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Help with 33'-37' Comparison?

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Old 10-18-2003, 01:28 PM
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Default Help with 33'-37' Comparison?

Shopping for a preowned offshore boat and would appreciate any feedback good or bad on the construction and performance of following. Specs would be 1998-2001. equipped with HP 500's or better, ride must be protected - dry / no wind. Quality important but bang for the buck as well. Thanks for any (unbiased) recommendations!
Cigarette 35 cafe or comparable
Fountain Lightning 35
Scarab 33 AVS
Formula Fastec 35
Hustler 344 or comparable model
Outerlimits 37
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Old 10-18-2003, 04:33 PM
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Joe308,

Depends what you really want. You do not tell enough about your requirements. For starters, if you are concerned about wind/water, are you sure you want an offshore powerboat. Past that consideration, if pure speed is what you are after, two makes have to be set apart: hustler and outerlimits. From my experience, both are fantastic boats with excellent sea-keeping abilities and quite a bit faster than average. Naturally, those are highly ventilated bottoms which allow high speeds to be attained so you have to know what you are doing at the limit. I believe National Marine have an Outerlimits 37 with twin 500s and it does close to 95 mph. Those are expensive boats though but Outerlimits is defintely one of the best. Plus, there is a bit of an aura about being an Outerlimits owner. It's a very exclusive club. As for Hustler's 344 Cheetah, I would highly recommend it. There are great deals on very recent boats with twin 525s which is good for approx. 95 mph and I've tested one in Miami this year. Flies straight and level, tracks straight as an arrow, dry boat, great acceleration, great finish on the boat... in other words, a serious product. You may also want to consider a 344 with twin 496HOs. Very cost-effective package with a 5-year warranty on those motors and it is good for 83 mph. In my opinion, this is something to look at: if you can have this sort of speed with bog standard power and without even going to Mercury Racing, then you should consider it because the saving is substantial both on purchase and maintenance. Plus, I've visited Hustler's facility and it is one of the nicest shops you are likely to see a boat being built at. I know that you are not interested in a shop but in a boat but nevertheless, it is nice to see the cleanliness of that place and to know that those guys can really concentrate on their products in optimal conditions. I suggest you give Chip Fendt a call on 631 208 2933. The advantage is that Chip will tell you about their products without badmouthing competition which is important when making a balanced decision. I do not own a Hustler but I was mightily impressed. They also have their 388 Slingshot which is a great boat. I believe National Marine also has one with twin 500s and I've seen that boat do 87 mph. As far as the Scarab, Formula and Fountain are concerned, those are more industrial products in my humble opinion. This is not necessarily a bad thing: BMWs for example are too. A Fountain will be fast and run with the best but you have to get even with their design. Some people love them, some loathe them. The cons involve the facts that it is a pretty bland product and that at every poker run or gathering there will be one zillion people with the same boat but on the upside, there are some smoking deals around. It is a lot of boat for the money asked and if you want to go even better in terms of bang for your buck, check out the 35 Executioner. Most of them are with 496HOs but again, I believe National has a rare one with Mercury Racing power, either 500s or 525s, I can't remember which. I've tested the Formula and to be honest, it is not up there in terms of pure performance. However, I had the impression that their boats are a bit wider which naturally penalizes performance but has its advantages, namely roominess, stability... Plus, Formulas have a nice wraparound windshield incorporated in their design and I believe that they are the best in terms of wind protection. I will not talk about the Scarab as I have never tested that boat. Finally, we get to the Cigarette. A 35 or the 38 are great boats, not the fastest but great fun in rough water. Very solid boats, should last for a while even if you bash it. However, they are usually expensive and the wind protection is zero if you are over 6'. But what can I tell you, a Cig is a Cig. So personally I would say that there are three categories here: if you're looking for a more customized product which will be faster than others and will set you apart in terms of looks, go for Hustler or Outerlimits. If you don't mind the fact that your neighbour might have the same boat with the same paint scheme and if cost is of paramount importance, see Fountain, Scarab, Formula. And then, there is Cigarette. Not the fastest, damn near most expensive, no protection, a dated design... but very desirable indeed. I think they call it character. As for my choice, I'd go for a very recent Hustler 344 with twin 496HOs which will still have a lot of warranty left on them. Tell them to fit you a larger wind deflector which is pretty effective and get yourself into a combination of cost-effectivness, top performance and trouble-free, warrantied boating. This is just an opinion though, my $0.02 if you will.
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Old 10-18-2003, 05:19 PM
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Well both of you forgot one of the best custom boats on the market, Active Thunder. The 37AVH has the speed,high freeboard, great cabin, and did I say FAST, with 500's the boat will run 85 in the roughist of waters.
The wind is not a factor with the windsreen,and the cockpit has room for six adults,easy, can't fit that many in the tight cockpit of the 344 Hustler. If overnighters are in the plans, the 37 AT has an enclosed head,women seem to like it alot,and the couches and v-berth are verey well laid out. And one last note when you go to the gatherings or pokerruns, The Active Thunder stands alone,not everyone has one.

