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Thread: NEED ADVICE thinking about buying my first jet boat

  1. #1
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    Default NEED ADVICE thinking about buying my first jet boat

    I've been wanting to get my first jet boat all winter. I'm going to go look at a 2005 19' alumaweld stryker w/ a 200 optimax. I was hoping you guys could give me pros and cons about what you've heard about the boat. If you could suggest any questions I should ask the guy when I look at it tomorrow. I'm wondering how the v-hull would do in shallow water. Just wondering if I should wait around for a used sport jon to come up since I hear so many good things about them. Just trying to get as much info as possible before making such a big decision. Thanks for all your advice.

  2. #2
    Member alaskanmoosehunter's Avatar
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    Alumiweld makes nice boats.....But the sports jon is a real nice boat. (That's the way I would go. Maybe in a few more years I will get one.)

    If you plan on going in shallow water I would stay away from V-Hulls.
    Just may 2 cents.
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  3. #3
    Member GAredneck's Avatar
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    Default River boat

    If you're looking just for a river boat and want to be able to run shallow, then stay away from a V bottom. How ever, if you want to use it in PWS in good weather, then go for it, they are a good duel use boat. By the way, I have a buddy that is selling his 2007 EX Shallow with about 20 or so hrs on it for a steel of a deal. He's military and has got to go so it will be sold for a goood price.

  4. #4

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    My experience with modified-v hull. Works for shollows and for waves but not the best for either. If you want a boat for doing one thing buy a boat for that one thing. If you can't afford a boat for each thing you want to do (like in the bay and on the river) you have a lot more options. That being said i am happy with my modified-v hull. It has a 7 degreese dead rise at the transom and goes pretty well everywhere i've taken it. Good luck on your decision and hope you enjoy it.

  5. #5

    Default EX shallow

    Take a look at the EX shallow, there are some videos on you tube

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gq7u2ohjCek

    If this is the kind of river you are thinking of running it is not a bad choice.
    19' Lowe Roughneck
    90/65 Honda 4 stroke
    Outboard Jet

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    Default Thanks

    Hey guys thanks for the info. I'm not really looking at taking a boat to PWS. I really just want it for the rivers around the Fairbanks area. I guess I will hold off for something built just for the rivers and hopefully something come around that I'm looking for. I appreciate all the help.

  7. #7
    Member alaskachuck's Avatar
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    Sit in front of your fireplace and start throwing 100.00 Bills into it and watch them burn. Do this every weekend for the summer and you will be ready for a jet boat. Sorry had to throw that out there. When I had mine I had a sign that read "This boat does not run on thanks" Fuel was only about 1.60 a gallon then so I know it cost a fortune to run one now and that is not including maintnance. I miss mine at times but floating out of the way places has been a nice change. Im sure Ill be back in the Jet age in the next few years
    Grandkids, Making big tough guys hearts melt at first sight

  8. #8

    Default Wooldridge Sport

    ALL PURPOSE:
    10 degree delta pad tunnel with 18 degree entry raised bow.
    Handles 2 to 3 foot chop (although you have to slow down to 10 mph)
    Can go through 5" of shallows.
    Long period ocean swells not a problem.
    Self draining bow and windshield/canopy are a must for salt water.
    Jet foot stomp grate to clear rocks or junk quickly is nice also
    Big outboard jets suck fuel, no escaping that one...........
    Highly recommend fuel management gauge (floscan), GPS chart plotter, and fish finder if you want to run salt water.
    Most jet boats over 18ft will sink like rocks if they are swamped........
    Carry a PLB and submersible handheld VHF so they can find you quickly if you all end up swimming in the ocean..
    This is the boat in my avatar photo.........

    RIVER ONLY:
    Jetcraft Extreme shallow
    higher sides and thicker skin than Sport John

    Either way:
    Bring $30k for recent model used, $40k for new, $10 - $20 k for older model
    Last edited by titobandito; 02-21-2008 at 20:30. Reason: more text

  9. #9
    Member tjm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lowe & Slow View Post
    Take a look at the EX shallow, there are some videos on you tube

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gq7u2ohjCek

    If this is the kind of river you are thinking of running it is not a bad choice.
    what kind of idiot would take a 21 foot boat up a creek like that?....

    sounds like you need an XS....

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    Well guys just wanted to let you know I passed on this boat after the info I've gathered so the search continues. Thanks for all your help.

  11. #11
    Member OzAK's Avatar
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    Default Riverboat-Flat or V??

