In 1980 the third generation tournament hull was introduced. This third generation tournament hull was designed once again as three event boat (for trick, slalom and jump). The 1980-1985 hull was designed as a “variable planning” hull – it produced flat wakes at slalom speeds, but the wakes were also designed to have a solid, well defined lip at slower speeds for trick skiing. This concept has been carried forward into the later ProStar models and is one reason way these MasterCraft hulls are popular for wakeboarding as well. At the time this hull was introduced MasterCraft stated, “No other boat can offer a solid low-speed trick wake and a low profile, high-speed wake perfect for slalom, jumping and barefooting.”
The 1980-1985 MasterCraft Skier was about 19’ long, 82” wide, weighted about 2,200 lbs (the same length, one inch wider and the same weight as the second generation hull).
In 1980 a slight change was made to chine on the hull to reduce spray. The 1980-1985 hull was a modified-v with 4 degrees of deadrise at the transom. This hull may have been offered in two versions – standard and “PowerSlot”. The 1980-1985 “PowerSlot” hulls
were reserved for boats delivered with a PowerSlot transmission
(1.5:1 ratio manufactured by Borg Warner). The “PowerSlot” hull was now being used to draw attention to the new transmission (introduced the same year - 1980). In 1980 the prop rotation of these drive trains may have switched to left hand drive.
Most boats produced during 1980-1985 appear to have been powered by 351 cubic inch Pleasure Craft Marine (PCM) engines. Although in 1981 and 1982 the standard engine may have been a 302 cubic inch engine. A 454 cubic inch engine may have also been an option as early as 1980. Transmission choices were either:
• a standard transmission with a 1:1 ratio (paired with a three-blade 13 x 13 prop); or
• an optional “PowerSlot” transmission with a wide gear ratio of 1.5:1 (paired with a Nibral three-blade 14 x 18 prop) for increased acceleration, and steadier pull.
The “PowerSlot” transmission may have been initially introduced to meet the needs of the larger (more powerful) tournament skiers as the smaller props and gear was not acceptable for record capable tournaments (according to some). In 1983 (the first year tournament boats were certified by the AWSA) the AWSA may have only certified boats with the stronger pull.
• According to a 1980 World Waterskiing Test and Analysis article 351/PowerSlot combination accelerated from idle to 30 mph in 5.10 seconds, had a top speed of 44 mph and had fuel consumption of 4.0 gph, 7.2 gph, and 10.1 gph at 25 mph, 32, mph and 36 mph respectively.
• According to a 1982 Spray Magazine waterski tow boat test the MasterCraft (with PowerSlot transmission) took 8.43 seconds to travel 357.5 feet, while the other boats tested took between 8.85 seconds and 9.25 seconds. These differences increased significantly when the boats were retested over the same distance with four skiers (combined weight of 596 lbs and boat crew weight of 580 lbs) for a result of 11.14 second for the MasterCraft (with PowerSlot Transmission) and between 12.70 seconds and 14.21 for the other boats tested. To view graphs on 1982 MasterCraft ad click here
• In 1983 MasterCraft stated that the PowerSlot drive train could produce 310 ft/lbs at 1,500 rpm, 500 at 2,000 and 560 at 3,000 and could accelerate from zero to 16 in three seconds and zero to 35 in five (while the 1:1 package would go from zero to 10 in three seconds and zero to 20 in five).
Potential trade-offs for the PowerSlot transmission may include:
• Increased fuel consumption. The 1982 Spray Magazine waterski tow boat test noted fuel consumption (at a constant speed) for the MasterCraft (with PowerSlot transmission) was 11.88 gallons per hour at 36 mph or 14.23 gallons per hour with the four skiers in tow. These fuel mileage results were about average for all five boats tested.
• Slightly lower top-end speed (typically a loss of about 1-2 mph when compared to same engine with a 1:1 transmission).
The 1980 hull offered better wakes and still no spray at short-line lengths, three tracking fins, bigger prop (for more stability and response). Although the one-piece windshield was a similar shape to the previous two generation (rounded at the corners) – it may have been glass for the first time in 1980.
The interior of the 1980 model featured a glove box and molded fibreglass storage compartment under the observer’s seat (which houses the battery and fire extinguisher), and an adjustable high back bucket driver’s seat.
Standard features on the 1980 model included inland lighting, two Airguide speedometers, tachometer, fuel gauge, horn, dash lights, ski pylon, mufflers, Morse throttle control, ski mirror.
Options for 1980 included fibreglass swim platform.
The exterior graphics of the 1980 model remained similar to previous models - matching hull/deck colours (either sand-coloured or grey) with the “Stars and Stripes” graphics (white stars and white pinstripes on a variety of different coloured metallic stripes). A “MasterCraft” (now font sloping to the right
) decal was placed on the side hull and ‘yin and yan’ decal was placed on the side hill near the transom. The “MasterC*raft Competition Ski Boat” (with a Star inside the “C” of MasterCraft now) was moved inside the two pinstripes
on the transom. This transom decal (with the star inside in the “C”) appears to have remained in use until 1990.
In 1981 the standard engine was a 302 cubic inch with the 351 cubic inch engine being offered as an option (both came with four barrel carburetors).
In 1981 teak replaced fibreglass as the swim platform material. Some have said that the fibreglass swim platform dampened (quietened) the exhaust rumble, although they may not have been as aesthetically appealing. The fibreglass platforms at this time were covered with matting that was not much more than a sticky back non-skid surface.
