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Thread: Sportjet boat selection assist needed!‏

  1. #1

    Default Sportjet boat selection assist needed!‏

    I was hoping I could get a little discussion on 200/250HP Mercury sport jet equipped boats going in order to assist me in making a boat selection. First of all, I understand that there is no single boat that can do it all and therefore compromises and tradeoffs will exist.

    To start, I'll describe a little bit about how I will use the boat because that will help narrow down the choices. I'll be using the boat equally between river running and salt water. I probably won't go out that much in big chop unless I get caught out there although some occasional 2' seas is common around here (Juneau), especially for trolling. I want a large forward area so I can put my ATV up front (7' long Rincon) or store lots of crab and shrimp pots (with a pot puller up front). Additionally the front could be used as a dive platform. The boat will be used for halibut and salmon fishing, so a decent sized aft deck is mandatory. The rivers around here are mainly glacial runoff and get VERY skinny, 2-3" if the river is down. I still have to get to the cabin and back - so boat weight and hull design are a concern. I will take it moose and duck hunting. Shallow water performance is mandatory with a modest load of ATV, moose, 2 people and gear.

    I think the cat's meow would be an 8 degree hull with a tunnel, a drop down landing craft style bow, centered dual console with walk through center door, canvas that covers driver/passenger and 36" side storage seats, and enough space aft deck to walk around the inboard when the canvas is down, all in a 21-23' package.

    I went up to Fairbanks and test drove the Jetcraft XS, Wooldridge AKII, and the Phantom Sportjon. All had there pros/cons. I've also looked (online) at the Hewes Sport Jet, Alumaweld Intruder, & Motion Marine Outback. I think Iíve essentially eliminated all of the latter because of the 10+ degree deadrises, forward helms and V-bows, although they probably will handle better in rough seas and are better equipped for salt water fishing, although not necessarily pot pulling. I would think loading an ATV is just out of the question. Most recently up for online evaluation are the Marathon Marine LoadBuster and Silver Streak custom landing crafts which seem to cover just about everything that I have described except for the few exceptions (hull design)Ė and that is where I need help and need feedback from you guys.

    Back to the test drives: All 3 boats got on step fast, but I didn't like the E-tec outboard jet & AKII and so I've eliminated outboard jets altogether. The XS was slightly slower to get up on plane and you could feel the extra 600lbs but it got up to 47mph like the jon. The XS also had a bad case of chine walk when cornering VERY hard; the inside edge lifts, outside digs, and the boat ultimately slows and pops out of the water, then the jet cavitates. It also seemed to want to pivot around center in S-turns rather than carve like a ski. The Phantom on the other hand glided or skated across the top of the water so it never dug or got off step. The Phantom really lacks on aft deck space though and seems well, a pain in the rear for fishing, but based on the performance I can see why it is such a popular boat for the interior. Both boats would be hard to get an ATV unloaded on a beach without a cut bank and I plan on stopping by regular beaches quite often with my ATV for hunting logging roads. The XS seems like the perfect layout (if it had a drop bow) but the front space seems just a bit tight for an ATV. With an extra 12" in front and an extra 12" in back and with the cornering/chine/strake problem resolved, it would be my first choice. The layout and finish are superb. Any XS users have problems with ATVs? Hard cornering? Any Sport jon users get 36" side seats and eliminate the bench?

    Silver Streak will build an 8 degree delta pad drop bow with choice of either the 200 or 250 Merc with a weight somewhere in between the SJ and XS (3/16" Hull, 1/8"Sides, box beam construction). As well, Marathon Marine, but preferring a 12 degree radius (longer delta) hull with claims they can get the same performance as a standard 8 degree v-hull because of the 'flat' nature of the delta pad.

    It seems to me that even if a delta pad WERE equal in terms of hull depth (eliminates the deepest part of the V) the fact the jet intake is the lowest point on the boat minimizes itís shallow water capability because you will be sucking mud. Any comments on delta versus tunnels? Experiences from users with delta pad jets? Any 8 degree Silverstreak or Marathon Loadbuster users out there? Is Marathon blowing smoke with there 12 degree delta claim? Would a 8 degree delta perform better than an 8 degree v-hull?

    Sorry to be so long winded, but I felt it was necessary to be as detailed as possible. I feel Iíve been very thorough in my analysis but something still seems to be missing from the evaluation equation. Letís face it; manufacturers want to sell boats. THEIR boats and I donít feel like Iím always getting the straight skinny. I fully understand V versus flat in terms of ride comfort, weight and area (LxW) versus water volume displacement, and hull depth (lowest point in the water) versus hull shape. Itís just basic physics.

