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Rumors of Mastercraft Bare Bones Slalom Boat?


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I've heard rumors of a new slalom tug, but nothing about a bare bones boat. Not sure if theres a market for such a boat. I would buy a new bare bones boat without all the bling if they could sell it for half the price of a new Prostar.
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I believe what is being considered is the "modular" concept of boats. The promo boat can be ordered w/ no coaming pads, back seat and other items that can be added later should the new owner desire. By making the promo process a "cafeteria" type scenario, it lowers the price point with the option of adding items at a later date. Correct Craft did something similar in 1993 w/ the Standard Ski Nautique.
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Smaller narrower closed bow inboard hull 17'.6"-18' with tracking fins and pylon. Basic wind screen. Keep water temp. Add oil pressure. Tach is incorporated into speed control already as is display speed. Simple vinyl graphics. Small fuel tank (10 gallon). No storage. No glove box. No radio, 302-305 c.i. engine. Options: Heater, platform.
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There will not be a "bare bones" from MC ever trust me. I worked for one of their team skiers this summer at a ski school and I have heard the direction they are going. I will divulge more when I am allowed to do so or the new model is debuted. I believe they are still testing and refining the new model.
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The current set up of the 197 is perfect. Its the only boat with a keyed ignition, rocker switches, a tach, and analoge guages. The current size of the 197 is 19'6" and its perfect. I hate the idea of any more bare bones. As much as people keep saying that they want a bare bones boat they never buy those boats.

 

The Centurion Carbon Pro is exactly what everyone describes and no one is buying it.

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Again, bare bones means slim margin which means lots of units sold or it's a loser for the firm that produces it. There is not a big enough market for bare bones. Even it it could be sold for $30K...would most buy the bare bones or a gently used big 3 with features for the same price?
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MC did this in the late 90s with the MC Sportster. I believe it was the 92-94 hull with higher freeboard. My recollection is it skied better than their upscale MC. but those were bad yrs for MC. I would think in those yrs they learned if it was a sellable boat or not.
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couple of my friends had Malibu Tantrums, we used to love its simplicity, we used to sit in it and say: "hull, engine, steering wheel, rudder, pylon, couple jumper seats. That's alll we need, lets ski." Was the hull of a Sportster with nohting in it but the essentials.
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To be commercially viable, these companies can only afford to put out one "ski" boat. So...it's gotta be all about the options vs price.

So, all you promo guys, if you could order a stripped down "competition version" of a great new boat would you do it?

No carpet

No back seat

Minimal Upholstery(combing pads etc)

Minimal graphics

No heater

no radio

Basic gauge package, no speedo no tach no depth no clock, Just ZO

Cheaper basic fiberglass platform

basic generic steering wheel

No trunk/storage

Smaller gas tank

Cheaper basic windshield

No pop up cleats

One gas filler

No folding platform

Basic generic trailer

No rear tow eye

No rear grab handles

etc

I can guarantee it would be a much cheaper boat..............

it would ski great, better than the heavier loaded version but,

would anybody buy it when you were done with it??? That is the question.

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...but would buyers today in significant enough numbers to make a profit buy one new? There is a reason they don't make them, or something similar today. They are in the biz to make money, and that means producing a product that sells.
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My main point is this....its not a bare bones boat we all want. Its an affordable boat that skis great. I need a seat heater, hot water shower, stereo. A heated stearing wheel would be nice too. I don't want any BS touch panel or fancy digital switches. I want ZO, Analog Guages and a small display that shows water/air temp.

 

We ski all year and I would be against buying any boat that did not have these options. The Prostar 190 of 94 and 95 had these options as well.

 

Inovation is what sells, not bare bones boats. Look at the 200, isn't this the top selling boat for Nautique?

 

 

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Having a bare bones boat may be great if you are not going to resale the boat (non promo) and just use it on a private lake . Being on a promo team I have seen that when you resale the boat the majority of people are not tournament skiers. So a bare bones boat will not work for me and most likely 90% of all promo people. If you look at how the dealers order the boats pretty much loaded that should tell you how well a price point boat will work. Most of my resale the people want it loaded. all the bell and whistles. The Centurion Carbon Pro is exactly what everyone describes and no one is buying it says it all. The Carbon Pro is 40-41K. I don't think that is much of a price point for most people. 2 other issues that may be holding them back is that it is only available in a closed bow and it is listed as a 3 person boat.
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The thing I'm finding in my current boat search is that most slalom guys take really great care of their boats. They go out, run the course, wipe it down and store it properly-most don't get drunk and run it into the boat ramp or rock piles. So if I'm looking to save $ (and I am) I'll by a well taken care of used boat. I'm finding several early 2000s Nautiques and Bus with fewer than 500 hrs that look new with the works- for slightly north of 15k.
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Have a buddy that looked at a boat in semi ruff shape. Every time he asked the owner why something was the way it was in the boats condition the response always started with ..well, my buddies and I were drinking....... I guess you would have to be to light the carpet behind the motor box on fire. And not just a little patch. The entire removable section. Somthing about trying to dry it faster.
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Slalom boat manufacturers live and die by reputation and resale values. If they put out junk - the next several years will not sell - regardless of the price. If they sell a model with a significantly reduced price tag, the used models then become less valuable - ticking off the current owners and eliminating a significant portion of their market. So, they have to keep prices at or above the previous year's levels. If they don't, they have just shot themselves in the foot.

