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22' Bay Boat question

Old 01-13-2021, 04:56 PM
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Hi, new member here. I have been doing research on my 1st bay boat purchase and was wondering if anyone has any experience with what I'm considering. I have basically narrowed it down to the Sportsman Masters 227, the Robalo 226, and the Pioneer 220 Baysport. The Sportsman seems to offer a lot of bang for the buck, but the dealer is 1.5 hours away. The Robalo has every add on that I would ever need/want, the price is right, but someone I know who makes their living working on boats told me the Robalos are not high quality and best to avoid. I am leaning toward the Pioneer, because the dealer is very close by and owners reviews paint them in a positive light. This is my question; if the Pioneer is more expensive than other similar new boats and of supposedly higher quality, why when I compare same year and same options into NADA the Pioneer comes up with the lowest value? Am I looking at this wrong, or is NADA all jacked up? I appreciate any insight from anyone who might have experience with any of these (or other boats in this group).
Old 01-13-2021, 05:28 PM
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I have owed 1 boat. A 22' bayboat. I have been on a 20' pioneer.

my gut is not to trust NADA. And for used boats, depending on age, the outboard can be a significant value of the boat. For example a 22' Pioneer with a 140 Suziki vs a 22' Robalo with a Yamaha 250. There's approximately 10k difference in motor value. Not to mention the matrix of outboard hours or the new E-tec anomaly.
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Old 01-13-2021, 05:53 PM
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Look at the brands yourself and draw your own conclusions. I’ve heard the knock on Robalo before but after crawling over a number 206, 226, and 246 Caymans and a dozen other brand's models of similar size the Robalos were just as good or better IMO.
Old 01-13-2021, 06:00 PM
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If all those boats are outboard powered it is not really fair to compare price without knowing the outboards brand and horsepower.
as for just the hull the pioneer might be the most respected brand by many people. The Rabalo has a big following on THT asp search for there conversations here, you can learn a lot. The sportsman is the newest boat manufacture of the three listed and I would say is at least equal to the Rabolo.
As to NADA.. the way boat prices are right now I doubt you will buy many if any boats for NADA prices. But it is a good conversation to try to negotiate. The seller will likely say good information, but does not change the price.
Old 01-13-2021, 06:01 PM
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Thanks for the replies. I have yet to sea trial any of these boats yet, just figuring out what I, and the family needs. Regarding the nada thing, I was plugging in the same engines for all. It was just that nada seemed to be giving me the opposite thing that I was expecting. (I know in reality there are many variables, such as how well the boat was kept) I just don’t want to make an expensive mistake.
Old 01-13-2021, 07:14 PM
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The 2015 and 2016 Robalo Cayman 226’s had better quality control than when they became very popular and Robalo started pushing them out en masse..

We’ve been very pleased with our 2015… Seems to do everything pretty darn well. And one of the biggest things that I like is that it seems to have a ton of room for a 22 foot boat, whether it be walking around the consul, walking the gunnels from the large front to the large back deck etc. I’ve been on some friends 26 foot boats they didn’t have as much room. And it’s incredibly stable at rest.

The only major improvement I made was the installation of an 8 inch setback Bob’s machine shop Jackplate

And, the previous owner bought the bow cushion set, and gave it to me still in the plastic wrapping unused but he never bought the forward back rest package. I sourced some leftover 2017 forward back rests from the west coast and to be honest they really made it like a whole new boat with the forward seating and they were the same canvas color and pattern..

Shot a brief drone video of the wife and I cruising a month or so ago…






Old 01-13-2021, 07:23 PM
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Two more boats com to mind Sea Hunt 22BR and Sea Born FX-22 If you are staying at 22'. With all the boats you are deciding on 200 or 250 HP , don't go the price-tag route and get a 150.
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Old 01-13-2021, 07:31 PM
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Originally Posted by kdenap View Post
Two more boats com to mind Sea Hunt 22BR and Sea Born FX-22 If you are staying at 22'. With all the boats you are deciding on 200 or 250 HP , don't go the price-tag route and get a 150.
Something to keep in mind that I’ve noticed.

And I want to preface this by saying I am not a robalo fan boy, just my observation.

One day, I stepped off my Cayman’s gunwale onto a pathfinder 22’s gunwale I rafted to at the restaurant, and almost fell in the water when the Pathfinder “ dipped” under my weight.. The Cayman does not dip or roll when you’re walking around on it even on the gunwales.. It is very heavy and wide for a 22 foot boat..

I’ve also spent time on a sea hunt be 22, quite a bit actually including off shore and it is a fine boat, but still not as stable or heavy duty as the Cayman. I was impressed how well it performs with an F150 though..almost as well as my Cayman with F200..



