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Help picking out first ski boat


megsi99
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We've finally decided to upgrade from our 1993 Four Winns to a ski boat. We'd like to stay around the 8-12K price range and are hoping to get something from the early 90s. I found these three boats that fit that criteria, but am hoping to get some feedback on them from people who are more familiar with ski boats. We're strong slalom skiers and I'm assuming any of them will be an upgrade from what we have now. It would also be helpful to know what questions we should be asking the sellers.

 

I know my husband would prefer a boat with the LT1 Corvette engine, but I haven't found many locally (southeast Michigan) with those. Thanks!

 

https://www.onlyinboards.com/1996-Correct-Craft-196-Ski-Nautique-for-sale-Grand-Rapids-Michigan-89849.aspx

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https://www.skipperbuds.com/inv/1993-Malibu-EUROF3SUNSETTER-SkipperBuds-Lake-Fenton-B16722/

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https://www.skipperbuds.com/inv/1991-Mastercraft-190-PROSTAR-Cass-Lake-Marina-B17232/

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Is there any specific requirements you need or must have such as an open bow? Do you ski the course, if so at what level? How many people will you have on the boat?

 

For the three that you mentioned I would say the MC has the best wake, followed by the nautique and then the Malibu.

 

I think the LT1 was an option on 93 Prostars but its rare and I have only seen it on some of the 25th anniversary boats. my personal preference would be to have something with EFI but a boat with a good carb will be just fine. Some of the older EFI systems are harder to find parts for so some people just throw a carb on them since its pretty cheap.

 

If you havent looked already, Craigslist, facebook marketplace and ski it again are all good options to look for boats.

 

 

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Just sold a 13 TXI to a friend in northern Illinois, he picked it up last weekend. He will be selling his 96 Malibu Sunsetter soon it runs great has the Monsoon engine with perfect Pass! I know it will be priced right! The 96 sunsetter still had a great wake, before the made the hull bigger I think in 1998!

I had the same 96 and loved it!

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A lot of my comments are based off my memory of spending all day on the lake is a Prostar 205 vs a smaller closed bow. I was a small kid at the time before we started houseboating (where you could leave gear, food, and drinks) but for a good 5-10 years we would have two families with gear in a boat for all day. As a dad now that seems like it must have been incredibly frustrating for our parents.

 

5 people is a tight squeeze in a closed bow when someone is skiing. Unless its kids and they can sit on the floor or someones lap... A bench can usually fit 2 adults and then you have a driver. Add a skier and that's 4 people right there.

 

Something else to consider is the storage and floor space if your going to be out on the lake all day. The beauty/hassle of a closed bow is the storage. Its nice to get the skis off the floor where everyone needs to walk but the hassle is when your on the water with 4 or 5 people and your trying to move gear around. Think about pulling a 66" long ski from under the bow with 5 people standing in a small boat and not whacking someone in the head. The bummer with the open bow is you don't get that storage but its easier to have people move around. One thing that's nice about the MC 190 of that era is you can remove the entire back seat like its a small couch. I dont know if you can do that with the Nautique or Malibu. This gives you lots of extra space to stand around and a good place if you have an ice chest or gear bags.

 

Just something to think about. If your all sharing a ski or two then its no big deal to be in a closed bow but if you have 4 or 5 people with their own gear each and your on a public lake with no place to drop gear off between skiers then it can all of a sudden feel very claustrophobic.

 

For your price range a closed bow MC or Nautique can be easily found thats in good/fair condition and mechanically sound.

 

Just think about how your planning to use the boat and what works best for you and your situation.

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A 98-01 or 02 Malibu Response could probably be found in that price range. They are good ski boats and come in both closed and open bow flavor although I think the open bows are more prevalent. I have an 02 and it is a great boat my boat has 1000 or so hours on it and still runs strong.

 

The rear seat on Malibus does come out. I can't comment for sure on Nautiques from that era but I think they come out easily as well.

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@megsi99 that 97 is the Nautique 176 (17.5') which is a really small boat. I would stay away from that.

 

For Nautique, the TSC1 hull (bubble back) came out in 97-01. Then the TSC 2 came was from 02-05/06ish. TSC3 was 06-09. I think you will have a VERY hard time finding a TSC Nautique for under 12k. They are great ski boats but because they are so great, they have a premium.

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BUY THAT 94 205! Its a great boat, thats what I grew up behind... Same color scheme and everything. There is no other boat that I would recommend for someone who wants a good slalom wake and is going to be out on the lake all day. I loved that boat.

 

We sold ours with like 1600 hrs and it was a rock solid boat. I pulled a friend through 38 so while the spray sucks at shortline its a plenty capable slalom tug. The wake on the 94 will be better than the 97.

