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rodltg2
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Lets just say for sh$ts and giggles there is a boat manufacturer looking to get into to the tournament waterski boat market. Do you guys think there is room for a fifth player? If they were to listen to us skiers and build a bare bones boat, what are the key features and price point you would want. Do we really need a trunk, a stereo , depth finder etc...Do we need an open bow option? Let's say it was built specifically for tournament setting ie. private sites, and it performed close or as good as the others, how many units could be sold a year? All thoughts and opinions appericiated . I will be forwarding this thread to " someone " !
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Hmmm....American Skier, Dyne, MB, Calibria, Gekko, Standard - none could make it in the tow boat market. Some had great features, skied well, etc. Very few are looking for a 20-year boat, the buyers want resale value. Families want cushions, quiet drive trains, and the ability to cruise. Skiers want something they are familiar with at another site or at a tournament.

 

I don't think the annual volume of a private lake specific boat would be more than 10-20 units. Personally, I would stick with MasterCrafts even at half-price.

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Low price on bare bones boat is low profit margin requiring high unit sales. It's a niche market w/low sales potential and thus is a "no go". The only argument would be as a loss leader for firm with larger, profit generating boats to create loyal customers that would buy bigger in the future.

Problem is those same bigger boats are available at half price w/low hours in the used market and will last for a very long time well-maintained. Very tough business.

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I would think Standard could copy the 196 shape without a law suit. The devil is in the details. We are used to top notch boats. To make them cheap you would have to cut the right corners and none of the wrong ones.

 Goode  KD Skis ★ MasterCraft ★ PerfSki ★ Radar ★ Reflex ★ S Lines ★ Stokes

Drop a dime in the can

 

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@Boarditup the problem with your comment of "people want something that is familiar to other sites" well, at one point no boat was familiar to a site. At one point all of these boats were new and just coming out so I dont think that would make an impact. The centurion sold a good # of boats and it was a new.
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Several questions that I'll ask like a kid.

What makes a good slalom boat besides a small wake?

Why is an inboard preferred to an outboard?

Why are hours an important statistic? I drive a car for way more than a few hundred hours.

Whats wrong with a boat like *this?

 

*boat shown is a year old and selling for $15,000. I ski behind a boat like that for about $25/mile, and would dream of just having one its $30 for an inboard.

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If you are a long-line, non-course slalom skier or even a novice course skier for which times down to 100th of a second are not important...the right outboard is fine.

I used to slalom a Ski Centurion Falcon outboard and nothing had better wakes up to 22 off, any speed. It had tracking fins and tracked reasonably well also. At 28 off and shorter the wake became narrow and hard, but I skied it into 35 off w/my dad hand timing at 36 mph back in the day. Right now it's a good boat to pull my kids b/c the wake stays small even at low speed.

As you transition to a real buoy-head, the benefits of the inboard are many. Better shortline wake, less spray to skier, better tracking, easier steering, far more nimble, remarkably accurate GPS speed controls, a nice platform for putting on your ski, the safety of the prop under the boat rather than behind it, the refinement of the steering and throttle mechanisms. Slow it down and far better wakeboard ramps.

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For the timing thing I can understand. I've been in a boat where the thing clearly slows down and the guy yanks shifts the boat pretty good.

Speed controls? Its not a gas pedal its a lock in place throttle like all boats. Unless its adjusts speed to counter the skier's pulling.

Easier steering? Your going straight!

Nimble? YOU'RE STILL GOING STRAIGHT!

Prop under the boat is a superflous marketing BS. I've never heard of anyone that wasnt a manatee getting propped. Shut the thing off like everyone else does.

 

Less spray to the skier?

Tracking?

 

 

 

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Taelan28. 6Balls is correct. An outboard can do what an inboard can do. The Inboard just does it better by high percentages needed for shortline skiing and in most cases on lakes with extremely tight turns at each end of the course. Speed control does manage the skiers load on the boat, and much faster and cleaner than someone manually compensating for the speed reduction caused by that quick on/off load the skier creates.

