First off welcome to the board. Glad to have you on here, there are a lot of great people here and there is a lot of boating knowledge to pull from.
You are where we all like to be, “Shopping for a NEW boat”. Enjoy the experience and pick what fits your personal needs best to give you and your family the most enjoyment.
Personally I have never met a boat that I did not like. I only have two friends with Sunsations and they both like them. There was a dealer for them on Lake Norman a couple of years back and he could not make a go of it. There is just no brand recognition for Sunsation in this area.
On OSO and many of the other forums everyone has an opinion and that is what you get more often then actual facts. There are a lot of folks that like to bash Baja and many of them I have found do it just because they think it moves their brand up a notch to bash another and they seem to think that it is politically correct to do so.
I can tell you first hand that Baja builds a good boat. We have owned three, a 1999 Baja 212 Islander with 454, a 2001 Baja 272 w/ 502 Mag and a 202 Baja 36 Outlaw with 500 EFI’s. We stayed with the brand because we like the styling, the price was right, the ride quality is excellent and we have received very good service from the dealer and factory.
We have friends with almost EVERY Baja model including the 20 Outlaw, 212 Islander, 232, 272, 275, 29 Outlaw, 30 Outlaw, 33 Outlaw and 38 Special.
I love boating and we get around. The 36 was ordered new and we have 360 hours on it, and over 40,000 miles on our trailer towing from Lake Cumberland, to Lake Travis to Key West. My boat has been to Florida over 15 times and has run in 20 Poker runs to date.
My point is that we have met a LOT of very happy, very satisfied Baja owners. The brand is well known and there is a large dealer network across the country, and personally I have not ever had any major problems with any of the boats we have owned.
We did the Lake Travis Ski Dock “Baja” poker run this last April, and there were over 80 Baja’s there and a lot of very happy and proud owners.
I have driven the 30 Outlaw myself and also the new 35 Outlaw. All I can say is WOW. These are two awesome boats and now you have the Baja 23 and the all new 26 Outlaw made the same way with a liner construction and wind tunnel tested. Baja has spent a lot of R & D and their new products show it. I know three people with 30’s and they love them. It is a real sweet boat. Baja just delivered a new 30 in Tennessee with 600 SC’s and it is way fast.
We drove Baja’s new Poker Run 35 Outlaw “Poker Face” in Jacksonville weekend before last and it GPS’d at 89 MPH on the St. Johns with stock 525s and four people at 90+ degrees outside. The fit and finish are great and the boat is rock solid.
As one guy mentioned you cannot talk to the owner of Baja, but I have found that the National Sales Manager, and many others at Baja from Customer service to engineering are very easy to contact and have been helpful in everyway that I have needed.
Recently a friend bought a used 302 that had a damaged sunpad. The graphic’s pattern has been discontinued do to the age of the boat. He asked me if I could help and one phone call later Baja was pulling the old patterns on file and were cutting the material for him to repair his sunpad back to original. That is what ALL manufactures should do to take care of all customers. Too many don’t, and I can give you an example of a friend that sold a Baja 36 Outlaw for a 36 Eliminator and you would not believe the problems he is having. His boat is back in California for the second time and he is missing a big part of this boating season AGAIN. And I will not post on here what the owner of that company told him when he called to see why his boat was not back as promised! I assure you no one at Baja would talk to you like this guy did my friend who spent a lot more money then I did.
Baja has a presence at the docks. I have been told this more then once, they look good. There is not a better riding boat, they handle well and they are as safe as boats come.
Most builders owe Baja a big thank you for building a full line of boats from 20 feet up that attract new people to the sport. I promise you can have just as much fun in a Baja as any other brand. They have their own Magazine that show cases the owners and models, the Poker Run tour is awesome with factory support, free shirts, hats, etc. I have found them to be a really good company and they are definitely a company on the move in the right direction. We have enjoyed visiting and getting to know many of the Baja folks at Miami for the last few years and I can tell you that they are easy to talk with and really go out of their way to let you know they appreciate you as a customer.
As for the term “Production Boat”, well I really do not see a problem with that. Boats are all made basically the same way, using the same materials. Baja does have a huge part of the market share and with the new line up that will increase I’m sure. I have been to the factory and it is very impressive to see 25 boats in molds at once, to see the upholstery shop that builds all the interior including the complete frame for their popular Aero Bolters in house. The people in this department only do one thing and they are good at it. All the materials and other components are cut via computer. The entire plant is J.I.T. (Just In Time) to be the most efficient. The electrical department is incredible with trained and skilled workers that only do one thing, Wiring Harness’s. It is impressive to enter the main assembly area where they are rigging engines and drives and putting the top decks on. When we were there I spoke to at least 50 people and they love their jobs, they are proud of the product they are building and each person is skilled at the job he /she is in charge of doing. I see many advantages to what some refer to as a production built boat.
Why do they build so many brands, colors and type of boats? Because there is not one perfect boat that does everything for everyone. Go drive the ones that best suit your needs and decide which you like best.
Good luck and Happy Boating.
P.S. Sorry for being so long winded