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Thread: Opinions sought on Wooldridge or other Jet Boats

  1. #1
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    Default Opinions sought on Wooldridge or other Jet Boats

    So....I went into a dealer the other day to buy a winch cable for the ATV and the wife saw a Wooldridge Alaskan XL with the 200 Mercury SportJet and immediately said we need to get it. (Could be the most expensive winch cable I've ever bought).

    I don't want to waste the opportunity of the wife liking a potential new toy, so.....what is the competition for the Alaskan XL and what do folks think would be good choice for recreational use?

    My son fights wildland fires in the interior and he doesn't think that a boat is a riverboat unless its a Phantom; apparently being "badass" is the primary qualification.

    However, my mission is: a) carrying at least 3 passengers plus driver (i.e. kids/grandkids, a big reason the wife is excited); b) mostly river running (Knik, Little su, and eventually the Copper, come to mind but only because friends have given me rides there) for both fishing and just being away from Anchorage; c) no 300 mile trips out of Fairbanks; and d) no massive gear hauls for work, but if it could haul enough for a weeklong hunt, that would be great.

    No significant experience with recent jet boats. Owned a 18' jon boat w/50 hp outboard/jet for a few years "back in the day".

    I did run a search of threads and found quite a bit of good info, but always looking for more current info, particularly as the Mercury SportJet seems to be getting "better" as time goes by.

  2. #2
    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    That rig would more than do what you describe, even my Wolly AK II will do that with half the HP. Great company and unsurpassed customer service. Look at the resale values of Wollys and then check others you might consider and also notice that no Wooldridge stay for sale long. I have had mine for 7 years and it has came me great service and has provided my family and friend many memories.

    Might also call some welding shops and ask about the repairs they have done on whatever boat you consider..

    Steve
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    Member Armed_alaskan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pa12drvr View Post
    So....I went into a dealer the other day to buy a winch cable for the ATV and the wife saw a Wooldridge Alaskan XL with the 200 Mercury SportJet and immediately said we need to get it. (Could be the most expensive winch cable I've ever bought).

    I don't want to waste the opportunity of the wife liking a potential new toy, so.....what is the competition for the Alaskan XL and what do folks think would be good choice for recreational use?

    My son fights wildland fires in the interior and he doesn't think that a boat is a riverboat unless its a Phantom; apparently being "badass" is the primary qualification.

    However, my mission is: a) carrying at least 3 passengers plus driver (i.e. kids/grandkids, a big reason the wife is excited); b) mostly river running (Knik, Little su, and eventually the Copper, come to mind but only because friends have given me rides there) for both fishing and just being away from Anchorage; c) no 300 mile trips out of Fairbanks; and d) no massive gear hauls for work, but if it could haul enough for a weeklong hunt, that would be great.

    No significant experience with recent jet boats. Owned a 18' jon boat w/50 hp outboard/jet for a few years "back in the day".

    I did run a search of threads and found quite a bit of good info, but always looking for more current info, particularly as the Mercury SportJet seems to be getting "better" as time goes by.

    With the 2012 Spring Jetboat Gathering you can check out alot of different boats and even go for a ride in a few. Its a big (new) spring gathering of boaters of all ages and boat types.

    This will be my first year going and I have a Wooldridge AK XL with the 200 Opti. Take a ride in the Phantom, the Wooldridge, SJX, TunderJet, Ect, and you will find one that meets your needs. You'll find the boats all handle differently, and a lot of them use the same power plant.

    I've rode in a few Competitors and I like the Wooldridge 20' AK XL with the inboard 200. I did the research and found plenty of opinons on the different boats, but in the end I feel I picked the best boat on the market today.

    Good luck on your pick, I'm sure yours ( like the rest of us), will be the best boat on the water.

  4. #4
    Member Bob the fisher's Avatar
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    I second the Armed Alaskan's opinion. The Gathering is the best place for you to come and see all the different boats. Its a plethera (ha! I always wanted to use that word) of different jetboats that you can see, hear, touch and ride in... I have a Phantom 60/40 with the 200 Opti and agree with your son, totally... but thats just my opinion..."fishon"
    "Fisherman for Life" and "Phantom owner Forever"

  5. #5
    Member Yukoner's Avatar
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    As others have said, go check them out.
    The Wooldridges are real cult boats.
    One thing about the SJ, its loud. For what you are describing your needs to be, you could probably be very happy with an XL with a big 4 stroke OB jet off the back, and it would be much quieter for cruising.
    Never wrestle with a pig.
    you both get dirty;
    the Pig likes it.

