View Full Version : Need Advise on 1991 Tri Star

11-23-2004, 10:03 AM
I am looking at buying a 1991 Tri Star Mastercraft for $10,000. Is that about the right price? The only thing the boat needs is carpet.

It is an open bow version. How many people will it seat comfortably? How is the boat in rough water? Does this boat have any Bow rise to it? How does it do for skiing. Is it a good family boat?


11-23-2004, 10:13 AM
NADA says low retail is $8200 and Average retail is $10,200. So it sounds to me that theat may be in the upper end of the price scale to me.

I can't really comment on the boat except to say that remember that the length includes the integrated swim platform so space is a bit limited for it's size.

If you are interested absolutely drive it, ski it, and have a mechanic take a look at it before you buy. Take the family on the test ride to see how it fits the family. Good luck! I am sure others will give more info.

lakes Rick
11-23-2004, 11:19 AM
My favorite topic.... I will give you the nice version..

Like all ( or most anyway) Mastercrafts, they are a well made boat.. Same quality materials used by the rest of the line..

I would call it an "unsuccessful" model as it was discontinued after 91, for the Maristar....

I had a 90 Tristar open bow.. The best advice I can give you is to take it out in rough water conditions, or get it around other boat wakes. DO NOT buy the boat until you have experienced it in rough water conditions. By that I mean on a busy waterway with other boats, not southwester. It has a horrible ride, and it will take on water over the bow.. Good towboat and while the wake is "unique" it is soft and forgiving..

No carpet?? $8000 tops.....

11-23-2004, 12:36 PM
I agree with Rick. My in-laws have that exact boat, and it's a great boat when it's sitting on a boat lift.

In the water, it is terrible. The boat has been babied since purchased new, and the ride is so rough, the center windshield doesn't even line up with the driver's side windshield anymore. (Only has 300 hours on it, 200 probably under 1,200 RPM)

The wake is extremely wide, and the top speed is the slowest of any MC I've been in. It struggles to go 42.

Like Rick said, you can't cruise or the water comes right over the front. Also, the bow is pretty much a non-factor. Two very small kids might be OK, but anyone over age 12 will be cramped.

I would suggest spending a few more bucks and trying to get a '93 or '94 Prostar 205.

11-23-2004, 12:53 PM
I had an 89 Tristar OB, and put 400 trouble free hours on the boat. In that time water came over the bow twice. OB area was excellent for the size and era of IB ski boats. Boat is smallish overall due to built in platform. Agreed not a great rough water boat, but it's typical of the flat bottom ski boats of that time. It was a huge step up from the I/O we had before. Rick's about right on the $$.

11-23-2004, 01:36 PM
Thanks for the honest input. I think I will shy away from the Tri Star Model, but what is a good open bow model for around $10,000? What about the Mari Star. What is the difference bwtween it and the Tri Star?

Looking to buy my first MC sorry for all the questions.

east tx skier
11-23-2004, 03:00 PM
You could probably get a 92 PS 205 for a little over $10K. If I were you, and this is going to be a slalom boat, I'd at least consider a closed bow (190). You can get more for your money if you are willing to consider the closed bow. The open bow seating is nice to have as an option, but I ultimately only end up with people up there about twice a season (and I don't put the back seat in). With a walkthrough, you lose a seat for the aisle, and lose good ski storage under the bow (although you can lay them in the aisle I suppose).

Ultimately, it depends what your use for the boat will be. Maristars are, by all appearances, fine boats, but are less than ideal for hardcore slalom skiing. They could make a good wakeboard boat though it would seem.

11-23-2004, 03:34 PM
I concur that if you are looking to go the hardcore slalom route that the ProStar is the direction. While we ski we are not quite as hardcore and competitive at it as many of the fine folks here and the kids are more recreational too. For these reasons, I went with the MariStar. Ours says it seats 10, we have had 8 thus far. The ride and power are excellent.