 

You can probably sell the tower and either have the gelcoat professionally patched or put something over it to cover the holes. Thats what I did with my Nautique when I got it. Luckily I sold the tower for the same cost as the gelcoat work.

 

Put a polisher on it to clean up the gelcoat.

 

Taken behind a Blue and pink 94 Prostar 205 25 years ago :)1929692_511907960443_4819_n.jpg?_nc_cat=

 

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@megsi99: this might be a bit of a long shot, but back in the era you are looking Waterski magazine had pretty good tourney ski boat reviews. You might be able to dig some up online. Good Luck and happy hunting. You might also look at the approved AWSA tournament ski boats for the years you are considering, why - that should be the manufacturers best 3 event offering if wakes are a high priority.
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Waterski Mag 5 Standout Used Ski Boats

MC 190 years are wrong in article should be 91-94, 95-97 was a different hull. 98-00 was problematic hull with chine lock.

 

Check the boat forums for more detail on specific models.

MC 190 A History

MC Prostar 95-97, SportStar A History

MC Prostar 205 A History

 

For a closed bow boat I would look for a 93+ Ski Nautique(92 last year for wood), a 91-97 MC Prostar( 98+ MC SportStar/19Skier, 99+ will have a Vortex 350 with TBI EFI systems) or BU Response. The older multiport motors like the LT1 and GT40 are great motors but harder to get parts for as they age.

 

If you want to ski with 4-5 people an open bow MC 205 or a Malibu Sunsetter would be a good idea. Sunsetters with the diamond hull ski great.

 

 

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@BraceMaker Years ago, I test drove a 98-00 Prostar. I have owned an 88 MC Prostar and a 99 MC SportStar(95-97 Prostar) Hull. A ski partner has a MC 197 and there is a 94 MC 190 on our lake. I suspect your correct a 98-00 Prostar boat would fine nice with the modifications for public water. It is good for people to be aware of the history that may impact resale.

 

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@keithh2oskier thanks for sharing! love that picture. i definitely like the look of that boat and will consider it.

 

@BraceMaker and @vtjc would this MC have the issues you're mentioning? we'll be skiing an inland lake. https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/item/1336907656451249/?surface=product_details

 

this is so much information and all very helpful! thanks to everyone who's sharing. i'm a bit overwhelmed but i think it'll help us find the right boat.

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@megsi99 No that 94 MC is based on one of the best and most beloved hulls MC ever made. The 98 MC had the chine lock issue and they developed a "fix" for the 99 and 00 prostars before the hull was redesigned in 01. My dad has a 2000 Prostar 190 and while we don't use it around islands we have done tight spins to enter a course and never once had a problem. We also had several others in the club with the same 00 Prostar 190 and nobody ever had problems.
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@BraceMaker we kept our '98 in the stable for 9 years, so it did the job for us. But fast forward to now, someone looking for an inexpensive boat from that era, I could never recommend it over the SN. It wouldn't make the list over a Sportstar or 195 either. MC clearly acknowledged the mistake by replacing that hull rather quickly.
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I bought a '92 PS190 last year and love it. I'm a recreational slalom skier and the wake is fantastic. I've got the HO engine and powerslot, providing more then enough get up and go. I use the boat two ways--slalom skiing at a lake near home with either two buddies or one buddy and our kids (4 kids under 10), or at our cabin on a small lake, where we use it for skiing/tubing and are on shore if we aren't towing so we don't need the space for stuff. It works great for either scenario. If we were spending a day at the lake with another family it just wouldn't work due to space constraints.

 

The PS195 was mentioned above. I regularly search the classifieds for this boat, and if a nice one shows up and is priced right I'm ready to pull the trigger on it, just to get a bit more space. It would also move me from a carb into EFI.

 

Pretty much any ski boat is going to be a nice improvement from your Four Winns!

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heres a good tug we have one just like it with Z box no spray at -35 or -38 great wake take the back seat out add 80lbs to the bow and bam cheap tug.

www.ski-it-again.com/php/skiitagain.php?endless=summer&topic=Search&category=Boat_3Event&postid=50292

 

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@foxriverat thank you! I like both of those.

 

Do you think you need to spend $10-12K to get a decent boat? I see some that are $6K and the savings sounds nice but I know EFI engine would be ideal and I worry about an older boat having issues. Here's one I found: https://detroit.craigslist.org/mcb/boa/d/midland-1984-mastercraft-stars-and/6838628739.html

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From a skiing perspective, I’d say Zero chance you will regret spending your budget on an early 90’s MC. Not sure about that Malibu but it looks clean and has stargazer.

I would then say that if you spend much less and get an 80’s boat you will surely question it later, especially after skiing on the early 90’s hull/wake.

Plus everything is 10 years newer. Lights, wiring, cables, etc.

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