    Helmuth, this may be old info for you and if it is I apologize, but think about this in relation to rivers, skip the bigger water ie ocean/large lakes for a minute. The tried and true pure flatbottom river jonboat is and has been very functional for decades. I still own one (a 20' Lowe) somewhat modified from its original configuration by yours truly with the addition of a shallow tunnel. It will run shallow enough with the tunnel to be dragging the riverbed pretty hard and the outboard (90 Johnson) is still pushing and not getting clogged up as long as I keep it moving. Probably 3" of water, maybe a bit less as long as I'm not too heavily loaded. This is not about how shallow I try to run, just that it is capable of it. Here's the point of the V bottom for the uninitiated. The flatbottom takes its damage, should you get it into that unfortunate mode, across the entire width of the bottom so to speak, as long as you are running parallel to the riverbed. When you enter a turn, either direction, the outside corner (known as the chine), dips closer to the riverbed, tighter the turn the deeper it goes, in effect negating the boats ability to run as shallow. Part of the shallow running ability is from the "ground effect" of the cushion of water between the boat and the riverbed much like an aircraft only with water.
    Now picture a V bottom (shallow deadrise up to 8*, perhaps even 12*) and that same turn. As you turn, the bottom becomes more parallel with the riverbed, allowing you to run consistently shallow as you turn, up to the point that you dip beyond the parallel, a pretty tight turn indeed. I can tell you from my experience (and the view of the bottom of my Lowe, as well as other flat boats I've driven) that it has consistently taken whatever damage sustained at times on the chine edges better that 75% of the time. I'm talking about damage that required some sort of welded patch or other drastic means to alleviate a leaky boat. I don't intentionally beat the snot out of my boat, but it gets used pretty hard at times and I pay because it is a thin skinned beast that won't take a bad hit well. 1/16th inch skin is pretty thin, but it's light. It's all a trade-off, but it's easy to get unstuck for the most part. Could be why there's a new SportJon in my garage though, plus we need the room in the boat.
    Now add in the bigger water equation, even the bigger rivers in the interior, Tanana, Yukon, etc. Waves are waves, plus add in ocean swells if you want to, and a flatbottom gets out of its league pretty much instantly, plus dangerous to boot. Not that a shallow deadrise boat is the best answer, but at least for river work, it's amazingly better. Sorry for the book, but I type a lot slower than you can read. Good luck in your quest. BTW- the serial # on my SJ is # 656 or some such, so there are that many in circulation out there. Pretty popular boat yet tough to find a used one. I have suggestions for you depending on the size of your family if any and your intended use. PM me if you wish, Oz

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by tjm View Post
    what kind of idiot would take a 21 foot boat up a creek like that?....

    sounds like you need an XS....
    A lot of people do. To include me. The 20 mile river is skinny, but not too skinny to run.

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    Default

    The boat you were looking at was a good option for you. The stryker runs pretty well, and the outboard optimax still gets good fuel performance. I think the 200 for that boat is a bit overkill, but that set up will take you most places you want to go around FAI.
    For a family of 4 and a dog, I would look at a 19' to 21' boat with a 90 hp to 115 hp jet to do most of what you want to do. For one man and a dog I would still not go below 18' if you intend longer trips or occasionally bigger loads. I would not discount a flat bottom boat in the least, and Alweld does make a welded model. The old riveted ones like my 20' Quachita tend to leak, but that is better than being stuck on land.
    The old 88/90 Johnsons tend to burn about 7 or 8gph at cruise. All of the newer injected models do better per hp, but then you'll spend more too.
    Based on this being your first jet boat, let me assume that you don't have lots of experience running rivers. Why look for a boat that will do everything including out drive you? There are lots of good options out there lots cheaper than the optimax powered inboards, and you'll have lots of fun with them too. And if by chance you are a pro at reading rivers, it does not do you a bit of good if you have to sit on the bank because you let good deals go by.
    My top light weight welded boats in order are Alweld and Alumaweld. For a heavier boat you can't beat a Wooldridge. Jetcraft builds good boats too.

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    Default Thanks again

    I guess I should have been more specific on what I plan to do with the boat I want. I want a boat that I can take on the yukon, Ivanshak, chatanika, tanana and other similar rivers. I'd like to be able to put a 4 wheeler in it but that is not a necessity. If you guys think that alumaweld is capable of these trips please let me know otherwise I'll keep looking. I thank you guys so much all the advice.

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    Default Its all relative...

    Yukon, Tannana and other larger rivers you can use a prop, and there are multiple advantages to doing so (load,fuel economy cheaper motor).