    Food for thought:
    Why hasnít Jetcraft or Phantom explored a drop bow considering the incredible functionality?
    Why havenít Silver Streak or Marathon explored V-hulls with tunnels? Why would Marathon want to move away from an 8 degree to a 12 degree?

    Any comments, thoughts, suggestions, design recommendations, or analysis on the above subjects will be GREATLY appreciated. Iím flying to the Seattle area next weekend for an elk hunt and will be visiting Jetcraft, Aztec, Marathon, and Silverstreak as well so any Ďeducationí that you can offer and bestow upon me would be awesome. I'd like to try and get something ordered yet this year.

  2. #2

    Default boat selection

    My only suggestion would be to not limit yourself to a relatively flat bottom boat like an 8 degree hull. Awell designed hull with a 12 degree deadrise and ample horse power will get you through some extremely skinny water. The differences are more noticeable after you have put the boat on a gravel bar and are trying to get it off. Something with some V in the front will certainly make the salt water use more enjoyable and a delta pad will allow you to run the skinny water. Just look for a boat that is not too heavy and you will have something more manageable when you do go high and dry.

  3. #3

    Default one boat to do everything

    The US Air Force tried to build an airplane to do everything. They called it an F-111. They wound up with a very expensive airplane that did a lot of things, but wouldn't do any one thing as well as other planes. My point is, you sound like a person that would be well advised to look for your solution in 2 boats. Personally, I think I need 3 boats. One for the Yukon, one for salt and one for the shallow stuff. I compromised and got one that I can use in the shallows and on the Yukon. When I go to the salt, I charter. Good luck in your quest, and keep us posted. I'm old but can still learn.

  4. #4

    Default Yep...

    Already been down that road; the known-all-too-well "all-purpose" boat. No such thing, as I found out. I thought I had a fairly simple problem; I wanted an adequate boat for both the Kenai river and to hit the salt once in a while. Different environment than yours, but same principles none the less. I think Paul H tried to set me straight a few years back, but I thought I could beat the system....not. It does sound like you need 2 rigs; hey, you can never have too many boats!
    BTW, we now have a great river-only rig w/4 stroke outboard; it fishes 3 guys perfect, draws little water, planes easily on the sensitive Kenai. We gave up our butt-heavy Almar; it was a total dog on the hole shot, no matter the prop size, just not enough ponies.
    Jim

  5. #5
    Member Crumm's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by theclaw View Post
    Both boats would be hard to get an ATV unloaded on a beach without a cut bank and I plan on stopping by regular beaches quite often with my ATV for hunting logging roads. The XS seems like the perfect layout (if it had a drop bow) but the front space seems just a bit tight for an ATV.
    A set of ramps are needed for most unload/loading situations. There is room for a ATV but you pretty much have to drive standing up due to visibility. I just slip a couple of 2x6 planks in next to the ATV and we are good to go.



  6. #6

    Default

    Thanks for the concerns.

    I agree; there is no perfect all-purpose boat. I would love 2 boats (wouldn't we all?); the 32' Munson Cat Deep-V Landing Craft plus a good utilitarian jet jon like the XS would be awesome. But my names not Bill and I don't have $300K on hand. I'm done going super cheap on a jet/jon rig (too many spoiled trips) so I want to get something pretty nice.

    Right now I'm leaning towards the XS and when spending $36K we should get something that's functional. It's great in the rivers, and even with the 8o, jet tunnel, etc., I think it will work for me in a lot of my salt water applications. I may need to jerry rig some ATV ramps and I may experience some cavitation and pounding at 8o in salt, but I think I can live with this more readily than only getting half way up the river in a 12 or 14 degree delta because it's sucking mud. So when considering spending that much dough on an 8o boat, the addition of a drop bow like in the Silver or Marathon boat seemed like a pretty nice feature as does the tunnel.

  7. #7
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    Default sportjet a bad choice

    if you only want to do this once,have a boat custom built for what you are going to use the boat for.figure what percentage of river or ocean you
    are going to do and have the boat built more for that use.in the Anchorage area Silver Streak Boats can build exactly what you want ,and they build them tough, and stand behind their products. I know several people that have their boats and they swear by them.

  8. #8
    Member broncoformudv's Avatar
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    Default

    Riddle Marine also builds custom landing craft with inboard jets you might want to give them a call.

  9. #9
    Member Xerophobic's Avatar
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    Default

    Ahhh the classic "what boat is best for all my needs" debate! hehe

    I wont bore you with a bunch of blanket statements about what boat will do all what you want it to do but I can offer a few suggestions.

    We currently have in stock something you may wish to consider.

