Amongst the highlights of last weekend’s 60th annual Los Angeles Boat Show, which included the first M35 Open Bow from DCB Performance Boats and a 24-foot V-bottom from Caliber 1 with a lights-out stereo system, was the unexpected 290-S Mid-Cabin Bowrider from Hallett Boats, which featured the Irwindale, Calif., company’s first outboard-engine installation in several decades.
The twin Mercury Verado 300 engines look right at home on Hallett’s new 290-S Mid Cabin Bowrider model. Photo courtesy Hallett Boats
For anyone familiar with the Hallett brand, the new 29-foot, red, gray and white V-bottom immediately stood out upon entering the L.A. Convention Center. So of course I went straight to the source—Hallett’s Jerry Barron—to find out why the company decided to power its latest 29-footer with a pair of Mercury Verado 300 engines.
“We built dozens of outboard-powered boats in the 1980s, but we’ve never done a boat with today’s amazing new technology so this has been a real eye-opener,” Baron said. “We’ve been vacillating (about using outboards) for some time, primarily because we know how much outboards have been dominating the marketplace—stern drives are pretty flat while the outboards are skyrocketing. The first time I went for a test drive with Mercury in a boat with the Verados, I knew we had to do something. Of course it took some time, but we’re very pleased with our first effort.”