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Old 04-07-2009, 12:06 PM
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MasterCraft Skier/ProStar/ProStar 190: A History (1968-2009)

Preamble

This is the third hull history thread that I have pulled together, the other two being:
1995-97 ProStar 190/19 Skier/SportStar 19/ ProStar 195/X-5: A History
1996-2000 ProStar 205/205V/Maristar205/X-star/X-2/X-1: A History

This one – “MasterCraft Skier/ProStar/ProStar 190: A History” - is something that has been suggested by a number of people, on a number of different threads, on a number of different occasions. But this one was the most difficult to do as information on the older hulls is difficult to find. As a result, what follows should be treated as a DRAFT framework for others to comment on – think of it as a collaborative work in progress. Please feel free to comment on both what is here and what is not here. My hope is with some review and input from others that a decent history of these extraordinary boats can be produced.

As with my two previous efforts, I loosely based this summary on the excellent example put forward by NSXBill on the ProStar 205 and have noted all the sources I used for my research at the bottom.

I would also like to acknowledge the efforts of ETS in fact checking and proof reading the first release!

Enjoy!
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Last edited by C36; 04-07-2009 at 09:49 PM.
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Old 04-07-2009, 12:07 PM
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Introduction

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For over four decades MasterCraft Boat Company has been building tournament tow boats, as shown in Figure 1. From its humble beginnings in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains MasterCraft quickly built its reputation on a workhorse three-event tow boat, pulling regional, national and worldwide tournaments.

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The in-board tournament ski boat was the genesis of the MasterCraft Boat Company. For the first eleven years of production, tournament ski boats were all MasterCraft built – from the first boat constructed in 1968 through the next eleven years until 1979. It wasn’t until after 1984, that MasterCraft branched out into the recreational ski market by offering sport-V-drives such as the MariStar series.

By 1987, nineteen years after the first hull was built, MasterCraft boats had been used to set more American Water Ski Association (AWSA) records than all other manufacturers combined and MasterCraft was the established sales leader in the ski boat market (with annual sales of about $15 million).

By 1993 (25 years after the company was founded) MasterCraft had built its 25,000th boat.

By 1996, twenty-eight years after the first hull was built, it’s the boat chosen by more skiers all over the world than the next two ski boats combined.

/edit (2009 Oct 9) production stats for 1993 added
Attached Images
File Type: pdf Figure 1.pdf (13.2 KB, 1568 views)
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Last edited by C36; 10-09-2009 at 05:27 PM.
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Old 04-07-2009, 12:08 PM
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What is in a Name

The model name “MasterCraft Skier” was used from 1968 until 1985 on MasterCraft’s tournament water ski hull.

The model name “ProStar” was introduced eighteen years later in 1986. This change rebranded MasterCraft’s tournament ski boat the “ProStar”.

One year later in 1987 MasterCraft added the “190” to the model name – resulting in the “ProStar 190”. The “ProStar 190” model name has remained on the closed bow version of the tournament ski boat ever since.

But what about name “Stars and Stripes”? It would seem that “Stars and Stripes” may have started as a nic-name but it did appear offically as part of the 1993 decal set as it actually bore the moneker "Stars & Stripes 190" at the rear of the hull. This may not have ever reappeared after 1993.

The “ProStar 195” model name was introduced in 2000 as the tournament ready open-bowed ski boat. This model was the forerunner for the “ProStar 197” model name, introduced by MasterCraft in 2002 to brand the latest version of the open bow tournament ski boat.

The “ProStar” name has also been carried by a number of other MasterCraft performance ski boats over the years as well, including the ProStar 205, ProStar 205V, ProStar 209, ProStar 214, and ProStar 214V.
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Last edited by C36; 04-07-2009 at 09:06 PM.
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Old 04-07-2009, 12:09 PM
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1968-1976 MasterCraft Skier

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).

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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
• trunk
• 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.

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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.

By 1973 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.

By 1975 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.

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In 1976 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.

