86ft / 26.21 m
Weight4,469 Lbs
Fuel Capacity473 L
There’s an old saying that the only difference between men and boys is
the size of their toys. Nowhere is it more apparent among boaters than in the big boats needed to chase game fish on big waters.
The Pro-Line Pilot 23 XP is one such toy for the big-water boys and girls. A cuddy that gives offshore anglers the option of overnighting, the 23 is a boat that is comfortable for long jaunts far offshore in coastal salt water or large inland lakes.
The boat’s tall pilothouse has opening side windows and will offer protection from the sun on fair days. But it really comes into its own in nasty weather, with a drop-down curtain aft to cut the wind and rain. Salmon
hunters on the Great Lakes who want to extend their season will also appreciate a full standup hardtop combined with a wide-open cockpit.
I had a chance to test the 23 XP with a strong south wind building up some steep, nasty waves on Lake Ontario. Powered by an ultra-quiet Honda 225 four-stroke outboard, the boat was perfectly comfortable at slow cruising speeds, and semi-planing at 17 mph at 3000 rpm. Top speed of 41.0 mph at
6000 rpm was a tad uncomfortable, with waves breaking at random. Still, with the QL tabs helping to keep the bow down, the boat travelled at remarkable speed, in remarkable comfort. At 3500 rpm, the boat cruises nicely at 18.6 mph.
In the cuddy, the 23 XP provides basic living quarters for a couple or a couple of buddies on a fishing adventure. There’s a Vberth/ dinette, a porta-potty style head and a sink with cold running water. The cabin’s
fibreglass floor, part of a moulded liner, is drained and the hull-sides fitted with vinyl headliner. The boat will be easy to keep clean.
Topsides, the 23 XP is ideal for anglers who need secure seating at the helm, but want an otherwise wide-open cockpit for fishing room. There’s a double-wide helm seat, an 18-gallon baitwell in the transom and two 30-gallon fish boxes in the cockpit floor. Padded coamings will make it easier to brace against a fighting fish, rod holders in the side decks and on the back of the hardtop will keep fishing tackle close at hand; rod racks in the coamings will keep tackle out of the way when that’s needed.
When the fishing’s over or you need to ferry a pack of friends somewhere, the XP 23 easily adds seating for three or four more with comfortable drop-down bench seats.
For all its brawn and for all the power the boat needs for its offshore missions, the 23 XP also has a softer side.
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