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New Nautique, Mastercraft, Malibu Drivers Prospective


Stevie Boy
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We all know that the better tracking boat has been the Nautique for some while, so has Mastercraft or Malibu closed the gap in that respect at all, the other issue especially with the Malibu was the Drivers seating arrangement, some people said it was uncomfortable if you spent some time in the driving seat.

Anybody got any views as there is a strong possibility one of the clubs I am a member of, may have to look at other boat options, currently Nautique.

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@Stevie Boy I'm not going to pretend I'm not biased towards Mastercraft but I feel like my 19 ProStar is one of the best driving boats I've ever driven. Don't ask me what the technical difference is from my previous ProStars because I don't know.

 

In the case of the Nautiques, I think you will find that if you can get really unbiased opinions - people still prefer to drive the 200.

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Our club boat is always a current Malibu and my personal boat is a 200. Not even on the same planet as far as tracking, 200 is still significantly more planted. I have not tried the new origami-Nautique so I can't comment on that boat. Malibu is definitely more tossable in tight turns which is very handy in different ways. Different design philosophies, different pros and cons. Can't speak for the current MC as I've never driven one.
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While the 200 was always “Connected to the water”, in terms of tracking, I felt in driving my Prostar I could be more “connected to the skier”. I never had a problem with path in the course. I only drove the current TXI a few times and it was fine but I did not like it as much as either the 200 or Prostar. I’ve never driven the new Nautique.
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My opinion is that they all are very good. The whole lot is better than ever. Any of these boats should be easy for a driver to maintain a perfect path. I think the new Ski Nautique tracks well. I personally own a 2015 Nautique 6 liter which is a good tracking boat and I think I can do at least as well with the new Ski Nautique. I find the new Ski puts the driver at different perspective that takes a few minutes to get familiar with. You feel a little higher and the boat feels a lot larger. I think its ability to maintain a straight path with a lateral tug is the same as my 200. I just can't "feel" the skier quite as well. My end course video in tournaments has been good with the new Ski. Driving the new Ski is a lot of fun especially with jumping. I drove the same Nautique in 3 records.

I enjoy driving the newer Malibu and the Mastercraft a lot as well. They are easy to drive. All of them must be set up well with proper steering torque.

I think people deciding which boat to buy shouldn't use tracking as a major factor to choose between these boats.

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I am a MC guy but on my lake we have both a 2015 Nautique 200 with the 6.0 and my 2015 MC. From a driving perspective in the course the difference is not measurable. I prefer the MC wake and pull. I have skied behind the new Nautique and really liked it but it appears to be quite a few dollars more. I did not drive it. If you really like the 200 they still make one minus the ski lockers open bow that is probably competitive in price with the Mc
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Scot it has 219 hrs and the current engine 69 hrs. Pcm replaced the first engine. It does have a single puck and it is a team edition. Has heated seats and heater and a Ramlin single axle tailer and rigid bimini. Great boat that is the best driving 200 I've been in and I have driven many. If you need more info, feel free to give me a call @ 601-668-0809. Thx Bubba
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I loved the new Nautique at first. We had it (the same boat) again leading up to Moomba this year and something in the setup had changed and it was a pig to drive by comparison. I adjusted the trim and either ran with the Bimini angled way down at the front or took it off. We also had weight in the middle in front of the ski pole and it was a different boat, really really nice to drive but not planted like a 200. It certainly does not track like a 200 or even a 196 but its a very good drive just the same, shame about the price but if I had the money it would be my first choice. I still think its next level and seeing the course record go down at Moomba twice is probably not coincidence. Some big scores have gone down behind it. :)
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Thankyou for all points of view and PM,s received, boat purchase will be around March 2020, may look at trying to get demo boats over a few weekends, to see how they perform with various drivers, may have to fire up the end of course cameras, which could be interesting.
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I haven’t driven the new Nautique, but I own a 15 200 and have spent a lot of time behind the wheel of a 15 MC. The 200 drives noticeably better, and doesn’t need to much setup. The MC needs to have weight or passengers in the observer seat or it doesn’t track well, some have a ballast system fo r that as an option, people also have changed the steering connection point to get more steering torque as well. The MC also doesn’t have an adjustable tab on the rudder like the nautique, so you need to grind the rudder to adjust. If you have a good driver they can handle either boat. Sometimes I don’t have the best drivers as ski partners (even though they think they are) and I get a lot better pull behind the 200 consistently with them vs other boats because much easier to drive and tracks like a train.
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I drive all 4 boats regularly and yes, the other boats have closed the gap to the Nautique(s) considerably over the last few years. The Nautiques still have a slight edge in my opinion. Up until the 2019 MC promo arrived at our lake, I would have said the Malibu was 2nd, but now I think (this particular anyway) MC is 2nd to the Nautiques. Based on end course video from the last few tournaments where we had the new Nautique available, our drivers appear to be driving it as well as the 200 in terms of tracking. I will say that it has a different feel to it and takes different inputs than the 200 does as it tends to "rock" side to side a bit vs. the 200. If I have a totally novice driver to ski behind and a choice of boats, I'd still put them in the 200. I currently own a 2016 MC if that matters.
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@Roger, it sounds like the Nautiques are #1 and #2 and you could flip-flop those two to split hairs. Then MC is #3 and Malibu #4. That was my thinking as I drive a MC at tournaments but I “may” drive a Malibu once per season so I don’t have a good perspective on them. Your post sounds very un-biased. Thanks for the input.
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@blakeyates - My ski partner owns a Mailibu (which was Regina's), so I drive one several times a week. I pulled the new Men 7 record (1@41) with that boat last year so I'm pretty up to date. Since I'm at Okeeheelee and drive all the tournaments here (and usually all of them at Palm Bay), I drive all 4 hulls as often as I can and pull a wide variety of skiers. All 4 boats currently available for tournaments drive well. The differences between them are not nearly as wide as they were even 5 or 6 years ago. Others may rank them differently than me and that's fine, but I rank them based on my own experience.
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There's two 200's around here that I drive occasionally. One of them I feel moderately confident in and the other one I feel completely embarrassed at the end of every pass. The one that I struggle with so much I don't think it's a bad boat but it's different and the owner of that boat drives it perfect. My point is even within the brands there is certainly variation from boat to boat.

 

I am of course most confidence in a ProStar because that is the boat that I drive most often. I am trying to avoid that my boat brand is better than yours silliness. If the boat drives halfway decent the boat you drive the most often is going to be the best.

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I know that boats can come off of the same mould, but in the past we have had some boats that appear to be better than others (Same Manufacturer) I suppose it can be a bit like skis because of the Manufacturing process and the possibility of variation of materials etc, or though this has improved greatly over the years.

Would it right to say there are Good Boats and Very Good Boats ?

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@Stevie Boy there's no question that there are good boats and less good boats coming out of the same factories (sometimes). It's all so often a matter of setup. The 200 that I don't like to drive I'm sure I could get used to it but my issue is really I think the rudder setup

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@Horton I have to agree with you on rudder setup, it can make a huge diffrence to the feel of a boat, I suppose some people like it a bit tighter than others, I prefer the boat to feel a little bit looser as we are on a small lake and like to be able to manouvre easier when turning into a tight channel/island.
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I sold my 2012 Malibu when I drove the 2018. It's a pleasure to drive and very comparable to the feel of the Nautique 200. To amplify others comments @Horton - I've regularly driven a 200 that was horrible and one that's glued to the water and rock solid. I agree that setup is key. Buy a promo boat that's been broken in and dialed in.
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