The first generation MasterCraft tournament ski hull introduced in 1968 set a new standard for performance. This hull was originally called the “MasterCraft Skier” and it was the first hull created with hand laid fibreglass (for increased strength and better consistency).
The 1968-1976 MasterCraft Skier was modest in size by contemporary standards being about 18’ long, 81” wide, and weighted about 2,000 lbs (as shown in Figure 2
These first generation hulls were powered by direct-drive inboard engines which may have been about 220 hp.
These boats were fitted with only the bear essentials required for a serious ski boat:
• a direct drive in-board engine
• a driver seat and rear facing observers seat
• ski pylon, complete with fixed cross arms at the top (no swivel)
• a simple one-piece Plexiglass windshield (that was rounded at the corners)
Some of the features most would now come to expect on a tournament boat, which were not included on the 1968 hull:
• water ski mirror
• tracking fins
• swim platform
• handle/tow eye on the transom
• running lights
• rear bench seat
• cup holders
The signature air scope on the deck was there even on the first hull (#1) and the exterior graphics of the first hull (#1) look strikingly similar to some late model wakeboard hulls – a solid colour hull with a white deck. The only decals which appeared on the first hull were a small “MasterCraft” decal (white font on black background) and vertical American flag – both applied on the side hull near the transom.
Only 12 boats were produced the first year (1968). Production increased over the next five years to reach 52 boats in 1973. This hull remained in production for 9 years until 1976.
By 1971, MasterCraft’s signature “Stars and Stripes” graphics (white stars and white pinstripes on a solid hull colour with a white deck) may have been added to the first generation hull. The color on Stars and Stripes hulls is all manufactured into the gelcoat but the stars and pinstripes are cut vinyl. By 1971 running lights and a waterski mirror also appear to have been added.
By 1972 the hull and deck became the same colour and two white stripes (in the gelcoat) ran parrallel around the hull. "MasterCraft" appeared on both sides of the hull between the two white stripes. The vertical American flag continued to appear on the side hull near the transom. Some of these hulls appear to have been powered by a Homan and Moody 302 with a Velvet Drive transmission.
a new colour accent stripe was added to the side of the hull (which wrapped all the way around the hull). White stars and MasterCraft logo (angled to the left) were located on the side hull stripe. The colour accent stripe was also repeated (with white stars) on the hulls bow, motor box and transom. The vertical American flag continued to appear on the side hull near the transom.
a slot (or concave in the hull above the propeller – not to be confused with the PowerSlot transmission which was introduced in 1980) may have been offered as part of “deluxe” options package (see picture below). Example of a dash from a 1975 can be viewed by clicking here
and interior by clicking here
MasterCraft introduced the first Marine Grade carpet (for longer wear), the first mufflers on a ski boat (for a quite ride), and introduces the first swim platform on a ski boat (to make entry and exit of the boat easier).
By 1976 the “L” shaped observer’s seat also appears to have been introduced.
Some of the 1976 models may have had textured decks (the texture was reported to be similar to the vinyl used to upholster the interior of the boat). These textured decks continued to appear until at least 1981.
The 1968-1976 hull pulled:
• the first National (US) Waterski Championship in Seattle (1972)
• its first World Men’s Slalom Record (Kris Lapoint’s one at 38-off in 1973)
• Men’s Trick World Record (1976)
• Men’s Slalom World Record (Bob LaPoint in 1976)
One of the early ads run for this hull (circa 1972) simply stated, “Smooth table – sharp wake for tricks [at lower speeds]. Small soft wake for slalom and jump.”
/edit - production numbers in paragraph seven clarified
/edit (2009 Oct 8) hull details updated for 1972 and 1973