 

There is a large hidden cost in a boat - the cost of air permit compliance. You pay for it when the styrene is made. You pay for it when the hull and deck are laid-up. The cost of regulatory compliance is ever increasing - and the cost of the resin is rising higher than inflation. I assume, but do not know, that gel coat, vinyl, and other products that use VOC's and especially benzene are more expensive every year. Let's not forget about the cost of compliance with the new air regulations on motors - every new motor is paying for that R&D and testing. It is just expensive to stay in business today.

 

If there were a significant, long-term market play for an older, smaller, lighter boat with a current motor and ZO, it would be on the showroom floor in a year. For the future, we are looking at boats that are family-friendly and wife-approved - comfortable and stylish. I believe that is a good thing for the long-term market in both new and used boats.

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Lets scrap the term "Bare Bones" when relating to any of the Big 3 Boat Builders. MC will come out with a product that no one can touch, and thats all I can disclose.

My current favorite boat for all 3 Events is still the Prostar 197 or the 190. I think thats hard to dispute.

To a great season of boating and skiing!

 

 

 

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The reason I bought a 2012 Centurion was that it met my needs without a lot of options I didn't want. The boat skis very well, drives as good as most and costs much less. It comes with a PCM engine (the best IMO) and is very easy to maintain. Last season was its first year in the 3-event market. It will take some time for it to be accepted on the same level as the Big 3. I remember back in the late 80's that Malibu was in the same position. We all know how that turned out. I believe its a little premature to render judgement on its future at this point.
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JD, they are foolish if they don't open that bow. Remember when they were all closed bows...and the first big 3 boats that maintained the same tourney hull but opened the bow took off? Suddenly families bought ski boats. Now they all do it except Centurion and for good reason.

I'm a big Centurion fan and want them to do well. I have a closed bow 196 at the swamp so my next boat will replace my '91 Centurion on the home public lift. No way it will be closed bow, and thus it won't be Centurion.

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I was a hard core MC Guy since my first one in 1980. Had several, with the best one being my 93. Sold it when I heard about this great new hull coming out in 98. Beautiful boat with Stars and Stripes and a Corvette Engine but skied like crap. Worst wake ever. Took a bath selling that when the next hull came out in 2001. Another Beautiful Metalflake Boat that also skied like crap. They improved it in 02 but I was stuck. Took another bath, but no longer trusted MC again. Went to a LXi in 05, a 196 in 09, and LOVE my 2011 200. However, I decided to NEVER buy the first year of a new hull design again after being screwed twice.

 

I truly hope MC raises the bar on this new one like CC did with the 200 and Malibu just did with the TXi. After all, innovation leads to better skiing for all of us.

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The new MC will reset the bar again for tournament boats. The idea isn't so much a stripped out boat, but modular options that are easily added by a promo member who doesn't need the bling or options that help with resale, but hurt the performance to increased weight and complexity.
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I'm very excited that MC is coming out with something new. We had a '98, and I agree with Ed's assessment. We also had a '95 and a '97; nice wakes but tracked/handled horribly. I personally haven't been a fan of their boats since '94, which is why we jumped to Nautique. We had '86, '88 and '92 Prostars, which were great. It would be nice to see them come out with something that could lure some of us lost customers back.
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The fit and finish of MC's has GREATLY improved over the last 5 years. Charles took an 06 197 on trade recently so I could compare the 06 and the 2012 promo that just came in side by side. The gunnel sides were much stiffer on the 12, as were the floor sections. While the outsides looked the same, you could tell that every piece of fiberglass was thicker. No contest on the interior now. MC is head and shoulders above everyone else with their Carbon weave upholstery. I'm a lifelong Nautique guy but when Charles got the mastercraft brand and I had a chance to be in the boats repeatedly and interact with guys like Crutchfield and Ron Brown(president of Ilmor) I have quickly begun to appreciate MC.

 

As for the Ilmor engine package. They are quickly showing their viability. Even with a few of the Ilmor growing pains in their first year(mostly surrounding hose routing in a new hull packaging format than they were used to from what I saw), they demonstrated a MUCH lower warranty return rate than the previous Indmar packages.

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