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Need some boat choice advice

NicadNicad Posts: 39 Baller
edited June 2017 in Boat Talk
A year and a half ago I posted this thread about looking for a ski and how some old timers had kept a water ski weekend tradition alive with the purchase of a new boat.

Well I quite like the ski I ended up with (A Radar P6...Thanks), but now I have found myself the owner of a few boats through a cottage purchase, but none of them meet the bill when it comes to pulling a slalom skier.
The big boat (Cobalt 226) has way too big of a wake and burns too much fuel. The smaller boat (Edgewater 15.5 with Tohatsu 90 HP) also has a big wake and is completely gutless when running from a dead start. I'd like a ski boat that meets many variables. It's gotta be safe in bad water. Friendly for a teenager to drive, space efficient for carrying dogs and groceries, relatively fuel efficient. Well built.

One friend says to get a fish and ski aluminum boat.
The local Marina says Boston Whalers plane quickly and have a decent wake.
Another ski guy says that I should get a purpose built boat like a Charger , J craft or Mastercraft barefoot 200.

Well I drove a Charger with a 115 HP Tohatsu today and it was impressive. I did find the wake a little big at the speeds I would be skiing at. Maybe it is more suited to faster speeds.(Seemed to top out around 55MPH)

What do you guys say about the Boston Whaler or aluminum fish and ski style boats? Can you enjoy slalom skiing with the wake they make? Suggestions greatly appreciated. Will be selling the edgewater boat to make way for a skiable boat. Looking for a good used boat.

Thanks, Bob.



  • TallSkinnyGuyTallSkinnyGuy Posts: 538 Crazy Baller
    What's your acceptable price range? Do you need open bow? Do you want to do anything else with the boat other than ski?
  • NicadNicad Posts: 39 Baller
    I'd say my price range is probably around 15K. Open bow would be preferable. I'd prefer an outboard, and easy to drive, confidence inspiring in bad water with predictable handling. Getting up holeshot I can deal with mediocre. Top speed around 35 mph would be fine. Thanks for the reply.
  • gmutgmut Posts: 198 Baller
    @Nicad What you really need is an open bow inboard boat circa 1994 thru 2000 probably would be in your price range. Outstanding for most watersports and can be used to fish,swim off of, sunset cruises etc. imho.
  • UWSkierUWSkier Posts: 896 Mega Baller
    @Nicad tell us more about the body of water, the "bad weather," etc. High winds and large swells are a very bad situation with inboards. Is that what you expect to have to deal with?
  • LoopSkiLoopSki Posts: 354 Crazy Baller
    Sounds like you wants Mastercraft Powerstar. May not be easy to find though.

  • NicadNicad Posts: 39 Baller
    The body of water is Lake Muskoka in Ontario. It seems to get choppy weather, and I am told it can get rough. If the Edgewater was not such a slug when you hit the throttle I'd consider keeping it. That Mastercraft looks very nice. Thanks for the replies.
  • 6balls6balls Posts: 4,882 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    Ski ray made an outboard ski boat for a while similar to the Mastercraft above. There is one on my lake.
    That MC powerstar looks like the ticket.
    Dave Ross--die cancer die
  • NicadNicad Posts: 39 Baller
    The mastercaft barefoot 200 looks pretty nice to me also , certainly not as practical as the powerstar. Can't seem to find any of those in my search so far.
  • TallSkinnyGuyTallSkinnyGuy Posts: 538 Crazy Baller
    I grew up skiing behind a tri-hull open-bow outboard and it actually skied pretty well. Even used it with a portable slalom course a couple times. Outboard motors are relatively light, and if you get a boat with a hull that is not too deep-v you can end up with a pretty small wake (though maybe a bit firmer than modern inboard wakes). If you haven't already and can get the chance it may be worth it for you to take a ski set behind a 1990s+ inboard ski boat so you have a measure to compare against.
  • andjulesandjules Posts: 761 Crazy Baller
    edited June 2017
    @Nicad I spent a lot of time driving J Crafts, Chargers, Whalers and inboard ski boats on the Muskoka Lakes when I was younger. They all have pros and cons, of course.

