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  1. FastMarkA

    GPS Chartplotter Recommendations?

    I have a Raymarine es97 (there are even newer units -- Axiom) and because Mercury uses a modified Simrad for VesselView displays, I have a version of the Evo2. Both are easy to use, although if the Raymarine is Android, the Simrad is iPhone. I feel like Raymarine software encompasses all kinds of navigation since the beginning of time and packages it into electronic form. Simrad no doubt will get you from point A to B nicely, but the experience is more "gadgety" I feel. (This is not a complaint about either.) The Simrad's user interface/graphics are a little more modern than the Raymarine's, although to be fair, I've not really used Raymarine's Axiom series (their latest one, so presumably that is more 21st Century). Both annoy me equally in that their desktop planning software is only supported on PCs, not Macs.
  2. FastMarkA

    2017 337 SSX

    Yeah, testing that "full replacement value" insurance thing by charging land with 14k lbs of fiberglass wasn't all that high up on the list of objectives I had for a new boat. I place blame onto Mercury here. Their VesselView system has been buggy since the beginning of time (I had a previous generation in my 2011 SR, and I wanted to rip it out of the dash on several occasions), and while the newer version in my 2017 is definitely an improvement, it doesn't come anywhere close to the programming elegance that even economy cars feature today. (I get the car market is exponentially larger and reaches a much wider demographic band than boats, but that doesn't mean a product should be safe 98% of the time.) I'm convinced the "runaway boat" thing is rooted in faulty software programming/electronics. In fact, it has to be, because if it were old school shifting cables, it'd be super easy to trace the problem.
  3. FastMarkA

    2017 337 SSX

    Interesting. I have a 2017 Formula 350CBR with the new 6.2L Mercs + BIIIs + JPS. One time this past summer, my port engine stuck in F while in the marina. Fortunately my instinct to turn off the engine helped me avoid an accident. I reported it to Formula (who relayed to Merc), but they didn't seem to care. (FWIW, I find Merc to be just an absolutely awful company -- to contact them about an engine under warranty incurs a phone charge just to *speak* with them.) Anyway, I never had any more incidents throughout the season with the boat taking off on its own. I did, however, need to replace one of my shift actuators (under warranty) as it was popping the engine in and out of gear at cruise speed.
  4. FastMarkA

    2017 Chaparral 287 ssx which Mercruiser 8.2 or 6.2

    I can offer some $0.02 on this (or maybe it's just $0.01 because it's not a total apples-apples)... I have a Formula 350 CBR with the 6.2L 350hps. Common installs are the 8.2L 380hps, and lucky me, a friend has one of those configurations and we've been able to compare notes. WOT on mine is 50-51, WOT on his is 52...but it once hit 53.2. (For reference, boattest.com got the boat w/ 8.2 430hps up to 56.6 mph.) WOT is really about "who's is longer," isn't it though? In terms of cruise, I get optimal fuel burn of 1.3 MPG at 33MPH (3,800 RPM). He gets 1.3 MPG at 28MPH (3,100 RPM). The 6.2L weighs 300lbs less than the 8.2L, so in a twin setup, that's 600lbs (or a single mother-in-law :D) less weight. I realize there is an argument for torque over hp here in terms of what makes a boat "go," and I'm certainly not disputing the 8.2L will ultimately get you a faster boat if WOT is what you want, but there are benefits to the 6.2L depending on how you use your boat. Now, if you get the 8.2L 430hp, that's a completely different argument. But the 350hp 6.2 vs. 380hp 8.2 both have their benefits and drawbacks.
  5. FastMarkA

    Good boat for a biiiiiiiiig lake

    Any boat will work on Lake Michigan, but you really need to ask yourself what kind of cruising do you desire (longer trips, just a party platform, maybe 20-30 minute rides to little beaches, etc.). Back in the 90s/early 2000s, Sea Ray had roughly 7 dealership locations within a 200 mile radius of Chicago. That might explain the prevalence of the SR brand here. If you keep a good eye on the forecast, an 18' bow rider will be just fine on a sunny day when winds are <5 mph. Those idyllic conditions are rare, however, so that's when it makes sense to seek something heavier, perhaps with a second engine if you're going farther afield, to get you around in more comfort. Chicago has a lot of boat traffic on weekends, so that contributes to a local wave factor (wind is still obviously the main influence). If you stay coastal, one engine is fine; but if you want to explore other parts of the lake, and even cross it, the feeling of knowing you can get home on 50% power is a nice one. When you cross Lake Michigan, you cannot see land for the most part, and it's rare to even see other boats (except for the inevitable trolling fisherman who requires me to divert from my plotted course almost every single time, but that's just me being grumpy). In general, I would only start with something in the upper-20 foot range and two engines. Some type of covering is good too, not only for sun protection, but sunny days with a passing t-storm can happen, so for the 30 minutes the rain is falling, it's nice to not get soaking wet.