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Minimum engine size for 23-25ft boat?


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Been looking at boats for awhile and I plan on buying this fall or next year when the like new used boats flood the market.  I’m looking at the 246ssi, 244 sunesta or 257 ssx in the chaparral line since the boat must be towable by my wife’s Tahoe on occasion.  The boat will most likely be used for a mix of everything over the next 10 years while my boys grow up.  In my mind, 300hp is the minimum I want to go, but there are a lot of 270-280hp boats out there.  Is that engine large enough?

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Our 2008 284 Sunesta has the 425hp big block and it weighs 6400 lbs dry.  My buddy has a 2010 256 SSX that weighs 5400 lbs dry and he has the 380hp volvo.  His boat accelerates good and hits 53mph on GPS.  My boat hits 51mph on gps just to give you an idea but is much slower on the hole shot than his.

For a 257 SSX I'd want no less than 320-350 hp imo.  Anything less and I think you'll be slow on the hole shot and if you have a few people on board and trying to do some water sports thats a lot of weight that is gonna eat up hp quick.  

 

You'll never complain or be unhappy with too much hp.  But an underpowered boat can make a day on the water miserable.  Buy once, cry once!  Get the right size boat for your family, especially if you plan to keep it 10 years.  We bought a 2018 brand new 21' H2O because the price was right and it was new with warranty.  Biggest mistake we ever made, we used it one season and decided it was time for a bigger boat with better quality and better features.  Cost us $10k to trade up out of that one.

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1 hour ago, Lrdchaos said:

Been looking at boats for awhile and I plan on buying this fall or next year when the like new used boats flood the market.  I’m looking at the 246ssi, 244 sunesta or 257 ssx in the chaparral line since the boat must be towable by my wife’s Tahoe on occasion.  The boat will most likely be used for a mix of everything over the next 10 years while my boys grow up.  In my mind, 300hp is the minimum I want to go, but there are a lot of 270-280hp boats out there.  Is that engine large enough?

People bought those 270-280 hp boats cause that was the cheapest way to get into a boat.  I gaurantee they regretted it since day 1.

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If possible you want to get the biggest motor possible for your boat.  Everyone says they don't want to go fast, but there is nothing worst than trying to get someone up on a wakeboard or ski and you can't it because the boat is under powered and can't get up out of the way of it's own wake with a boat load of people.  Then you resort to blowing up the tube and tell three people to get on and go tubing.  

I know the bottom line is about the money, but if your going to buy a boat and plan on having fun on it, don't limit the fun because of the size of the motor.  

Just my 2 cents.  

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3 hours ago, Stretch79 said:

People bought those 270-280 hp boats cause that was the cheapest way to get into a boat.  I gaurantee they regretted it since day 1.

I've got a 2006 260 sig with the 280HP 5.7 Volvo and it really does need an awful lot of trim/throttle tweaking to keep her running well in chop.  A friend has a similar size/year searay with a 350hp merc and his is much more set it and forget it.  It seems to have enough power to push through and maintain speed.  I will certainly look into the power plant more closely for the next one.

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Why does it take a 430hp inboard to push a boat 53mph and only a 250hp outboard to push the same boat faster? Is it the inboard weighs that much more? My 23’ SSI with a 250 Yamaha SHO will go 58mph with 3/4 tank of gas and 4 adults. GPS 

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29 minutes ago, Maxrider said:

Why does it take a 430hp inboard to push a boat 53mph and only a 250hp outboard to push the same boat faster? Is it the inboard weighs that much more? My 23’ SSI with a 250 Yamaha SHO will go 58mph with 3/4 tank of gas and 4 adults. GPS 

Lots of reasons but mainly weight.  The outboard hanging further off the back helps with bow lift which helps speed.  The lower unit on my Volvo SX outdrive is massive compared to the lower units on most outboards so that adds drag and reduces speed on I/Os. 

Outboards are nice for performance and maintenance,  but have downsides like having  to deal with a outboard hanging off your transom that destroys your swim platform, makes dealing with ropes for watersports harder, is easier for people to hit getting on and off then boat,  and adds 3’ to the overall length of the boat making it harder to store. 
 

I like them on fishing and work boats and prefer I/Os for family boats. 

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8 hours ago, Lrdchaos said:

Been looking at boats for awhile and I plan on buying this fall or next year when the like new used boats flood the market.  I’m looking at the 246ssi, 244 sunesta or 257 ssx in the chaparral line since the boat must be towable by my wife’s Tahoe on occasion.  The boat will most likely be used for a mix of everything over the next 10 years while my boys grow up.  In my mind, 300hp is the minimum I want to go, but there are a lot of 270-280hp boats out there.  Is that engine large enough?

I agree on 300 being the minimal for that size boat. I have the V8-270 in my 226ssi and it does a good job of everything I ask of it,  but I wouldn’t want it in a 246 or bigger. 

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13 minutes ago, dan02gt said:

Lots of reasons but mainly weight.  The outboard hanging further off the back helps with bow lift which helps speed.  The lower unit on my Volvo SX outdrive is massive compared to the lower units on most outboards so that adds drag and reduces speed on I/Os. 

