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looking for a new ski boat - recommendations?

torontoboatertorontoboater Posts: 40 Baller
looking again for a new ski boat - recommendations?
I was looking a couple of years ago but for family reasons I had to put that on hold. I am now looking again and looking for recommendations. I have a family of 5 with 3 young children and space is important. I am also an avid slalom skier. I need a direct drive, open bow with a good slalom wake at slow speeds (30mph), but also some room to move on the boat. My budget is up to $20k. Obviously I am also concerned about reliability - especially given that I will have 3 young kids on board. I have found 2 possible options. One is a 1998 MC prostar 205, with about 640 hours. The other is a 2000 MC prostar 195 with about 785 hours. The open bow on the 205 is much larger than the 195 but I understand the ski wake is better on the 195. Please let me know your thoughts on these, and other options you would recommend. What about the number of hours? Given my concerns about reliability, is 600-800 (and 15 years old) perhaps too much and should I be looking for something newer? Thanks very much.


  • 6balls6balls Posts: 5,470 Mega Baller
    perhaps at that price range the best may be a malibu sunsetter. the 205 prob ok too. Sounds like you need that kind of space.
    Dave Ross--die cancer die
  • rodltg2rodltg2 Posts: 1,051 Crazy Baller
    Don't put too much stock into hours. I would rather have a well maintened high hour boat than a low hour neglected boat. A lot of boat owners maintain their boat based on hours alone , so low hour boats do not see annual routine maintenence.

    Based on your search a 15 y/o boat with 700 hours would have been used on average 46 hrs a year. A well minted engine should go what , 2500 hours , so based on its use you have 39 years to go before TBO.

    I would look at the boats condition over all , not just hours alone.

    With that said , look at 97 Snob , sunsetter Lxi , sport nautique , mc 205.
  • The_MSThe_MS Posts: 5,828 Member of the BallOfSpray Hall Of Fame
    Good slalom wake at slow speed with an open bow did not happen until 2012 with the Malibu TXI. The best thing you will find for 20K is a SNOB.
    Shut up and ski
  • ralral Posts: 1,791 Mega Baller
    As @rodltg2 mentions, low hours are overrated v/s good maintenance. 900 hours is nothing on a well cared engine. A well maintained boat almost always means a careful user, that would proper maintenance and drive carefully (e.g. not backing up violently to stop the boat...). @OB would be the perfect example, a 1000 hour boat from him would be something I would get without thinking.
    Rodrigo Andai
  • MISkierMISkier Posts: 3,037 Mega Baller
    edited July 2013
    I had the 2000 Prostar 205 (based on the 1995-1997 190 hull - a good design). Good wake, great room, excellent tracking. But, the 22 off bump was a bit much - though not too hard. Shorter lines were great and 15 off wasn't bad. I still like the 205 and would buy it again as an all-around family boat. But, if you are somewhat serious about slalom and are choosing between the two, I would get the 195. I believe the 2000 195 was also based on the 1995-1997 190 hull, not the later 1998-2000 190 hull. It is the same length as the 190, not stretched like the 205. Therefore, the 195 has the better hull design and better wake than the 205. I would avoid anything MC after 1997, other than the 205, 195,Skier 19, and SportStar, which still used the 1995-1997 hull.

    I sold the 205 and bought a 2009 Response LX (step over open bow). Much, much better wake and the hull is basically unchanged since 1998 on those - a very good design. Many RLX can be had within your budget and substantially newer than 1998 or 2000.

    Don't know the older Ski Nautique characteristics or market, but I sure like their 200 (which you will not touch for 20K).

    I would not worry about 600 or 700 hours. I ski behind boats with double that and they perform well. Ask questions about the maintenance habits of the owner, any overheating history, clarity of the lake where used, saltwater use, etc. Above all, drive it and really assess the power, smoothness, and quietness of the engine/drivetrain.

