Monaro Marine Ltd.
Gabriola to Vancouver by 255EX

When Dan Parker of Monaro Marine was asked to build a fast boat for a quick crossing of the Strait of Georgia he had the answer. It had to be a boat with a soft ride, the Monaro already had that. How to make it even softer? – extend it. Taking the 24 he added on a section at the stern which incorporated the swim platform and created the 25.5. This fast, soft riding hull was then fitted with a new Yanmar 300 hp turbo diesel engine capable of pushing the vessel to 50 mph.

For a boat that would make many crossings of the Strait each year not only was the ride important but also the fuel economy. With speed one is inclined to lose out on that. But not picture1 so much with the diesel. To create the commuter Parker began with a standard 24’ model and added an integral flotation/swim platform to extend the hull by 1 1/2 feet.

To accommodate the extra weight and size of the Yanmar, the engine had to literally protrude half way through the transom. So an added rear end transom/swim platform combination was designed to house that part of the engine that sticks out the back. From the stern it looks like an enclosed step has been built into the centre of the swim grid. The added buoyancy of the new, extended engine compartment compensates for the extra weight of the big diesel and the boat ended up with an ideal floating stance. In the cockpit, a soundproof engine cover tips forward and the entire transom bulkhead lifts clear for ease of access.

Hull construction has been beefed up throughout in anticipation of the pounding seas on a rough crossing of the Strait. Bulkheads and stringers have an even heavier layup than the usual Monaro specifications, already exceptional by industry standards. To trim the boat at the bow for added comfort and stability at high speed in rough water an eight gallon domestic water tank is mounted on the prow.

To take advantage of warm Gulf Islands summers, the owner opted for a convertible soft top. Seating is arranged as in a car, with two bucket seats mounted two a side on platforms raised about a foot above the cabin sole. This gives passengers and pilots added visibility and creates two large storage bins underneath. The portside platform is fitted with a drawer that accomodates a 10hp Yamaha auxiliary outboard motor. A hydraulic mount on the swim platform can be elevated for easy installation of the auxiliary, then lowered for use. Two buspicture2 heaters, one of which serves also to heat the windscreen, allow passengers and pilot to adjust the temperature to their liking.

There is a spacious berth in the forward cabin. Typically this is where the head would also be located but options allow a stand up head to be built into the hardtop model.

A 4.1 litre 300 hp Yanmar diesel engine was selected to make the crossing of the Strait of Georgia as brief as feasible yet still be economical in the long run. This 24 valve 6 cylinder powerhouse is coupled to a special diesel version of the Mercruiser Bravo 3 leg with dual, counter-rotating 12 ½" stainless props. The Yanmar develops 525 ft-lbs of torque at a continuous high-speed cruise of around 3,400 rpm.

A bow thruster provides extra maneuverability in confined spaces, aided by a specially designed Teleflex hydraulic steering unit with a high ratio 2.5:1 helm for quick response at high speed. Instrumentation is different. Custom white faced gauges are set over the central doorway to the forward cabin, with radar and GPS/sounder units directly in front of the helm. These items are located in a console covered by a smoked plastic cover which gives them some protection against theft and reduces the need for removal of the electronics for security purposes when the boat is left unattended.

On a test ride the exceptional power and control of the 255 was evident from the moment of leaving the mooring. Climbing onto plane a tad slower than with a gas engine, the boat was up and going and soon showed what she could do. She literally leaped ahead and in less than 10 seconds was running at 50 mph.