The Frankenboat

March 17, 2016
March 2016 Boathouse
What do you get when you combine really awesome features from today’s leading inboard-boat companies? The Frankenboat. Below are four different things that we believe would, if combined, make one great towing machine. WBM

[ 1 ] Raptor Engine by Indmar

Supra Boats
[ 1 ] A perfect hull is nothing without a ­power plant, and Supra’s lineup features the ­burly Ford Raptor series of engines by Indmar. Combining the marine knowledge of a ­legacy watersports propulsion company with the low-end torque of the Raptor series (of F-150 fame) was one of the best things to happen to the inboard-boat market since the V-drive. Traditionally, a boat engine has been just a ­normal truck block that’s marinized and dropped in a boat, but the Raptor series is specifically designed to crank out low-end torque under load like there’s no tomorrow, which is ­exactly what it takes to pull a rider out of the water with a 2.5-ton boat carrying 1.5 tons of ballast. The Supra line has never had a more efficient engine for the rigors of watersports, and it’s so important that it ushered in a new designation for watersports power: feet-pounds of torque. Horsepower has conventionally been the unit of measurement to benchmark boat power, but with this new era of torque-rich motors, you’ll start seeing a lot more “ft-lb” and a lot less of the old “hp”. WBM

[ 2 ] Nautique Subfloor Ballast

[ 2 ] The whole reason engine torque is an issue is because boats are getting more ballast to create bigger wakes. The best way to have ballast in a boat is unquestionably subfloor, and the Nautique G series of boats does it right. The G21, G23 and G25 all come standard with a staggering 2,850 pounds of subfloor ballast — more than enough to ­create a pro-level wake behind these beasts. The impor­tant distinction here is that all this water is completely out of the way, freeing up plenty of space for storage and keeping the lounge clear; ballast bags are great, but you sacrifice your two gullwing hatches in the back, and usually the side and belly storage as well. The G series’ below-deck ballast changed the game for creating displacement, and it’s still our favorite thing about these deep-­gunwaled wake-makers. WBM

[ 3 ] Malibu Surf Gate

Malibu Frankenboat
[ 3 ] All this ballast is no good if you can’t have any fun behind the boat, so Malibu’s industry-leading Surf Gate is next up. ­Malibu innovated the evenly weighted surf boat, and it continues to lead the pack with new breakthroughs year after year. For 2016, the ­company introduced its Surf Band, a remarkably simple remote device that allows you to change your wave as you’re surfing. Set the initial configuration at the dash, and then ­adjust the Power Wedge, surf side and speed right from your wrist. The Power Wedge ­manipulates the boat’s running attitude to steepen or flatten the wave, and the surf side lets you swap which side of the wave you’re on with precision. Surf Gate even has a horn system that beeps to let you know when it’s ­going to switch, so you can drop back and pump forward at the perfect time. For all these bells and whistles, our favorite thing about the Surf Band is how easy it is to use. The hardware works exactly as it should, and there are no intricate pairing hoops to jump through before using it. WBM

[ 4 ] MasterCraft Fit & Finish

[ 4 ] Inside, it would be criminal to have a bare boat when you could take advantage of all the seating innovations a company like MasterCraft has at its disposal. Gone are the days of luxury boats with simple bench seating in positions that left you craning your neck to see the rider. MasterCraft’s fit-and-finish game is strong, sporting innovations that are as sleek as they are functional. The convertible rear bench seat is a highlight because it takes a tucked-away spectating position and transforms it into one of the best seats in the house. Going from forward-­facing to sun pad to rear-facing is exceptionally easy; just grab the stout billet-aluminum handle, and the seat slides fluidly from one position to the next. Another MasterCraft first that the Frankenboat would be proud to sport are the reclined forward-facing bucket seats on each side of the X46’s motor box — perfect for running down the lake to the next cove. In the bow, any boat would be lucky to have the XStar’s triple rear-facing bucket seats and flip-down armrests. Throw in the transom seats with flip-up backs for swimming or staging your next sport, and this Frankenboat is complete. WBM

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