Princecraft Starfish 16′ DLX SC review #7: after a year of ownership

June 21, 2013

I’ve never owned a boat which brought less drama, that demanded less of its owner.

Last fall I hauled it while incapacitated with a leg injury. Into the plastic shed it went with only the most rudimentary winterizing steps. It sat there for a couple of months, and as I recovered I took the contents of the locker out and dried them. The charger went onto the trolling motor battery, but the other one sat where it was.

In one boneheaded moment during a heavy snowstorm in February I put my fist through the 6 mm plastic roof above the bow seat. Hasty repairs with tuck tape controlled most of the leakage for the remainder of the winter, but some water found its way to the floor of the building through the bilge.

As soon as possible in spring I hauled it out and launched it. The fuel in the tanks had received ample stabilizer, but not what had actually been in the engine at layup. With some apprehension I turned the key. The Merc 40 purred to life as if it had last been operated the day before. I ran out to ensure that the ice was in fact out of the lake, and then announced the winner of the Newboro Lake Ice-Out Contest, Louise Pritchard of Newboro.

It turned out to be a quiet spring for boating, and by the first week in June when I hauled the Princecraft for a bath, I had to scrub hard to get the accumulated algae off the hull and lower unit. The interior was littered with the remains of flowers from the overhanging oak tree. An hour with the pressure washer took care of the grooming, though I don’t know how I could clean the textured vinyl flooring without a high pressure jet.

As far as the performance of the boat, I have become utterly spoiled. It runs beautifully at whatever speed I choose up to 29 mph. It handles a chop as well as can be expected from a vessel not built of wooden planks. There’s room for four fishing rods plus tackle in the locker. Life jackets lurk out of the way under the helm.

Early on I removed a spray head from the input to the live well after it had plugged with weeds. I wasn’t able to thread it back in so it rode around in the bottom of the tank until the tournament on June 15th. Somehow it found its way into the drain, and then a crewman screwed the top stalk into place over it, effectively plugging the overflow. To compound the problem I turned the pump on to keep our fish lively and before long there was more water than I would like on the lower deck of the boat. Ten minutes of bilge pump work and things were settled again, but I would recommend not abandoning that spray fitting in the bottom of the live well.

We placed third in the tournament that day, but it was not the fault of the boat. It performed flawlessly. Perhaps one reason for my reduced fish production this year is that the boat is so enjoyable at trolling speed that I have spent increasing amounts of time loafing around in deep water, looking at the scenery instead of digging aggressively for largemouths along the shoreline.

Anyway, so far, so good on the Princecraft/Mercury 40.


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