I wanna ski again before I'm too old

EkrubEkrub Posts: 8 New Baller
I am 47 years old and last skiid as a teenager. 5'4" tall, 180 pounds (not skinny).
I have a 14 foot aluminum 1954 lone star boat powered by a 1957 Johnson Sea Horse 35 horse power outboard. The prop is a standard 3-blade aluminum prop such as it was originally outfitted. The driver's seat is located on the right-hand side of the middle of the boat. The bow is covered.
I recently got a used set of Nash Sports Hydroslide 67" combos and gave skiing a go last week...
No Bueno.
Seeking tips to get me able to get up or maybe to hear the cold hard truth that this boat/engine ain't gonna do it.
Prop change?
Engine mount height?
Offset away from transom?
Shorter rope?
Longer skis?
Wider skiis?
Loose weight?
Rebuild engine?


  • AndreAndre Posts: 1,864 Mega Baller
    edited June 28
    Need another boat with more power.

    My ski finish in 16.95 ...but my ass is out of tolerance!
  • fu_manfu_man Posts: 513 Crazy Baller
    I bet you could do it with the right technique, but it would be hard.

  • dchristmandchristman Posts: 1,388 Mega Baller
    edited June 28
    More surface area - maybe a sheet of plywood worth. What is "too old"!?
    Is it time to ski, yet?
  • EkrubEkrub Posts: 8 New Baller
    Your practically a genius!
    Your advice makes EXCELLENT sense.
    Thank you.
    I will incorporate what you've described the next time I try.
    In conjunction with some of the other options I proposed I hope I will manage.
    Of course I like the no money options, which of those might make the most impact?
    Shorter rope,
    Trim recommendations,
    Engine mount height?
    The first money option I hope might help would be a hydrofoil.
    Could this make any significant impact?
  • Bookm_danoBookm_dano Posts: 107 Baller
    This is totally doable... And I like the fact that you want to do it. My family and I all skied behind a 1962 Sea Horse 40 on a 17 foot boat.
    When I was a 180 pound teenager I used to slalom ski behind a 15 foot Whaler with a 35 Johnson. That trick of taking off with the boat at an angle (even close to 90 degrees) and then swerving back straight once it's up on plane really works.
  • jjackkrashjjackkrash Posts: 1,179 Mega Baller
  • MastercrafterMastercrafter Posts: 433 Crazy Baller
    @Ekrub .. where are you located?
  • BKistlerBKistler Posts: 87 Baller
    With marginal horsepower, be sure not to stand up too soon. Stay low on your haunches. Let the boat gain some momentum before standing. Keep the handle low and your arms flexed.

    You are not too old.
  • EkrubEkrub Posts: 8 New Baller
    Gainesville GA on Lake Lanier. Mid to upper Chestatee side.
  • CentCent Posts: 273 Baller
    At age 77 next month I can tell you that age is not the issue.

    Potentially multiple issues. What happens when you try? Can you hang on? Does boat just stall? More info the better for a solution.

    Have you tried a sitting dock start?
  • RednucleusRednucleus Posts: 842 Mega Baller
    Find yourself a nice direct drive tug and enjoy skiing for another 47 years!!
  • EkrubEkrub Posts: 8 New Baller
    When I try, I drink water. I've realized that as far as my technique is concerned, I had my skis way to high up at the start, water near the tips of my feet, also I was much too perpendicular and should try to keep the angle of the skis as parallel to the surface as possible and my butt should basically be touching them.