 

Sully, my buddy has an 01 GTR Gekko. Wakes are small but stiff at 28 and longer. 32 and beyond are good. Tracking is the best and better than my SN (shhhhhhhh you didn't hear me say that).

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The speed control does adjust to skier pull. The boat seems like it's going straight until you are in a course...particularly if you put a short line bruiser like myself back there. I've taken boats way out of the gate path as a skier. Nimble...yes for small ski sites requiring tight turns on the ends. Easier steering...yes for tight turns on the ends as well as driver adjustment to counter the skier deviating the boat path with short line slalom turns. Spray...yes at short-line it can be like chewing on golf balls behind the wrong boat.

For a long time as a younger skier behind my dad's outboard...I had no concept how much better an inboard really was.

Wish, agree on the Gekko. Phenomenal tracking, small but hard wake thru 28 off then better. No spray. Decent barefoot ride as had good top end. Razor1 used to have one.

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I'm sure there are others out there who HAVE seen skiers/boaters propped- I have- Not pretty. Yep, alcohol and choppy water involved, but still... Especially if there are kids around- an inboard is way safer.

Uh, tracking... until you try it with a skier in tow, there might seem to be a lot of room in a slalom course. Fellow told me once- "Good skiers require better drivers. Great skiers require the best drivers."

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I skied behind an outboard for my entire childhood, including in a slalom course, so I have some relevant knowledge. Here's a list of just some of the important reasons that inboards are prefered for slalom course skiing (I apologize for some redundancy with the above posts).

 

As usual, many/most of these don't matter for open water skiing.

 

1) For short-line slalom, where the rope is mounted in the boat is extremely important. If the rope is on the back, then the extreme forces (some of which are lateral when the skier is out near 90 degrees) result in pulling the boat all over creation and the driver has to very actively steer with both hands. Even the best driver under these circumstances is going to be pulled waay off the proper path, and on a short rope that is unacceptable because it can make the pass easier, harder, or impossible. If instead the rope is attached near the center of mass, then it's WAY easier to get a good boat path, because these lateral forces do not turn into a torque on the boat.

 

Technically this is not an inboard vs. outboard difference, but it's easier and more common to design an inboard with a center-mounted rope.

 

2) A ski boat (inboard) intentionally concentrates a lot of the mass (aka the engine) near the center of the boat. This greatly adds in tracking as well.

 

To truly understand 1 & 2, you'd need to drive a short-line skier, preferably a strong one like 6balls (but even pulling a scrawny dude like me would show the difference immediately). The difference is truly unbelievable.

 

3) A big-ass inboard engine (350+ hp is common on ski boats) can operate at the desired speed while staying in the high-torque range (i.e. a lower RPM). This makes it far less vulnerable to being pulled down in speed. When you consider that top pros have been measured at about 1000 lbs of tension on the line (very briefly, of course), you really need some serious torque to avoid the skier pulling the speed waay down.

 

The above are fundamental reasons that relate directly to the sport. And here's a few convenience features:

 

4) The prop under the boat indirectly leads to the ability to have a platform on the back. This is a HUGE convenience, especially for the many of us who have binding systems that you really have to stand on to get your feet into.

 

5) Inboards are big, simple engines, and are thus substantially more reliable that the compact/complex package that you have to make for an outboard. Most inboards will keep their original engine for decades, whereas getting 5 years out of a heavily-used outboard used to be quite good (although I haven't owned one in years and they may have gotten a lot better).

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@Taelan28, that pylon would be SERIOUSLY dangerous in a course with a shortline skier behind the boat...

 

Regarding tracking, I am a reasonably experienced driver, and no skier would be able to pull me out of the boat path on a Nautique 200 or 196. But I have been pulled out on a Masterboat (Brazilian MC copy) while pulling a baller (Sorry Alberto...), so I can tell you that driving the boat in your picture thru a slalom course would be a challenge.

 

@Than, I have to disagree with your #5 on simplicity, I do not see anything simple about my PCM 343... Especially after hooking it to the diagnostics software...