    If your place is out on the open channel (or especially if you're on an island) you might want to keep either the Cobalt or the Edgewater for rough days. You can certainly learn to drive any mid-size boat safely in the kinds of waves you find on all-but-the-worst-days on Lake Muskoka, but that doesn't mean it'll be a comfortable or dry ride.
    Are you thinking $15k US or CAD?

    Really tiny (outboard) wakes tend to come from light, flat-bottom or low-deadrise boats (J Crafts, older ski-focused Chargers, older/smaller Boston Whalers), but that tends to make them especially uncomfortable when the waves kick up. As well, if/as you get more serious about your skiing, you'll find that despite the tiny wakes, they get pulled around a bit (which is one of many reasons most of the skiers on this board opt for inboard ski boats). They're also awful for wakeboarding - don't know if you or your teenagers care about that. Lastly, J-Crafts and (older, ski-focused) Chargers are likely to have been built with wood floors & stringers, so watch out that that they've been stored well. Once the stringers rot, they're not worth the restoration.

    If you think you're going to stay pretty recreational about skiing, then a good all-around fish-and-ski might be just fine, especially if you're really attached to having an outboard. If you're getting more serious about slalom, I'm with @gmut and like a late 90s/early 2000s inboard, although I know prices are pretty inflated up in Muskoka, and the gas consumption won't compare to an outboard on a lightweight hull. The inboards tend to be built with a little more heft which in some ways make them feel a little more solid in the chop, although again, not always comfortable. The ski-focused, moderate-freeboard outboards mentioned above (MC PowerStar, Barefoot 200 or even an outboard SeaRay "SkiRay") would be a nice compromise in some ways, if you can find one.

    P.S. If you do want to take your skiing more seriously, I recommend getting the occasional coaching session from Bush's in Bala. They'll point you in the right direction and give you lots to think about when you're skiing at your own cottage.
  • NicadNicad Posts: 39 Baller
    Great comments. I am on EIlean Gowan island, so the Cobalt for sure is staying in the family. I am also purely a recreational skier. Not serious at all, close to 60 and unlikely to pull the boat around enough to make much difference. There is a nice looking barefoot 200 in Ottawa for sale with a 200 HP. That must fly!. There is also an older 17 foot Whaler Striper for sale with an Evinrude 100 in Sarnia. The Edgewater is too small and heavy for our family of four and a dog. It supposedly will be easy to sell on Lake Muskoka.
    there seem to be a lot of Chargers and J boats for sale for reasonable money as well. I think if the Whaler can ski decently, it might be the logical choice. As for budget, 5K Cdn past what the Edgewater sells for would be OK.
  • JordanJordan Posts: 1,021 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    edited June 2017
    The barefoot 200 is a decent slalom boat and is not terrible in rough water- a very high quality boat...with the 200hp it will go about 60mph.
    Chargers are good in rough water but only so-so for skiing. They have had several owners over the the 80's they were balsa cored racing boats. In the 90's they got progressively cheaper in their build quality. I believe now they are owned by Tempest- a cheaper line of boat
    J-Crafts are fun and plane almost instantly. harsh in rough water, and a miniscule wake... but you will pull it around and if you ever intend on shortening the rope, the wake though small gets very hard.
    I wouldn't get a Whaler for skiing.
    I think you could consider a used Mastercraft or Nautique inboard...they are fabulous to drive and to cruise around in and the swim platform makes them great to swim from out on the lake.
    If you want to try one, go over to the ski school at Cleveland's house and go for a ski or ask to ride in the boat while they pull a few could also go over to Bush's ski center over in Bala and do the same thing.
  • jjackkrashjjackkrash Posts: 474 Solid Baller
    I got my PB in Slalom and Jump one college tourney long ago behind a barefoot Sanger with 200 Yamaha. I thought the wake was awesome and the boat was very fast. You can still find them if you look hard enough.
  • NicadNicad Posts: 39 Baller
    OK thanks for the tips. Will check out those ski schools. I certainly want to avoid a problem boat with a rotten structure. Guess I am asking one craft to do too much. 60 MPH seems awfullly fast a boat to throw a 16 year old the keys to. I think I'd get in trouble at 60 MPH eventually as well.. ...
  • Kdinger838Kdinger838 Posts: 57 Baller
    What's the coast guard rating for the edge water? Could you repower?
  • NicadNicad Posts: 39 Baller
    It's rated for 90 HP. It used to have a Yamaha 2 stroke on it and now it has a Tohatsu 90 HP two stroke. I think I heard it ran better with the Yamaha from the previous owner.
  • Kdinger838Kdinger838 Posts: 57 Baller
    @Nicad that's a bummer. We just rigged a a 115etec on 17ft Carolina skiff and it would suffice for what you're looking to do. I'm partial to the e-tecs,More power to weight and torque. The evinrude 90 ho is actually a 4 cyl and the same block as the 115-135 and may be worth consulting with a local dealer about.
  • WishWish Posts: 7,317 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    edited June 2017
    Some of the engine covers were the same back when we had a runabout. At one time we were going to change out covers and have a 90hp cover on a 115 or 135 motor since they were all the same and the boat was not rated past 100. That or change out the decals.
    >>> 11.25..a different kettle of fish. <<<
  • UWSkierUWSkier Posts: 896 Mega Baller
    Growing up, we had a Concord with a Merc 200 (175 cowl... @Wish trick). It was light, fast, and a phenomenal ski boat. It did great in rough water also. You could trim it up so only the back 2' or so of hull was touching water at 40 MPH or so and just float over the waves. It'd do 70+ MPH trimmed at WOT. Enjoyed that boat for several years until a guy on our lake flipped his (by being very stupid... I saw it go over). Mom put an immediate sell order on that one since she didn't trust my little bro with it.

