Even though I normally lean toward sailboats, I have to admit that chasing Lenny Rudow down to film video boat reviews is a lot easier when the throttle doesn’t depend on the breeze. So this past week in Oconto, Wisconsin, I quickly homed in on my favorite photo boat of the lineup: the Cruisers Sport Series 278. It was clearly designed for fun rather than work, but it turned out to be a reliable platform for nailing the shots we needed.
Hopefully you don’t think too much about the photo boat when you watch our video boat reviews. But it’s quite a challenge to coordinate two boats running at a full plane, only 20 feet apart. Lenny drives the boat he’s reviewing, and I drive the photo boat. Maintaining a constant distance between the boats while subtly changing the perspective (slightly ahead, alongside, and then slightly astern) takes full concentration. The 278’s weight and stepped hull made it predictable, even through the steep wind-driven chop we found out on Green Bay.
This particular boat included the optional Cruisers Extreme package, which adds a tow tower, board racks, and some very cool graphics to the standard bowrider configuration. The red hull (combined with a red shirt that Jon Viestenz from Cruisers claimed as a coincidence) inspired Paul, our videographer, to pull out his still camera and take nearly 100 shots while Lenny was running the numbers for RPM, MPG, top end speed.
“These are sport boats, and man, they are sporty,” Lenny said. “The 278 would make a really fun family boat—you can tow the kids around on wakeboards, skis, or tubes.”
The Cruisers Sport Series 278 is clearly not intended for hard work, but it made capturing video easy. And a few years ago, I never would’ve given the 278 a second look. Now I’ll notice when one goes zipping by, though I’ll probably be thinking about something Cruisers never intended: “That would make a great photo boat.”
Look for our upcoming review of the CSS 278 Extreme, and in the meantime you can check out our 2012 video review of an earlier Cruisers Sports Series 278 or learn a little more about the team behind the camera (see "Boats.com Video Boat Reviews: Behind the Scenes").