11-23-2004, 05:32 PM
I have to have an open bow I have 3 little girls. The boat will be used more for recreational skiing. Can I find an open bow for $10,000 that is not a Tri Star? What is the difference between the TriStar and the MariStar?

east tx skier
11-23-2004, 05:52 PM
A bare bones 1992 (first year) ProStar 205 has an average resale, according to www.nada.com, of $10,400. I think this is your best bet for butter-soft wakes and open bow. The Maristar's average resale is about $1K more than that. I have a 93 PS 205 and it has a wonderful slalom wake, which is pictured on this board somewhere. The hull of the PS 205 was the same 92-95 (basically slightly elongated PS 190 by about a foot to accomodate the open bow).

The Maristar is, quite simply a different boat. Some were direct drives, some were v-drives. The lengths vary on the maristars from 21 to 24' and sometimes more. Check out the 1993 brochure (it's on the board under downloads I believe). This will show you what everything looks like. The way things have shaped up presently, the prostars are the ski boats and the maristars are the recreational versions (sans towers and stickers) of many of (but not all) the v-drive X-boats (wakeboard boats).

In the early 90s, things were a bit different.

11-23-2004, 06:04 PM

Maybe you shouldn't shy away from the Tristar so quickly. I have an '89 TRistar 190 closed bow that is in outstanding condition. 600 hours and no trouble from it. I've only had it since late August but we did manage to put 52 hours on her. The only thing I had to do was throughbolt a piece of aluminum channel under the floor directly behind the engine hatch due to the floor being somewhat spongy there. But, I think this was an issue with all of the models.

As far as ride, I've been in both my Tristar and several other Prostars and I couldn't tell any difference. They all ride like crap in rough water. As far as water over the bow, I've taken it twice but it's been due to crossing my own wake at an idle just after turning to pick up a skier. If you throttle up a little as you cross the wake its a non-issue.

Price-wise, I think $10,000 is a little steep for that boat unless it's in perfect condition. My boat was in very, very good shape and included a full cover, dual axle trailer, a stainless steel Fly High extended pylon and a brand new (never used) Anchor Shade umbrella. I negotiated a deal and got this package for $6,000. If you can get this boat for less money (around the $8,000 mark) and you have driven it, skied it and fit the family in, then I'd go for it. After all, you did say this would be your first boat and few keep their first boat forever.

11-24-2004, 06:31 AM
If you ever think that this boat will be in a slalom course, don't go tri-star. My sister has one & nobody will pull me through the course behind it, as I will pull it over the drive balls. I'm not a great skier either. My PB is somewhere around 28off at 32 or 34 mph (it's been 2 years since I've been in a course :( )I can also attest to the rougher ride. My 95 PS190 is better (although - not much better) in the rough stuff, but it tracks a whole lot nicer. But - the 190 is a closed-bow version. My next boat will be a 205 (Family has started to grow) even though I absolutely love my baby (the 190).

11-24-2004, 10:30 AM
Have to chime in here. My first M/C was an '89 Tri O/B. I loved that boat and it cemented my love of the brand and I am since on my 4th one. It did ride rough in any amount of chop but all 'tourney' boats do IMO. It would take water over the bow also easily if I wanted it to. It was fun to drench the girls that always wanted to sit in the front every now and then. If you knew your throttle, you could avoid this easily. To this day, if I ever see a smokin' deal on one, I'll buy another one.

lakes Rick
11-24-2004, 10:58 AM
I have been in Malibu's, Ski Centurions, Supra's, Prostars, and my Maristar and NONE of them rode half as bad as my old TriStar.. NONE of the owners wanted to ride or ski behind my old tristar.. Not a bad boat, just not quite there. And NONE of them could stand the rough ride.. The big joke was they wanted to put some old tires around the front of it, cause it kinda looks like a little "tug boat" in the water...

AGAIN, you really need to ride in the boat in rough water and around other boat wakes BEFORE you even think about buying it.....

11-24-2004, 11:29 AM
Did the Tri come in an outboard, I believe O/B = openbow

lakes Rick
11-24-2004, 06:39 PM
Did the Tri come in an outboard, I believe O/B = openbow

OK that makes more sense. My mistake and by golly it wont be the last one either..

