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jeffcowan35

Thinking About a Portable Course

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jeffcowan35

Last fall we decided to put a course in our lake. We decided initially to go for a permanent course and went out to mark the location we wanted to put it in. Once we got out there and actually looked seriously at the location for the first time we realized that there was less room for error than we initially thought. So, instead of installing a permanent course in the winter and running the risk of having it unusable after the ice melted, we decided it was best to look at a portable course that we can move a little bit until we find the perfect spot for a permanent course later.

A couple questions about portable courses: We currently are using (and will be for the next couple years) an 18' i/o. Needless to say its not meant for skiing, however, we have no option to replace it now. Could an i/o be used in a portable course if we sink the mainline and the buoy arms deep enough? The course will be sitting in about 6-8 feet of water depending on the time of year. Also, has anybody used an i/o in the course before? It gets pulled around a lot and I'm wondering if it's tough to keep it between the boat guides without wrecking a prop on the buoy line. I don't want to lose skiing time to prop and course repairs.

Sorry for the novel; any suggestions?

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TrickyNicky

Last fall we decided to put a course in our lake. We decided initially to go for a permanent course and went out to mark the location we wanted to put it in. Once we got out there and actually looked seriously at the location for the first time we realized that there was less room for error than we initially thought. So, instead of installing a permanent course in the winter and running the risk of having it unusable after the ice melted, we decided it was best to look at a portable course that we can move a little bit until we find the perfect spot for a permanent course later.

A couple questions about portable courses: We currently are using (and will be for the next couple years) an 18' i/o. Needless to say its not meant for skiing, however, we have no option to replace it now. Could an i/o be used in a portable course if we sink the mainline and the buoy arms deep enough? The course will be sitting in about 6-8 feet of water depending on the time of year. Also, has anybody used an i/o in the course before? It gets pulled around a lot and I'm wondering if it's tough to keep it between the boat guides without wrecking a prop on the buoy line. I don't want to lose skiing time to prop and course repairs.

Sorry for the novel; any suggestions?

Can't comment on the course but we've taken a 18' outboard through the course many times. With a decent slalom skier you'll notice the boat pulls A LOT more than you'd think. However you adjust pretty quickly and a good driver will have NO PROBLEM hitting the gates. We've taken one buoy out our entire outboard life and it was an easy fix. Certainly don't let the lack of an inboard keep you from those frustrating buoys!Crazy.gif

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jeffcowan35

Can't comment on the course but we've taken a 18' outboard through the course many times. With a decent slalom skier you'll notice the boat pulls A LOT more than you'd think. However you adjust pretty quickly and a good driver will have NO PROBLEM hitting the gates. We've taken one buoy out our entire outboard life and it was an easy fix. Certainly don't let the lack of an inboard keep you from those frustrating buoys!Crazy.gif

Thanks for the info. We've been skiing behind a friends PS190 for the last few years in his 2 courses but his site is a few hours from where we ski. So we're looking at finally getting a course on our lake ourselves. We've noticed for quite a while what happens when you get a decent skier behind the boat and wondered if getting pulled around in the boat would result in eating buoy lines. Glad to hear that it is easily avoided. I drove his Mastercraft last year for the first time and it's a whole new experience...no getting pulled around, no bow rise, pulls the skier out of the water like it's nothing, and is very responsive. Hopefully we'll have a Malibu in a few years!

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eyepeeler

OK I'll be the turd in the punchbowl. Here is what I would do.

Don't spend $1400 on a slalom course. :shocked: Save the money for a RLX.

Have a blast free skiing all summer with hot eye candy. :guns:

A guy on here just bought a 99RLX for 6 large. There are lots of good DD for sale for 8-9 large. :Doh:

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NorCaliBu
Don't spend $1400 on a slalom course. :shocked: Save the money for a RLX.

