New Boat Advice

Discussion in 'Sport Boats' started by Kelly M, Dec 29, 2006.

  1. Kelly M

    Kelly M New Member

    Dec 29, 2006
    Hello CSR Members:

    I am in the market for a new sport boat and am hoping that some of you may help me out. We currently have a 1973 18 foot Sea Ray tri-hull, which has been an incredibly reliable and much loved member of the family for many years. However, it is time for a new boat. I am looking at something in the 19-22 foot range that will serve as a wakeboard and ski boat as well as a family cruiser. I will keep it at a mountain lake (5000' elevation) and am seriously considering the 205 sport and a used 2005 200 sport. I would appreciate any responses to my questions below.

    1. What made you choose an I/O over a V-drive?

    2. Is the 220 hp engine enough to get a 230 lb guy up on a single ski at 5000' elevation?

    3. What other brands of BRs did you consider before buying a SR ?

    4. What do you consider the best and worst atributes of your SR sport boat?

    I will be going to the local boat show next month to compare all of the makes and models, but value the direct input from owners above any sales information.

    Thanks in advance.

    Kelly M.
  2. Dave S

    Dave S Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor

    Oct 3, 2006
    Upstate South Carolina
    Hi Kelly and welcome to CSR. I don't have any first hand skiing experience but can offer a couple of observations on the boats.

    If you are concerned with ride quality, you should select a deep-V hull over a traditional flat bottom Ski Boat. Typically all you can get in a deep-V hull is an I/O drive in the size boat you are considering. At an elevation of 5000 feet, fuel injection is most desirable because of it's ability to adapt to the air. But you will also have to re-prop the boat too so it performs properly. If you go with a ski-boat, then you can get an inboard.

    I am sure some of the members who ski all the time can address the rest of your questions.
  3. First Born

    First Born Super Moderator PLATINUM Sponsor

    Oct 3, 2006
    Charlotte, N.C.
    2006 185 Sport
    4.3 L 190 HP

    Welcome to CSR and good luck with your boat shoping. We bought the 185 Sport (4.3 L) and love it. It was as big as we could go and still keep it in the garage. I did not really look at the 205 so can't help you out with that. We wakeboard and ski behind it and we have not had any trouble getting anyone up on either skis or wakeboard their first time in the water. It pops them right up (even some of the heavier guys). You may want to listen to what Dave said however, you need to decide what you truely want to use the boat for. The Sea Ray is a great boat and we love it. If you are not really worried about the ride and are on a calm lake and just going to use the boat to wakeboard and ski than a Ski boat may be a better choice for you. Not trying to talk you out of it but you want to make sure you are getting what you expect out of the boat. Once you go to the boat show and see the different boats put a deposit down and take them out for a sea trial and see which one you like the best.

    When we were looking it came down to Sea Ray, Tahoe, Four Winns, and Stingray. We got lucky and went with Sea Ray. Probably one of the best decisions we have made. One of the reasons for that is we have a great Ambasador dealer located within 20 miles of our house. Whenever we need anything they have gone above and beyond. I have heard horror stories about some of the other brands but not all, and that could just be my area. What I would suggest (which was suggested to me) do just as much research on the dealer as you do on the boat that you buy. In the end you will be much happier.

    Again good luck and enjoy your boat, which ever you buy. Keep us posted on what you decide and why. Again welcome to CSR!!! :thumbsup:

  4. fwebster

    fwebster Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor PLATINUM Sponsor

    Oct 6, 2006
    Middle Tennessee ; Panama City Beach, FL
    1996 450DA
    3116 Caterpillars
    This answer is probably going to hit you as obscure and like it came from left field, but here goes:

    One of the things I didn't much like about i/o powered ski boats was the wake. It always seemed that the wake was to close to gether or too deep for comfortable slalom skiing and the boat cut a heck of a hole in the water if you slowed down enough for trick skiis. Maybe you want a big steep wake for a wake board, but we moved up to bigger boats a few years ago and never did much with wake boards.

    The other thing I, personally, don't care for is the added maintenance with i/o's...give me an inboard any day.

    So, if I were in your shoes, I'd go look for about a 1993 Ski Ray Sportster......go to, the factory site, then select Parts, then select Archives, then select 1993, then select the Sportster or SportsterBR. The boat was made in the early to mid 90's so click around on the internet and you can see photos of various years, colors etc. There isn't much to criticize about this boat......classic Sea Ray looks and styling, 4 degree deadrise, inboard power for low maintenance, ski boat ride and handling, and Sea Ray put lots of bang for the buck in this one.....most of the usual features like integral swim platform, transom shower, decent stereo, choice of closed bow or bow rider seating, custom matched trailers, etc.

