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Best ski boat for the ocean?


mr_pretzel
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@mr_pretzel. I have a bit of experience of running the boats on the ocean. Before I became a baller, I was into the go fast boats and had a 26 foot Doral with a 496, with a blower, blah blah blah. The ocean can kick up so fast and even in a big boat like that, when mother nature acts up, it is not a pretty site, even close to shore, etc..

 

That is a very tough one, because of all the ski boats I know about, (mid-drive engines), the very nature of the design of the boats is to make the nose stay down and not lift up. The faster you go, the lower the nose drops. And, riding the ocean, it is imperative to keep your nose up. The swells in the ocean act entirely different than what you would experience on a lake.

 

I ski on a lake that can get pretty nasty when the weather acts up, and coming back to the harbor has been downright dicey at times in my PS 197. I have had to use my pumps pretty much constantly when the weather acts up.

 

So, IMO that leaves you with an engine in the back of the boat. The only boat with a class A-rated wake and an engine in the back that I know about is the Nautique Sport. However, I would be very careful when you take it out. @scotchipman has some great weather resources you could use on an ongoing basis to help make sure you go out when it is calm.

 

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Caveats: (i) We don't really know your expectations or budget (new or used); and (ii) I haven't skied either of the boats mentioned below, but I have been in this kind of discussion on other forums and 'knowledgeable-sounding' folks mentioned these boats:

 

The Sanger 210/215 were known for being a bit better in rough water, but we're talking V-drives (hybrids that lean more to wakeboarding than skiing), so the wake is going to be hard compared to a 3-event direct drive, and if you're taking skiers in the 26-30mph range, it's also going to be a bigger wake. On the other hand, if you're hoping to comfortably take more than one-or-two people for a boat ride in a bit of ocean chop, you pretty much have to bite the V-drive bullet, both because of what @Brady said above, and because it brings the rear seat forward out of the spray compared to the very wet, way-at-the-back rear seat in direct drives.

 

If you'd rather the skiing advantages of a direct drive, the mid-2000s Centurion T5 was also known for being a little better in rough water.

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@mr_pretzel. I think the suggestions from @GregHind and @Ryno talking about the outboard motors are excellent suggestions! I have never owned and outboard, but it is true, the wakes are small and you really can trim them down quite a bit to keep your nose up. That is really the key to being safe on the ocean. Keeping your nose up. A dry boat is a boat that floats. I don't imagine you will get caught in ocean swells, but the dancing of the waves can get pretty aggressive and the more you can keep your nose up in any boat, and especially a small ski boat, the better off and safer you will be.
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Jet boats don't track at all. We owned an OB for 25 years (virtually identical to the Sanger barefooter) and loved it. You do get all the benefits listed above (trimming nose up, etc...), but many have the downside of being pretty shallow. It wasn't often, but there were a couple of times we had to tack across rough water and it can get pretty hairy in a shallow boat. The Mastercraft OB is the deepest of that type of boat. You can't go wrong with the Sanger either. It's not quite as deep, but is wider which does offer some good stability.
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Some of the outboard barefoot boats have very low freeboard and nose such as the flightcraft and the centurion warrior barefoot comp.

Would probably be better with Mastercraft Barefoot 200 or Ski Centurion Falcon Barefoot...I still own a '91 Falcon Barefoot. It doesn't do slalom duty anymore, but back in the day it did right into shortline at 36 mph. Freeboard and nose are higher than the others...I've never put the nose under or through a wave.

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The best ski boat for the Ocean would be my Mastercraft Prostar 209 that's for sale...... just kidding.

 

But a +1 for the outboard engine. I've read up on them and besides withstanding salty conditions better (easier maintenance) than inboards, you honestly shouldn't be sacrificing "too" much in the way of a flat wake.

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@mr_pretzel

 

Jets have terrible hole shots and the power doesn't come on in a linear fashion. At first the jet pump feels like a slipping prop, then the pump spools up and it takes off

 

They also track really poorly. Outboards are way better.

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