Semi-custom for faster heart beats.
By Bill Jennings
The key to finding a boat that you really love, is selecting one that will superbly handle the waters on which you boat in addition to matching your personal needs. Although it was many years ago, I can still vividly recall the first time that I raced a Checkmate. I crossed the start-line with 10 other boats, running full tilt for the first turn. As I approached the turn I realized there were no other boats around me and gave a concerned glance over my shoulder. I discovered that I had already put the rest of the fleet behind me.
More recently, when I was in the market for a new boat with all the amenities of a high end family runabout and was prepared to sacrifice top end performance to get it. But then I remembered my Checkmate. I knew that a winning hull design is hard to find and wondered if I could start with one of Checkmates amazing performance hulls, and then add my own wish list of comfort and convenience features. When Doug Smith confirmed that such a plan was possible, because most Checkmates are custom built, I ordered their 24’ outboard powered Pulsar model and submitted my list of must have’s.
I specified a single Evinrude E-Tec 250HO – BRP’s short shaft performance version of their 300 horsepower outboard block – because of its’ outstanding performance figures. Interior wise, I added a few creature comforts including a full under-deck V-berth with a hide-away port-a-potty. Padded arm rests to make throttle operation both comfortable and more accurate. Four-way adjustable rock solid front bucket seats by McCloud and the well positioned grab handles to provide maximum security. And a rear bench seat built for four passengers.
A sharp appearance is important to any recreational boater and Checkmate’s Pulsar models offer stunning looks, with sleekness accentuated by a low windshield and a long ‘droop snoot’ foredeck. The addition of fore and aft, flush mount navigation lights and heavy duty pop-up cleats enhance the smooth lines. To make this package even more distinctive, I ordered a pastel yellow gel coat, with white trim.
Practical features are appreciated most over time and I specified several for this Checkmate. The flooring is 100% covered in a heavy duty rubber matting, but a carpet is included that can be snapped in for casual cruise days with friends. An in-floor locker is large enough to store boards, skis and lines. To have a power reserve for the big V-6 outboard there are twin batteries with a heavy duty selector switch. Twelve volt outlets allow for carry on accessories. The outboard is mounted on an adjustable set back bracket to permit performance tuning. The boarding ladder is stainless steel and spring loaded to fold open to a greater depth. A professional grade water sports tow bar is removable so as not to disrupt the Checkmate profile. Electronics include an AM/FM/CD stereo and a large screen Garmin combination chart plotter, fish finder and depth sounder.
Of course, I couldn’t wait to get this 24’ Checkmate into the water. You can imagine my surprise and delight when on her maiden run she turned a top speed of 84 mph on the GPS. While this speed number for a single stock outboard, 24’ runabout is impressive in itself, I was most impressed with the safe and easy to drive handling. In a two foot chop, even a nervous grandmother will love the silky smooth ride that this 2400 Pulsar delivers.
Interestingly, Checkmate tells me that this boat in a bow rider configuration has become one of their hottest sellers. So if you are looking for a recreational lake boat that does everything well and at a reasonable price, you will be hard pressed to beat this 24’ Checkmate/Evinrude combination.
Overall length: 24´ / 7.2 m
Beam: 99˜ / 2.4 m
Degree of Deadrise: 22°
Weight: 2,000 lbs. / 909 kgs
Fuel Capacity: 63 Gal. / 239 L
For More Information:
Checkmate Marine Inc.
3691 St. Rt. 4 N. – P.O. Box 351
Bucyrus OH 44820