Cant really compare to the Outerlimits, (PRICE) is the main difference.

Just another option.

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Old 10-18-2003, 07:33 PM
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yes, active thunder is a great boat in terms of workmanship and it will set you apart from the crowd. it is also one of the most spacious 37' powerboats with a standup head and shower compartment (if you're not too tall). the cockpit is nicely laid out with two side by side bolsters and a side entrance to the cabin which gives an impression of cockpit space. However, I don't think it matches Hustler or Outerlimits in terms of pure performance. It may do 85 mph with 500s but thanks to a well known trick of this trade. The X dimension on the drives is set pretty high which means that it will reach a high top speed but it will be relatively slow to come on plane and in acceleration. It will also lose some stability near the top end which means that you may have to run it with tabs a bit down to stabilize it, which will in turn decrease speed by a few mph. So, outright it does not offer the same speed potential as the Hustler or Outerlimits. As an example, Active Thunder's "Radio Active" 37 boat with twin 675 Eickerts runs approx. 97 mph while Hustler's 388 or Outerlimits 37 run closer to 105 with same power. You can make it run close but at the expense of acceleration and handling. However, this does not mean that it is a bad boat. Far from it. It is just roomier than average and definitely has more headroom than the other two and you can't have everything. You can't have the roomiest and the fastest boat in the category. And Active Thunder is roomier, hence a bit slower. But it is an option I would consider.
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Old 10-21-2003, 10:50 PM
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Gentlemen, I am new to this site and thank you for your candid remarks! I acknowledge the mass production characteristics of Fount/Form/Wellcr (think real Scarabs were discontinued by Genmar) - threw them in due to availability and price point. I omitted many smaller mfgrs from the midwest, south and west coast due to their scarcity, lack of reliable info and my inexperience with them. Many of the new O/S models look like they have very little freeboard which in my past experience translates into a racier feel, at the cost of more wind and water in the boat (aka annoyed passengers). I remember riding in my friends 1985 35 Mistress and it seemed quite dry... Well, that was then - in retrospect it appears Cig fell asleep for a while in the 90's and are now playing catch up with only the most recent models having contemporary hull designs. I emailed their tech support on 2 different occasions about hull design changes (1995-2001) in trying to evaluate used offerings but never even got a courtesy reply - nothing. Guess they only want to talk to purchasers of new boats. As for power, pie in the sky! Max power and reliability with minimum maint. Thought naturally aspirated Hp500's, Bullodgs or the like to be the best bet. 496's have gotten a bit of press lately, not sure on their ability to be beefed up. I agree with your remarks on the products of small shops - they are great for some people. I visited Progression in L.I. a while back - very nice people and from what I saw a great product similar to Superboat, primarily 21-27' and thus not quite what I'm looking for. Now for the Hustlers! I spent many summer days on the beaches in the Hamptons during the 70's and later in the mids 80's remember seeing them. I'm sure my memory is exaggerating but back then they seemed a bit tacky - like a Checkmate adorned with disco rope lights. Well, apparently they have matured and by all accounts offer a rock solid professional product. I plan to visit the factory sometime soon, no doubt it will be an experience!
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