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Mastercrafts from the late 80S. love them or hate them?


kcross
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I ski behind my friends 95 prostar 205 a couple times a week and love it, but I would really like to get my own boat next year on a budget. My cousin has a 1988 prostar 190 that I can snag for $6000 will I notice a big change in the boat? I guess I am looking for peoples blessing on not going with the 91-95 to avoid getting into that $9000 and up price tags that come along with them. Do I have to run magnets for speed control on a boat that old too I guess is my other question? thanks any input appreciated.
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Having owned an '83 MC as well as a fleet worth of newer ski boats I have to say there will be a significant difference with the '88 vs. something newer. I.e. the incremental dollars between that and a more modern boat (even early 90's) will be worth every dime. That 80's MC hull is a very small boat that tracks like a bar of soap and has a lot of spray compared to modern boats. Wake is actually good for the time period but the rest, forget it. The ergonomics are odd throughout the boat as it feels like the whole thing is designed for a 7/8ths scale human. Additionally the "fighter plane" windows of the 87-90 are not too functional and the windshield is really low. I'd save another 3-4K and buy something from the 90's.

 

 

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RPM mode is "dumb" it has no clue how fast the boat is going, so you have to tell it how many RPM to go - if you're just casually skiing the course just fire up a phone GPS application and stick that in the cup holder and pull a skier at whatever RPM say 3100, watch and if it says 28 mph average as you drive you are going roughly that fast, next pass adjust a few ticks up or down based on the skier preference - be prepared for a bit of a shock when you enter a tournament with a modern boat and ZO and say you want a 28 - it will be loads different.

 

PP can be informed of speed through a paddlewheel pick up, magnets, or GPS - GPS can come from a third party GPS unit that "fools" the PP into thinking it is reading a paddlewheel, or you can buy a stargazer unit.

 

Slower speed stuff will become the problem, rec slalom is great on rpm or gps modes, but if you don't have a speed sender you can't use the Trick mode and if you set really low speeds in RPM mode the boat can drop off plane going 1400 rpm and be going 2 mph or get up to speed and go a bit faster.

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Love our '89. Newer boats are much better in so many ways. But for $6000 you're running a flat wake. Adding Stargazer and you have GPS speed control. There are shortcomings versus newer boats (tracking, size, fit and finish) but at the end of the day you are skiing.

They are sensitive to weight, make sure you have a spotter of similar weight as the driver or through in a bag of sand etc. If not the wake can be a bit sharp on the unweighted side.

All said, we just keep using and enjoying ours for the skiing, and pull out the Baja when the tubers come out...

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We had an '88 back when it was new and loved the boat. I was a sophomore in high school, so my size scaled the boat nicely:) It's small with plenty of shortline spray, but a flat wake and an absolute blast to drive. I mean drive, not track with a 200lb+ dude in tow getting into -35. @jhughes does sum it up accurately. BUT, if I found a mint '88, I'd pay $6k today to have one again. Such a fun little boat.
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With all the talk about tournament boats and the price of the sport it'd be good fun to have a retro boat grassroots fun tourney. Nothing newer than 89, I'm sure the trickers would have a blast.

 

There's something great about dragging the '88 out and going to the sandbar with a boat load of people and skiing people off the sand.

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They were cool looking boats, especially if they are in great shape. If you're driving them through the course it will be an adventure because they do not track well. They are really small as well so if you have a few people it will be tight. They do have a nice wake.
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@MISkier I did a lot of reading on the Mastercraft forum! I wet sanded the boat, then bought a pro buffer and used 3M's rubbing compounds from aggressive to fine. I then polished it and waxed several times. I also replaced the rub rail, that made a huge difference. As did the new decals. I then sanded down the teak platform, cleaned it and oiled it. Labor of love! I couldn't ski the year I bought it as I was recovering from shoulder surgery, so it was fun and good therapy!! If you want the exact list of what I used I will get it for you.
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@MISkier I started with 600 grit sandpaper ad a rubber sanding block. Keep a bucket of water handy and do 2' square sections at a time. Don't skimp om a good buffer, they are a not a lot of money and you will have it the rest of your life. I bought a Makitia 9237c with a 3 pack of buffing pads (heavy light and medium) for less than 200$ on Amazon. After wet sanding start with 3M Super Duty Rubbing compound, then 3M Marine Compound and finishing Material, and lastly 3M Color/Gloss Restorer. For wax everyone has a favorite, I like 3M Marine Ultra Performance Paste Wax. After I finished I could see my reflection in the gelcoat. If you want any tips or have questions PM me. Happy to help!
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