In 1982 the three-piece square windshield was introduced (with safety glass) and three engine options were offered – the standard 302 cubic inch, the optional 350 cubic inch, and the optional 351 cubic inch. A hideaway mirror (which could be folded into the deck when not in use) was also offered in 1982.
MasterCraft was using an intricate ducting system to transfer air to the engine box
. A sizable storage locker is provided behind the observer’s seat.
In 1983 the standard engine was upgraded to a 351 cubic inch 240 hp Ford V-8 (marinised by Pleasure Craft Marine (PCM)). Fibreglass stringers were also introduced (to increase strength, eliminate deterioration and reduces vibration), resulting in an all-fibreglass “uni-frame” hull construction (see more detail below). A new experimental interior (using GT vinyl) was also introduced on a very limited basis. The 1983 model also offered two drain plugs (assuring water drainage at any angle) and metal flake pinstripes molded into the hull as standard (previously an option), and two stops on the floor at the front of the motor box (so the box could not be pushed into the engine’s drive belts by observer’s feet).
The range of colours were also expanded from four to nine in 1983 – sand/brown (1982 shown)
, sand/blue, sand/red (1984 shown)
, sand/orange, grey/red (1985 shown)
, grey/blue (1984 shown)
, grey/silver (1985 shown)
, blue/blue (Upholstery: sand, greyblue. Carpet: charcoal, blue, brown). By 1983 the “MasterCraft Tournament Ski Boats” transom decal also may have been in use.
In 1983 although the design of the hull did not change, the way it was constructed did. By 1983 MasterCraft was using all fibreglass construction (wood stringers were eliminated), along with an intricate ducting system to transfer air to the engine box. A sizable storage locker is provided behind the observer’s seat. MasterCraft used four molds to build the “uni-frame” hull – one each for the deck, cockpit, stringers and hull. Foam was also used to provide structural floatation. MasterCraft built two display boats and cut them in half to use a boat shows so dealers and customers could see the revolutionary way the inner workings of these hulls were built.
In 1983 standard equipment included triple tracking fins, ski pylon, mirror, instrumentation (dual speedometers, tachometer, ampmeter, hour meter, oil temperature and fuel), windshield, coaming pads, deluxe (contoured) deck, special two-tone colour, metalflake stripe, inland lighting, centre drain, transom drain, lift rings, ice chest, automatic bilge pump, blower, muffler system, E-Z change oil kit, 25-gallon fuel tank, fire extinguisher, and battery.
In 1983 optional equipment included PowerSlot drive train, padded motor box, custom rear seat, teak swim platform, trick release, closed cooling system, boat cover, barefoot boom, heater, bimini, and bottom paint. However, the 1983 model did not have a ski eye/handle on the transom (for use when passengers are seated in the rear seat).
In 1985 transom ski bar and adjustable driver’s seat may have been introduced as standard equipment for the first time. In 1985 optional equipment may have also included an AM/FM stereo cassette player. In 1985 colour options included gray/red, gray/blue, gray/black, gray/gray, beige/red, beige/blue, beige/brown, and beige/black. By 1985 some the hulls may have been delivered with black stars and pinstripes.
1985 was the last year of the MasterCraft carried the stars as side-hull graphics until the stars returned on the 1993, 25th anniversary edition.
This hull was approved as a tournament tow boat by the American Water Ski Association (AWSA) from 1983 (the first year the AWSA certified tow boats) to 1985.
The 1980-1985 hull:
• set a new men’s Slalom Waterski World Record (Bob LaPoint in 1980)
• was chosen to be the official two boat at Cypress Gardens and Marine World (1982)
• pulled MasterCraft’s first Women’s Slalom World Record and new Men’s Tricks and Slalom World Records (1982)
• pulled three World Records – Women’s Tricks, Men’s Freestyle, Men’s Slalom (1984)
• pulled Women’s Tricks World Record (Britt Larsen with 7230 points in 1985)
According to a 1980 World Waterskiing Test and Analysis article (351/PowerSlot):
• “It provides performance and distinctive styling in an exceptional boat…”
• “At all speeds over 20 mph there is such a small wake that most skiers will not notice it is there.”
• “At trick skiing speeds (approximately 15 mph) the wake has a sharp crest …”
• “Manoeuvrability of the wide MasterCraft hull is excellent. It turns sharply, quickly and level. In fact it might be one of the sharpest turning inboard ski boats on the market.”
• “The same bottom design that provides all the favourable wake characteristics make the boat a little rough riding in unfavourable water. Still the ride is an improvement over the original models and is never intolerable.”
According to a 1983 Powerboat Magazine review, the 1983 MasterCraft PowerSlot:
• “I’ve never driven a mid-engine rig that felt smoother and more responsive.“
• “…the hull tracks without transom sway even when the skier is making hard slalom cuts.”
• “…performs better than expected in ruffled conditions, but you can still tell it’s a flat bottom.”
According to some skiers, this hull had a “crisp” trick wake at lower speeds and a soft slalom wake. According to one owner, the 1980-1985 hull, as with the older tournament boats, can be a bit of a challenge to drive in the course - especially with an aggressive short-line skier. However, this owner went on to say that short-line driving in the course can be “learned”, but it is not as easy as with some of the more modern hulls.
/edit (15 Apr 2009) = chine change (1980), 454 ci option (1980), fuel mileage and acceleration (1980), glass windshield (1980), interior features (1980), standard features (1980), optional features (1980), performance review (1980)
/ edit (17 Oct 2009) = 4 degrees deadrise, Nibral prop, transom ski bar (1985), adjustable driver's seat (1985), colour options (1985)