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jwullom
03-30-2014, 06:36 PM
I'm looking for guidance to two questions;

1-the easy question-is it better to buy a boat (price and supply) now or wait until june when I'm actually going to be able to use it?

2-the harder one- guide me as to what I'm "looking for". I've been reading onthis forum for a while and am still confused as to what we need/want. With the size of our family it seams an open bow is necessary.

I have 5 young boys who have tubed only a few times (ages 5-10). We just acquired a lake cottage. We will use the boat to cruise and navigate the lakes and other connected lakes as well as tube, kneeboard, wakeboard, etc. We are not big fisherman but my father would probably like a combo boat (deck boat?). It will be 100% recreational...so, what type of boat am I looking for?

Thanks! I'm in Central Indiana and the lake cottage is in Northern Michigan.

Hammer
03-30-2014, 06:41 PM
What is your budget?

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ol1970
03-30-2014, 06:41 PM
What lake in northern Michigan?

jwullom
03-30-2014, 07:16 PM
I'd spend up to $20k. Would prefer $10-15k. However I don't plan on buying another boat for 5-10 yrs. Cottage is on Torch near the Marina and Clam. Most boating will be done on Clam or all the way over to Bellaire but on calmer days will be on Torch. Thanks,

bbymgr
03-30-2014, 07:29 PM
I will admit that Torch Lake is beautiful, but that has to be around a 6 hour drive for you. You go by a lot of very nice lakes on the way there. I have covered some territories down around you in Portland and Hartford City, and I hated the drive back to Angola. Good luck with your boat search.

Double D
03-30-2014, 07:47 PM
Space requirements and activities make me recommend a V-Drive of some size and vintage. Not sure which one fits into your budget since I'm a direct drive guy. Good luck to you.


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dvsone79
03-30-2014, 07:50 PM
Are you looking for an inboard only? Do you want a boat with a tower? An older MC with direct drive and an open bow will serve you well as long as you continue with basic maintenance. A Prostar 205 would be a good choice. A mid to late 90s model can be had for your price range. As long as it's been taken care of it should still have many good years left. And they hold their value pretty well.

jwullom
03-30-2014, 07:51 PM
We are drivers. Have been going to the area multiple times a year with a suburban full of kids and stuff for years. I live 10 minutes from Hartford City - 5.5 hr drive and we are good with it! My dad grew up with summers on lake james.

Astepatatime
03-30-2014, 08:17 PM
Congrats on the lake cottage. I'm originally from the UP in Michigan in it's beautiful up that way. And welcome to the boating lifestyle, you'll create many great memories with your family.

So it sounds like this will be your first boat and you want general purpose use. How much research have you done on inboards vs. I/Os? This is blasphemy here, but an I/O might be an option for you. Our first boat was an I/O. The analogy was that it's like a minivan - doesn't do anything great, but does everything okay. Cruising. Tubing. Kneeboarding. Wakeboarding. They are a bit easier to learn to drive. Our plan was to buy one, then if we were convinced that watersports (i.e. wakeboarding and wakesurfing) were going to be important, then trade to an inboard. And that's what we did.

On the other hand, if you are going to keep it 5 years, your boys will be doing more and more watersports and maybe getting started in a inboard is the way to go right off the bat. A bit harder to learn on, but they are safer, IMHO.

jwullom
03-30-2014, 08:26 PM
I don't know if I want a tower...based on what I'll be using it for, do I? I'm truly brand new at this. It seems that a v-drive will generally provide more space for passengers in the boat and an open bow. What comes to mind first when you think of that combination?

cbryan70
03-30-2014, 08:58 PM
Deck boat.....can set it up for fishing some have live wells....how often will you be fishing g?

bbymgr
03-30-2014, 10:06 PM
I don't know if I want a tower...based on what I'll be using it for, do I? I'm truly brand new at this. It seems that a v-drive will generally provide more space for passengers in the boat and an open bow. What comes to mind first when you think of that combination?

Based on your budget, I would look for an older 205V. Those are in high demand, so if you see a good one, get it quick.

atihanyi
03-30-2014, 10:12 PM
I will probably get crucified for saying this here but sounds like a nice pontoon with a 125 to 150 hp outboard would serve you well

uplander
03-30-2014, 10:20 PM
If you are doing watersports with your kids than I would pick a V drive, I waited 20 yrs to get one and will never turn back for water sports. If you want to cruise around the lake and look at stuff and go to party cove then I would get an I/O. If you want to putt around the lake with lots of room for guests than a pontoon would fit also. With 5 young boys I would get a V drive and start them into watersports. You will have a blast with them.