Outboards are nice for performance and maintenance,  but have downsides like having  to deal with a outboard hanging off your transom that destroys your swim platform, makes dealing with ropes for watersports harder, is easier for people to hit getting on and off then boat,  and adds 3’ to the overall length of the boat making it harder to store. 
 

I like them on fishing and work boats and prefer I/Os for family boats. 

I thought it was weight. And I do agree with you somewhat on ropes hanging on the engine. Wake boarding it’s no big deal as the rope is so high on the tower. I pull tubes from the transom so no big deal there. Tubes from the tower is a pita. It does take away some swim deck. But it also cranks and runs ever-time we go with no issues. I see to many I/O with problems out there. We go to salt water atleast twice a month so outboard was the only choice for us. And plus it sips fuel compared to other boats. 

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I’ve owned both and like both. I/Os get a bad rap because people run them to they die and never  do maintenance stuff like bellows and gimbal bearings. The Chevy V6/V8s they are based on are bulletproof. 
Spend any time on thehulltruth.com and you’ll see plenty of people with issues with newer outboards. They are definitely better for being left in saltwater though!

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2 hours ago, dan02gt said:

I’ve owned both and like both. I/Os get a bad rap because people run them to they die and never  do maintenance stuff like bellows and gimbal bearings. The Chevy V6/V8s they are based on are bulletproof. 
Spend any time on thehulltruth.com and you’ll see plenty of people with issues with newer outboards. They are definitely better for being left in saltwater though!

I agree.

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My 257SSX has the 5.7L 350 mag Mercruiser which is 300hp. It pulls 210lbs wakeboarders out with 5 people in the boat easily. The top end is around 44mph and cruises at 30mph burning 10gph. While gas mileage and boats dont align, I think this combination of performance and fuel burn is perfect. Friends with same boat but big block engines certainly are faster but also visit the gas pump more often.

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Remember we are talking about a BOAT................  NOT a car with unlimited gear ratios to provide PERFECT dead stop acceleration.  With at least 5 skiers of all weights.

YOU MUST have at least 2 very different props to have a boat USE ALL the power EFFICIENTLY................ NO LESS THAN 2 PROPS !!!!!!!!1

A couple of us  use  3 props.  The Alphas are easy to do in the water at a dock WITH NO ELECTRIC POWER NEAR IT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!  SHOCKING HAZARD.  NO POWER CABLE CONNECTED !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   Some of the Duos do a quicky  on a trailer on a boat ramp. Or do it in a friends lift If it fits.

If you do the above PROPPING routine correctly ? EASILY reduce power requirements.  A GREAT Prop retailer Can tell you what props & horsepower you will need for a loaded party boat trip.

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4 hours ago, cyclops2 said:

Remember we are talking about a BOAT................  NOT a car with unlimited gear ratios to provide PERFECT dead stop acceleration.  With at least 5 skiers of all weights.

YOU MUST have at least 2 very different props to have a boat USE ALL the power EFFICIENTLY................ NO LESS THAN 2 PROPS !!!!!!!!1

A couple of us  use  3 props.  The Alphas are easy to do in the water at a dock WITH NO ELECTRIC POWER NEAR IT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!  SHOCKING HAZARD.  NO POWER CABLE CONNECTED !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   Some of the Duos do a quicky  on a trailer on a boat ramp. Or do it in a friends lift If it fits.

If you do the above PROPPING routine correctly ? EASILY reduce power requirements.  A GREAT Prop retailer Can tell you what props & horsepower you will need for a loaded party boat trip.

Hate to break this to you, but the discussions above are referring to duo-prop drives. Not many are  going to have a couple spare sets of $1200 props hanging around just to change for the day. Buy the most HP you can, use the best prop set that fits the 95% of your use and run with it. 

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Changing props multiple times in a day due to a change in the load ????  I'm glad I don't boat in that environment. My props come off once a year for maintenance. Thats it. 

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I have a 2019 Sunesta 244 with the next generation (came out 2016/2017 I believe) 300 HP Volvo DuoProp 5.3L V8 and it's the best power combination I've owned.  It will pull your arm out of a socket with 4 people in the boat, the midrange acceleration with these engines is excellent, and the fuel burn is excellent - I typically cruise in the upper 20's on our busy lake at around 6.x GPH from the digital flow gauge.  The ability to winterize or at least drain the manifolds is outstanding in the NC area which has a mix of weather in the colder months.  Huge fan of this combo and would buy it again in a heartbeat.  (FYI: My 3rd Chaparral since 1998, took a detour to Regal for 8 years, but came back to get the now discontinued 2019 Sunesta 244 as it's still my favorite cockpit layout, bailing cockpit liner, etc.)

 

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5 hours ago, Phillbo said:

Changing props multiple times in a day due to a change in the load ????  I'm glad I don't boat in that environment. My props come off once a year for maintenance. Thats it. 

As you can tell, the odd person posting on this forum doesn't always completely grasp the situation before posting....

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9 hours ago, Dgiles said:

Hate to break this to you, but the discussions above are referring to duo-prop drives. Not many are  going to have a couple spare sets of $1200 props hanging around just to change for the day. Buy the most HP you can, use the best prop set that fits the 95% of your use and run with it. 

The good news is, we ARE talking about boats,  not cars.  

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