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Slalom Boat with center/forward driving position

Dacon62Dacon62 Posts: 778 Crazy Baller
After reading the Wake Tractor thread my mind couldn't help but explore how a center/forward drivers position slalom boat might be configured. @Edbrazil mentioned he had approached Rob Shirley with the center drive idea way back. Don't know what his version would have looked like but I'm guessing not like the one below?
Benefits...moving the driver, passengers and fuel load forward should allow the engine mass to be moved backwards to keep everything balanced. This would also allow more passengers in front of the pylon and be a more social arrangement.
I am not an engineer or much of an artist but before you reach for your barf bags consider how strange a crew cab short box truck looked when they first came out. Now it is a long box regular cab truck, that used to be the norm, that looks odd to the eye.

Could be easily optioned with ballast for other large wake sports.



  • EdbrazilEdbrazil Posts: 1,396 Historical Baller
    edited October 2015
    vs. V-drive: I remember the Infinity ski boats (Rob Shirley's 2nd effort) had a "backward" engine
    in about the normal inboard engine location. With a gear unit to re-direct to a drive shaft that
    was at a flatter angle than the typical inboard.
    I remember Rob's reply about a center-drive boat: "Show me an order". Of course, in those
    days, I/we didn't have the buck$ to fund an R&D experimental boat. But, I sure liked my center-
    drive Crosby twin rig that I had in the late 1960's--early 1970's. Although it was a good bit of
    a beast in the handling category.
  • GOODESkierGOODESkier Posts: 1,107 Crazy Baller
    I was going to type the word ... "INFINITY" ........
    2003 Nautique 196 LE Star Gazer & ZBox - GOODE NANO OneXT 66.75" - Powershell 5 (LFF) - Tournament PB: 2 Balls @ 39.5' OFF (34.2 MPH) on 7/18/2015 at BIG DAWG BROHO!
  • ALPJrALPJr Posts: 2,169 Mega Baller
    edited October 2015
    Reminds me of the 69 to 71 Evinrude explorer design. A lot of room for a small hull.
  • ALPJrALPJr Posts: 2,169 Mega Baller
  • webbdawg99webbdawg99 Posts: 1,067 Mega Baller
    edited October 2015
    I had access to an Infinity during my college days. Due to the reduced drive shaft angle mentioned earlier, that boat was faster out of the hole and had more power than any of its competitors. It also handled awesome. The interior room couldn't be beat. The wake was dense at 22 off but very flat at 28 and shorter. Infinity sold the plans to Svfara. They turned it into the Svfara SV-1
  • oldjeepoldjeep Posts: 3,545 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    I'm trying to imagine the beating that your body would take driving from the bow in anything but perfectly flat water.
    Chuck P
    Not a mechanic but I play one at home
  • 6balls6balls Posts: 5,376 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    I skied a 36 mph tourney in M2 behind the infinity. No one skiing 22 was very happy. My opener was 28 off and I thought it was great. Agree with @webbdawg99 that boat was VERY strong.
    Dave Ross--die cancer die
  • escmanazeescmanaze Posts: 808 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    Does it have to be a V-drive? Couldn't it still be a direct drive, but just move the driver forward and to the center? I've thought of that a lot when I have heard people say that my SNOB doesn't drive quite as well as a closed bow ski nautique because the engine is further back creating a little worse angle. My thought has then been "well, if further forward is better, let's take that to the furthest extend and see what happens?"
  • Dacon62Dacon62 Posts: 778 Crazy Baller
    edited October 2015
    @ozski , @escmanaze , Am not trying to necessarily move away from a mid engine to a V-drive...the reason it went that way was the need to move some weight to the rear to keep the boats running attitude and tracking close to what is now being considered ideal.
    Consider how much weight (all approximate) is being moved forward and how far in both configurations,

    1) Driver with helm, throttle, seat and windshield - 250 lbs 5' forward.
    2) Lets say 2 spotters - 350 lbs 3' forward.
    3) Fuel tank, filler hose and 10 gallons of fuel - 75 lbs 9' forward.

    So lets estimate that there is 675 lbs that has been moved on average 4' forward.
    To keep the boat balanced the motor would need to be moved back approx. 2'-3' which is probably very close to configuration #1 above thereby necessitating a V-drive configuration.

    Have never had the privilege of skiing an Infinity, why did it just fade away if it was such an awesome boat?
  • BrennanKMNBrennanKMN Posts: 522 Crazy Baller
    The downside to the center mounted pylon is that we loose all the seating behind the pylon anytime someone is skiing. For us ballers, that is very often. The only time my boat doesn't have a rope on the pylon is the 1 minute drive from the launch to the course.

    While I understand people want more seating for cruising and general use; I would rather have more storage space than seating. I always find myself with more gear getting in the way than people. Just think, how many people with a removable backseat keep it in?

    I do like the idea of that wrap around seating behind the driver. That would store a bunch of skis and proved a lot of usable seating while someone is in tow.
  • A_BA_B Posts: 4,242 Mega Baller
    edited October 2015
    I don't know why LH rotating prop baits don't put the driver on the port side. Would help counter the torque lift, in particular when not having an observer.