    There weren't many and they don't stay on the market long when they come up....I missed one with 285 hours on the engine in central GA last went for $2900 on ebay.

    That'll give you something to ponder anyway.....................and everyone else something to scratch their heads about!
  5. First Born

    First Born Super Moderator PLATINUM Sponsor

    Oct 3, 2006
    Charlotte, N.C.
    2006 185 Sport
    4.3 L 190 HP
  6. First Born

    First Born Super Moderator PLATINUM Sponsor

    Oct 3, 2006
    Charlotte, N.C.
    2006 185 Sport
    4.3 L 190 HP
  7. widowmaker

    widowmaker New Member

    Oct 5, 2006
    200 br
    5.0L MPI, Bravo 3
    There are many choices for boats in this category. What you want in a wakeboard boat (big wake) is what you don't want in a ski boat. For a purist low wake water-ski experience Frank's choice is right on. However it is an older model and would likely require more maintenance than a newer one. Master Craft and Correct Craft are just some of the many other brands of ski-boats. You can also add "fat sacks" that you can install that pump full of water to add weight and boost the wake for a boarding experieince.

    These boats generally do not handle rough water as well as a deep-v boat. The bigger the deadrise the better the rough water handling.

    I don't board but I still slalom ski (190lbs) and tube and the 200 Select with the 5.0L MPI bravo 3 I/O works well as an all around bowrider. If you have more than a few folks on board the 5.0 is better than a 4.3 for pulling a slalom skier. The bravo 3 has a much better "hole shot" than a alpha 1 outdrive but isn't as good of a hole shot of a direct drive ski boat. The boat tops out at 50+ mph and has a very nicely equipped interior, high gunwales with a solid smooth ride in rough water. It's 21 foot overall length and weighs in at 5000 lbs on a trailer. I would opt for the wakeboard tower to add utility, style and big speakers.

    I looked at Cobalt (big$$), four-winns, crownline, rinker and stingray and think the Sea Ray offered the better quality at a somewhat reasonable price.
  8. Banagy

    Banagy Member

    Nov 13, 2006
    Bay Port,MI
    2005 Sun Deck with Lowrance HDS 7 Touch Gen 2 GPS fish finder and Navman radio Bennett Trim Tabs.
    5.0 with Alpha 1 drive
    200 Sundeck

    The200 sundeck is a great boat. The 305 cu. in 260 h.p. will handle wake board tubing and skiing. Great family boat , fishing boat and family boat. :smt038
  9. Kelly M

    Kelly M New Member

    Dec 29, 2006

    I apologize for the delay in repsonding to your helpful posts. I appreciate the input. Keep it coming.

    Some have mentioned that I/Os require more maintenance than v-drives. What additional maintenance should I expect with an I/O and at what frequencies? Also, how would you rate your boat in term of loudness? I am looking for a fairly quiet boat and assumed that the SR BRs were pretty quiet. Correct? One last question (for now) -- what are the real differences between Sea Ray's "Select" boats and the "Sport" boats?


  10. First Born

    First Born Super Moderator PLATINUM Sponsor

    Oct 3, 2006
    Charlotte, N.C.
    2006 185 Sport
    4.3 L 190 HP

    Kelly you will want to check out Sea Ray's website for the major differences between the Select and Sport Boats. Click on the pictures then look at standard equipment and optional equipment as well as the photos. The Select will have nicer equipment and luxary items but they come with a price. Example the sport will not have stainless handles. The 185 Sport that we have is very quiet. You really will not hear loud unless you decide to get one with a Corsa (Exhaust system). Without it the exhaust comes out of the propellar under water so when I say the boat is quiet, it really is. Hope that helps, I am sure others will jump in with Select experience to tell you more about the other benefits and with your question on the additional maintanence items with inboards.
  11. widowmaker

    widowmaker New Member

    Oct 5, 2006
    200 br
    5.0L MPI, Bravo 3
    As Wesley said the Selects tend to be finished out with more appointments inside. I think the freeboard (distance between the waterline and gunwales is also greater), which means it is less likely to take a wave over the bow or side as much as a boat with a lower freeboard, it may also allow more passenger weight too, check the specs. The extra fiberglass also adds to the weight of the boat which can improve ride and add stability but may reduce efficiency but probably not much.
    You really need to go to a dealer or boat show and see both to decide which is best for your needs. Mine is quiet too at normal operating speeds, but at wide open throttle it is pretty loud, check the published dB ratings at various RPM's of different models.
  12. AndersonAcres

    AndersonAcres Member

    Oct 30, 2006
    Hi Kelly,

    We had a 19' Sting Ray XLS with a 4.3L Mercruiser with Bravo One drive. We were very happy with it. Quite economical on fuel, nice looks, solid boat. I think the Sea Rays are better finished, though.