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    I made it to last year's event. The folks are so nice! It's great to touch and ride in them to get a better feel of what's "best" for you. TJM's is still my favorite (Wooldridge XL SJ). I'm choking on spending the $$$$$ and trying to figure out exactly what I "need", so I'm still looking. I sure caught the Wooldridge fever.

    Let us know what you decide on.

  7. #7

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    Wooldridges are well made boats. I like the Alaskan XL. Nice boat but a tank on a gravel bar

    SJ quality isn't on the same field as Wooldridge. I was not impressed with SJ welding at all, and I'm pretty sure it's outsourced overseas. I toured the SJ "factory" and was wondering where they made the boats... then I saw the boats stacked up from being shipped in... they paint and "pretty" them up in the US.

    Wooldridge is made in the USA! Another thing to consider is a boat to get back into jet boating before you put down the cash for the Wooldridge. I have a 20' Alweld I got a sweet deal on used. Great boat, although not as well made as Wooldridge.

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    Nobody has been making jet boats longer than the Wooldridges that I know of. Not to say others can't make a good boat, but the Wooldridges for sure can. You might think of river boating three ways. 1) Load hauling. These boats are usually flat or close to and wide. Other load hauling boats use a huge motor (460 and such) and are not so flat. 2) Comfort. The flat boats take a beating in chop if they are not loaded up, at least compared to a boat with some more dead rise. A little boat is just seats. A bigger boat has a heater, stereo, nice seats and takes waves easier. It may have higher sides. All things to consider if your cargo is little people. 3) Performance. On a river that usually means how fast on step and how shallow it runs. Also how well it handles. The big wide XL boats are amazingly fast to get on step and go shallow no doubt. That is why they are so popular.

    I have some buddies with really nice big inboards. I have some friend with crappy outboards. They all go to the same spots around here. The crappy boats and the nice boats are all at the same watering hole. The big difference is when they put the boat to the test with a long haul hunting trip, heavy chop/waves, skinny water, or time in the salt. Then you make your money on the boat. If all you want to do is putt around to some local hot spots then there are 100's of boats out there that will be super fun for you I bet.

    Other things to consider is the inboard outboard debate, quality of construction, and fuel economy. Lastly, how much do you want to spend on the boat. My Brother views buying boats in this way. Find the boat you want, step outside and burn 5 $100 bills outside the boat shop, then walk in and start looking again. If you can't burn a quick $500 on nothing, maybe you should not be at the boat shop in the first place. Then again, you are considering a $40k boat so I guess maybe you have passed that test. You are exempt from that test by the way if you own an airplane or have three kids playing hockey.

    You did ask for peoples general opinion, so there it is. Best of luck to you. Let us know if you do the $500 boat buying thing.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by akbou View Post
    Wooldridges are well made boats. I like the Alaskan XL. Nice boat but a tank on a gravel bar

    SJ quality isn't on the same field as Wooldridge. I was not impressed with SJ welding at all, and I'm pretty sure it's outsourced overseas. I toured the SJ "factory" and was wondering where they made the boats... then I saw the boats stacked up from being shipped in... they paint and "pretty" them up in the US.

    Wooldridge is made in the USA! Another thing to consider is a boat to get back into jet boating before you put down the cash for the Wooldridge. I have a 20' Alweld I got a sweet deal on used. Great boat, although not as well made as Wooldridge.
    Your hopefully referring to the SJX not the Phantom SJ. The Phantoms are built 100% in the US. Phantom was recently awarded the U.S. Boarder Patrol Shallow Water Riverine Vessel contract for their construction quality, performance, and capability over all of the other manufactures that competed. Numerous test were accomplished over a years time and the last boat manufacturer standing was Phantom.

  10. #10
    Member Bob the fisher's Avatar
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    Just to clarify that... SJ means Sport Jon which is made by Aztec Fabrications in Clarkston Washington, thats in the USA. The SJX is sold by Compueas in Fairbanks and those hulls are made/welded in China. Two completely different hulls. Same power plant though (200 Optimax inboard with Mercury Sportjet pump)... "fishon"


    Quote Originally Posted by akbou View Post
    Wooldridges are well made boats. I like the Alaskan XL. Nice boat but a tank on a gravel bar

    SJ quality isn't on the same field as Wooldridge. I was not impressed with SJ welding at all, and I'm pretty sure it's outsourced overseas. I toured the SJ "factory" and was wondering where they made the boats... then I saw the boats stacked up from being shipped in... they paint and "pretty" them up in the US.