Retoxtony
03-30-2014, 10:59 PM
Like others have said here, a stern drive or ouboard might be a good choice if your really that new to this. My first boat was an old outboard and while it was small and cramped, being able to trim the prop up saved my butt a few times till i knew what i was doing. Docking and maneuvering will also be easier and faster to learn in a stern drive or a outboard. Theyre also a little better for just cruising around. But if you want a inboard theres nothing wrong with a decent MC 205. They ride like crap in the rough stuff but if you want to do water sports its a good boat.

LaRue
03-30-2014, 11:41 PM
It sounds like a 1998-2000 Maristar 210 might be a good option for you if you have decided you want an inboard. Would give you room and versatility. Does nothing exceptional but all things well. Would give you the best ride in rough water although not as nice as a deep Vee I/O. We have a 2000 Maristar 210 with tower. For recreational slalom it is good enough. Throws a decent wake for boarding and with 750lb fat sac it provides a decent surf wake. We have the fuel injected LTR and she runs like a champ. Makes boating so much more enjoyable. Ours has incredible storage made even more ample with ski and wakeboard storage on tower. Seating capacity is 11, I believe, but that would be tight. 8-9 is easily done. If you kids are young and wanting to experience water sports, I believe the Maristar provides you a great value. You forfeit some wake quality when compared to a 205, but you gain room, storage, and better rough water ride.

I would go v-drive, and I would start looking now and when you see what you want within or near price range, and have the assurance boat is as advertised pull the trigger. She won't depreciate much at this price point if you care for her. Feel free to pm me if you would like photos or further info. I suspect others will chime in with great info for you.

TayMC197
03-31-2014, 08:41 AM
An X9, 205, 205v, x2, x10, xstar.... If you stay in the 2003 roughly and older, you can find a deal in your price range. All of those boats will meet your needs IMHO.

TxsRiverRat
03-31-2014, 11:41 AM
81 Sea Ray.

/close thread

Forrest-X45
03-31-2014, 12:19 PM
81 Sea Ray.

/close thread

LMAO!!! How do you beat that suggestion? :D Maybe a '84 SeaRay could top it.

Forrest-X45
03-31-2014, 12:22 PM
It sounds like a 1998-2000 Maristar 210 might be a good option for you if you have decided you want an inboard. Would give you room and versatility. Does nothing exceptional but all things well. Would give you the best ride in rough water although not as nice as a deep Vee I/O. We have a 2000 Maristar 210 with tower. For recreational slalom it is good enough. Throws a decent wake for boarding and with 750lb fat sac it provides a decent surf wake. We have the fuel injected LTR and she runs like a champ. Makes boating so much more enjoyable. Ours has incredible storage made even more ample with ski and wakeboard storage on tower. Seating capacity is 11, I believe, but that would be tight. 8-9 is easily done. If you kids are young and wanting to experience water sports, I believe the Maristar provides you a great value. You forfeit some wake quality when compared to a 205, but you gain room, storage, and better rough water ride.

I would go v-drive, and I would start looking now and when you see what you want within or near price range, and have the assurance boat is as advertised pull the trigger. She won't depreciate much at this price point if you care for her. Feel free to pm me if you would like photos or further info. I suspect others will chime in with great info for you.

I think this is a great suggestion. A late 90's Maristar would be a great start and a perfect family boat if you chose to go with an inboard v drive.

TxsRiverRat
03-31-2014, 12:31 PM
LMAO!!! How do you beat that suggestion? :D Maybe a '84 SeaRay could top it.

The pinstripes really did it for me :D

bsloop
03-31-2014, 12:35 PM
I too vote for the mini-van I/o over an inboard at this time for you.

Inboards are fantastic watersports boats but it really sounds like you need an all around boat to start. More versatile, fuel efficient, easier to drive and more boat for your buck. In the future, if you find yourself doing more watersports, look inboard.

Look for something that is early/mid 2000's where fuel injection, all composite layup and extended swim platforms are more common. Deck boat can give you more space but sacrifice some rougher water handling. With 5 kids plus gear and more people, look 23-24'. Four Winns, Crownline, Larson will be a little cheaper/quality. Mariah no longer in production but well built/appointed boat.

