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Xtaero Boat Review
Xtaero Boat Review
From: Josh Weston
To: Xtaero Boats
Subject: Feedback on Xtaero Boat
Via email: unedited
My wife and I purchased our Xtaero 24’ Long Cabin in May of 2017. Our plan had been to build a custom 24’ Aluminum skiff in two to three years. We spent a lot of time discussing our layout, plans for use and budget for a boat we felt would give us the best flexibility for use, safety and functionality.
When we went for a test ride in the Xtaero we ultimately bought we realized it met all our criteria without the effort involved in a custom build and at considerable cost savings.
We’ve had the boat for one summer and as usual in Alaska, just didn’t get to use it as much as we wanted. That being said, it just had it’s 100 hour service last month. We had several halibut trips with guests that were very comfortable (and successful) which we wouldn’t have been able to pull off with our old boat. The Xtaero 24’ can accommodate more people in much greater comfort in marginal weather than any similar production boat I’m aware of.
We have loaded up people, paddleboards and picnic stuff for long afternoons across the bay. The “pocket yacht” took six adults comfortably on several occasions with folding chairs on the spacious aft deck. When it is time to leave the rods stowed and just relax, the details on this 24’ make for an excellent platform for fun.
When it gets breezy and chilly, close the cabin door, fire up the heater and get the trolling gear down. We had a very successful summer of salmon catching and I’m looking forward to a lot more time spent this winter finding kings. 4 full grown men don’t have to squeeze anywhere on this boat during a trolling trip.
We made a fantastic trip to the shoal waters of China Poot with my sons and their girlfriends in July. The shallow draft allowed us to maximize our time fishing in this tidal area. Turns out we didn’t need it. The teens came back with 36 dipnet fish in about 20 minutes allowing us to take our time trying to snag a few more. It’s noteworthy that snagging is a family favorite, but can be difficult if you don’t have enough room. For those who’ve never tried it each angler needs quite a bit of space when snagging. Once again, the Xtaero 24’ shines in ways that may never have been intended. It has been my experience that a thoughtful design often has unintended benefits.
While most of our time is “dayboat” use, my wife and I did have a very nice overnight in Halibut Cove lagoon.
After every use I seem to be saying that I love the boat more each time I use it. The large capacity fuel tanks allow longer trips or fewer stops for refueling. The cabin is large and comfortable. The interior is attractive and well appointed. Throughout my maritime career I have been involved in many construction and repair projects of commercial vessels of all types and materials. The highest praise I can give Xtaero is that I believe they are overbuilt – specifically, they are sport boats built like commercial vessels. The materials are high quality and oversized and the construction is rock solid.
Guests always comment on the number and placement of hand holds fitted about the vessel. The visibility from inside the cabin is excellent. The large and sturdy cabin top can hold any toys you care to stow without affecting stability. I have been pleasantly surprised at how much I love the self bailing deck and the swim platform.
Easily my favorite feature of my Xtaero 24’ is the hull design. No production boats and few custom boats are built with this much dead rise, or “deep V”. This is the largest factor in creating a comfortable ride in rough water. Xtaero has managed to incorporate this deep V without appreciable loss in efficiency while still maintaining a very light draft. I find that with the 300 HP Suzuki the best operating speed in moderate chop is 24 knots while burning 11 gallons per hour at 4,200 RPM. This translates to about 2.6 miles per gallon which compares very favorably with similar sized boats. The boat doesn’t pound and the ride is very dry.
When we were first considering buying this boat it was very apparent to us that the quality of materials and workmanship made it a very good deal. After our first summer of ownership we are even more confident that we have purchased a lot of boat for the money. I have owned enough boats to have an opinion on quality. Every aspect of this boat – hull, machinery, design, systems, electronics, workmanship, finishes, support- has been great.
Finally, as a small start up company in a highly competitive market, customer support has to be a high priority for Xtaero. What little need we’ve had for this has been dealt with above and beyond our expectations. I am proud to be an Xtaero owner and expect to see many more of these fine boats on the water in the near future.
Josh Weston, Homer Alaska
From Caitlin Crandall, owner of Xtaero XT24DV Regular Cabin with 300hp Suzuki.
In answer to Xtaero questions sent August 2, 2016; she replied August 5, 2016
I’ve been off the grid for a while. This summer has shaped up to be pretty tough but buying the boat was probably the highlight, but then I haven’t got to use it nearly enough. I get asked about my boat all the time at work.
I will answer the questions below to the best of my ability but you may want to ask me again at the end of the summer when I’ve got some more stories to tell…. See answers below
XT: What do you think of the welding and structure of the boat?
CC: I’m no welder so I don’t have a lot of experience recognizing the types of welds or structural integrity… But I had the most experienced welder I know and fellow boat-builder give the boat his blessing before I bought it. His exact words were “You won’t find better craftsmanship than this."
XT: How much time have you spent on the water? Any good distance or shady weather trips that made the boat perform well?
CC: I haven’t spent nearly as much time on the water this summer as I would have hoped… Anything short of every day is too little time; but the time I have spent on the boat was amazing. The boat handles smooth and dry in rough chop and handles like a dream in the harbor. I have been putting the shallow draft to good use and white-knuckled-it up some dicey channels on outgoing tides with no issues.
XT. Seamanship? is the boat seaworthy?
CC: The boat is very seaworthy and unconventionally smooth considering the sea-state to size of the craft ratio. I don’t think you could find a smaller boat that will handle as sound in a southwest swell.
XT: Overall is the quality what you were hoping?
CC: Yes. I am looking forward to upgrading to the larger hull as soon as I can. My boat is a great run-about, but I’d like to be able to haul more passengers and take it on longer trips, without sacrificing my preference for modern conveniences.