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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
Attached Images
File Type: pdf Figure 2.pdf (22.5 KB, 1232 views)
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Last edited by C36; 05-05-2010 at 05:50 PM.
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Old 04-07-2009, 12:10 PM
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1977-1979 MasterCraft Skier

Following this early run of success, the MasterCraft tournament hull underwent its first major redesign was released in 1977. One hundred of these second generation tournament boats were sold at the US Nationals held in Miami the year it was introduced (1977).

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The 1977-1979 MasterCraft Skier was about 19’ long, 81” wide, weighted about 2,200 lbs (one foot longer, the same width and about 200 lbs heavier than the first generation hull).

These 1977-1979 hulls were powered by 220 hp direct-drive inboard engines – some of the early models may have carried Escort Marine engines and some of the later models may have carried Pleasure Craft Marine (PCM) engines.
• The 1977 model may have been powered by Ford 351 engine (marinised by Escort Marine) Holley 4 barrel Carb, 1:1 Borg Warner transmission.
• The 1979 model may have been powered by Ford 351 engine (marinised by Pleasure Craft Marine (PCM)) and 1:1 transmission.
These drive trains may have been right hand prop rotation.

The 1977-1979 tournament boat introduced three tracking fins for the first time ever as part of the 1977 hull redesign to give this 19’ hull better directional control while pulling a waterskier (both in and out of the slalom course). A moulded instrument panel (for increased durability) and fibreglass seats were also introduced for the first time in 1977. The 1977-1979 hulls carried a one-piece plexiglass windshield that was rounded at the corners (similar to the previous generation) with the edge of the windshield being silver in 1977.

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Exterior graphics for the 1977-1979 hulls remained matching hull/deck colours with the “Stars and Stripes” graphics (white stars and white pinstripes which wrapped all around the boat - including stars and stripes on the transom). The number of stars on the front deck increased to four in 1979 (previously three in 1976).

In 1978 the edge trim on the windshield switch to black (previously silver in 1977).

The vertical American flag continued to be carried on the side hull near the transom until about 1978 when it was replaced by the ‘yin and yan’ decal.

This 1979 model is an example of a textured grey top deck (as with some of the boats from other model years, the texture was reported to be similar to the vinyl used to upholster the interior of the boat). An example dash from a 1979 can be viewed by clicking here.

By 1979 metal flake appeared on some hulls and colour “MasterCraft” (left leaning font) side hull decals were introduced. “MC* Competition Ski Boat MC*” (with a star inside the letter “C”) may have been introduced to the transom for the first time just above the band of stars and stripes. Note the font used was an old script very similar to Bookman Oldstyle and the word “Boat” is singular. This style of transom decal remained in use until about 1986. A limited number of hulls also begin to appear with white Maple Leaves (in place of the white stars) on the colour accent stripe.

By 1979 the rear bench seat may have been added to the “LTD” version of the MasterCraft’s tournament boat. Eventually the rear bench seat became a standard feature on all Skier/ProStar models.

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The 1977-1979 hull:
• pulled the first World Championships (1977)

One owner of this hull noted they had a great slalom and trick wake, but are rough riding boats in chop due to the flat mid-tail section of the boat. Also, short line spray was pretty pronounced, especially if you were going into the wind.
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Last edited by C36; 04-07-2009 at 02:01 PM.
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Old 04-07-2009, 12:14 PM
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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.”

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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).

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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.

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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.

By 1983 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), grey/black, 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.

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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)

Last edited by C36; 10-17-2009 at 04:00 PM.
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  #7  
Old 12-19-2012, 04:42 PM
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[quote=C36;587680]Attachment 45894

This is interesting. I see on the graph of the attachment that the 1999 and the 2000 hulls had four tracking fins. I have a 1998 Prostar 190 that has four tracking fins. Can anyone shed some light on this?
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Old 04-07-2009, 02:30 PM
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Great post C36, I always enjoy them!
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Old 04-07-2009, 02:37 PM
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Another fantastic contribution. Well done!
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Old 04-07-2009, 02:44 PM
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Thanks for the great write up.

Prostar Rich
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