This is my 7th boat, a 1996 24' Checkmate Convincor 242. This boat is powered by a Chevy 420 HP 502 ci. engine and Mercruiser Bravo 1 drive. The Checkmate features a 24 degree deadrise, and a 3900 Lb. dry weight, which helps it to deliver a much better ride in waters stirred up by short period chop and heavy boat traffic. I bought this boat specifically to tackle the "big" water of places like the Delaware River, and the Chesapeake Bay, where I had been spending an increasing amount of time. On crowded weekends the amount of boat traffic can turn the water into a real mess of chop, and the deep "V" of this boat really slices through all but the really big stuff. Top speed for this boat is between 68 and 70 MPH, spinning a 23" pitch 3 blade Mirage prop.
The cuddy cabin of this boat was laid out similar to that of the Stingray, with a section for sitting and a V berth forward of that. There is storage under the V berth, and there's also access to a porta-potti. The stereo is also mounted in the cabin, which makes it inconvenient to adjust from the operator's position. I would rectify that problem by the next season (see below). Rounding out the cabin's features were "glove box" style compartments in either bulkhead, which is handy for keeping small items, as well as 12V interior lighting and a screened hatch.
While the deep "V" certainly made a difference in taming annoying chop, it had the drawback of being very sensitive to weight distribution. It also had a tendency to porpoise at slower speeds. By the end of the '96 season, it became clear that I would need to add a set of trim tabs. The addition of the trim tabs became one of my first upgrades in the following (1997) season. I also added a bimini top, Marine & Ham radios, a 200 watt stereo amp and 7 band graphic equalizer, and a remote control panel for the stereo. A "Skeg-gard" for the lower unit rounded out the list of upgrades.
The exhaust system was a typical dual thru-transom setup, similar to my previous boat. But for whatever reason, this boat was significantly louder. It's not a big problem at faster speeds because the noise of the wind rushing by you more than drowns out the sound of the exhaust. But at slow speeds (like in no-wake zones), the throbbing of the engine eventually grates on your nerves and becomes annoying. So I added a set of baffles to the pipes to quiet the exhaust noise down, so that your ears aren't being hammered by the constant throbbing of the engine at slow speeds. I also found that I'm not too happy about the low profile of the windshield. While it looks slick, and accents the lines of the boat, it's not very functional and the force of the wind in my face at high speed makes my eyes tear unmercifully, plus the noise of the wind rushing by at high speed is annoying. When I'm cruising, I like hearing the engine run, both from an aesthetic appeal standpoint, and also to spot potential problems from changes in the normal sound of the engine.
This boat is also not really cut out for skiing and tubing, as it's real work to keep it at a steady planing speed under about 27 MPH. You really need to go full down on the tabs, and also the drive, otherwise the boat either wants to fall off plane, or pick up speed. It also heels over way too far on turns, which scares the heck out of my wife (And I'm not real comfortable about it either). Because of this, it forces you to take a much wider turn, and it becomes challenging to make a tight turn in the limited space of the local river, especially when pulling a water toy. My wife is also a bit overwhelmed by the need to control the trim tabs, in addition to the drive trim, and remembering what has to placed where to make the boat run at the correct attitude at a given speed. My earlier boats were much more driver friendly.
I kept this boat for 10 years, which was longer than any of my other boats to date. But, changes in my boating habits once again had me looking for a new boat. Since the Checkmate was never designed to handle the task of pulling water toys, and with my daughter old enough to start tubing, I wanted a boat which was more suited to this chore. So in the summer of 2006, the Checkmate found a new home and I picked up a 2007 Azure AZ228.......
The action pictures were taken at Lake Wallenpaupack, in the Pocono mountains of Pa.