Be on the look out now and get feelers out with boat people so they can be looking for you. Deals are coming out now. I often recommend a walking local marinas to get a feel for various boats but there are usually limited small boats left at the docks over winter.
When you get serious, pay $100 and have a boat mechanic do an inspection of boat and trailer.

Once purchased, spend extra HOURS learning how to handle and maneuver the boat around docks and obstacles. Just you or maybe one patient/helpful kid. early mornings or week day evenings. Four 8" fenders, good anchor, 6 dock lines 20-25'

rtw_travel
03-31-2014, 02:08 PM
The boat you need depends on what your boys end up doing at the lake. If they go tubing and go for boatrides, then any boat will do. Pretty well any 20' i/o runabout bowrider would be perfect for 5 small boys, and for $10-15k you can get a much nicer runabout than towboat.

If the boys start getting serious about surfing, skiiing or boarding, then you'll need a proper tow boat of some description. With 5 boys, chances are at least one will be very serious.

So I would not plan on owning your first boat for 5 years, because your boys will be 10-15 by then. Buy something used to get you on the water cheaply that you can sell without losing too much, and then buy the correct boat in a season or two once you see what everyone wants to do. Plan on keeping the second boat for much longer.

I don't have any opnion on whether you buy now or later... I'm sure there's a right answer, I just don't know what it is.

zsqure
03-31-2014, 02:54 PM
Don't rule out the x9 or 209 with a tower. I think I was told it has the same hull as the maristar 210. V-drive will get you a sun deck on the rear where the DD models will give you a trunk and seating behind the motor box. Either way you go, the larger size of the maristar or 209 will be much larger than the 205 family. We often have 6+ people in the boat.

CruisinGA
03-31-2014, 04:10 PM
Don't rule out the x9 or 209 with a tower. I think I was told it has the same hull as the maristar 210. V-drive will get you a sun deck on the rear where the DD models will give you a trunk and seating behind the motor box. Either way you go, the larger size of the maristar or 209 will be much larger than the 205 family. We often have 6+ people in the boat.

209/x9 was the perfect starter boat for my family. When you are boating from a dock like we do and like it sounds you will, you don't need as much room because you're not spending the entire day on the boat.

It was our first boat, but within a year we were throwing inverts on a wakeboard and then long line barefooting before 2 years. An I/o would have really slowed those watersports pursuits down and we'd probably still be toobing. ;)

TxsRiverRat
03-31-2014, 04:15 PM
Maybe something like this?

http://p.twimg.com/A22rd7LCAAAnph_.jpg:large

Jerseydave
03-31-2014, 05:27 PM
If you're going to get more serious into wakeboarding, kneeboarding, skiing, surfing then find a nice clean V-drive like a Maristar 210. A tower is great to keep boards up and out of the way. You could always add that later if needed.

If watersports are only 10% of what you do, then look at Hurricane deck boats. You can buy them brand new for around $25K with an outboard on it. 19 footer I believe.

jovoth
03-31-2014, 06:07 PM
I would recommend 205V with tower. I agree with the statement made earlier that with 5 boys your gonna have one or two that get really interested in wake boarding or surfing and then you will need a tower. That hull will give you a great wakeboard wake properly weighted and a good surf wake. The sun deck on top of the engine is great!! Lots of room for 2-3 people to lay out. Storage is also great. We spend a week in a 2005 X2 (205V hull) on Tablerock lake with 2 families (10 people on boat) and have a blast wake boarding and surfing mostly but kids also tube and sometimes we break out the slalom ski.


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davidstan
03-31-2014, 07:53 PM
We had a blast with our 99 Maristar. It did not have a tower but when my girls started to like wakeboarding we contemplated adding tower but bought an x2 instead. Had the family gravitated to slalom we would have stayed put as the Maristar was actually a decent ski wake and very reliable. Good luck!

jwullom
03-31-2014, 08:18 PM
Thanks all. I'm gonna look for a Maristar 210 with tower or a 205v with tower. You've been a great help.

FrankSchwab
03-31-2014, 11:58 PM
Yup. It's a great all-around boat.

Up until '97, the Maristars had a different hull - the swimdeck was integrated into the fiberglass (no Teak). Made the interiors a bit smaller, but otherwise a fine boat also. '98 is the first year of the new hull (called a Maristar 200, name changed to 210 in following years). X-series boats of the same vintage are exactly the same boat, with the addition of standard ballast and tower. It's worth a few extra bucks for those - learning to ski or wakeboard is easier off a tower.