    That was my first attempt in a very VERY long time and my technique was quite flawed. I'm trying to figure out how to minimize everything working against me. Obviously technique is an issue.
    I feel that the boat/motor combo is marginal and want to know some simple things that could make a significant impact on the power/efficiency for "shooting the hole".
    Are hydrofoil helpful?
    What might be the ideal mounting height for the engine on the transom?
    Would having a shorter than standard 75 foot rope aid? (And what length would be most helpful for a new beginner)
    Is trim up or trim down gonna give me more take-off ability?
    Would a rope with more give or less give make any difference?
    Should I consider moving the location of the helm? (I have the skill to make modifications, just not enough money to throw around willy nilly ( like 400 bucks on a 4 blade stainless steel prop, but can drop 60 on a foil)
  • GregHindGregHind Posts: 396 Crazy Baller
    We managed to pull 11 skiers behind a Yeltacraft with a 115 Yamaha four stroke for a TV show called hook line and sinker. All on doubles from a deep water start. My suggestions. The boat patterns others have described will help and also flat bottomed wooden skis help a LOT. Show boards would be even better https://www.boatsales.com.au/amp/editorial/details/hook-line-and-sinker-haines-hunter-project-boats-part-one-114403/
  • GregHindGregHind Posts: 396 Crazy Baller

  • swbcaswbca Posts: 796 Crazy Baller
    edited June 29
    3 weeks from age 77. You have decades in front of you. When we were kids we skied behind a 25 on a similar boat but we probably weighed around 140. My older brothers added a neighbor's 25 to the boat for a day so they had 50hp. They flipped the boat before they got around to skiing behind it.

    Addressing technique, it sounds like your skis have too much floatation before you start. Just like with teaching kids, have a second person help position the skis so they aren't floating out it front of you before you start. After you get up the first couple of times with help, it will be easier the next time.

    Still skiing at 77
    Home of the world's first submersible slalom course.
  • ALPJrALPJr Posts: 2,863 Mega Baller
    edited June 29
    You can do it. Been there with 13 to 15 footers with 20 to 50 hp outboards. Set the trim to where the boat rides fairly level (no porpoising) and runs best at full throttle. Put a little weight in the bow to help the boat plane off quicker. You may try to find a pair of newer skis like the HO Blast Combos or HO Hovercraft - super easy to get up on.
  • BKistlerBKistler Posts: 87 Baller
    I can’t comment on motor setup but to respond to some of your other questions, in my opinion rope type or length makes no difference; helm location probably makes no difference as long as the weight in the boat is trimmed; hydrofoils probably no help.
  • jpwhitjpwhit Posts: 234 Solid Baller
    Hydrofoil and other changes to boat are not likely to make much difference. Not with a lightweight aluminum boat. Motor height on transom may make some difference on top speed, but very little on out-of-the hole, unless it's too high and the prop is caveating. Rope length won't matter for getting up per se, but longer may be better for letting the boat do the maneuvers described above without impacting the skier much. Trim may make a very slight difference. All the way down is typically optimal for getting up. If the nose of the boat rises a lot on take-off, then moving weigh forward, such as the helm may make some difference.

    A prop with less pitch can make a fair amount of difference, but that depends a lot on how the motor is currently prop'ed and what RPMs it's turning. You don't need a stainless steel prop. A good condition used aluminum prop with one step less pitch may make a significant difference if the motor isn't already turning high RPM. For example if you current prop is a 15" pitch, a 13" pitch may help. Pitch typically changes in 2" increments on boat props.

    Motor rebuild could help if the motor isn't running well currently. But instead of rebuilding that motor, look around for something like a 50hp outboard that needs work. I have a friend that goes to lots of auctions. He's picked up many old boats with 50ish HP engines for a few hundred dollars that needed a little work. Often, he'd but the whole boat to get the motor, fix up the boat itself a little and re-sale that for a profit.

    Skier technique will make the biggest difference. If there any chance someone with more HP can pull you to re-learn how to get up, then you'd have a much better chance of getting up behind your boat.

    If you're having any trouble keeping the skis together, tie a cord between the skis right in front of the boots so the skis can't spread apart more than 4-6 inches. The cord has very little effect once you're up, but will make you much more stable on the get-up.
  • BKistlerBKistler Posts: 87 Baller
    If you can, post video of your efforts so that we can see what’s happening.
  • BraceMakerBraceMaker Posts: 5,203 Mega Baller
    edited June 29
    We used to play with that too but with a tiller steer boat you'd gun it then lay down and steer with your feet to get enough weight forwards. It was full throttle the whole time anyway.