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Another entry in to the existing market would be challenging unless it would offer some significant differentiation from what is currently available. The hard core tournament ski crowd is very small, so offering something for that group would severly limit potential volume. Another problem with that market, it is very brand loyal to the current top three, simply scroll through various threads to see that, so stealing market share would be a challenge, coupled to the fact that there is a new offering that has done just that (Carbon Pro). Certainly not saying don't try, just realize the challenge since if you come up with a better mouse trap, people will gravitate to it.
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The only reason any boat company is still in business is a direct result of the wake board market. Most companies are selling at least five V Drive wake board boats to every one direct drive ski boat. It sucks but that is the way it is. Joe average wants bling and towers!!!

"Do Better..."

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I think in order to succeed they would need to sell a ton of weekend warrior boats. That being said we don't always do the most financially wise things when it is a labor of love. I think that if someone wanted to do it and knew they would maybe break even at it. It could be done. So back to the original question of what we need in a boat. I am actually currently looking at upgrading from an 86 American skier to something newer. I cannot afford brand new so looking at used boats. The things I am looking for are ZO, a place to store my ski in the boat, old school look, simplicity,{dont need open bow or adjustable trim tabs or a gunsight} and kinda a stereo. Doesnt have to be good as long as it makes noise. For these reasons I am looking at 04 05 196's. If there was a bare bones boat brand new for high 20's low 30's I would consider a loan to buy that boat.
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Fact of the matter is, consumers don't buy bare bones cheap boats. They haven't in a long, long time. There is never going to be a tournament ski boat with ZO in the high 20s. Even a Centurion retails for low 40s and it's pretty bare bones. I'd hate to see what 32k would get you. Or not get you.
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In the used market $32K gets you a great boat. That is the competitor of the potential new price point boat. If you plan to run it 10 years, do you want a new price point boat or a low hours big 3. I know my answer. Let's see...price point brand X w/no features for my family and corners cut or a decked out MC 197, LXi, or 196 under 5 years old old w/200 hrs...
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The only reason any boat company is still in business is a direct result of the wake board market. Most companies are selling at least five V Drive wake board boats to every one direct drive ski boat. It sucks but that is the way it is. Joe average wants bling and towers!!!
I'll second that.
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Cheaper boats are a little bit like compact cars. The automakers (US) have historically made all their profits on SUVs loaded up with goodies, while losing money consistently on smaller, cheaper vehicles. Boat business is the same. When MC, CC and Malibu are selling $70-80,000 wakeboard boats at huge margins, they aren't much interested in selling a low priced slalom ride.

 

As for the Gekko, I bought a GTR 22 back in 2000 and put 700 hours on it. Agree with the comments earlier. Best tracking boat I have ever driven -- you could let a 5 year old pull you in the course. Wakes were hard, but low until 32 off, where they basically disappeared. Great barefoot boat as it would run nearly 50mph and had a flat table. Hull seemed very solid. Flooring and other interior materials were cheap. Current ride is a 2005 PS 197 TT. Just hit 1000 hours and everything in the boat remains solid as a rock. Interior, exterior, etc. Worth buying a used quality boat rather than buying a new cheap boat, IMO.

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I will preface this by saying that I'm not an owner or really affilaited with this company other than I bought and sold a few of his wakeboard boats when the economy was stronger.

 

Anyhow like I stated before this isnt this companies first trip around the block. In fact the owner has been affialited with and designed many tournament waterski and wakeboard boats for decades.

 

It seems alot of you are not looking outside your "box" . I'm not sure how situation is on all private lakes, but not all waterskiers are competitive skiers and need a boat that will be used at a tournament. At my previous club , out of 50 members, I dont think more than 10 skied tournaments. There is also a huge market outside of the US in Europe , Australia and Latin America.

 

Below is a ski boat we were working on in 08. I only really supplied some funding and testing. The boat was set to MSRP at $37,500 loaded! We eventually never dialed it in and scrapped the concept it due to the ecomony. It had a very cool layout but it was a bit big in my opinion.

 

The company is now toying with the idea of releasing a smaller version with new technology based on a well known proven hull . And yes the wakeboard boat market of course will be much stronger in sales. So back to my original question what features / ameneties would you like to see.

 

If this project does see light of day , I will keep you ballers posted.