XT: Price, compared to other semi-custom boats that you could have had made for yourself is the price right for the quality?
CC: Yes. I have been boat shopping for years and I don’t think I could have got a brand new aluminum boat with all of the features I wanted for under $200K in Alaska. Xtaero got me into the boat that I really wanted much sooner than I anticipated.
Note to readers: Caitlin Crandall has held a 100 Ton license for over 12 years and has extensive experience commercially operating vessels - that are very similar in size and shape to the context of Xtaero boats. Usually mono-hull near shore up to 100 tons but also lots of 30'-ish vessels - on charters, research, rig operations and of course recreation. Caitlin is considered an 'expert' in her field in Homer Alaska and the North Slope. Her friends in these pictures are all hard core are either licensed vessel captains, heavy equipment operators, moms, etc and all around awesome chicks. We consider ourselves very lucky to have interesting professionals like these fine ladies as our owners and friends.
This review was sent to us recently by Xtaero Boat owner Peter Garay (Homer, Alaska). These comments are after about 70hrs on the boat in 2016, and he tells us now that he loves the boat more and more as he keeps using it.
"Xtaero Boat review on our XT24DV Long Cabin.
We ordered this boat in Dec 2015 and asked for delivery to Alaska in May/June 2016. We got it at the end of that time frame and with the exception of the bottom paint (Blue Seal) which we added about 3/4 of the way through we were not charged more than invoice price on any item. As such the final sales price was what we were originally quoted.
Overall we are very happy with the boat. The structure of the hull and welding is of professional grade which is an opinion several of our local welders who have taken the time to look over the boats construction have shared with us. The seats and cabinetry which were built by Bentley and Hollywood interiors and are both of high quality and durability. The seaworthiness of this boat is particularly noteworthy for a 24' boat as it acts more like a 30' boat, cruising easily in light chop at 27kts burning 2.1mpg's. We've made several 100+nm trips comfortably including one to the Barren Islands in the Gulf of Alaska.
At the time of delivery there were a couple of "new boat items / issues" that Travis saw to the resolution of working with our local Suzuki Dealer and technicians. As we dealt with these items it was comforting for me to see that Xtareo boats stood behind their warranty on these items and paid the bill for all adjustments and repairs which we considered to all be minor for a new build. The only design issue that I would encourage Xtaero to look at improving is the boats fish hold configuration. This could be addressed with the addition of an emancipator pump located directly in the fish hold which would help keep the catch bled, and fresh. On this note I have been told that Xtaero is actively working on implementing this suggestion.
Cost-wise, the price we paid for the boat, motor, trailer, and delivery was most competitive with the quotes we received for other semi custom built Aluminum boats of similar size. In the end, Xtaero met its timeline and budget and, in our opinion, delivered a superior product. The boat not only performs well but aesthetically is also very pleasing to look at as is evidenced by the number of comments she receives around the boat harbor.
All that said we recommend if you are in the market for a new boat and are looking for quality and seaworthiness that Xtaero be at the top of your list.
Best / Pete Garay "
Note: Peter Garay is a 25+ year professional sailor with thousands of days at sea in every kind of boat on the Gulf of Alaska, Bering Sea and Arctic Ocean. Mr. Garay holds unlimited tonnage licenses and has owned many boats and purchased many boats professionally. He's broken more ice, caught lots of fish, and is very passionate about boats, marine ecology and the marine industry.
Mr. Garay was not paid for these comments, his boat aptly named ENO is not a demo boat like we have in place in Kodiak, however he does offer to discuss and show it to people who are considering purchasing an Xtaero.
Xtaero Boat Review
Xtaero One Year Review, Kodiak, Alaska
12 Month Anniversary of taking delivery of their Xtaero Boat.
"Review of our one year old Xtaero Boat. We ordered the Xtaero Boat in Dec/Jan 2015 and got the boat in August 2015 so we've had it for a year. In that time we usually trailer it to and from the Kodiak City ramp. We chose the boat based on Travis Brandts reputation and the design. As a 22' it acts more like a 26' or 28' in the type of seas we go out in. We get very windy chop here, massive current swings that really crank up the water and we like to go 30 to 60nm round trip between fishing spots and port. The ride in rough seas is incredible.
There have been three issues with the boat that were handled immediately and expertly by Travis and the guys at Xtaero. 1. Water pump initially installed was not strong enough, they replaced it immediately with a new pump and paid the labor. 2. Lenco trim tab actuator that Xtaero handled and a new actuator was sent up immediately, and replaced. 3. The Suzuki motor had a sensor that was causing a variable RPM swing and our local dealer is dealing with Suzuki on that.
The seaworthiness of the boat is something that my friends can't get over. We have caught hundreds of fish - literally - from King and Silver salmon to Halibut and put about 200hrs on the motor. We could have spent less money on a boat but in a different 22 or even 24' boat we couldn't go on the days we wanted to, or to the places we wanted to. We got what we paid for. We were not charged a penny over the invoice, and in fact Xtaero came and delivered the boat at no charge, delivered with a full tank of gas at no charge, and replaced the water pump at no charge, and installed the Cannon downriggers at no charge. This would have cost at least $2,000 in extra work by a 'normal' company, but we have found out in the past year that working with Xtaero Boats is much better than normal.
The boat handles 4 people and a boat full of fish very well. I take my kids out as much as possible and feel the high gunwhales and transom keep my youngsters on the deck and safe. The boat rides quiet, smooth, and fast, three things that make a day on the water just that much more enjoyable. The boat has lived up to its billing. Xtaero has been a pleasure to deal with and I couldn’t be happier with the purchase." - Doug F. Kodiak, AK
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