Eye-catching, smooth-driving and lounge-worthy deckboat.
- LOA: 29'3"
- Beam: 9'2"
- Weight: 8,150-8,350 lbs.
- Fuel Capacity: 137 gals.
- Water Capacity:
- Power: 600 hp
- Price: Contact dealer
First off, the 18,770-acre lake, measuring about 19 miles long and 3 miles wide, is a real jaw-dropper itself. The lake’s aqua-blue water is so clear that you can see the bottom in 40-plus depths on a calm day. The aesthetics of this lake is why multi-million-dollar homes are built upon its shores, and, as you can imagine, these homeowners dock some mighty fine boats out front. Boaters will travel many miles just to cruise the dozen bodies of water within Torch’s Chain of Lakes system, which eventually flows into Lake Michigan.
And then there’s “The Sandbar” directly out front from where the driver was picking me up; where thousands of folks and hundreds of boats anchor for summer fun. Our sea trial took place in late August, just as The Sandbar’s party was about to start.
To stand out on Torch Lake is not easy, yet most everyone on the lake that day took a second glance at the sleek body of this boat. The E29 XS is undeniably eye-catching.
Right off the batClassified as a sport deckboat, the E29 XS is the largest in Crownline’s Eclipse XS series and sports the F.A.S.T. Tab hull, with her bow angled at 31 degrees. That’s what my eyes were fixed on as it sliced through the surface while coasting up to the dock. I could tell right off the bat this was, at the very least, going to be a smooth ride in a chop that was accumulating from the increasing wind and boat traffic.
A performance hull like this is also great for motoring through fast-flowing river systems, such as the one the boat had just exited. Here, the river narrows and runs about 5 mph. The Torch River typically has dozens of boats traversing at one time, which then spin around and tie up to the boardwalk of the on-shore party store, where boaters can get gas and supplies for the day. Boat control is crucial in situations like this for safety and keeping the peace, and the E29 XS steered flawlessly through the current.
The first test, however, came well before starting the twin 250-hp four-stroke Mercury Verado outboards (the E29 XS is rated for up to dual 300s, mind you), and that was seeing how difficult it would be to get myself — with ruptured disks in my lower back, a new titanium hip and other assorted ouchies — into the rig.
To my relief, the rear full-width, wraparound swim platform was a great height for boarding from the dock, with soft, non-slip matting and room to move about, including plenty of space between the two rear seats. All I had to do was step on, touch one hand to one of the outboards to steady my now-normal wobble, then walk right through and down into the cockpit area.
It slices, not dicesThe E29 XS is nothing like the dicey deckboats of yesteryear that my uncle used to rent for family events on this Chain of Lakes. Those would jar your every joint if the chop rose above 1 foot, and then take water over the bow in waves any taller. Instead, this boat’s hull made for one of the smoothest rides I’ve had in a long time.
Between the boat traffic and wind, the waves were reaching 2 feet and coming from all different directions. Not once did the boat waver as the hull sliced through the inland sea, no matter our speed. And in this chop, the craft averaged only 4.5 seconds from idle to a comfortable 30 mph cruising speed.
The idea behind the E29 XS is a melding of deckboat and bowrider, including its seating. The spacious U-shaped bow area is designed for comfort and convenience, featuring “hot tub” style lounge seats with heavy-duty flip-down armrests. The driver and passenger seats face forward or recline into rear-facing loungers, and feature flip-up bolsters, which allowed me a higher ride while viewing well over the windshield. Dual electric aft lounge seats easily adjust to your desired position: Foward-facing, aft facing, flat for use as a sun lounge and every position in between. To tell you the truth, the seating was more comfy than any in my home.
Now you see it, now you don’tIs there anything worse than having to step over stuff when you’re moving about a boat? I think not. And with all the storage available on the E29 XS, I couldn’t see how this would ever be a problem, even if surprised with extra guests and gear.
The large storage areas beneath both bow seats were impressive enough. Combine those with two huge in-floor storage compartments with impact-resistant finish on the floor; a finished storage tub at the transom; and in-floor bow storage, and the only thing you should see out in the open are the cold drinks in the stainless steel cup holders.
To keep drinks and munchies ice cold, there’s a marine drawer refrigerator incorporated under the cockpit bench seating, and a built-in 36-quart cooler at the bow; out of sight but not out of mind.
A portable dining table can be used at the bow or within the cockpit area, and stores away in the under-mount storage drawer when not in use. When nature calls after all that sipping and feasting, there’s a well-lit, roomy head, featuring upper and lower cabinetry and granite countertops, a vessel sink and silhouette faucet, and an electric-flush head with holding tank — all concealed within the passenger-side console. And when I say it’s roomy, well, let’s just say if I can fit in there, anyone can.
When you’re tired of the sun’s rays, there’s a standard Marquis aluminum hardtop featuring a pullout SureShade canvas extension to protect everyone in the cockpit; a feature I was more than happy to utilize on this hot summer day.
It’s the little thingsI admit, I like to listen to music while boating, and the E29 XS impressed me with its premium Polk stereo and 10 marine WetSounds speakers; they’re nice enough you don’t have to crank the volume and annoy the neighbors… Well, unless you want to.
Keeping up with modern technology, there are several USB ports located throughout the boat, and a Raymarine eS98 touch-screen MFD with engine and depth information. Depending on your choice of engines, you have the option of Mercury D.T.S. or Yamaha D.E.C. controls. Everything the kids want for waterskiing is here, too, including a rope station and a built-in ladder that conceals when not needed.
If anything, the E29 XS was comfortable enough that I could hang out in it all day — just what Crownline designed it for. Go figure.
Fox Lake Harbor
Fox Lake, IL
Commerce Charter Township, MI; Harrison Township, MI; Howell, MI