Since I am primarily a slalom skiier, but I also like to surf and entertain, I wanted to create a wakeboard AND surf setup for my direct drive boat without compromising the seating or the ability to use it as a ski boat. Basically, I wanted the system to be invisible when not in use
I called up the guys at WakeMakers and ordered all the parts I needed for this setup, which is 2x 400# Fly High V-Drive Sacs for the sides and 1x 370# Fly High Tube Sac. I used 6x Tsunami 800GPH aerator pumps, 1 1/4" brass intake through-hull and ball valve, 110 feet of 3/4" ballast hose, and all of the other parts necessary to complete the install. I created my own manifold using 1 1/4 PVC fittings. I would be happy to share any other parts used, but the WakeMakers guys know what you would need to finish out this system. Basically, there's a ton of other parts, such as Y-fittings, check valves, stainless hose clamps, lighted switches, etc.
Because I wanted the whole setup to be hidden, I was able to mount all 3 fill pumps on a custom manifold that tucks under the oil pan under the motor. The intake thru-hull and brass ball valve are mounted along the port side of the motor, and I used a 1 1/4" PVC union between the ball valve and the manifold with a short piece of 1 1/4" flex hose to the manifold in case I ever needed to remove the manifold in the future. I ran the fill hoses aft along either side of the motor and along the mufflers to be tucked (tightly) behind the gas tank in the rudder area, where they could be run to the left and right sides behind the gas tank to the gunwale areas (more later). I found that it was easiest to unscrew the brackets holding the gas tank to the floor so that the tank could be moved just enough to allow the hoses to be slipped through. The fill hose for the ski locker sac was run through a 1" hole in the access cover to the bilge area, and then I drilled 3x 1" holes in the wall between the bilge and the ski locker (for fill, drain, and vent lines). Some Pictures of the manifold and install:
Ski Locker Sac
The ski locker sac was installed by drilling 3x 1" holes in the divider between the ski locker and the bilge area for the drain, fill, and vent lines. I then drilled 2x 1" holes in the floor of the battery compartment right next to the starboard side wall to put hoses directly through into the ski locker from the battery compartment. This allowed me to mount a vented loop above the water line to prevent auto-filling of the bow sac. I also zip-tied the drain pump back to the aft wall of the ski locker to cause it to take up the smallest amount of space in the ski locker as possible. The drain and vent lines joined in the bilge area with a check valve and Y-connector, and the drain/vent combined line then run through the standard starboard stringer (with all the other wires, throttle cables, steering cable, etc) to the driver's footwell before being piped to one of three thru-hulls on the driver's side. Some pictures:
V-Drive Sacs for Wakeboarding and Surfing with Custom Trap Door Storage
Now, here was the hard part: I wanted to create a ballast setup that is (1) enough weight for wakeboarding and surfing, (2) could allow for flexibility of sac placement for wakeboarding, right side surfing, and left side surfing, (3) Did not eliminate the back seat or walkways, and (4) was almost completely invisible when not in use. To this end, I designed a "snorkel" system where all the hoses (fill, drain, and vent) were zip tied together with enough slack that they could allow for placement of the sac either to the side of the engine compartment, or swung around to sit behind the engine compartment. I then purchased 1/2" marine plywood and some midnight grey boat carpet to create trap doors that are connected to hinges on the floor in the gunwale areas. By using flush mount ring-pull latches from JMS Marine, the trap doors could either be latched into the up position, or swung down to sit flat on the floor during ballast use. The sacs would tuck behind the trap doors when empty and be invisible, while still keeping the walkways and back seat intact. Basically, all I have to do is unlatch the trap doors, let them fall to the ground and hit the fill switches. Confused? Here's some pictures:
Trap door up and latched:
Trap door down:
The critical measurement is to make sure that the trap doors are not taller than the distance between the hinge mounting location and the engine cover, so that they can actually lay flat without interfering with the engine cover. In my case, the height of the doors was *approximately* 18" carpeted, but each door was cut out using an individualized cardboard template of the opening. It because obvious to me that these boats are indeed hand build due to the imprecise nature of the parts and mounting locations. In fact, I had to re-drill the holes for the engine cover hinges, struts, and guide bumpers because the cover was installed in the boat more than 1" off center.
I felt that switches (and new depth finder gauge) would fit best where the radio cutout is on my '96, I had to re-wire the stereo and create custom mounting brackets to move the radio over to the side near the driver's armrest. I then contacted Marcus at Central Composites to again make me a new carbon fiber panel for the old stereo hole, which I then cut holes into for the 3 ballast switches and the depth gauge. I also left room on the panel for future uses. I wired the switches to a direct power line to the main engine battery through 3x 10A fuses (one for each switch). Through this process, I also learned that I had to re-wire the entire stereo system due to the shoddy job that someone had done previously, so I ran new speaker wire to each of the in-boat speakers and to the tower speakers. This took a while because I wanted to run all wires through the stock wiring looms to keep things as pretty as possible. I also wired up a 2nd amp dedicated to the tower speakers, bringing me up to 1100 Watts for the boat. And since I was was re-wiring everything, I also added a new stereo head unit - a JVC KD-R820BT with bluetooth and integrated Pandora contols Hey, why not? Here's the pictures:
I've been pretty pleased. I can get a decent surf wake with wedge down, all sacks full, without many people in the boat. However, when we had 5 people in the boat, with 3 of them in the back corner, the surf wake was AWESOME. Granted, you could do better with a V-Drive, but I can still spend a few minutes emptying everything out and still have a world-class slalom wake with no impact on the usability of this boat as a ski boat or family boat. Basically, it works perfect for my situation, when I want a slalom boat with enough space for taking out all of our friends, that can still be turned into a really great wakeboard and surf boat. Here's our surf wake with only 3 people in the boat:
Please let me know if you have any questions or feedback. I had a very specific goal for my ballast install, and I'm happy with the results - for my situation. I learned a lot a made a few mistakes along the way. I also learned that to create a beautiful, clean, hidden ballast install takes a crazy amount of time and effort. The time is really spent making the hoses invisible, wiring clean, and building the custom manifold and trap door systems. It's certainly doable as a DIY project, but I will admit that it took longer than I expected - as projects always tend to do.
I hope this helps someone.
Edited by ecadwell, June 12, 2012 - 08:24 PM.