:plus1:

I would much rather have a DD boat and no course than an i/o and a course. :yes: Skiing a course behind an i/o would screw you up once you got a direct drive. Not only does pulling the boat off course effectively lengthen the rope but it is also spinning a very small propeller which doesn't get much of a bite on the water which results in a significant decrease in boat speed whenever the skier pulls. To each his own but I'm with eyepeeler, save the course money, plus the value of your existing boat, save the rest as quickly as possible and get a DD. Then start saving for a course. :thumbup:

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jeffcowan35

Haha thats an option that has been explored but theres a couple problems... number 1 is that we can likely get a used portable course nearby for much less than new. secondly, an RLX is pretty much out of the picture since we also have to cater to wakeboarders in the family....so we'd probably be looking for a sunsetter lxi in the future (hopefully in a couple years time). It just isn't in the cards for us to make a boat purchase right now unfortunately.

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TrickyNicky

I have to add to the recent posts.

We did have the course available to us and no investment was needed so we used it with our outboard and helped out where we could. I just posted earlier because I wanted to inform you that it can easily be done. On the other hand I do COMPLETELY agree with the last two comments. If I had the choice between the WORST (but working) DD and no course or a i/o with a course I'd be buying the boat today. Once you get the inboard addiction it's hard to go back, the possibilities are so endless relative to an i/o. From better skiing to wakeboarding and barefooting and even surfing. Most ppl, especially here, have lots of fancy ballast and its all great but we used to use an old Nautique 196 and fill it with rubbermaid bins and garbage cans filled with water just so we could surf and I enjoyed this old run down boat more than our shiny outboard at the cottage just because I could do ALL the sports I loved. After all a nice or newer boat is always nice but really most of us have our boats for the sports we love doing with them not the boat itself!!!

FWIW, I don't think you'd be disappointed either way, but just thought I'd throw my $0.02 relative to the last two comments.

Also, a ski course can get frustrating when you have to aim for those balls, a DD and open water is probably going to be all joy when you want it most (SKIING!!)

EDIT: Didn't see your most recent post till now.

Also Don't think a DD can't wakeboard, (not sure about an RLX but that old Nautique did wonders with those rubbermaids, strangely the new Ski 196 is useless to board, huge wave with NO pop, you can board straight through a knee high wake without flinching)

Sounds like in your situation there's not much downfall to get the course. A bit of work here and there but if the price is right take it and don't look back, until your ready for that sunsetter of course!

Edited by TrickyNicky

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jeffcowan35

I've been skiing 15 off @ 32mph consistently behind a PS190 but we're only able to get out 2 or 3 times a year in the course. I've caught the addiction of chasing buoys but don't have access to a course at our place. I fully anticipate being very frustrated when we drop in a portable course and all of a sudden can barely get through the course using an i/o. (I'm guessing that's how it will happen). BUT, I'm also kinda looking forward to having that happen since it will show us that a DD is worth what they're cracked up to be. I was in high school when we bought our latest boat so I wasn't involved in the purchase of it at all... I'll never understand why we bought an i/o when all it is used for is slalom skiing and wakeboarding.

My cousin ( a wakeboarder) rode behind the PS190 last summer once. With 3 people in the back seat he didn't like the wake at all compared to our i/o (we don't use ballast in it but do have a skylon extended pole). Unfortunately they view all DD's as being the same and have come to the conclusion that all DD's are useless for boarding. I've heard though that the RLX can have a great crossover wake. I've also heard the same about the Sunsetter LXi.

Edited by jeffcowan35

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TrickyNicky

I've been skiing 15 off @ 32mph consistently behind a PS190 but we're only able to get out 2 or 3 times a year in the course. I've caught the addiction of chasing buoys but don't have access to a course at our place. I fully anticipate being very frustrated when we drop in a portable course and all of a sudden can barely get through the course using an i/o. (I'm guessing that's how it will happen). BUT, I'm also kinda looking forward to having that happen since it will show us that a DD is worth what they're cracked up to be. I was in high school when we bought our latest boat so I wasn't involved in the purchase of it at all... I'll never understand why we bought an i/o when all it is used for is slalom skiing and wakeboarding.

Take this with a grain of salt, but cost is why. Just like my family we used our boat for skiing and other watersports but the outboard made sense because it could ski at half the cost. It wasn't until we REALLY got into skiing (and footing) that you understand what an inboard is all about. I'm sure when our outboard was bought an inboard was just a 'boat with the engine in the middle' and that made no sense for double the price.

