Esprit

ESPRIT – Outboard hull

Specifically designed for an outboard – not as an inboard with an outboard option – the craft is the benchmark in outboard ski boats with inboard like performance.

At 6.00m in length, 2.23m beam, with an 18° deadrise, the hull’s solid, yet stylish, design has had Australian Water Ski Association (AWSA) accreditation for trick, slalom and barefoot skiing.

The Esprit boasts a spacious layout with premium-grade vinyl and velour upholstery.

At the helm, a fully height and travel adjustable driver’s bucket seat would allow anyone to drive the boat with unobstructed visibility and within full reach of the controls. The keyed ignition was easy to reach, with the hand throttle and trim adjustment located on the starboard side.

Identical to the comfortable driver’s seat, the passenger/observer seat is solid mounted with a 360° swivel, providing the option for the passenger to face forward if not observing a skier.

Both the driver and passenger are protected by a strong, rolled-top, tinted acrylic wraparound windscreen. A removable centre walk-through panel in the windscreen enabled access to the open bow.

The bow cockpit provides seating for up to three people, with the comfortable cushions lifting to reveal storage compartments beneath.

Back in the cockpit proper, the roomy carpeted floor is flanked by large padded coamings, with deep and lined side-pockets running almost the full length of the boat. Several sets of skis, ropes and other items can be easily accommodated.

Further aft, a full-width rear lounge provides further seating, as well as space behind to store a wakeboard. In a clever design feature, a bimini top is permanently mounted on the boat but can be quickly and neatly folded away beneath the lounge when not required.

Drained storage compartments (moulded into the rear deck in each transom corner) can be filled with ice and used as drink coolers for those long days on the water.

Grab handles on the non-slip boarding platform make boarding easy.

Timber used is in the transom (36mm ply), has been heavily encased in fibreglass, while a composite fibreglass laminated deck is permanently bonded to the strong multi-strake hull.

HIGH-PRESSURE POWER While inboard ski boats dominate the recreational and tournament skiing sectors, after a run in the Esprit even the most hard-core inboard devotee could be converted.

Quickly rising to the plane and at a reasonable wakeboarding speed of around 21mph (34kmh), the Esprit puts out a decent wash with smooth ramps and a nice flat table in between. Added weight would no doubt create even steeper ramps for more experienced boarders.

Contrastingly, at ski speed of around 36mph (58kmh), the boat’s wake is flat, proving itself as an all round performer.

The Esprit rises onto the plane quickly with the trim adjusted at almost any angle. Throwing the boat into corners at speed, the boat sits very flat – similar to an inboard – and shows no hint of cavitation.

Hydraulic steering (fitted as standard) makes driving even easier and not the typical battle with the wheel as is experienced on some outboard ski boats.

VERSATILITY PLUS The Esprit’s outboard configuration also has the advantage of being suitable for fresh or saltwater. Its efficient hull handles chop well adding to the attractiveness as an open-water ski boat.

An excellent all-round ski boat both versatile and capable of handling anything the owner decides to throw at it. The nonconformist Gilflite Esprit might just precipitate an ‘esprit de corps’ among the ski boat fraternity.

GENERAL Material: Fibreglass Length (overall): 6.00m Beam: 2.23m Deadrise: 18° Rec/max hp: 150hp/200hp Weight: 1300kg (on trailer) CAPACITIES Fuel: 85lt

GILFLITE a lifestyle choice!
ESPRIT – OUTBOARD BOWRIDER
PERFORMANCE

THIS BOAT MUST BE TEST DRIVEN TO FULLY APPRECIATE THE FEATURES AS LISTED BELOW. • EFI MERCURY 21” HI FIVE PROP = 100KPH • QUICKLY RISES TO THE PLANE WITH A MINIMUM OF TRIM REQUIRED. • FLAT TURNING AT LOW SPEEDS • EXCELLENT FOR WAKEBOARDING, WATER SKIING, TRICKS AND BAREFOOTING. • THE HULL DESIGN HAS BEEN ACCREDITED WITH AN A.W.S.A. WORLD RATING FOR TRICKS, SLALOM AND BAREFOOTING.

