If you’re looking at premium bay boats, there’s a good chance you’ve run across both the Nautic Star 2200 Tournament and the Blackjack 224 . How do these boats stack up when compared head-to-head? Let’s take a look-see.
Whenever you’re researching bay boats, no matter who you are one thing that you’ll want to consider is price. Both of these models can be found in the upper $30,000 range to the upper $40,000 range. Power choices, options, and rigging will all come into play, but the bottom line is that the Blackjack and the Nautic Star are going to be competitive, and pricing alone probably won’t sway you one way or the other.
Next on the list is performance. The Blackjack weighs in just under 2,000 pounds and with 225 horses on the transom, blasts past 55-mph. The Nautic Star has a hair more heft at 2,100 pounds and with the same amount of power, also runs in the mid- to upper-50’s. Both boats share a hull design that incorporates a 15 degree transom deadrise, and—having personally tested both in choppy waters—I’m comfortable saying that these boats handle waves extremely well for their size and design. Once again, the word that best describes their performance is “competitive”.
How about fit and finish? Here, we finally see some differences come out. Both boats are unquestionably top-shelf, with excellent gel coat work, hardware, graphics, and upholstery. The Blackjack also features tumblehome in the transom and a widely flared bow, however, which give it a classic look. The Nautic Star, on the other hand, has racier looks with a sharp entry, two-tone hull coloration, and raised chrome lettering. Which boat looks better to your eye is going to come down to personal preference, not a question of quality.
Fishing features are, of course, eminently important in a bay boat. The Blackjack boasts such items as nine-foot rodboxes that can hold both conventional and fly rods, vertical console rodholders, a removable 94-qt. cooler, an integrated and insulated fishbox, and a centered livewell. The Nautic Star’s list of standards includes highlights like under-gunwale rodracks, vertical console rodholders, a 30-gallon insulated, integrated fishbox, and a 37-gallon livewell with the option to add another 20 gallon well. Both boats have raised fore and aft casting decks, toe-kicks around the foredeck, forward console seats, and gunwale rodholders. We can find another difference between these two, however, by looking at the gunwales. The Blackjack’s are a bit wider, for walk-around use. The Nautic Star’s are narrower, which makes it harder to walk around on them but as a result, also increases the boat’s overall interior cockpit volume.
Which of these boats is “better”? You can make a good argument for either one—and you can make a better argument that these two boats run neck-and-neck, in the competition to see which bay boat is the best.