    So, something like that or a Baja OB would be a good option and get you every bit as good a ski wake as the OB MCs, as long as you trust the drivers not to be morons.
  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 5,644 Mega Baller
    If you are looking for just a ski tug when the water is relatively calm it is hard to go wrong with an older inboard like a 2000 range Response LX. It is lousy when the water is really rough you but you can't beat a boat like that for pulling skiers and if it is in decent shape is very low maintenance and durable.
    Mark Shaffer
  • SteveoSteveo Posts: 58 Baller
    If you are dead set on an outboard my choice would be the Mastercraft barefoot 200 or power star for open bow. Who knows you may get the barefoot bug. However being a Nautique guy with a $15k budget I would look for a 97-99 196.
  • GarGar Posts: 260 Baller
    Nice one listed on SIA for 12500
  • NicadNicad Posts: 39 Baller
    Somehow, I don't think I am getting the barefoot bug.....but never say never.
  • GarGar Posts: 260 Baller
    Correction 9500 with less than 500 hours
  • NicadNicad Posts: 39 Baller
    Hey Gar, what is SIA?
  • JordanJordan Posts: 1,021 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    SIA is a website called Ski-it-again that lists water ski equipment and boats for sale
  • GarGar Posts: 260 Baller
    @nicad Though it's not an open bow solid hull and boat and under your budget
  • slowslow Posts: 313 Solid Baller
    Get a boat with enough HP. Nothing worse than getting tired dragging forever to get up. If i got an outboard i would want at least 200hp and a smallish boat. That being said if you ever ski behind a direct drive in board, you won't go back even if is just casual skiing. You owe it your self to get towed behind one if you haven't.
  • NicadNicad Posts: 39 Baller
    Do these direct drive boats require more water depth? I'd say we are at about 4.5 feet where we dock the boat. I know when I first asked a question about direct drive boats to a friend of mine who knows a lot about boats (not skiing though) he seemed to indicate that an older ski nautique type boat might be in need of expensive maintanence. Seemed odd to me, as I would have thought this inline driveline would theoretically be the most trouble free.
  • ConorConor Posts: 79 Baller
    I park my response txi(direct drive) in about 30" of water with no trouble. If you have wake board boats or anything creating large wakes next to your dock you might need more water. 4.5 feet..... no problem
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