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I need help deciding what a good HP for and outboard is?

So I happen to live near a few different lakes, but you cannot put a ski boat on them. The reason you cant is that you would draw too much attention to yourself; the boat ramp is to shallow, and in some spots you could not get a ski boat into. So I have been thinking of upgrading my fishing boat to a center council or a flats boat about 16ft long. I was wondering how much HP I should get to ski behind?


  • AndreAndre Posts: 1,572 Mega Baller
    The maximum HP rating of the boat.
    Don't think that a 16' fishing boat would handle much more then around 70 HP...
  • ALPJrALPJr Posts: 2,424 Mega Baller
    A V4 with the lowest hp rating would be a good place to start. 90hp ish.
  • EdbrazilEdbrazil Posts: 1,396 Historical Baller
    Think that I've seen Boston Whalers at 16' or maybe 14' with >100 hp on them.
  • MISkierMISkier Posts: 3,153 Mega Baller
    The old Checkmate boats had a fairly flat hull and were plenty fast with a 90HP.

    The worst slalom equipment I own is between my ears.
  • Mastercraft81SnSMastercraft81SnS Posts: 118 Baller
    Thats a cool little boat, so a 90hp would be the best place to start.

  • Orlando76Orlando76 Posts: 1,292 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    Back in the late 90's I had a friend who slalomed a wide body behind a '91 Key West 1720 with a 90hp Merc. Boat didn't do too bad and he was probably 6'1 pushing 240. The 1720 is actually a great do all boat.
  • aupatkingaupatking Posts: 1,625 Mega Baller
    I hope you're light. Anything under a 135 is going to drag you like a sea anchor if you're a bigger guy. I say that, but my cousin skis behind a Malibu flight craft with a 150, like it's nobody's business.
    I do think the best plan is to get the largest HP engine legal for the boat. Good side effect...FAST
  • UWSkierUWSkier Posts: 1,652 Mega Baller
    You should be able to get a lightweight 18' runabout with a 175 HP. We had this setup on a Concord Mach 1 for years in the 80s and 90s and with a Hi-5 stainless 5 blade prop, it would yank me out of the water like nobody's business. 150 HP would be similar with that prop. Believe, at least on the older Mercs, once you get below 150 HP they run a smaller prop and you'll lose a bit of grunt.
    boats are like girlfriends you love them however there is another one around the corner - bananaron, July 21, 2020
  • JordanJordan Posts: 1,250 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    edited February 2016
    you will pull anything below 150hp nearly to a stop if you re a decent slalom skier
  • bogboybogboy Posts: 699 Solid Baller
    @Mastercraft81SnS, the evinrude 115 vtech may have plenty of hole shot and top end on a light weight hull.
  • Sxr_nathanSxr_nathan Posts: 16 Baller
    We have a 16' Sea-Ray saville with a 135 merc on it and it s a struggle for me to get up but I do. I am 6' and 195 lbs. I do make sure that the tank is below 1/4 when I ski. I am just free skiing with it though, no course.
  • xratedxrated Posts: 506 Solid Baller
    I dunno, I ski often behind a 17' Starcraft with a 115 Merc 4 stroke on it. It takes me a few feet further to get up than behind inboards and you do have to be aware of hitting it hard and crew weight/position for the hole shot, but it works fine. I'm only 135 pounds though.

    180-200 pounders just drop the ski.
  • wolfgangwolfgang Posts: 98 Baller
    We skied for many years behind a 20 ft Grew Fundeck, with a 130 Yamaha V4 two stroke . Got me thru the course at 32-34 mph 15 off. Would have loved a speed control but never found one for outboards. The boat is fairly light and almost flat bottom. The 17 in pitch prop was the secret, but skiing at 36 mph was almost wide open. Could pull up 200 pound skiers no problem. Our friends still have a Fundeck but with a 130 Honda four stroke and a regular prop. Top speed is mid fourties but it takes at least 150 yards to get me up on a 68 inch F1(195lbs). This takes real commitment! 150 or 175 hp would be much better with out sacrificing too much top end. However I'm still convinced two strokes are best for weight and hole shots. ( our Malibu LXI was the ultimate solution).
  • Mastercraft81SnSMastercraft81SnS Posts: 118 Baller
    It looks like it might be a work out to get up and ski behinde a small boat.
  • 6balls6balls Posts: 5,621 Mega Baller
    Look for a flightcraft, a sanger, a mastercraft barefoot 200, or centurion barefoot warrior or falcon barefoot. Amazing performance from outboard power as ski boats.
    Nice wakes, big power, no spray, even track pretty well.
    Before speed control I skied these boats into 35 off at 36 mph with my father hand timing in the course consistently within five one hundreths of actual. We did run 200 and 225 hp outboards on em', though, which is how you will find them used for the most part for under 10K these days.
    Dave Ross--die cancer die
  • EdbrazilEdbrazil Posts: 1,396 Historical Baller
    I started out around 1956 with a Glasspar G3. 13 footer with 40hp. Barely enough for
    skiing. Had to almost back the boat up to the dock to get a good run for a dock start.
    A couple of years later, went to a 75hp, which was a lot better. Still wasn't enough for
    some abortive tries at barefoot deepwater starts. There was some concern it was
    too much for the G3, but later on, people were putting Merc 125's on them.
  • Mastercraft81SnSMastercraft81SnS Posts: 118 Baller
    It looks like I should go for somthing bigger then a 100hp. It also looks like I should plan on skiing a little slower then I would behinde my ski boat if I get a small 16ft boat.
  • ALPJrALPJr Posts: 2,424 Mega Baller
    There's a range of 16ft boats. If you have a low profile Glastron Checkmate style hull I think a 90 to 115hp is plenty. If you're thinking a higher gunnel bow rider or center console v hull then you may need a little more umph. I had a '71 Glastron GT150 with a 115hp Johnson that pulled 3 slalom skiers right up, and could pull barefooters up with ease. Also had a 1987 16' Checkmate closed bow with a 115 Suzuki that's was about the same for skiing. Both had no spray and tiny wakes.
  • 6balls6balls Posts: 5,621 Mega Baller
    We had a 13.5 foot '72 Switzer growing as hell but weak out of the hole with the Merc 115 we went to an Evinrude 140.
    Later had a 17.5 ft Switzer with a 175...plenty adequate.
    We then hit a run of 2 barefoot centurions with 200 plus...riot.
    Dave Ross--die cancer die
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