    Older open bow boats tend to make you choose between bow size and wake quality. The newer, and more expensive, boats reduced/eliminated that compromise.
    The worst slalom equipment I own is between my ears.
  • skihartskihart Posts: 531 Solid Baller
    I agree with @MISkier. For that budget I would look at a response lx. My buddy has a 99 and it skis well.
  • skihartskihart Posts: 531 Solid Baller
    Actually....if you jump in your car right now, you will be able to buy this! This is really what you want! I would drive really fast though......I will go quick.......
  • skihartskihart Posts: 531 Solid Baller
    edited July 2013
    @torontoboater ............ummmmm. Better call and leave a deposit.....great deal! Go go go.....
  • MISkierMISkier Posts: 3,037 Mega Baller
    That SNOB does look like a great deal. I've never skied behind that model. When you do check it out, see if you can get a pull behind it as well. Actually, that goes for any boat you consider....a test drive and a test ski, if you can get it.
    The worst slalom equipment I own is between my ears.
  • WaternutWaternut Posts: 1,511 Crazy Baller
    I'll throw in an alternative to seeking out best wake with a roomy bow. If you find a nice boat that you like with a roomy bow don't turn your nose up at it if it isn't notorious for having the best wake.

    The wake on my boat (86 Dixie super skier with direct drive) was considered crappy by most good slalom skiers I knew. I was happy with it until I rode behind a 99 closed bow nautique which many people love for slalom skiing. Once I rode that awesome wake, I was bummed with my own wake that I went on the hunt for different boats until I realized it just wasn't practical. I ended up settling on a $500 14"x18" Bennett hydraulic wakeplate after a lot of research. Now I tune the wake to the line length I feel like skiing and it's an awesome wake now. Basic tools and a few small holes in your hull and you can make a crappy or mediocre wake, a really nice wake.
  • crashmancrashman Posts: 722 Crazy Baller
    The Moomba Outback has a very roomy bow. I've never skied one but the people who have them really seem to like it. I agree the boat's history means everything. You want to find an OCD slalom nut who is selling his boat only because he wants a zero off boat. If he won't let you help wipe it down because you're not doing it correctly that's a good sign.
    slalom addiction triggering irrational behavior
  • ToddFToddF Posts: 589 Solid Baller
    I have an outback and love it, wakes are good does everything.
    Can't go wrong with an outback. Mostly it comes down to brand preference
  • escmanazeescmanaze Posts: 861 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    I have a 97 SNOB and love it...although I don't often put 5 or more people in it. My buddy has a 96 PS205 and it really is a game of tradeoffs. I cross my wake (at long line lengths and slow speeds, I wouldn't know anything about shortline stuff) much easier than his, but his certainly holds more people with more ease. His boat also has a tower, which gets quite a bit of stuff up and out of the boat, but then also adds weight to the slalom wake.
  • usaski1usaski1 Posts: 750 Crazy Baller
    another vote for Outback.. I have the zbox in mine, and cant tell a speed difference between that and ZO. Not as good as 2012 Malibu, but not bad, especially in the higher 20's. Its worth the money, and you can get one used for $20.
    Mark Turner -- Water skiing changed my life forever.
  • 6balls6balls Posts: 5,470 Mega Baller
    @skihart holy crap. @torontoboater if you can deal with a small open bow for family purposes that boat is a killer slalom boat at an excellent price given hours.
    Dave Ross--die cancer die
  • skihartskihart Posts: 531 Solid Baller
    @6balls @torontoboater. I am not sure he is on Oh we'll it's a great buy for somebody ......
  • torontoboatertorontoboater Posts: 40 Baller
    Thanks for all the helpful replies. Yes skihart that is a nice boat indeed. Don't think I'm able to make it down to Rochester for the time being though and won't be able to import it.
  • andjulesandjules Posts: 843 Mega Baller
    edited July 2013
    @torontoboater there are a lot of good comments above. My 2¢:
    - as above, don't worry about hours, within reason.
    - Outback is nice for the money & I've spent a lot of time in one w two adults & 3-4 kids. Good below 32 mph
    - 96 and later MC 205 is a nice big boat with high freeboard, but more wakeboard than slalom. Fine @ 34 but not so nice @ 30mph.
    - 92-95 MC 205 is a better compromise if you're putting slalom first.
    - That 2000 195 you found is a pretty nice deal for Toronto, where boat prices tend to be inflated, as I'm sure you know. Love the walkway seat, losing seating to the walkway is a drag in all but the biggest bowriders, which is why I also love...
    - Malibu Response LX with the walkover (and has a trunk from 1999 and later), or even a Malibu Sportster LX (seating for kids will be fine, but it's low on storage... fine if you're at a cottage and skiing from a dock, not so great if you're out on the lake for a day).
    - Malibu Sunsetter LXI (not LX) is awesome if you can find one. The LX is not so nice below 32mph, if that's important.

