I have not driven an ESP, only looked at, ridden on one, and considered buying one. My direct personal experience is as a four year owner and captain of an SPS with a 200HP Merc. Both are great hulls! As mentioned above, and due to the lake I would be boating on mixed with costs, I didn‘t find the differnce between them to be enough with a 200HP motor (which was my limit for HP due to budget).Does anyone have performance experience in the difference between the SPS package and the ESP. I assume the ESP handles better, but wouldn't the SPS be fine with a 200 hp Yamaha?
I was at 44/45 prior to my Sea Legs. Dropped to 42 tops after the Sea Legs. I think I can/could adjust my motor mount height (and maybe play with prop pitch one more time) to squeeze a couple more out of it, but haven’ as we are still happy where it is at. I don’t get many opportunities to open it up all the way due to wife and company wanting to just slow cruise and chat.Couple things to add, if you are getting in floor storage, the ESP is HUGE! Which is awesome, I've been completely inside it and I'm a 6' 220lb guy!
As for the weight of it, keep in mind that the ESP also adds an extra 1000lbs of buoyancy.
I vote 100% on ESP, I had an 2275 RCW with a 200hp that I took a couple out that were interested in a Bennington. They already had a tri-toon with a 150 (different brand). It took one higher speed turn / bank to make their decision.
Best scenario is that you ride / drive each back to back and make your decision that way. To answer your question directly, yes an SPS will be fine with a 200, but to add to that, an ESP is awesome with a 200 as well! Viking has a very informative post, just thought I'd add to it.
@Vikingstaff what is your top speed with the S and 200 Merc? Wondering what kind of difference there is between an S w/SPS and an R w/ESP. I believe mine was around 44/45 with the 200 SHO.
Oh...this is a big item here that I forgot about in my post. I WISH I had the 56 gallon fuel capacity of the ESP tank instead of my 33 gallon SPS fuel tank. That is certainly a nice advantage depending on the body/bodies of water you will boat on. Easy access to gas, no biggie. Long trips, less access to gas, then that bigger fuel tank is a nice advantage.Not sure, but another factor might be fuel capacity. The ESP comes with the 56 gallon tank. And with the extra buoyancy you get more capacity as well - my R25 with Swingback has a 16-person cap.
Hmm, you should be getting a few more mph than that with the 250 (unless that is with 5-6 people and full fuel). I only say that because with my 2275 RCW Sport Tower with a 250 SHO I was getting around 46, but I had LOTS of extra weight. 325lbs of batteries , the full sport tower, all the extra stereo gear, heck I had probably 45lbs just in extra wire! Haha, plus we always kept two 2 person tubes, one 3 person tube, kneeboard, wakeboard and other random crap in the in floor storage! Although, tubes were spotless because it was a trailer queen in my driveway!Based on this video posted in 2011, the center tube was 32", just like the current ESP: http://club.benningtonmarine.com/threads/bennington-video.7/. Sounds like you're looking at a pretty similar boat to ours (23 RFB) and in perfect conditions, we'll top out at 45 mph or so with the 250 SHO. I don't regret getting the ESP, but I think I might if I had a lower HP motor. While still being newer to boating, I notice that we lose a LOT of speed in just about any turn. The prop seems to cavitate as the boat turns despite the motor being in the lowest setting. I don't know if, by staying flatter, the SPS might actually maintain speed better in a turn.