    If you are not going to be hauling large loads, you should puchase a used (smaller)boat, and see what you like, and gain some experience reading rivers, getting stuck, breaking down, repairs, etc...
    If you are going to run the Chat. alot you need a jet, same for salcha and upper chena...
    Once you determine your primary use then you can "upgrade" to a different package...

    and if you decide boating isnt your cup of tea...your not out 20k...

    start small,build experience,and confidence, and upgrade as you go...

    I've seen lots of folks jump in to a 20-30k boat only to find out it wasnt really what they needed/wanted.

  16. #16
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    Default becker nailed it

    None of the jet powered boats carry loads efficiently. That 6gph in an optimax powered inboard shoots up to 15gph with 2,500lbs in the boat. The Yukon can get rough in a hurry and stay that way for days. The flatter shallow water boats just don't handle it well.
    An outboard jet in a boat like an Alweld will run pretty shallow. I don't seem to have too many problems with my set up of a 22' w/150hp Yamaha. For the Yukon I have a prop unit. I also handle waves better than the phantom built boats.
    I know a young man on this forum that takes a small skiff with a prop up the Ivashak. Sounds nuts, but he has figured it out. Don't forget that years ago there were no jets, and the guys used props with lifts very effectively. I had a 24' quachita with a 50 prop set up that way. Regardless of the boat, there are limitations as you well know.
    That 18' Alumaweld is really a pretty nice boat in the wide bottom model. I did not buy it, or suggest it earlier, because I like a bit longer boat. But still, it would be a good option with a 2-stroke injected motor hanging on it.
    For everything you are talking about, looks to me like you need 3 boats to do it right.

  17. #17

    Default

    Becker and Ak River rat have great points you should definately consider. I have'nt ran most the rivers you speak of so i cant realy give you a good answer for choice of boat. I do know that a flat bottom boat is a ruff ride in a river or any body of water that has waves in it. It all depends on the size of wave and weather conditions as well. If the idea is to travel great river distances with a flat bottom set up in waves, you may not be so excited about the idea of doing a simular trip in the future.

    Here are a few Questions i can think of that may help you with your decision.

    Have you been on those rivers in the past on a boat?
    What setup was the boat (Flat/Semi-v)?
    Was the ride nice?
    What time of year was it?
    Did you get stuck alot?

    Hope you are able to answer these Questions for yourself, to help you come up with what is most ideal for your needs.

  18. #18

    Default first jet boat

    Have you considered the 35 hp GoDevil surface drive? I run over 150 hrs on the Yukon and Tanana every summer with a 24 ft flat bottom Jon boat. I average over 20 mph (I've seen 30 downstream) and burn 2.5 gph at full throttle. Last fall. my son and I did a 100 mile trip, moose hunting, on the Tanana and used 11 gallons of gas. It will push the boat unless it bottoms on gravel and will continue to push in weeds, mud, and brush. If you have to go a lot faster, I understand, that used to be me. I now spend more time enjoying the scenery and less time in trouble. That 7 to 8 mpg is a lot better on the pocketbook too. Certainly not for everyone, but a good option for some.

  19. #19

    Default start simple

    I agree with the idea of starting off with something simple. Start out with a wide, flat bottom green boat with a jet and use it to learn how to run/read the rivers you mentioned....especially the Tanana. You will have less stress, more fun and maybe even less chance of hurting yourself than if you were in something that can run 30 mph or faster. With some experience and adventures on the river you'll gain the necessary respect for the water and good judgement that will really be important later on if/when you upgrade(?) to something bigger/more powerful. Remember too that less money spent on the boat means less remorse when you are filling it up with gas!

  20. #20
    Member GAredneck's Avatar
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    Talking

    [quote=Ak River Rat;218642]"None of the jet powered boats carry loads efficiently. That 6gph in an optimax powered inboard shoots up to 15gph with 2,500lbs in the boat."


    I have to disagree with this as I run the Big-Su and Yetna dranages about 3-4day a week from the time the rivers open until they freeze in Oct. and have had plenty of weight in my EX Shallow w/ the 200hp optimax. 7 adults w/gear for 10 days up and back with same plus a moose all while buring only 8.5-9 gph. "yes all in one trip" We also ran up the Ivashak last Sept. with 6 guys and and gear for 10 days and only hit bottom, not stuck, about 3 times and averaged 7 gph while running around for the whole time. The only boats we saw 30-40 miles up river were 2 phantoms, 3 airboats and one more extream shallow, all the outboards were at the 3-4 mile mark because the water was too low.

    One guy that I run the rivers with has an airboat. After riding in my EX Shallow he said that if his jet boat that he sold to get the airboat would've been as capable of running like that then he would have saved the money on the airboat.

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