Hoosier Bob
11-24-2004, 07:04 PM
I may be wrong but I thought Stevo loved his old Tristar. I have been skiing behind one. That was so long ago and in perfect water that I cannot remember any concerns. Come on, it is a MasterCraft!
Tri means three stars and the Prostar only has one! Get the 190 and tell the kids to keep their heads down. Works for me! None of the boats mentioned are gonna be fun with more than 6 people on board. I don't care what size the people are. Leave'em on the dock! Like me you find someone with the "Pigtoon" for the people.
PS. I do remember the thing was wide, man it was really wide! Ain't a bad thang!

11-25-2004, 10:44 AM
OK,OK, I was trying to avoid this one.
I had a 1988 closed bow Tristar for four seasons.
It was our first MC and we had many great times in it and it never let us down. It ran well and the wake was not that bad especially running short line.
As far as the size is concerned, what you lost in length you gained in width. We actually liked the platform.
Yes the ride was rough in choppy water but 22 mph and under It was fine in any water. I added an Ambush four blade 13 x 13 prop and it smoothed the ride out a bit and increased performance. I know that for sure.
I pulled a few boarders behind it and they really liked the wake.
I think it was MC's first attempt to combine performance with a more "family" friendly boat.
I agree that some of the Tristar designs were not very attractive but I always liked how the closed bow looked.
Dr. Nautica asked me these same questions prior to his purchase this season and he seems happy with his.
The idea behind buying a older Tristar is that you can get into your first real MC inboard for under $9,000
Think about it, you can't even hardly buy a new outboard motor for 9k these days! 10k seems high to me also.
Now the big question! Looking back, if I were starting all over again and had 10k to spend I would spend a bit more and get the Prostar.
Pinecrest just sold a 91 Prostar that was absolutely beautiful for 12k range! The guy was picking it up last week. I saw it when I picked mine up from being winterized and couldn't believe how nice it was. Shop around.
I kept an eye open looking at boats for about two years until I finally found the 93 S&S.
If you don't have the cash, just go to the bank and get some more! ;)

11-26-2004, 10:26 AM
I've got a '90 Tri Star OB. Pluses are price (you won't find an OB inboard in good shape for less than what a Tri Star goes for - around $9,000), construction (it is a MC after all), strong pull (it is an inboard after all) and huge rear swim platform (my two young daughters love to jump off the back - I don't have to worry about an outdrive sticking out or their feet getting stuck in or slipping o a teak platform.

Minuses are a horrible ride in rough water (this is true of any flat bottomed boat - I had an '84 MC that rode the same way, others on this thread apparently agree. Thanks to these dad gum wakeboard boats whose sole purpose is to put out a huge wake - no offense guys - the rough ride is becoming a bigger negative as the wakes around us get bigger ), basically no storage, single seat observer (rather than a bench where you could get two kids on there - I built a two seater arrangement which overcomes this problem and adds storage) and the motor in the middle really crowds things -even for our relatively small family (two s, two kids). The lack of fuel injection is a big minus as well in my view when someone driving it doesn't know how to juice the throttle just so. Gas tank capacity is too small.

I guess the question is would I buy it again knowing what I know now? YES if your budget is around $9,000. NO if you can afford an OB ProStar and only have around $12,000 to spend. As a family we do a little of everyting watersport wise. So I am willing to trade the flat wake rough ride for a smoother ride larger wake. I am thinking of selling it and getting something that:

V-drive or I/O ( Yes - that is inboard outboard!!)
fuel injected motor
brakes on the trailer
22 feet or more
Open Bow
swim platform to cover prop if buying an I/O
tons of storage

OK guys - help me out here. The V-drive Maristar is the obvious choice. The cheapest (but still decent) I can find is around $29M for a '98 with low hours. I found an immaculate late loaded low hour 22' Ebbtide ( I know - its not an MC!! Stay with me please) that would meet all my needs listed above for around $15,000 - half the cost of a Maristar.

I'm having a tough time justifying $29M for a boat that while will be used very often will sit in the driveway as I don't ahve a big enough garage.

I welcome everyone's feedback and advice.

11-26-2004, 11:00 AM

My only input,

You may find that an I/O will offer you LESS of a hole shot (relatively sluggish), making it more difficult getting a skier or boarder up.

Also, even with a swim platform, the O part of the I/O is at the rear of the boat and creates a danger to little feet.