SPECIFICATIONS

• LENGTH OVERALL 6.00 METRES • BEAM 2.23 METRES • HULL SHAPE 18 VEE MULTI STRAKES. QUICK PLANE CHINES. • SEATING PLACES 7 ADULTS

GENERAL CONSTRUCTION

• PREMIUM QUALITY GELCOAT • A COMPOSITE FIBREGLASS LAMINATED DECK PERMANENTLY BONDED TO A STRONGLY CONSTRUCTED HULL. • ROT FREE FIBREGLASS COMPOSITE MOULDED INTERNAL FIXED FLOORS AND BEAMS. • TRANSOM IS FIBREGLASS ENCASED 36MM PLY.

STANDARD FEATURES AND EQUIPMENT
  1. GELCOAT – 2 COLOUR ISO NPG PREMIUM GRADE
  2. LOGOS AND DECAL FLASHING
  3. INTERIOR TRIM AND SEATING – PREMIUM GRADE VINYLS AND VELOUR THROUGHOUT
  4. FLOORING – HEAVY DUTY CARPET
  5. SIDE POCKET STORAGE
  6. DRIVERS SEAT – HAS ADJUSTABLE HEIGHT AND TRAVEL
  7. PASSENGER BUCKET SEAT – SOLID MOUNTED WITH A 360 SWIVEL
  8. REAR LOUNGE FULL WIDTH – HAS FULLY CARPETED SKI STORAGE BEHIND
  9. BOW COCKPIT – PROVIDES COMFORTABLE SEATING FOR 3 PEOPLE WITH UNDER SEAT ANCHOR STORAGE
  10. HYDRAULIC STEERING
  11. DASH LAYOUT – MODERN EASY TO READ GAUGES AND A STYLISH MOULDED GLOVE COMPARTMENT
  12. FUEL TANK SECURELY MOUNTED UNDER THE FLOOR
  13. BUILT IN ICE BOX
  14. SKI POLE – SOLID 50MM POWDER COATED ALUMINIUM
  15. WINDSCREEN – TINTED ROLLED TOP ACRYLIC WITH REMOVABLE CENTRE WALK THROUGH PANEL
  16. GRAB HANDLES – IN THE BOW COCKPIT AND ON THE BOARDING PLATFORM
  17. TIE DOWN U-BOLTS – ON THE BOW AND REAR
  18. TRANSOM MOUNTED DRAIN PLUGS X 3
  19. FUEL TANK – SECURELY MOUNTED UNDER THE FLOOR
  20. SKI ROPE / DRINK STORAGE – MOULDED INTO THE REAR DECK
  21. BOARDING PLATFORM HAS A NON SLIP SURFACE
OPTIONS
  • BOW COCKPIT COVER
  • PERMANANTLY MOUNTED BIMINI THAT FOLDS DOWN UNDER REAR LOUNGE
  • NAVIGATION LIGHTS
  • SOUND SYSTEM
Water Test write up
The GILFLITE Esprit

The highly-animated Gilflite Esprit plays a ‘spiritoso’ out on the water. As its name suggests, this bowrider oozes sprightliness and lively intelligence. Ben Sandman preaches the gospel on a skiboat that’s full of life Renown for their high-quality finish and luxurious appointments, Gilflite skiboats have been creating waves within the industry for many years. But perhaps none moreso than the flagship Esprit bowrider.

Designed and built by David Gil in Croydon (Vic), the original version was introduced around 10 years ago. Specifically designed for an outboard – not as an inboard with an outboard option – the craft has become the benchmark in outboard skiboats.

After recently experiencing the Esprit’s inboard-like performance at the National Water Sports Centre at Carrum (Vic), it was a tough ask to give up the wheel and leave this one behind.

FIRST-CLASS Aimed at the high-end of the skiboat market, the Gilflite Esprit bowrider has a comparatively expensive price tag. But at first glance, it’s clear where every dollar lies. Immaculately finished, the craft earned an A+.

At 6.00m in length, 2.23m beam, with an 18° deadrise, the hull’s solid, yet stylish, design has Australian Water Ski Association (AWSA) accreditation for trick, slalom and barefoot skiing.

Like several other craft on the market, there is no timber in the hull and floor construction, rendering the boat rot-free. The only timber used is in the transom (36mm ply), where it has been heavily encased in fibreglass, while a composite fibreglass laminated deck is permanently bonded to the strong multi-strake hull.

Finished with a blue metalflake design that glittered brightly against the brilliant white gelcoat of the hull, the Esprit testboat looked ‘a million dollars’.

Onboard, the spacious layout and premium-grade vinyl and velour upholstery continued the classy theme.

