The 18′ 9″ Stratos VLO is affordable, at around $28,000 depending on options, and the lines and functionality were special for a boat in this class. Gauges including speedomater, tach, fuel,, trim and water pressure are standard. Switches are convenient both in the bow and on the console and are water resistant. The built-in console tool holder holds pliers, clippers, file or other accessories in a convenient location near the front deck.
We just returned from the Ranger/Stratos Product Knowledge meeting in Flippin, Ark., where we looked at all of the new offerings from both boat lines for 2012. We believe that you will be impressed not only with the feature richness of the new boats but with two of the new models. The focus is on affordable options with all the amenities. The Ranger Z119, which we will cover later, and the Stratos 189 VLO (pronounced Vee-Low), raised the bar with the look, ride, features, new materials, and some creative use of space.
The ride was outstanding, and though the boat is rated for a maximum of 150 HP, it jumped on plane with three of us in the boat and the ride was smooth and sturdy. This boat is perfect for tournament anglers who are looking for high dollar features without the high dollar price tag. The dash will handle an HDS 10 Lowrance Graph too.
The front deck of the VLO is spacious and provides ample space for large electronics units, up to a Lowrance HDS 7, in the bow with easy access toggle switches. A recessed foot pedal, rod tie downs and heavy-duty Perko latches are standard. The front cooler is positioned just in front of the drivers console and is insulated. Two separate locations are available tor tools and the bump board is built in to the triangular tool station on the front deck. Two pop-up rod cleats are positioned across from each other on both the starboard and port sides of the front deck to allow for “squared up” tie up to docks and slips.
The console of the VLO is offset to allow for storage of longer rods on the front deck. The windshield is tapered to allow for good air flow and deflect wind away from the driver.
The driver/passenger sitting area of the boat is spacious and very unique as the carpet is removable and is complimented with a composite non-skid flooring material that is durable, slip resistant and functional, even wet. It is surrounded by an all-weather textured finish. The front deck step incorporates a day box where baits, cell phone, wallet or other items can be stored. The livewell is giant and holds 34 gallons of water. The rod rack has ample room for partners rods and the floor space is large enough for tackle bags etc that they may carry. Directly in front of the passenger seat is a fold-down windshield that eliminates the need for the second console but also provides passenger protection.
The VLO trailer is a single axle model that comes equipped with a swing-a-way tongue, brakes, chrome fenders, Road Armor finish and aluminum rims standard.
The Stratos VLO is a high performance tournament ready boat with the latest in technology and amenities. To learn more about them, visit StratosBoats.com or see your local Stratos Boats dealer.
We’ll have a follow-up video walk-through with Mike McClelland on the site shortly.