Sounds like you need a little carb work on that “Tri”.

11-26-2004, 02:33 PM
Why not check out some Prostar 205's?

11-26-2004, 09:42 PM
Do they make a V drive 205? I'm just sick of the motor in the middle. I just found a 380 hour immaculate 98 maristar 225 for $25M trailer, 2 covers, shower, heater and bimini included. Does that sound reasonable? Nada says high retail $23 but good luck finding it at that price.

11-26-2004, 09:56 PM
Steve - you mentioned elsewhere you had an 88 TriStar and bought your Prostar before selling your tristar. I am curious - I am in a similar situation it seems - now is the time to buy a boat. Spring is time to sell. What did you enounter buying first, owning two boats then selling? Any tips on selling the tristar versus any other boat?

11-27-2004, 08:12 AM
Hey guys agreed with all said. Just bought a 88 tristar for under $7000.00 with 300 hours. price was right and is still a better boat than our IO was. Srtonger pull and better built. It is a MC after all. I also drive Malibus and Nautiques for our club and while the new boats may have fuel injection and more power they are also 4 times the price. This is intended to be two years and upgrade purchase but for what we do (no salom course), junior high and highschool barefooters and show skiing, it serves the purpose. rough ride and all. My second boat in the future will be a twin rig dynaski!!

11-27-2004, 09:23 AM
Well said Whitedog. We bought the tristar after owning an I/O. It is probably the best starter family inboard from a price standpoint.

11-28-2004, 01:40 PM
I had been looking at Prostars for a couple of years.
The Stars & Stripes has always been my favorite boat.
I finally found one in great condition with the right color and the right price and did not hesitate to take a long drive to get it.
My needs are different than yours, I wanted a pure ski boat since I'm a slalom junkie. :D The motor in the middle does not bother me and I like the storage and looks of the closed bow.
If I had more than two kids, I would definately have looked for a 205.
You will need to spend quite a bit more for a V drive.
I bought and sold my boats in the middle of the season and was confident that I would sell the Tristar because it was in very good condition and I had all dealer service records. I could not buy a used boat without test driving and skiing behind it first and would want others to test drive mine before selling it to them so that there are no surprises.
Don't be afraid of long distance transactions, you just need to use common sense and get to know the people a bit. Get plenty of pics and discuss any concerns that you might have.
It might be more difficult to sell an I/O.
Hope that helps.

11-29-2004, 11:43 AM
I owned a tri-star for 16 years. It was an extremely dependable well built boat. Inside space was tight. Bit slow, but still fast enough for two barefooters. The rough water ride is the worst of the ski boats, but slowed up 18-20, smoothed right out. With a shortline skier, struggling to catch up around bouy's, it can be a challenge to drive. Wake is "interesting", but acceptable to intermediate to beginner skiers. Shortline skiers will not like the wake. I sold mine year ago last July for 9700, including trailer. It was extremely low hours, and extremely well taken care of. If you're limited to the amount, then it's a good boat. If you can step up to the early 90's prostar, you'll enjoy the better wake and slightly larger boat. If you decide to buy the tristar, let me know and I'll give you an hint on how to convert the rear seat into a large sun platform (at least it worked on my '88).

lakes Rick
11-29-2004, 06:15 PM
I would like to add my purchase of a NEW TriStar ( my first comp boat) really turned me OFF to comp boats.. I was ready to get another I/O as I was REAL TIRED of having everyone else I knew have a nice day at the lake while I and everyone else in my boat, got the crap beat out of us... Someone said at 18-20 it smoothed out?? Sorry in ANY kind of chop my 90 TriStar, there just wasnt any speed that was comfortable..

I remember being at one end of a lake, the wind picked up with some rollers, and I never thought I was going to get back.. Too slow, water over the bow, anything over idle and I truly thought the boat would crack in half it was beating the water so hard..

I used my boat as an all around boat, not just to ski in.. Isnt this what the "TriStar" was built for??.. So if you only skied in a private lake ( as long as the other boats made no wake) or a secluded cove, before anyone else got there, you might be ok....

Just my opinion of the worst quality of a Tristar, the ride......