Beginning at the helm, a fully height and travel adjustable driver’s bucket seat would allow anyone to drive the boat with unobstructed visibility and within full reach of the controls. Steering away from the traditional seven-gauge layout (which is common on most skiboats), two Yamaha digital gauges were flush-mounted in the dash. To fill in the empty white space, two ‘dial’ gauges had been fitted as extras, as had a remote control for the four-speaker Clarion CD player mounted in the passenger/observer forward bulkhead. The keyed ignition was easy to reach, with the hand throttle and trim adjustment located on the starboard side.

Identical to the comfortable driver’s seat, the passenger/observer seat was solid mounted with a 360° swivel, providing the option for the passenger to face forward if not observing a skier.

Both the driver and passenger were protected by a strong, rolled-top, tinted acrylic wraparound windscreen, which contributed to the boat’s very modern and stylish appearance. A removable centre walk-through panel in the windscreen enabled access to the open bow.

The bow cockpit provided seating for up to three people, with the comfortable cushions lifting to reveal storage compartments beneath.

Back in the cockpit proper, the roomy carpeted floor was flanked by large padded coamings, with deep and lined sidepockets running almost the full length of the boat. Several sets of skis, ropes and other items could be easily accommodated.

Further aft, a full-width rear lounge provided further seating, as well as space behind to store a wakeboard. In a clever design feature, a bimini top is permanently mounted on the boat but can be quickly and neatly folded away beneath the lounge when not required.

Drained storage compartments (moulded into the rear deck in each transom corner) could be filled with ice and used as drink coolers for those long days on the water.

Grab handles on the non-slip boarding platform would also make boarding easy.

HIGH-PRESSURE POWER While inboard skiboats dominate the recreational and tournament skiing sectors, after a run in the Esprit even the most hard-core inboard devotee could be converted.

Suited to an outboard within the 150-200hp range, the testboat was fitted with the latest Yamaha HPDI (High Pressure Direct Injection) 200hp outboard.

The engine quietly purred to life with a quick turn of the keyed ignition and we were quickly sitting on the plane at around 2200rpm.

At a reasonable wakeboarding speed of around 21mph (34kmh), with three people onboard, the Esprit was putting out a decent wash with smooth ramps and a nice flat table in between. Added weight would no doubt create even steeper ramps for more experienced boarders.

Contrastingly, at ski speed of around 36mph (58kmh), the boat’s wake was flat, proving itself as an all round performer.

Spinning the standard 21-inch prop on the Yamaha HPDI, at 5700rpm the Esprit’s top speed was a GPS-recorded 96.9kmh.

It rose onto the plane quickly with the trim adjusted at almost any angle. Throwing the boat into corners at speed, the boat also sat very flat – similar to an inboard – and showed no hint of cavitation.

Hydraulic steering (fitted as standard) made driving even easier and not the typical battle with the wheel as is experienced on some outboard skiboats. However, it took several rotations of the wheel to turn the boat – something which takes a little getting used to coming from an inboard.

VERSATILITY PLUS The Esprit’s outboard configuration also has the advantage of being suitable for fresh or saltwater. Its efficient hull handled chop well, which would again add to its attractiveness as an open-water skiboat.

As a family skiboat, it could also be utilised for a spot of fishing with the kids on a calm day.

As mentioned, the Gilflite Esprit sits at the high-end of the skiboat market, with a price tag to match. But you get what you pay for!

Overall, it was an excellent all-round skiboat and would be capable of handling anything the owner decides to throw at it. It’s also a winner in the versatility stakes.

Indeed, the nonconformist Gilflite Esprit might just precipitate an ‘esprit de corps’ among the skiboat fraternity.

Gilflite Esprit Price as tested: …Options fitted: Yamaha 200hp HPDI, high pole, remote control for CD player, extra gauges, polished timber wheel, full cover, side skirts, motor cover, Mackay trailer.

GENERAL Material: Fibreglass Length (overall): 6.00m Beam: 2.23m Deadrise: 18° Rec/max hp: 150hp/200hp Weight: 1300kg (on trailer)

CAPACITIES Fuel: 85lt

ENGINE (as tested) Make/Model: Yamaha Z200N Type: High Pressure Direct Injection V-six Rated hp: 200hp Displacement: 2596cc Weight: 222kg Drive (Make/ratio): 14:26 (1.86) Props: 21in Yamaha

ABOVE: Esprit bowrider sterndrive