Also, when I say 'frustrating buoys' I don't mean the outboard will slow you down. It will but you'll adjust and be fine. But the whole point of the course is for progression so now that you can do 32 @15 off you have to move up to 34 @ 15off. :Tease3: Now were dealing with that 'measly' 2 MPH and the balls get frustrating again. :crazy:

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TrickyNicky

My cousin ( a wakeboarder) rode behind the PS190 last summer once. With 3 people in the back seat he didn't like the wake at all compared to our i/o (we don't use ballast in it but do have a skylon extended pole). Unfortunately they view all DD's as being the same and have come to the conclusion that all DD's are useless for boarding. I've heard though that the RLX can have a great crossover wake. I've also heard the same about the Sunsetter LXi.

I can't vouch for either the PS190 or RLX. I really think it depends heavily on the model and boat. Like I learnt to properly clear wakes on a (~1995) Ski Nautique 196 and with the rubbermaid bins we were clearing our first wakes with 6+ feet of air. The ski club got a 2002 Ski Nautique 196 (Both closed bow) and we loaded it up and got an even bigger wave but there was just no pop. We tried so much but all it was good for was slalom wakes. I've also tried out an 03 RLXI and still found the 95 Nautique to give a MUCH better wake. Any DD will require ballast and in my case we didn't mind the extra time or wetness to get the wake we wanted. Oh ya and our ~1000 lbs of ballast cost us $100 max. Worked great for surfing too!

Oh and We've put more than that in our outboard and gotten no comparable wakes to the old nautique.

I know your not looking, but just don't cut down DD's just yet, with some proper advice, pics and maybe a ride or two you'll be shocked what a DD can do for a wakeboard wake, especially over an i/o.

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jeffcowan35

Take this with a grain of salt, but cost is why. Just like my family we used our boat for skiing and other watersports but the outboard made sense because it could ski at half the cost. It wasn't until we REALLY got into skiing (and footing) that you understand what an inboard is all about. I'm sure when our outboard was bought an inboard was just a 'boat with the engine in the middle' and that made no sense for double the price.

Also, when I say 'frustrating buoys' I don't mean the outboard will slow you down. It will but you'll adjust and be fine. But the whole point of the course is for progression so now that you can do 32 @15 off you have to move up to 34 @ 15off. :Tease3: Now were dealing with that 'measly' 2 MPH and the balls get frustrating again. :crazy:

I actually skied my first tournament last year and ran [email protected] off at 34mph. Later in the summer I ran 5 at 34mph. It's incredible what a difference 2mph can make! We purchased our i/o a few years after we started our Waterski magazine subscription and had recently met the guy who owns the PS190. We had visited many inboard dealers on vacation and were told many times that if all we did was ski and board we should buy a DD. We didn't. Where we live there is basically one family who skis competitively and they host one tournament per summer. There's really no market for ski boats around here, and I'm convinced thats why we didn't travel to get one. What's done is done now, but I'm looking forward to getting serious about skiing and trying to grow the sport a bit around here!

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TrickyNicky

I actually skied my first tournament last year and ran [email protected] off at 34mph. Later in the summer I ran 5 at 34mph. It's incredible what a difference 2mph can make! We purchased our i/o a few years after we started our Waterski magazine subscription and had recently met the guy who owns the PS190. We had visited many inboard dealers on vacation and were told many times that if all we did was ski and board we should buy a DD. We didn't. Where we live there is basically one family who skis competitively and they host one tournament per summer. There's really no market for ski boats around here, and I'm convinced thats why we didn't travel to get one. What's done is done now, but I'm looking forward to getting serious about skiing and trying to grow the sport a bit around here!

Oh, sounds like my life. Up here in Ottawa, Canada my closest dealer is 4 hours and 6 after that. I've seen 10 inboard boats in a city of 1 million people and a lake of ~500 cottages there are 2 (well be 3 soon!). We FINALLY just made the call on our own V-drive and it's getting shipped form minnesota next week. I'm overly excited. It's difficult when you only have a handful of watersport-nuts like yourself around to support and understand the importance of these things. Its worse when you read this site about PPL being able to demo everything from boats to surf boards right in their backyard. But I counter-balance it all with the 'I have less competition' syndrome and give myself no reasons to not strive to be the best around here. <---Still working on that one!Rockon.gif Once you find the spot (for me it was a local ski club), you'll be shocked how many watersport nuts are around you, we're just so diluted in the mess of (dare i say) boring folks Whistling.gif , Okay fine, less-excitingInnocent.gif

