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Late 90s freeboard height


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Hi all,

I'm currently looking at a late 90s response or sunsetter, as I would like the use of the open bow (walk over or walk though). I prefer the look and size of the of the response lx, which includes the lower freeboard height than the sunsetter lx.

My question is, is my aesthetic preference working against me here? Is the lower freeboard height - that is the height from the waterline to the top of the gunwales - of the response lx going to be an issue that some experienced owners would caution against? I won't be filling the boat to capacity really

Thank you 

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I've got a 99 RLX  - no issues whatsoever.  The SS LXi has maybe 2-3 inches more.  Still skis great.  I have no idea what your concern is as these are really safe boats.

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2 hours ago, BRadG said:

I won't be filling the boat to capacity really

As in, sacked out for surfing?  That would be the big concern. 

If you mean a few people, you will need to learn how to drive to keep from chili dipping the bow when you stop if you have several adults in the bow.  I was surprised how easy it would be to do it with four adults in the bow and one each in the driver/observer seats in my SSLX.  As for freeboard at the stern, I have never given it a thought, but I sure would if I tried to make a wake with it.

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5 hours ago, Eagleboy99 said:

I've got a 99 RLX  - no issues whatsoever.  The SS LXi has maybe 2-3 inches more.  Still skis great.  I have no idea what your concern is as these are really safe boats.

I'm not concerned about issues related to safety, I trust it is engineered very well. But more about how the RLX handles chop and the amount of water spray over the bow - both at speed and at rest. It does seem like a lot more than 2-3 inches difference... and my googlefu is not strong enough to find any freeboard measurements for either boat

Edited by BRadG
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8 minutes ago, BRadG said:

I'm not concerned about issues related to safety, I trust it is engineered very well. But more about how the RLX handles chop and the amount of water spray over the bow - both at speed and at rest. It does seem like a lot more than 2-3 inches difference... and my googlefu is not strong enough to find any freeboard measurements for either boat

It'll handle rough chop well, but it is not like  a deep-V or one of the surf boats; it is a ski boat after all.  I've been in 4 foot swells and it was fine.  Of course you can;t just hammer into the waves.  We are on a big lake - 2.5-3 kms wide; 40 kms long (and that is just one part of it!) so storms can be fierce.  Use a tonneau cover over the open bow.  If it is crazy rough, put the Wedge down.  Seriously.  I am not sure exactly what you concern might be.  Here's a pic of the RLC freeboard.  malibu-boats-response-lx-369011100709547

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Thank you for your replies. It's just the RLX is at least a good 6 inches 'lower in the water' than any boat I'm used to, say compared to a standard strern-drive bowrider. The worst case that came to mind was how it handles broadside rollers - at rest or chugging along not on plane. Just interested in hearing from owners if the rocking combined with the small freeboard makes a difference in the amount of water/spray one experiences coming over the top, and if that affects the comfort of the boat at all

I hope that makes sense

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9 hours ago, BRadG said:

I'm not concerned about issues related to safety, I trust it is engineered very well. But more about how the RLX handles chop and the amount of water spray over the bow - both at speed and at rest. It does seem like a lot more than 2-3 inches difference... and my googlefu is not strong enough to find any freeboard measurements for either boat

These boats are engineered well...for a specific purpose and set of water conditions. A ski boat generally isnt meant to be bouncing around in severe chop. It is engineered to handle it structurally,(it wont break) but it could take water over the bow (boat is designed for primarily flat water(ski/foot) Also, as the captain of your vessel, you must determine whether the water conditions are safe for what you are going to do. Another side note, my son has a 20' supra wake/foot/ski and we had 5 peeps in there, and I was in the bow with 5" freeboard. I moved back. Just because it is engineered well (always trust an engineer always...I am one..) doesnt mean you cant screw something up using it beyond it's intended purpose. 🙂

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