    At 5000', I suspect you're out west, and I'm not sure what's sold and supported out there. Sting Ray is largely a SE US boat, I think. Cobalt is quite big out west, and a great boat if the price isn't too steep.

    I ski and the Sting Ray worked well, for tubing, too. Not a really big wake, though, so wakeboarding is better on some other boat. Getting a boat for both will involve some tradeoffs.

    My brother-in-law had a Correct Craft. He loved that, but moved up to a Formula 370SS. (Made my big-boat-itis look small by comparison -- I only moved up to 25'). I think his inboard arrangement is much simpler than an I/O. Since it looks like you keep your boats for a long time, you might consider the simpler inboard arrangement.

    Good luck with your decision.
  13. Macjeffff

    Macjeffff New Member

    Dec 7, 2006
    Grosse Pointe Farms
    The Sundecks are great all-around boats, either the 200 or 220. Besides basic water skiing and wakeboarding, their good for tubing, basic fishing and so on. Both have deep-V hulls, which deliver a superior ride.

    What you get with the Sundeck that you don't get with Selects, Sports or dedicated ski boats is room to lounge and more comfortable cruising. If these things are important to you, don't rule out a Sundeck. I was pleasantly surprised when I sea-trialed on a couple of years ago.
  14. Larry&Leisa

    Larry&Leisa Active Member

    Oct 26, 2006
    Keystone Lake Oklahoma
    1999 330EC
    :thumbsup: What Macjeffff and Banagay said! (plus the girls really like the 'head' feature on the Sundeck too) We've had 5 adults & 2 grandkids, loaded down and had no trouble pulling any watersport item. Now we are just all beginners as far as the skiing and wakeboarding goes so some of the concerns about size of wakes, etc are not so important to us.
  15. Pete Shifflett

    Pete Shifflett New Member

    Jan 3, 2018
    1994 185 Sportster BR SkiRay
    350 Magnum Mercruiser
    I own a 1995 SkiRay SportsterBR Sea Ray. it has the 350 Mercruiser Magnum ski package. Love my boat is a rare one as its a Bow Rider and Burgundy and Orchid color. Also Sea Ray didn't make many of the SKI Rays. Sea Ray makes a superior boat in my opinion, and most other boater cant believe my boat is 23 yrs old. I have had the upholstery redone at the dealer who could do OEM type SeaRay emblems in the seat backs. We wakeboard and Wake surf behind it, but have to use fatsacks water ballast to get a decent wake as its designed to not make a big wake for skiing. PICT0094.JPG PICT0094.JPG PICT0094.JPG
  16. Jeff h

    Jeff h Member

    Sep 17, 2017
    2017 Sea Ray SPX 210
    4.5 merc, Alpha drive

    Nice boat you have there, but I doubt the OP is still looking for new boat advice after 10 years.
    wish2fish, NorCal Boater and trebbel like this.
  17. searay205

    searay205 Member

    Nov 27, 2016
    2011 Searay sport
    5.0MPI Catalyst
    A searay 205 sport vs a searay select 21
    1) select weighs about 400lbs more than sport. Kinda like Lexus vs Toyota.
    2) much easier to find 5.0 mpi in select vs sport. I have a 205 sport with 5.0 mpi and mercury high 5 prop. It is a beast. Pull a tree down and top out at 55 mph very quickly. With stock prop it would hit 58 mph. I could have 9 people in boat and pull up a 220lb solemn skier.
    3) A 220 hp engine in 20 foot boat marginally powered. find the 5.0 mpi with 260 hp.
    4) stick with fuel injection, carburetors are a pain.
    5) take your time and get the power you want, nothing sucks more than an underpowered boat.
    6) best mercruiser engine IMHO is 350 mag, if you could find a select 21 with the 350mag you would not be disappointed.
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2018

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