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jeffcowan35

We're actually in the maritimes in N.B. I've seen 6 inboards in N.B. and 2 of them belong to this family that we have skied with. Our nearest dealer is about 5 or 6 hours from us and in the states, so it's kinda difficult to be in the used boat market since you have to travel so far just to test drive. I anticipate that once I graduate from university we will begin to look for a new (to us) boat. I'd love for it to be a malibu, but the X7 and Air Nautique 206 and 216 are appealing to the wakeboarders since they have fancy graphics, a tower, and some ballast weight. But they are a ski boat at heart. I hope to use the wedge as an argument for a malibu since it eliminates the time filling and emptying fat sacs. N.B seems to be out of the loop, there is a really active association in N.S., and quebec also is quite active.

Edited by jeffcowan35

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TrickyNicky

We're actually in the maritimes in N.B. I've seen 6 inboards in N.B. and 2 of them belong to this family that we have skied with. Our nearest dealer is about 5 or 6 hours from us and in the states, so it's kinda difficult to be in the used boat market since you have to travel so far just to test drive. I anticipate that once I graduate from university we will begin to look for a new (to us) boat. I'd love for it to be a malibu, but the X7 and Air Nautique 206 and 216 are appealing to the wakeboarders since they have fancy graphics, a tower, and some ballast weight. But they are a ski boat at heart. I hope to use the wedge as an argument for a malibu since it eliminates the time filling and emptying fat sacs. N.B seems to be out of the loop, there is a really active association in N.S., and quebec also is quite active.

Yes I hear you loud and clear. One thing I do want to say is don't get biased for a malibu. I and most (if not all) the ppl on this forum LOVE Malibu, but I would never say it is better than a Nautique or Mastercraft. They're all GREAT boats all have there weaknesses and there strengths and when you get out in them you'll find what you like. When you do decide to shop get as many opinions both, for and against about every boat, than test drive and pick up on all those comments and you'll realize what really works for you and your family. With the big three MB, MC, CC (others too) You really can't go wrong. They have their reputations for a reason and all satisfy different people. For wakeboarding I'd buy an x-star, for skiing I'd buy the CC 196 and yet because we need a boat to do it all we have a Malibu VTX!

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Woodski

Last fall we decided to put a course in our lake. We decided initially to go for a permanent course and went out to mark the location we wanted to put it in. Once we got out there and actually looked seriously at the location for the first time we realized that there was less room for error than we initially thought. So, instead of installing a permanent course in the winter and running the risk of having it unusable after the ice melted, we decided it was best to look at a portable course that we can move a little bit until we find the perfect spot for a permanent course later.

A couple questions about portable courses: We currently are using (and will be for the next couple years) an 18' i/o. Needless to say its not meant for skiing, however, we have no option to replace it now. Could an i/o be used in a portable course if we sink the mainline and the buoy arms deep enough? The course will be sitting in about 6-8 feet of water depending on the time of year. Also, has anybody used an i/o in the course before? It gets pulled around a lot and I'm wondering if it's tough to keep it between the boat guides without wrecking a prop on the buoy line. I don't want to lose skiing time to prop and course repairs.

Sorry for the novel; any suggestions?

I would contact Ed Obermeier at EZ Slalom for advice on a portable course, he is also on this forum.

You can run the course with and I/O, if you end up shortening the line, you will pull the boat side to side. Touched on earlier, an I/O will move side to side and also get pulled sown. What that will do is actually make you feel pretty good because your buoy count will end up being pretty good, that is until you ski behind a DD and discover it does not give in to the skier. Your times through the course with an I/O will most likely be out of tolerance along with the difficulty in acutally maintaining speed and knowing what the speed is. Tournament ski boats have very accurate speedometers (paricularly older ones with well calibrated Airguide speedo's), most have speed control systems such as Perfect Pass, ZO or Accuski which maintains the correct speed through the course. As mentioned, there really is no substitute for a DD ski boat if you are really interested in the course. Also, once you start consider it a serious drug, you won't be able to get enough.