    Wooldridge is made in the USA! Another thing to consider is a boat to get back into jet boating before you put down the cash for the Wooldridge. I have a 20' Alweld I got a sweet deal on used. Great boat, although not as well made as Wooldridge.
    "Fisherman for Life" and "Phantom owner Forever"

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by pa12drvr View Post
    So....I went into a dealer the other day to buy a winch cable for the ATV and the wife saw a Wooldridge Alaskan XL with the 200 Mercury SportJet and immediately said we need to get it. (Could be the most expensive winch cable I've ever bought).

    I don't want to waste the opportunity of the wife liking a potential new toy, so.....what is the competition for the Alaskan XL and what do folks think would be good choice for recreational use?

    My son fights wildland fires in the interior and he doesn't think that a boat is a riverboat unless its a Phantom; apparently being "badass" is the primary qualification.

    However, my mission is: a) carrying at least 3 passengers plus driver (i.e. kids/grandkids, a big reason the wife is excited); b) mostly river running (Knik, Little su, and eventually the Copper, come to mind but only because friends have given me rides there) for both fishing and just being away from Anchorage; c) no 300 mile trips out of Fairbanks; and d) no massive gear hauls for work, but if it could haul enough for a weeklong hunt, that would be great.

    No significant experience with recent jet boats. Owned a 18' jon boat w/50 hp outboard/jet for a few years "back in the day".

    I did run a search of threads and found quite a bit of good info, but always looking for more current info, particularly as the Mercury SportJet seems to be getting "better" as time goes by.
    I dont think you will be disappointed in that boat or as Yukoner said an OB would suit your needs. I have had several over the years they hold there value well and have excellent customer service.
    On the WB web page you can find various load test numbers with GPH/MPHand Decible readings with the outboard 200 merc and an inboard SJ power plant in an XL hull. The spring gathering would be a good place to get a feel for various boats, you can ride in one then hop back into another then back again.
    My neighbor was down at the Anch dealer and they were still honoring thier spring sale from last weekend on the boats, and on an XL it was about $2,000.00 off till the end of the month. You might check out the wb web page in the trade in section for a boat.

  12. #12
    Member Sobie2's Avatar
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    Who cares what the competition is....

    With a wife like that, I don't care if she is blind, has one leg, and no arms, or is a two in the looks department, she is a keeper. Don't miss this golden opportunity by overwhelming her with options and what ifs. Buy it today!

    Sobie2

  13. #13
    Moderator bkmail's Avatar
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    Can't go wrong with a Wooldridge. Wouldn't buy anything else on todays market. As stated above, check out your outboard options vs. the inboard. I prefer the outboards for many reasons.
    BK

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by pa12drvr View Post
    My son fights wildland fires in the interior and he doesn't think that a boat is a riverboat unless its a Phantom; apparently being "badass" is the primary qualification.
    I'd take your sons advice.. If your considering a new boat, I'd check Phantom's website. There's numerous designs options and every boat is customizable to meet your specific needs. They come standard with a thicker bottom thickness and use a high quality aluminum. The flooring is all aluminum rather then marine vinyl covered plywood and there's numerous power options available from inboards to outboards. The other benefit is they are priced for less money for more features.

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    Member halibutcollier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Halibutgrove View Post
    I'd take your sons advice.. If your considering a new boat, I'd check Phantom's website. There's numerous designs options and every boat is customizable to meet your specific needs. They come standard with a thicker bottom thickness and use a high quality aluminum. The flooring is all aluminum rather then marine vinyl covered plywood and there's numerous power options available from inboards to outboards. The other benefit is they are priced for less money for more features.

    Says the Phantom dealer.

  16. #16
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    I'll sell my sea ark. Sport Jon to u
    Do I give my friends advice? Jesus, no. They wouldn't take advice from me. Nobody should take advice from me. I haven't got a clue about anything..

  17. #17
    Member AKBassking's Avatar
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    I have a 93 20' Extra Plus and it has been a great boat with many many years left in her. Glen also backs his products. I had some cracks in the spars and I had the boat in Seattle. He took the boat and fixed them all at no charge. We talked about some of the mods I had made over the years and how he likes seeing the older boats so they can determine if the manufacturing process needs to be tweeked.

    Can't go wrong with a Wooly!!

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