    Would that cause problems for people driving on the left side?
  • oldjeepoldjeep Posts: 3,545 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    @BrennanKMN - well if you want more storage there is a Malibu FXI for sale on ski it again.
    Chuck P
    Not a mechanic but I play one at home
  • UWSkierUWSkier Posts: 1,510 Mega Baller
    Wonder if it'd be easier or harder to drive the course sitting up in the bow and dead-center like that.
    boats are like girlfriends you love them however there is another one around the corner - bananaron, July 21, 2020
  • DWDW Posts: 2,168 Mega Baller
    The bow seating position would be a bit unnerving at first, the driver would have to get used to being moved away from the pivot center of the boat. One key effect of this configuration would be polar moment of inertia, which would be significantly greater than a conventional tourney boat, therefore slowing the turning response significantly. This and the seating position would have a noticeable impact on course driving, at least learning the response characteristics.
  • Dacon62Dacon62 Posts: 778 Crazy Baller
    Storage definetly improved. No impaired vision by spotters making left turns back into the course. Room for 6 in front of pylon if needed. Agree with @DW that it would be a different driving and reactive experience.
  • Jody_SealJody_Seal Posts: 2,950 Mega Baller
    We kicked this concept around at Correct Craft many times. once even mocked up a wood deck prototype Sport however it never made it to the water. Basically set a seat in the middle of the boat and ducked taped a steering helm to the dash. Driving a true cab forward center cockpit design boat is rather different. I had a tunnel boat back in the early 80's that was a really strange to drive being that far forward and at 100 mph and before reinforced cockpits it was an un-nerving ride every time i ran it!
    Hobby Boats can be expensive when the hobbyist is limited on their own skill and expertise.

  • keithh2oskierkeithh2oskier Posts: 637 Crazy Baller
    I seem to recall a photo in Waterski Magazine years ago (late 90s maybe) that looked like it had a center mounted driver. It was an unfinished boat that was stripped of interior, windshield etc. Basically looked like a boston whaler. an internet search couldn't find it so it probably doesn't exist.
  • A_BA_B Posts: 4,242 Mega Baller
    With a pylon right behind the driver, a net or something might be needed for missed deepwater starts where the handle pops into the boat.
  • oldjeepoldjeep Posts: 3,545 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    edited October 2015

    @keithh2oskier - maybe one of those odd looking center console boats that mastercraft used to make? Csx220
    l_1.jpg 147.7K
    Chuck P
    Not a mechanic but I play one at home
  • WaternutWaternut Posts: 1,511 Crazy Baller
    For a course/tournament specific boat, this might be ok but there is no way I would buy one. I don't know about you guys but half the reason for going out and skiing is friendship and if you isolate the driver to where he can't even talk to his friends in the boat, that would suck. Might as well advertise it as "the perfect boat for the married man who hates his wife and doesn't want to hear the kids".

    I joked about not being able to see the hot girls in the bow seats if the driver was in front in a previous thread but realistically, this style of boat would make driving a chore instead of a joy.
  • rodltg2rodltg2 Posts: 1,051 Crazy Baller
    @Waternut I was thinking the same thing. Don't think too many people would buy that boat.

  • Dacon62Dacon62 Posts: 778 Crazy Baller
    edited October 2015
    Had the same thought about driver isolation when drawing this out. If the passenger seats on either side were moved another foot forward essentially the heads of the driver and 2 passengers would all line up for easy conversation. The drivers seat with built in headrest mesh for handle pops would also need to swivel 180 degrees for when your just floating and chilling. Would be the best seat in the house then.
  • WayneWayne Posts: 504 Solid Baller
    @Dacon62 you had asked what happened to Infinity. Was that the direct drive where nearly all of a model year of boats were recalled because they would chine lock on a hard left turn? If I remember correctly Infinity had a funky walk through transom where there was a low section in the middle allowing easier step over access to the platform. Thought it also had a Toyota or Acura based V8 engine.

    If this is the boat you are referring to and my memory is correct they had the molds made up by a place in Florida but they accidentally left them out in the sun warping the mold. So an entire run of hulls were warped causing the chime lock issue. The recall essentially put them out of business.
  • Dacon62Dacon62 Posts: 778 Crazy Baller
    Thanks @Wayne for the info.
    @Jody_Seal , why did your several kicks at the front/center drive never make it to the water?
    Lack of perceived market?
    Unconventional looks?
    Lack of funds to experiment?

  • swc5150swc5150 Posts: 2,403 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    Wakeboarding essentially put Infinity out of business. The boat had some nice features, and I'm sure the dislikes would've been tweaked over time, but it was the timing of introducing a 3 event boat doomed the ZX1. Other than a sliver of the public and some promo guys, not many closed bow slalom boats were selling in the late 90's.
    Scott Calderwood
  • WayneWayne Posts: 504 Solid Baller
    edited October 2015
    Arg! I looked back at an old thread and I've made the same mistake twice! Epic was the chine lock boat, infinity just had the interesting transom and drive layout.
  • Jody_SealJody_Seal Posts: 2,950 Mega Baller
    Bigger fish to fry! onset of the Wakeboard revolution, more return on the investment for wakeboard technology. Ski boats were on the decline as primary focus on them was waning.
    Hobby Boats can be expensive when the hobbyist is limited on their own skill and expertise.

  • andjulesandjules Posts: 837 Mega Baller
    @Wayne, you're thinking of the Toyota Epic wake/ski boats:
    One model had a warped mold and they did spend a lot replacing those boats, but I think they simply had trouble breaking in to the market and then faced a tough economy post-dot com bubble. Marinized Lexus V8 and beautifully built, from my recollection.
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