    Where do you ski? I'm in Toronto & mostly cottage in Huntsville, but always looking for new ski opportunities.
    And if you get adventurous and look at importing, I can give you some advice on it - I imported & flipped boats in 2011 & 2012.
  • WayneWayne Posts: 527 Solid Baller
    Some more on the Malibu Sunsetter. It's not widely know but in 2002 the Sunsetter and Sunsetter LXI could be built with the same running surface. I had such a animal for a while. It was a good boat, had plenty of freeboard and a touch more space than my Response LXI. The Sunsetter had a slightly smaller trunk than the Sunsetter LXI but they skied the same.

    If you go the Malibu route look at They have a resources tab that gives all the hull options for every year and model. For the non Response and Non Sportster models look for hulls classified with the word "diamond". Most of these will ski pretty well but give you added space.
  • torontoboatertorontoboater Posts: 40 Baller
    Great advice from all, thanks. I agree the Sunsetters would be a good fit but they are hard to find in my area.
  • XR6HurricaneXR6Hurricane Posts: 328 Baller
    I don't know about the slightly newer Sunsetters but I was behind a '94 Sunsetter a couple of times. I'd only been skiing a couple of years at the time but I thought the wake was terrible at 30 mph long line. Worse than the other direct drive boats I've been behind for sure.
  • andjulesandjules Posts: 843 Mega Baller
    Yes, they completely changed the sunsetters to a modern hull (SV23) in 1995, I believe.
  • DWDW Posts: 2,247 Mega Baller
    At that budget level one of the best resources would be the older Waterski Magazine annual ski boat review. The mid 90's edition offered excellent boat reviews.
  • Tom351Tom351 Posts: 126 Baller
    At that budget level one of the best resources would be the older Waterski Magazine annual ski boat review. The mid 90's edition offered excellent boat reviews.
    Many of these can be found online at google books- link to 1996 below...just search for "waterski mag" and "january" (since they came out at beginning of year) or "boat buyers guide": mag january 1996&pg=PA1#v=onepage&q=waterski mag january 1996&f=false
  • XR6HurricaneXR6Hurricane Posts: 328 Baller
    @andjules I thought the SV23 came out in '94, but you're probably right. I was behind a Response or Echelon (can't remember) that was new enough to have the SV23 and it was definitely better. I definitely would not buy a Malibu older than that.
  • andjulesandjules Posts: 843 Mega Baller
    @XR6Hurricane I think they introduced the SV23 via the Echelon in 93, and rolled it out to the Sunsetter in 95. Don't quote me on that ;-)
  • EdmundEdmund Posts: 183 Baller
    Just one more thought...I have a 1998 SNOB and also love it. Between the motor box and the driver's & observer's seats it is a little crowded, but as to the wake and reliability, it is second to none. There is quite a bit of storage under the open bow area since the open bow does not go all of the way to the floor; it is sort of a bath tub open bow and you get there by stepping over the dash through the windshield access. The kids (and some adults) will enjoy lounging around up there. That 2000 SNOB referenced above seems to be a great deal. Good luck with whatever you decide.
  • crashmancrashman Posts: 722 Crazy Baller
    @Tom351 that might be the best thing I learn today!
    slalom addiction triggering irrational behavior
  • torontoboatertorontoboater Posts: 40 Baller
    Thanks for all the replies - I am going to do a water test on the 1998 Pro Star 205. 640 hours. I am going to do a water test tomorrow. The current owner has owned it for three years and does all his own maintenance. What questions do you suggest I ask the owner about the boat and maintenance? I want to make sure I ask the right questions to get a proper sense of whether this boat will be reliable and was well taken care of. Reliability is of paramount importance to me.

    here is the link to the boat - what are your thoughts?

    Many thanks
  • escmanazeescmanaze Posts: 861 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    That boat looks pretty nice. It seems a bit too expensive, but if you folks are saying that there is a premium for that part of the country then I will trust you. Here is one warning I would have though. My buddy's 97 PS205 had a single axle trailer like that. It worked great for trips under an hour. Once you started taking it on road trips of 2 hours or more, it was notorious for flat tires. Just too much weight for that one little axle. My buddy has since done some serious work to his trailer to make it into a double axle instead and no more flat tire problems. I would be curious to know if I'm the only one on here with such an experience.
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