    I would find someone with a real boat learn behind that.

    Then what's the top speed of your little boat? Can you ski that slowly on what you have?

    Mounting height is usually as short as possible with out cavitation but you need to really set that for everything you do. Like if you troll with people up front....
  • VONMANVONMAN Posts: 347 Crazy Baller
    Back in 1970 I had a 15ft Tri-hull with 55hp Evinrude outboard. Had 2 combo pair of Cypress Gardens wood water skis. We could pull my brother and me up on two skis and drop one and slalom behind the boat. We got so good at it we could do double deep ups on one ski but it would take forever for the boat to plane out. Even got so good as to do a deep up behind a 400cc Jet Ski in 1976. Back then I was 155lbs. Still skiing and loving it, but some days my body reminds me to stop writing checks I can't cash. Ha! I'll be 72 in July. Best Sport Ever.
    Ernie Schlager

    A Good One Ball Gives You Six
  • EkrubEkrub Posts: 8 New Baller
    Our top speed is 25 with 2 people in the boat.
  • EkrubEkrub Posts: 8 New Baller
    I like the idea of relearning behind a more powerful boat, too.
  • CentCent Posts: 273 Baller
    Your top speed is high enough for doubles. AWSA instructors used to recommend 18 for learning doubles.
  • skiinxsskiinxs Posts: 718 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    Try a dock start, should be easy. Weight in the front of the boat should help as well as someone else already mentioned. Move your fuel tank(s) as far forward as the hose will allow.
    As far as the motor, it is plenty for skiing around on a pair of skis on a light boat like that. What prop do you have? Lower pitch will help the hole shot but lower top speed. You should have it set in the forward notch trimmed all the way in for better hole shots. On engine height, the cavitation plate should be even with the bottom of the boat. Does is run ok? If not the coils crack a lot on the older OMC's, spark should be able to jump a 1/2" air gap. (don't just pull a plug to see if it jumps to the electrode, that is only .030" and the stator plate is a little farther than that in most places from the coil so spark will take the path of least resistance and jump .030 first, but remember it takes a lot more to jump under compression. The '57 35hp had the old pressurized fuel tanks. Make sure the tank is building up pressure, easy to tell by taking the cap off and hearing the pressurized air come off. Another thing to check on that engine is carb adjustment. That engine has adjustable high and low speed jets. To adjust idle, loosen the packing nut enough so the jet can turn, turn it all the way in until it barely hits the seat (not too tight or you will mess up the tip). Then back off 2 turns. With the engine idling gradually screw in until the you start getting some coughs, then back out until it stops coughing. For the high speed jet (the one on the bottom), repeat the process and start with it two turns out. With someone else driving the boat wide open in gear gradually screw in until speed starts to fall off, then back out slightly until you are at the fastest it will go. Tighten both packing nuts and you are good to go. Also there is a rubber roller that follows a cam on the stator plate which synchronizes the carb and spark. the throttle butterfly should just start to move when the roller passes the mark on the cam. To adjust loosen the two screws on the bottom of the cam.
  • ScottScottScottScott Posts: 1,384 Mega Baller
    Longer and/or wider skies
  • Vernon ReeveVernon Reeve Posts: 119 Baller
    We had a guy struggling to get up on two skis. His problem was he kept pushing back directly against the boat with his skis. He was holding on to tons of force before the handle popped out. Finally convinced him to keep his butt on the skis (even after he was up), and to let the boat pull him forward over the skis, just like when someone helps you up off the ground. He was amazed how easy it was after he got figured it out.
  • EkrubEkrub Posts: 8 New Baller
    Oh boy, yes, it runs GREAT! After 65 years, it starts immediately, almost.
    It could use some low end carb jet adjustment, but otherwise, runs like a champ!
    I will ensure the plate is even with the bottom of the hull and that the trim is optimized.
    After everyone's help, I am quite certain that my lack of technique is most assuredly the fault and am greatly reassured that I can do this!
    Thank you all so much.
    I promise that there will be a success pic, should (once) the occasion come(s) to pass.
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