It's a great family boat. Lots of room, and a good group on here to help you out. Ask for assistance in:
1. Learning to drive. Not as easy as an I/O (mainly during backing; it will always back to the right). There'll be lots of suggestions for safe and sane operation while operating.
2. Doing maintenance. No matter how good of shape the boats in, there'll be one or two things you want to fix. Plenty of help here.
3. Learning to ski/board/tube/kneeboard/foil.

Good luck, and keep us in the loop.

JohnE
04-01-2014, 07:54 AM
Thanks all. I'm gonna look for a Maristar 210 with tower or a 205v with tower. You've been a great help.

I think that is a good choice. I can't imagine the crew not getting into one of the towboat sports. So many people go from an I/O to an inboard. Not a lot going from an inboard to I/O. Good luck with your search.

Thrall
04-01-2014, 12:51 PM
I'd disagree on going the IO route if at all possible. If for no other reason than safety. You'll have 5 kids jumping off the back of the boat to swim everytime you turn the engine off.
With an inboard you have a nice water level swim deck and zero potential for injury due to hitting the out drive on an IO.
Late 90 s maristar v drive is the ticket for your family.
Plus inboards well cared for are much simpler and easier to maintain and repair.

jwullom
04-01-2014, 05:20 PM
great, thanks to all. Frankschwab (and others) what are some of the basics I need to know in learning to drive a maristar? I've only driven pontoons...and, who around torch, Bellaire, clam lake wants to give some beginner lessons later this summer for my boys in wakeboarding?!

jwullom
04-01-2014, 05:34 PM
Is an 89 tri star 540 hrs, with open bow, stainless ski boom, new speakers/stereo/remote, new tires and spare on trailer and owner says its in "ultra shape" worth it for me and my family of 7? Looks like we could fit and we can moor each day at our shared dock, just can't keep boat there overnight (will keep 1.2 miles away at marina slip). owner says "first $8500 takes the boat". What do you all think...I have pix texted to my phone but I can't really tell anything great or bad. Or should I wait on a maristar and spend twice as much? Have found the below maristars in my area:
http://indianapolis.craigslist.org/boa/4394438305.html
http://indianapolis.craigslist.org/boa/4353098398.html
http://fortwayne.craigslist.org/boa/4398321777.html
None of them have a tower...how much for a tower - an average tower.

mwg
04-01-2014, 06:25 PM
All nice looking boats... IIRC a tower will run $1500-$2000.. Look at New Dimension towers which were stock on the early Masctercrafts http://newdimensiontowers.com/

One thing to keep in mind with the Tristar (although a great boat) is that it is a Direct Drive and the motor will take up a lot of room in boat (especially precious shade under the bimini)

Also, the earlier Maristars (pre 1997?), although a V-drive, the ski pylon is in the center of the boat which means that no one will be able to use the rear seat while you are towing someone. You could add a tower and gain some room but instead of spending that $ on a tower I would put it towards a later model Maristar (similar to the 3rd ad you listed).

And driving an inboard isn't all that difficult once you get accustomed to it. The only real tricky part is when you are docking or trying to go in reverse.. you will have very little control while in reverse.

Good Luck with the search..

uplander
04-01-2014, 07:39 PM
How close are you to Farmington Illinois, there is a dealer there that is super helpful and will take you out on his private lake to test drive a boat. That would give you a feel for the inboard and he is full of information. He spent over and hour with me just talking about boats. Liquid Edge is the name of dealership talk to Doug the owner

They also do lessons for your kids

http://r.search.yahoo.com/_ylt=A0LEVwsWTjtTCk0A5fVXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTEzazk5OGI 1BHNlYwNzcgRwb3MDMQRjb2xvA2JmMQR2dGlkA1ZJUDM3MF8x/RV=2/RE=1396424343/RO=10/RU=http%3a%2f%2ftheliquidedge.com%2f/RK=0/RS=SYsxOM8UycJLX2ETtziHh5Vlti8-

strad
04-01-2014, 08:38 PM
Having had a bit of experience when I was a kid with a v6 omc io, and then later getting towed behind a boat that actually had enough power (87 or 88 mc pro star 190) I would say, whatever you get, make sure it has enough power. It makes learning watersports a lot easier. I do wish my 84 had more interior space, but it certainly does have enough power. :-).