Old 01-14-2021, 04:05 AM
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I would go Pioneer.
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Old 01-14-2021, 04:44 AM
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As a Robalo Cayman 226 owner since 2017 I can say with confidence that Robalo builds a quality boat. Mine is docked in a slip all 12 months of the year and has never had an issue. They are heavy but that in my opinion gives me assurance to go and come from our inlet even on rough days.
the other boats you mentioned are fine boats and you won’t go wrong either way. Sea Hunt builds nice boats but their bay boats seem too light for my taste. Just my opinion of course.
Old 01-14-2021, 05:05 AM
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Thanks for all the input. I had noticed that the Cayman 226 was much heavier than the others. It is more important to me to be able to get through any rough stuff than be able to go faster, so in that way the Robalo does appeal to me.
Old 01-14-2021, 05:15 AM
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Originally Posted by kdenap View Post
Two more boats com to mind Sea Hunt 22BR and Sea Born FX-22 If you are staying at 22'. With all the boats you are deciding on 200 or 250 HP , don't go the price-tag route and get a 150.
I agree with this. You really don't have a bad boat in your list. Some may be more fishy than others.
Old 01-14-2021, 05:23 AM
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Go with the Pioneer!!
Let me start with, we have owned our new Pioneer Bay Sport 220 since May, it is our 4th boat since the early 90s. The others were; '84 Wellcraft v20 CC, '75 23 SeaCraft Secptre, '04 Key West 186 CC, so this is the 2nd NEW boat we have owned, as the Key West was new when purchased. We looked at Sportsman but with the lines of the Pioneer & the seating layout, the wife was hooked & I was hooked with the lines & the power option; 250 VMAX. The interior layout is new for 2020 and does a very good job of managing fishing & sandbar crews. I have nearshore trolled & chased trout so far this year and the boat suits my needs and is easy to fish and with it being a hybrid with the slightly higher gunnels, I never felt unsafe outside. It handles our sound's wind driven chop very well & the few trips to the Cape Lookout Lighthouse have been handled with ease and very dry. My wife has been thoroughly satisfied with the ride as she has had hip replacement and the little Key West was beginning to limit our outings on the windier days, but we did not miss a beat this summer when she wanted to go, she was comfortable on the Pioneer every time.
My only gripe with the Pioneer is that the huge forward fishbox drains into the bilge & is not macerated overboard, but that is it after 8 months of ownership. They usually come rigged with a 200 HP, but with the 250, we cruise at 32-3400 RPMs at 32-34 MPH and I have not regretted having the extra power available. For the 4th fireworks, we had a full load of fuel, people & coolers and the boat held plane flawlessly and never struggled operating where & when I needed it. The ride is great and the fit & finish is very good, with no issues to date. The boat comes wired & rigged for a trolling motor, has 3 livewells/seachests and plenty of options, as we opted for canvas T-top (hard top was too much $$), porta potti, dual swim platforms (which will not interfere with power pole additions on either side) & of course the extra HP.

Hope this helps! Good Luck on your decision!!
Old 01-14-2021, 05:23 AM
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Do some research on Carolina Composites; they own Pioneer- I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. I have not had to go back to them for any issues, but everybody that has had to reports a good experience. They are down in SC and reportedly stand behind their products pretty well. I've been happy with their 'economy' brand Bulls Bay and would purchase another boat built by Carolina Composites with no hesitation.
Old 01-14-2021, 05:44 AM
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This is all great info. Everyone that owns the pioneer has great things to say about the customer service. I know how boats are, and the fact that my pioneer dealer is minutes down the road certainly makes this attractive. I just don’t have the patience to fight with either the dealer or manufacturer to get things done. That being said, I would not hesitate to trailer to get the best boat that I can afford. I plan on this next boat being with me for a long time.
Old 01-14-2021, 07:25 AM
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A friend of mine owned an '08 BaySport 220 for many years, and I was so impressed with the boat, that when I decided to simplify and downsize, I bought one without even considering anything else. I tried to find one used, but after 9 months of looking, I gave up and ended up buying a new one in '14. They hold their value extremely well, and you won't find many for sale on the used market.

My friend sold his '08 to a mutual friend who still has it, and there's not a stress crack to be found. Both of them run the boat hard, particularly the original owner. Mine has been flawless, and there's not a stress crack to be found on mine either. Everything is finished, including the bilge, the backs of hatches, storage and fish boxes, etc., and the construction is light, but solid. Fit and finish is as good or better than some "high tier" brands. I'll step over a beaver, and head out on a limb to say it's probably the best riding 22' boat on the water, period. I've been on a lot of brands, and have yet to find one that rides as good as mine. The hybrid design with a sharp entry, rising sheer line, and flared bow provides an excellent and dry ride, and it's a more capable rough water boat than a typical bay boat. The new, updated version is fabulous. I also like the all-composite construction. The Robalo weighs more because they use plywood in the construction, which I personally wanted to avoid.

I can attest to the factory support. I had a question about props and motor height, and one of the owners called me personally. My only issue with Pioneer is that they refuse to make a BaySport 250/260, which is a big miss in my opinion, particularly with the popularity of bay/hybrids in that size range.
Old 01-14-2021, 01:22 PM
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After looking at the Pioneer Baysport 22 on their site I'm not sure about the front deck. Seems like they could have made it flat all the way instead up the step down toward the console. And it looks like a notched transom.

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