Bowriders are fun, we should all know this by now. They offer us options, and let us enjoy a day at sea in a myriad of ways. Sometimes, fishing, sometimes water skiing, sometimes sunbathing, and sometimes just cruising the high seas to clear our heads. Whatever your reason is, having the right boat to accommodate your needs is crucial for stretching your sea legs properly.
Bayliner has been in the business of building quality boats for years. The 175 BR and 215 BR both are fine examples of classic styling and excellent performance. But the Bayliner VR6 puts both of those boats in their place, and has solidified itself as possibly the best boat that Bayliner has ever built.
Beginning with an all-glass composition, the VR6 is made using a foam-filled fiberglass stringer system that eliminates any worry or concern that wood-based boats may illicit. There is an air of quality about every inch of the VR6. No cheap parts in sight, no obvious corners cut, yet conversely, there is no outstanding unnecessary uber-tech either. The seating adjusts with simple removable inserts, The backrests on the aft lounge don’t use any sort of struts or fancy mechanisms, instead they just lay there on a fiberglass lip until they are manually swung out on their supports. So, while nothing is cheap, there is no overuse or excessive investment of capital in flashy nonsense.
The VR6 rides fantastically. Thanks to the aforementioned glass composition, the hull benefits from significant structural rigidity that can be noticed from the moment you engage the motor. The Bayliner tackles wakes with ease and with a 20-degree transom deadrise, it makes quick work of choppy water of any kind. The ‘beam forward’ design mirrors the same idea of the mid-90’s Dodge Intrepid sedan’s ‘Cab Forward’ design, for those of us that are old enough to remember such ad campaigns. But we digress …. Anyway, the beam forward design does actually hold some water (no pun intended). It allows more space for seating, more space for storage in the passenger’s console, and a bit more open feel overall for passengers.
The VR6 comes in with a length overall of 22’4” and a beam of 8’0”, and has a dry weight of 3,796 pounds, yet it feels bigger than it actually is. This look and feel may initially give off the impression that it isn’t a performer, but it can accommodate up to ten people and has a max horsepower rating of 250 hp I/O and 200 hp O/B. The base engine is a 3.0-liter inline-4 Mercury FourStrokes 150 EFI O/B that produces 150 horsepower at 5,800 rpm running on regular gas.
The VR6 offers a host of features for the benefit of passenger comfort. There is an optional head and lockable enclosed changing room. A U-shaped lounge offers up plenty of space to stretch out, or to gather around for a sunset card game. There is also an aft facing companion seat that can be used for fishing or for filming friends wiping out on their water skies. There is a swim platform added to the end of the cockpit area that can double as seating when the boat is at rest.
All in all, the Bayliner VR6 offers up incredible versatility and value. It has a base price of just over $34,000 and with that money, you are entitled to a very well built pleasurable bowrider that can do just about anything you ask it to outside of competitive speedboat racing. But if you’re looking for a solid feeling, easy riding, confidence inspiring all-purpose boat, the Bayliner VR6 may just be the best boat there is to fit that bill.