I was walking to docks at the recent Palm Beach boat show, when I came across a Blackjack 224. This is a beefy bay boat, the brainchild of Bill Kenner, who created Blackjack years after selling the Kenner brand, which he also founded. The 224 looked sharp, as always – it has a sweeping sheerline and plenty of flare for a boat of this type, and tumblehome at the transom. But it occurred to me that we haven’t heard anything new from Blackjack in many years. That was when the dealer mentioned the new Blackjack 256.
Yes, the number-one thing that will get Blackjack fans excited is the boat’s larger size. This means you can head through the inlet or into bigger waters when the weather is appropriate (read Is it Safe to Take Your Bay Boat into the Ocean, for some insight into when this is a good idea and when it isn’t). But size alone isn’t the only difference between this boat and its smaller sibling. The 256 comes packed with standard features, including highlights like: LED lighting, gas-assist struts on the hatches, an 80-gallon fuel capacity, an insulated livewell under the front step to the bow, and an anodized aluminum leaning post with four rocket launchers, a backrest, and stowage under the seats. An even bigger difference can be found in the console; it has a front-opening console door, and enough room for a head compartment inside.
The 256 can take more power, too, with a maximum horsepower rating to 350. And that’s more than enough juice. According to Yamaha (which in my experience publishes performance reports that are dead on-target, without fail) the boat will hit 66.0 MPH with an F350 on the transom. Cruising speed is an eye-opening 48.2 MPH at 4500 RPM. At that speed, you’re burning 17.6 GPH to get around 2.75 miles to the gallon. And, if you can hold yourself back and run at 2500 RPM and 23.0 MPH, you can get just over 3.8 miles to the gallon. (Yeah, right – like any of us could resist pushing down that throttle!)
One more thing about the size difference between the 224 and the 256: this new model isn’t just longer, it’s three inches wider, too. Although that doesn’t sound like much, that three additional inches makes a huge difference when you load the boat up with several friends. If you’ve had or been on a Blackjack 224 and found it impressive (I’m guessing you will have,) the 256 is definitely going to be of interest.