 

Here are some pic of the concept boat of 08. I blocked the logo so sorry for the crappy color match!

 

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b265/rodltg2/wcskibos.jpg

 

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b265/rodltg2/wcbos.jpg

 

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b265/rodltg2/wcintbos.jpg

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The platform has a scorpion on it, but does the motor look mercruiser?

I like being able to get to the platform w/out climbing over a trunk. I like cockpit ergonomics...throttle/wheel should fall immediately to hand and I should be able to see something other than the windshield frame. I like a wide rear facing observers seat so I don't have to cuddle one of my ski partners while we watch. Stereo/heater/seat heater nice but not necessary...heater most of the 3 for me. Overall slalom drive/wake performance and latest speed control a must. A place for skis when out w/2-3 ski partners skiing buoys (on the above boat could have removable side seats like current boats removable rear that expose floor lockers or some such. Needs open bow for resale/family concerns. I don't like cheap stuff...carpet/vinyl/switch-gear. A convenient place for binding soap/lube near platform. Built in, self-draining, easily accessible cooler. Big glove box ie) SN 196--when I ski we throw sweatpants/sweatshirts/towels in there which keeps em off the dash/seats/floor. For family use, some sort of downforce capability to create bigger wakes ie) wedge. It should back up to the right. It should have 2 plugs--one easily accessible rearward but keep the one under the motor for oil changes. Rounded back end and tapered platform that never catch the rope ex) SN 196. Enough for now.

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Just curious what your thoughts on moomba are, seeing how they're a less expensive boat? I own a moomba outback and love it. I ski at 15 off at 32 and 34 mph because I've only been skiing for a little over a year now. I've skied behind a few malibu responses and like my wake better at 15 off and at slower speeds. I've pulled a few experienced skiers and nobody has complained of anything, one of which that skies into 35 off.
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The seats on the side worry me a little as to would walking around it be tough and where would you put equipment when you are out on the water. I am concerned about the split locker in the back. I don't put my ski there but I do put trick skis and wakeboards (for the kids) in there.

 

It is a good looking boat though kind of a Masterbu as someone else alluded to.

 

I like the idea of the rubber floor in the Centurion. Where my boat sits there are trees overhead and if I leave the boat uncovered for an hour in the spring all kinds of crap falls into it that I can't get out.

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@travnews good to know- I'm currently boat shopping after spending most of last summer behind my ski partner's response (my current moomba's engine is in the wrong place) and it looks like mid to high 30s will get me a pretty loaded outback. So if this new player is a price point boat then I would think if it's a bare bones model it would have to come in well below that
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@ 6balls, its a PCM Excalibur of that time.

 

Remember guys , the boat pictured was scrapped. If in fact it the new model will be built, the boat will be loosely based on that hull , but will actually be closer to an older boat hull of the 90's. The idea is a 19' quality built boat with new technology, turn key at under 40K.

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heck, aside from it's age a 196 all the way back to 1997 can be had for well under 15k. Buff, carpet, upholstery and some mechanical for 3k/little elbow grease (if needed) and you have an awsome slolam machine for well under 20k. Hopefully PP and ZO will be worked out soon. (PP simulating ZO)

 

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@travnews and @crashman - We had an Outback in our regular boat rotation for several years and I'm here to tell you that for a bare bones boat it's a pretty damn good slalom course boat. Not the best tracking thing (requires more driver input) and the interior is plain/kinda cheap looking, but for the bucks if you gotta have a new boat and you want something that will perform in the course the Outback is good to go.

 

Having said that, I'd agree with the several other posts above that the best bang-for-the-buck would be a well kept 5 years old or so Big 3 (pick one) with a few hundred hours on it. Can be had for mid to upper $20K's, pretty hard to beat that value wise.

 

Ed

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So I just looked at Wakecrafts site. Without question it is a Wakecraft all the way. Same engine, headlights and graphic on the swim deck. More power to them. Hope they give the big three a run for their money. Also hope plenty of R&D goes into the wake. Props to Centuion for their play into the market. I look forward to skiing behind a CarbonPro soon and am excited for my daughter to experience what I hear is the best slow long line wake ever.
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