Tested: Cutwater C-288

Speed and handling earned this vessel the nickname, “The Ripper”

I traveled from Los Angeles to Anacortes, Washington to test the Back Cove 372—a beautiful, well-rounded boat and beautiful vistas were what I was prepared for. What I was not prepared for was the test drive to come to an end in the middle of a desolate cove and for my captain to dock right next to our Cutwater C-288 Coupe chase boat that everyone kept calling it “the ripper.”

“Ok, let’s switch,” the members of the chase boat called out. Following my crewmate, Jeff Moser, Editor-in-Chief of Passagemaker, I jumped across the cockpit of the 372 to this questionably nicknamed boat. The inside of this boat was not as luxurious as the boat I had just tested, but it had a certain charm—it felt like a boat that was built for adventure, no frills, just raw unspoken power.

Photo: Jonathan Cooper

But the unspoken quickly became audible as the C-288 got out of the hole in what felt like a blink of the eye. I noticed the seasoning rack in the galley across from me felt the power too as everything on there had quickly slid to the edge of its surface in response to the force of the 52-knot top speed.

“See how she rips?” our captain said, as he turned the wheel sharply.

And that’s when it hit me, this boat wasn’t named after a British serial killer from the 1800s. No, it was named after the wild ripping turns that she’s capable of making at a few flicks of the wrist.

With twin 250-hp Yamaha outboards, the C-288 is built to move fast, but she’s not all speed boys—she’s also got class. The fact that the boat’s built with outboard engines allows the salon, which seats four, to serve as a cozy and quiet spot for guests even when she’s at full speed. Or on a hot day, a built-in grill near the outboards comes in handy along with a spacious cockpit that fits five guests when you lift the bulkhead window and reveal the additional hidden seating.

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“You want a turn?” the captain asked me, gesturing to the wheel—he’d regret this later.

With both a seal and logs in sight, I started slow, reaching a 35-knot cruising speed as I maneuvered past the obstacles ahead. But once the coast was clear, it was time to experience how she got her nickname for myself. I brought the throttle to full tilt and ripped the wheel.

“Really? You’re turning it at open?” Moser laughed as he held on for dear life behind our captain.

After making a few figure eights, our captain advised it was time to head in. I decided we should do that at full throttle as well. And here’s where it got fun. The wake the boat had just made from my tight turns now served as a ramp for us to launch off. Within seconds, we were nearly airborne. In the corner of my eye, I could see Moser shaking his head.

“You just like to punch through waves, don’t you?” he said, while the cool-headed captain just laughed.

Photo: Jonathan Cooper

Cutwater C-288 Specifications:

LOA: 33’7
Beam: 10’
Draft: 2’9”
Displ.: 10,000 lbs
Fuel: 200 gal.
Water: 41 gal.
Power: 2/250-hp Yamaha Outboards

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Source: https://www.powerandmotoryacht.com/boats/cutwater-c-288-sea-trial-and-review