    A 'custom" boat built by the previous owner but basically built to the spec of our current Beaver model. Extremely low hours and a nice clean boat and a great price. 12 degree hull with high sides, drop bow and I can personally say I've done 52 mph in the boat with 2 aboard with the Optimax 200 SJ. As was said the 12 degree isn't near as bad as you would think in shallower waters and the wide large bottom carries weight very well. This boat was recently given brand new paint to display at a trade show(it was bare previously). 9 feet from bow to consol; we haven't measured but think a Rhino would even fit.

    UHMW keel and HD EZclean grate. We are still not 100% convinced the benefits of SJ tunnel designs outweight their downfalls and as such still do not manufacture boats with them. This is a delta bottom boat

    Of course we're not in your backyard but Im just suggesting it as a possibility. I think you have all the right idea's in what you have said so far. call us if you have any questions

    Outlaw Eagle Manufacturing - Burnt Lake Motorsports
    403-347-4565

    Cheers

    Whoops edited to add in the price! On a Tandem EZ loader trailer this boat is $35000 and was completed spring 2006








  10. #10
    Member Xerophobic's Avatar
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    Default

    2 more pics

    Cheers


  11. #11
    Member Xerophobic's Avatar
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    And one more thing we can certainly build something brand new to your exact specs if for example you are dead set on an 8 degree etc. I think our Outlaw reputation stands up quite well up in your neck of the woods. They are certainly hard to find used I know that! We take pride on building what we feel are the toughest boats in the industry for back country usage.

    Dont hesitate to call

    Cheers

    James


  12. #12
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    Default loved the last pic

    Good looking workmanship. If I ever sell my riverboat, I may have to contact you about a custom canoe... big. later. j

  13. #13
    Member chriso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by theclaw View Post
    [FONT=Verdana][SIZE=2][COLOR=black][COLOR=black] VERY skinny, 2-3" if the river is down. I still have to get to the cabin and back - so boat weight and hull design are a concern. I will take it moose and duck hunting. Shallow water performance is mandatory with a modest load of ATV, moose, 2 people and gear.

    It seems to me that even if a delta pad WERE equal in terms of hull depth (eliminates the deepest part of the V) the fact the jet intake is the lowest point on the boat minimizes itís shallow water capability because you will be sucking mud. Any comments on delta versus tunnels? Experiences from users with delta pad jets?

    Why hasnít Jetcraft or Phantom explored a drop bow considering the incredible functionality?
    Why havenít Silver Streak or Marathon explored V-hulls with tunnels? Why would Marathon want to move away from an 8 degree to a 12 degree?
    I was leery of delta pad boats thinking tunnels were better for shallow water performance. I believe all of the boats that have been mentioned here will comfortably run the 2-3" you mentioned at the beginnning of your post... so unless you hope to modify your running habits and locals to include dredging hundreds of yards of mud... I'll look more closely at how each of them will meet the rest of your needs. I personally think that a delta pad boat rides higher in the water than the tunnels, so in most cases shallow water performance is a wash when comparing the two types... The delta in my experience, will lift a heavy load a bit more easily and step somewhat more quickly given equal loads and powerplants etc, but non-the-less, it will certainly run 2-3" of water no problem so I wouldn't rule out a boat that meets your other needs exceptionally well because it had a delta pad.

    From my experience having boats built... it's easy to give a guy the wrong impression of my priorities in build, they're only human too afterall, and can easily focus on one thing or another as being a higher priority to me than it really is somethimes just based upon my tone of voice... I wouldn't be surprised to learn that Marathon recommends the 12 deg due to your salt water focus. I'm having a boat built right now and I told everyone involved right off that the engine had to run on 87 octane fuel since I plan to fill up in some remote locations from time to time. Light motor weight was my second priority to give me better odds of durability, hopes of a bit higher cruising and top speeds was somewhere in the top ten items. Everyone got all focused on torque, hp, rpm rev limits, and so on, and I had some great suggestions... I almost pulled the pins on one, when it dawned on me that I had been given no assurance it would run on 87 octane without destroying itself... I double checked, and it wouldn't, I settled for the second choice motor which met my number one priority. It's worth re-stating your priorities to them and asking why they think you need something like their 12 deg instead of an 8 for instance...

    The other question about why these builders don't offer something or another that makes complete sense to us alaskans, is that we are such a small portion of the US boat buying public... I mean, all of the other northwestern states have sometimes 2 or 3 cities whose populations exceed our entire states. I think it's quite a testiment to any of their levels of commitment to customer service if you find that they are willing to do something custom for our needs here in AK.

    I'd say check out as many boats as you can, as thoroughly as you can, choose the ones that most fit your bill of needs, if you need anything else to seperate the choices at that point, look for the outfit that takes the most personal interest in your project. And enjoy the trip along the way to completion! It's a great journey!


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