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ed obermeier

When I first got hooked on chasing buoys I had a 1972 Larson Shark tri-hull IO. We skied a couple of summers with that, upgraded to a fairly new nicer IO and skied the course with that for a couple more years. At that time I was probably skiing 30 mph or so, longline/15 off. We installed one of my first home-made portable courses from the IO and skiing it wasn't an issue, it was all about going around the balls and having fun. So it can definitely be done despite some of the above nay sayers. BUT as also posted above, at some point if you get serious about improving your skiing you will ultimately want a DD. I've skied behind IO's, deck boats, bass boats etc. The worst thing I've ever skied the course behind out of the bunch is a V-drive. V-drives just don't make good slalom boats, period. I'd rather ski behind an IO.

DD's can indeed make good, passable novice/light intermediate wakeboard boats. One bud had a mid 90's MC 190; with a pylon and sacks it threw a surprisingly nice wake, enough so that my son could throw Tantrums, Back Rolls etc off it. So don't let anyone tell you that a DD can't be a passable wakeboard boat. Hard core boarders won't agree but if you're wanting a passable all around water sports boat that you can hammer the course from a DD can make it happen. Your idea on a Sunsetter DD would be a good choice IMO.

FYI with an IO keep the outdrive trimmed all the way down for best wake and tracking, it works reasonably well. Also consider adding a whale tail fin the the outdrive (SE Sport 300 is the best IMO). If you have questions about courses please feel free to call me anytime, no obligation. I'm happy to chat with you and answer your questions. 800-216-4461 toll free.

Ed

Edited by ed obermeier

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Killer

2 things:

1. get an inboard! you say its not practical, but I bet you can "upgrade" for next to nothing. I/Os are popular and sell easily, inboard ski boats, esspecially the older closed bow style only appeal to 1 type of person: skiers.

I was in a similar situation as you and I can tell you that it will be the single best thing you do in your life as a skier.

You simply cannot progress at skiing behind an I/O. the ski specific outboards that used to exist are amazing to rec ski behind, but as stated they all get pulled around big time in the course.

you can pick up a 94 malibu echelon, or a 96 response for under 10k in good condition, go a bit older to a 91-94 mastercraft or nautique and even less. what do you figure your I/O is worth?

2. buy a "heavy-duty" portable style course from EZ-slalom, drop it in and leave it there, 6' buoy lines is all you need. 1 anchor at either end; rig up a tension system (in shallow water you can use a pulley system and very heavy cement anchors.

pull the buoys in the fall and reattach in the spring.. I would suggest the 2" pvc arms and the 1 piece stainless stell mainline. call EZ Ed he can hook you up with everything you need.

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Sixball

For what its worth (JMHO) Use what ever you have and get started in what ever you want to do as long as it is safe. It gets you started and allows you a chance to start learning and understanding what ever it is you are pursuing weather its a sport or a job. from there you can improve on things. Its what life is all about targeting things to work for and going after them.

I love my BU but if a CC or Mastercraft pulls up I am taking the ride I don't look at the boat its a ride. :biggrin:

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jeffcowan35

Thanks for all the feedback; it's kinda been a unanimous decision that we would wear out our boat over the next couple years and then look at a fairly significant upgrade to an inboard. As it stands now there is no way that we could make a relatively even trade considering the fact we'd have to pay to transport any boat a significant distance and pay taxes at the border and such. Just doesn't make sense for us right now, but hopefully in a couple years. We'll probably go ahead with a portable course and get a used one that has been offered at a much lower price than new. Maybe skiing the course behind our i/o will make us appreciate a DD even more when we can get our hands on one. Of course we don't have perfectpass or zero off or even an airguide speedometer so that will add to the driving frustrations in the course.

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tvano

go out and have a ball skiing your portable course behind your i/o.

you will love it, no doubt about it.

you will have no insurmountable problems running an i/o through the course or transitioning to a dd when the time comes.

yes, we would all love to have a towboat on a private tournament pond with a dedicated driver and several grand a season to throw into a new stick and stuff(that's a professional term we use here). but between now and then you can have a bunch of sick grins running the course with what you have.

just do it but be aware; it's a sickness.

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ed obermeier

:plus1: Ditto what tvano said.

Ed

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