I will say openly though that I completely disagree with Hallett's choice to discard the proven and still to this day stylish 240 in favor of the new 255 (even if it has the same bottom). I have been told by Jerry himself that they won't built a 240, so the 255 is it. I have been told by others though that they will, so I suppose that would come down to a "Cash Talks and Bullshit walks" type moment in the sales office, and since I have no intention of buying one anytime soon, it's pretty obvious which category I fall in currently.
The whole point of that whole discussion is more or less to say that I have not been overly excited about some of Hallett's latest offerings, mainly just because I'm not a fan of the "Euro" styling. However both the 290, and the 285 Deck at the show had excellent aesthetic lines that will prove to be timeless much like the three mentioned above. Ultimately the bottoms and how well they work will determine if they end up in the "legendary" category or not for me though.
The absolute first thing you will notice walking up to this boat at the LA show is the exceptionally aggressive Step Bottom on the 290. Even though I'm sure the bottoms work entirely differently than each other, you can't help but notice the similarity to an Active Thunder with a raised entirely separate running surface going all the way back to the Transom. This bottom was designed by Michael Peters out of Florida and is patented. In talking with a sales rep at Hallett, variations of it have been used with great success in high speed Military applications. The bottom itself is said to be much more docile and forgiving in the turns than it's predecessors.
Walking up the stairs to the swimstep, you can see that Hallett integrated the ladder on one side, and a small storage compartment on the other that can easily be used as a cooler (has drains)
My only suggestion or thing that I would change aesthetically if I was building one of these, is I would ask them to ditch the billet aluminum vent's on the back in favor polished Stainless. It just looked a little out of place, when everything else in the boat is stainless and of such a higher caliber.
Example of the drain lines on the transom.
Moving forward and standing on the engine hatch gives you a great view of the cockpit, and about as gently as a freight train smacks you right in the face with pure class. I have been trying to put my finger on it for years as to why Hallett's are just so much nicer than most everything out there, but I never have been able to "nail it" down to just one thing.
Interestingly enough in this boat even though it looks like the traditional Hallett Teak floor it isn't. This boat has an innerliner, and the teak looking mattes actually have a soft almost rubber feel to them. I haven't seen it before, but it really sets the boat off when you are in it.
I know LED's are all the rage now for interior and exterior lights, but there is still something to be said for the soft glow "mood" that a traditional incandescent puts out for evening cruises. (Interestingly enough, this boat was outfitted with small but very bright LED's in the engine bay)
In the second picture you will see the "surprise" that a lot of people (myself included) have been saying needs to be done on every boat with hatch rams, and batteries in the engine bay. A place where you can jump too, to get the hatch up if the batteries are dead!! It's pure genius!! From myself and anyone else that has been stuck in a situation where you are reaching your hand through a little tiny hole in the back seat trying to pull pins on hatch rams to be able to get to the batteries, We all THANK YOU for installing this!! Other manufacturers take note you can learn something here.
Pic of Storage space and you can see the backside of an Alpine 10 (2 of them in the rear seat)
This is the view of the dash. It features Livorsi instrumentation, Livorsi's cable driven trim gauge and their shifter throttle. In the center is a smaller Mercury Vessel View screen that will spit out just about any information you have ever wanted to know about your boat.
I for the life of me do not understand why Hallett uses cheap trim tabs (Lenco and Bennetts usually) on such classy boats. I guess they are functional, and there's nothing wrong with them, but they just don't look the part for me. I would hazard a guess that when you order yours they will put whatever trim tabs you want on there.
Since we are standing at the helm, lets raise the engine hatch and take a peek at Merc Racing's new 520! (I'd ditch those risers in favor of headers in 2 seconds flat given the opportunity)
I like the graphics gelled into the bottom of the engine hatch.
Pretty cool how they installed breakers with the battery switch. (Note the LED's that will light up the engine bay at night.)
Now we move on down to the "Cuddy" that sports a sliding locking door. That would be nice to minimize the wind tunnel effect that can happen at speed, as well as keeping belongings overnight in a mooring.
The cuddy on the port side has a nice little counter top and a love seat. It also has some overhead storage bins. Overall it gives you a "big boat" feel in a midsized sport boat. (Note, I am 6'0 and in sitting in the seats there was still an inch or two of headroom above my head.)
The starboard side features an identical love seat, and what I presume is an area to fit a cooler. That flat area looks unfinished to me. Given the choice I'd run the bench the full length of the cabin under here. There is a lot more they could do under here, like some of their cabins in the past, but again they are custom boats so they will build it however you like!
The open bow is exceptionally large (like most Hallett's), and they have setup the interior to have two forward facing "lounge" style cushions, which I think would be nice for the ladies, especially on longer lake cruises.
Overall the Hallett 290 was my "Pick" of the show. To be clear about that, I don't mean it was the "baddest" boat at the show, or had some revolutionary thing that absolutely blew me away. It was however the boat that when I was going through it, the convention center faded away and was replaced in my imagination by the walls of my garage. Pending one serious test drive to put the thing through all of it's paces with different loads in the open bow etc.. I have little doubt at some point in the future it, or it's little brother the 270 will some day see the inside of those walls.
For more information contact www.hallettboats.com