With 23’9” of LOA and a hull featuring a 19/24-degree longitudinally stepped bottom, the Key West 239 FS has the brawn to hack through a Chesapeake Bay chop without beating everyone aboard to a pulp. In fact, in our sea trials we thought that this model punched well above its weight and provided a ride as smooth as many V-hulls with two or three more LOA. As always, we’d recommend taking one for a test run and judging for yourself. But we’d also recommend waiting for a breezy day so you can get a real feel for what this hull can handle.
The “FS” in the model name stands for Family Sportsman, and Key West does a good job at including the touches that make a relatively small boat more comfortable for everyone aboard. As is always the case, seating is a key aspect in this quest. And in addition to the expected flip-up helm bolster seats the 239 FS has removable backrests for the bow seating. The down-side here is that you’ll need to find a place to stow those backrests and cushions when you want to utilize the bow as a forward casting platform, or remember to leave them at home in the garage. Key West also provides a bonus seat in the stern, by cushioning the top of the pull-out K2 cooler sitting on tracks under the leaning post tackle station and sink. You can snap cushions over the aft casting deck to turn it into seating as well (add in the forward console seat and you’ve got individual seating for a grand total of nine people), though this will mean you have to pull a cushion to access the 20 gallon center aft livewell. To give family comfort a bump we’d suggest adding the optional freshwater shower, and the kids will appreciate an upgrade to the premium-level stereo system with an amp and speaker upgrade.
Key fishing features include an in-deck fishbox with pump-out, four flush gunwale rodholders, a raw water washdown, and bow and stern cockpit bolsters. Performance counts as a fishing feature, too, since you’ll be able to blast between hotspots at a cruise of around 32 mph (while getting better than three mpg) and a top end of 43 mph. And that’s with the boat’s minimum 200-hp outboard; if you enjoy thrill rides and hat-stripping windblasts you can up the ante to 300 horses. That would raise the pricing bar, of course, but even with max power and rigged to the teeth it’s tough to push the sticker price for this rig much north of $80K.
Key West 239 FS Specifications:
LOA – 23’9”
Beam – 8’6”
Displacement – 2900 lbs.
Draft (min.) – 1’2”
Fuel Capacity – 100 gal.
Max. Power – 300 hp
Area Dealers – Anchor Boats, North East, MD, (410) 287-8280 or anchorboat.com.
See our reviews of other Key West Boats: