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Carolina Skiff’s 24 Ultra Elite is the largest of four tricked-out center consoles in the Ultra fleet that also include 19, 21 and 23-foot models.
By Capt. John N. Raguso
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The 24 Ultra Elite is not your daddy’s old school, bare bones Carolina Skiff. This next-generation model is a manifestation of this popular builder’s evolution over the course of the decades, graduating to the latest high-tech materials and boat construction methods. The Carolina Skiff engineering team has spent a lot of time putting the right things in the right places on the 24 Ultra Elite. The result is a roomy crossover boat that will be equally at home performing family duties as she will taking a crew of hardcore anglers out for rod-bending action in the back bay, inlet, or inshore fishing grounds.

The 24 Ultra Elite lives up to its name with an impressive list of standard features that separates this Carolina Skiff from those that have preceded her. Starting aft and working forward, an elevated full-width casting deck across the stern is great when you want to sight cast to schools of marauding gamefish in the shallows. An aerated insulated 20-gallon lighted well tucked in the port corner will keep your baits lively, and a trio of independent cushioned jump seats that lift up on compression hinges add an extra measure of comfort for the crew. Standard accommodations at the helm are a leaning post/rocket launcher with thick cushions on the seat bottom and backrest for the captain and mate. A four rod rocket launcher aft of the backrest will stow your sticks out of the way until they are needed. There’s a removable 100-qt insulated cooler down under, plus a flip down footrest for added comfort when underway, in addition to a molded fiberglass footrest built into the console. A pair of triple horizontal racks are set under each gunwale for added rod storage, augmented by four flush-mount rodholders installed in the covering boards. The medium sized console’s dash panel allows room to flush-mount a 9-to-10 inch multi-function display for your marine electronics needs.

Stepping towards the bow, yet another spacious full-width casing deck converts into cushioned lounge seating for the crew when it’s time to hit the beach, supported by removable backrests on either side and low profile stainless steel bow rails. A pair of dry storage lockers are set under the seating, with a removable deck table, a front deck swivel seat that pulls out when not needed, plus an insulated storage box with LED light and overboard drain set under the cockpit sole. A hinged hatch in the forward section of the console swings up to reveal a private head area with standard porta-pottie, augmented by a neat privacy curtain to take care of business when nature calls. Other notable standards include hydraulic steering, 24-volt trolling motor plug/panel, a removable rear deck swivel seat, a quartet of stainless steel pop-up cleats, swim platform and more.

Factory tests of the 24 Ultra Elite rigged with a Suzuki DF200 on the transom indicate that this Georgia girl can really get up and boogie. Top speed at wide open throttle (5900 rpm) spinning a 15 x 21 three-blade stainless steel prop is 45.6-mph with two crew onboard and 50-gallons of petrol in the tank. The moderate aft deadrise allows this trailerable sportfisher to plane from 3000 revs up to wide open throttle, so you can adjust her speed accordingly to take advantage of current wind and sea conditions for maximum crew comfort and fuel efficiency.

Although she gets her optimum fuel economy at 3500 rpm, where the 24 Ultra Elite will hit 21-mph on the GPS navigator while drinking 4.9-gallons per hour, for a net of 4.9-mpg, there’s minimal penalty for bumping up the throttle to travel in the fast lane. Dialing in 4000 rpm on the tach will generate a 26.1-mph cruising speed at only 6.8-gph, for a bottom line of 3.84-mph. Need to get to a hot bite in a hurry? No problem, just tap the binnacle control up to 4500 revs and you will slide across the bay at 31-mph/8.1-gph, which translates to 3.83-mpg. The 4000-4500 rpm range is probably the best combination of cruising speed and getting to your destination in the shortest possible timeline, based on real time sea conditions. If you want to impress the crew and still keep fuel consumption relatively miserly, pushing it to 5-grand will hit 35.5-mph at 10.2-gph, for a net of 3.48-mpg. The max horsepower rating on the 24 Ultra Elite is 250 sea ponies, but as you can observe from the Suzuki DF200 in-line four’s sea trial numbers, she will perform nicely with outboards in the 175-200 HP range. The 78-gallon onboard fuel cell will take you a long way in between fill-ups.