Howard recently completed and delivered their latest 255 VTX with a Merc 520! As you are going to see in the video the entire point of this boat is "Fun!" So many boat companies are caught up in keeping up with the Jone's (Ironically a lot of them are trying to keep up with Howard), that they tend to forget why we all got into this to begin with!
The 255 VTX snaps on plane, and is a nimble deckboat that would be just as home towing a slalom skier down a course, or inversely running a slalom course on it's own towing kids on a Tube down the river. Of course with the slow planing speeds and the variable deadrise bottom, and the ability to "trim" with an I/O you can put out one hell of a wake for Boarding / surfing as well!
I drove the original 255, and didn't get a chance to test this one so we are going to have to rely on Bob Teague's opinions on the boat. The boat went over to Teague Custom Marine as they are not only a Merc certified center, but they are also Howard's primary service center in CA. Originally the computer on the motor had some bugs in it, but that was quickly fixed by TCM. The upside of it is, they had to go test the boat a little to make sure all the bugs were worked out of the system, so Bob got 3 - 4 hours in the boat doing some prop testing and getting a feel for it!
I called Bob yesterday and simply asked "What did you think of the 255?" He paused for a second, and said "It's setup as a ski boat!" He then went on to say everyone in this industry is so focused on "How fast and how much" that many of them are missing the point. He echoed not only my thoughts but everyone else that has driven the boat when he said "It's just fun to drive.. Dave the boat rides soft, it handles great, and the platform is incredibly stable for it's size! Of course it's a Howard so there's no rattles, squeaks, or flex, it has all the quality that is typical of one of their boats." We went on talking for awhile and I jokingly asked the How much / How fast question typical of performance boaters. He said "I'd predict that boat would run somewhere right around the 80 mph mark, give or take."
In talking to Mike Willen he is predicting the boat will run 83/84 with a labbed 28, but is also quick to point out "While the boat will do it no problem, that's not the point of this boat! The point is to be able to take your family out for a fun day on the lake, and do anything the tow boats can do, and not get beat up while you are doing it."
Personally I can't help myself.. I imagine towing my kids on wakeboards, and when that's done blowing peoples doors off... After all, it is a Howard right?