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  1. #1

    Challenger 180 215HP enough to pull skier?

    Hello all,

    I just finished test driving an '05 Challenger 180 SC 215HP boat that I'm considering buying for skiing. I would have thought 215HP on a rather light weight boat would give it a great deal of power to pull up a skier, but I was instead surprised that it didn't have the power I anticipated. I've previously owned three different types of jet boats so I understand their particular qualities (Speedster was one of the models -- that thing would fly).

    The SC was working properly as we could get up to 8K with WOT, but even then only got about 46 MPH with 3 persons on board.

    I really want to buy the boat but now am somewhat hesitate as skiing is a primary purpose to get the boat.

    Any comments, advice, suggestions is appreciated.


  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Lakeland, FL
    You want to ski at more than 46mph?

    I'm sure you felt it had enough low-end grunt, but the larger hull is going to limit top speed. Just switch out the stock prop, and you can have a boat that pulls very hard up to 40mph, but you'll lose a couple of mph on the top end. Of course, many will tell you, that if skiing is the PRIMARY purpose, then you'd might be better off with a ski boat. There are certain trade-offs for the fun of a jetboat.

  3. #3
    Closed mouth no get fed,...... travelboysteve's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Orange County
    Hopefully you weren't relying on the speedo on the boat. I just read another thread where the members speedo was reading 49 and he was doing 57,......maybe want to rethink it??????
    also, jet boats are not the best for wakeboarding. So if you have the cheese, you may want to step up to a real wakeboard boat. I'm looking at boats now, too, bot wakeboarding is only a part of it for me. They do have jet boats with ballasts,.....that's what I was looking into, they supposedly give a 6 inch larger wake than normal.

  4. #4
    spd5535's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    I have a 06' Utopia SE and the thing is a rocket. It has twin 155 HP 4-TEC's in it. We had it up at the cabin and was pulling a skier with 6 people in the boat no problem. If you felt the Challenger was doggish you might want to consider a boat with twins.

  5. #5

    an update

    Thank you all for your remarks to my question.

    I just revisited the dealer today and he said the first test on the boat wasn't representative of its normal power. Their mechanics worked with some tech support folks at Sea Doo and from the factory info, they worked on the engine (replacing spark plugs, etc.). The dealer took it out for a test drive yesterday with the same driver I had and he said it displayed much more power. So, maybe that first time drive I had wasn't representative of normal power with the 215 HP.

    I knew the engine wasn't behaving normally as it took about 5 minutes for our demo driver to even get the engine started at the dock once the boat was launched, then the engine sputtered and ran rough for about another 10 minutes. After running at higher RPMs for some minutes, the engine started to sound better and toward the end of the test drive, we were able to get up to 8,000 RPM. Still, the hole shot wasn't particularly spectacular. Nothing like the other jet boats I've owned.

    The shop wants me to give the boat another test, promising me it will behave like a much different boat now. In in the meantime, I've started looking seriously at an '04 Yamaha SX230. I don't really need a 23' boat with all that seating, but two engines would give lots of power.

    Again, appreciate all your comments. Craig

    oh, as to the statement how much power do I need to ski...I normally ski around 25 MPH so it's not the speed but ability to get 200lbs slalom skiers up that I'm concerned about. Since we use boat both for routing around and for skiing, I prefer not to have a dedicated inboard ski boat as you can't horse them around when it's time for some play action.

  6. #6
    Get the SX 230. I love my C180 but it will not pull a 200lbs slalom skier out of the water without some mods.

  7. #7


    Quote Originally Posted by cfnnslsq View Post
    Get the SX 230. I love my C180 but it will not pull a 200lbs slalom skier out of the water without some mods.
    Given that I have never pulled a skier with my C180, it is hard for me to contradict you. However, I routinely pull a 6 ft tube with nearly 450 lbs of people in it with no problem. How much harder could it be to pull 200 lbs on skis? Just doesn't make sense to me, I guess.

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