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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am looking to purchase a new boat package this spring and would love to hear from all that either own or have owned various brands. I previously have owned Sea Rays and in aluminum:
1) 16' Sylvan-55 Evinrude
2) 16' Starcraft-90 Mercury
3) 18' Starcraft-50 Mercury
4) Various 12'-14' "Row Boat-Runabouts"
Each of the above boats were before I injured my back and were mostly for inland lakes.
Now I want a lake boat that my wife and I can enjoy on good days on Lake Erie and I'm pretty sure it will be my last one so want to get all opinions possible.
The price is a big factor but not the most important. If I decide on a certain brand, I can always adjust the size to meet my budget. I am interested in quality,builders and dealer assistance after the sale, dealers within 300 or so miles of Toledo and what to look for in purchasing a New aluminum in the 17-21' size. PLEASE warn me of any to stay away from besides Tracker because I know of two owners that had their own problems, so they are out.
The ones I have looked at online have been Starcraft, Crestliner, Lund, and Polar Craft.
I have always been partial to Evinrude-Johnson but am open to opinions.
I appreciate all stories and help in advance. Thank you.
 

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I am going into my third season with a 19' smokercraft with a merc 150 fourstroke. 120 hours on the motor and no issues

When I was shopping I was torn between the Crestliner Super Hawk, Alumacraft Trophy and the Smokercraft. Went with the smokercraft as the price difference allowed we to rig the boat well. Quality on the Crestliner looked to be better than the smokercraft
 

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I purchased New in 2015 and went with an Alumacraft Trophy 195, with ETEC. I'm in SE Michigan but purchased from Parma Marine in Cleveland.
It's my second ETEC and I wouldn't trade it for any other motor. 3 year maintenance, great on gas, sips XD 100 oil, and torque is wonderful. Very quiet and clean, no smoke ever.

The boat has been great, does everything I want it to and more. I keep it racked on Erie and fish solo or with 1 other person mostly. I was mostly looking at Lund (also great) and Alumacraft, and I haven't regretted going Alumacraft at all. I got more boat for less money imo, and I plan to keep it for a very, very long time, so any difference in resale value is not really of importance to me. If you have any questions about the Trophy just ask, I'd be happy to answer anything I can. I'm not far from you (in Monroe) and the boat is here, if you ever want to stop by and check it out you're welcome to. I know I had trouble finding some models to see in person when I was shopping.
 

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Take a look at your local Ranger dealer. They manufacture a quality line of Deep V. Known for fiberglass, they build no wood Aluminum with level flotation too. I have a 16-8. They have 17 and 18 versions too. Good luck !
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I want to thank you 3 for each sharing your ideas with me and Smoker craft I never thought of as a "big" boat and Ranger to me was just a bass boat.lol. I will be checking those out. The Alumacraft completely slipped past me and I don't know why because I own one now(1964 15' Maracabio)
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and had 2 row boats and love their transoms. I also have a 14' Mirrocraft that I forgot to look at the larger ones. After reading this, I realized I am going WAY to fast and better slow down and look at ALL boats.
Detroit Fan I am going to look up that boat and may contact you so Thank you very much.
I must add that within the past couple weeks is when I got the OK from the Admiral to get a new one so I am like a kid in a candy shop BUT must look around and not regret anything. TYVM all.
KEEP UP ANY STORIES ABOUT PROBLEM BOATS-ENGINES PLEASE.
 

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There are loads of really good multi species glass boats out there that will be a lot easier on your back than an aluminum boat.
 
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After reading this, I realized I am going WAY to fast and better slow down and look at ALL boats.
I started looking at boats in Feburary of 2013 and pulled the trigger in March of 2015. I started looking at 16 foot tillers and ended up with a 19' Walkthru. I went to boat shows, dozens of dealers and scoured online for used boats and it is amazing the number of manufactures and how fit and finish drive cost. Just had a buddy pick up a 19.5' PolarKraft with a 150 Yamaha and it is a really nice boat.
 

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Like Esox said above, a glass boat will no doubt give you a more comfortable ride overall. Ranger, Triton and Key West all make some nice ones. An aluminum from Lund, PolarKraft or Alumacraft are all very good choices depending on just what exactly you're looking for. Same as for powering...........an E-Tek or a fourstroke from Merc or Yamaha and you can't go wrong. JMO.:)
 

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Detroit Fan I am going to look up that boat and may contact you so Thank you very much
No problem. I was at cabelas dundee a few weeks ago and they had several alumacraft models inside to look at and they had an aluminum ranger too, I think a 17-18 footer if I remember correctly if you wanted to see one of those.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Cabelas is going to be next stop after stopping at Bass Pro today for purpose of exchanging 3 shirts I received for my Birthday that "shrunk" during packaging and also to look at the Mako boats. Yes the Trackers look nice but it would take a gift for me to own one after seeing to many problems.Yes I know I will upset a few but I actually have seen the problems and run around from BP. I like their clothing and support local dealers but not interested in big item from them. Side note, I was shocked to see plastic trailer fenders on a EZ-Loader trailer. I stepped on a few in my day but no more.
I received great price on a couple Crestliners in Roscommon but boats were a bit to small.
THANK YOU ALL FOR GREAT INFO, keep it coming.
 

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Cabelas is going to be next stop after stopping at Bass Pro today for purpose of exchanging 3 shirts I received for my Birthday that "shrunk" during packaging and also to look at the Mako boats. Yes the Trackers look nice but it would take a gift for me to own one after seeing to many problems.Yes I know I will upset a few but I actually have seen the problems and run around from BP. I like their clothing and support local dealers but not interested in big item from them. Side note, I was shocked to see plastic trailer fenders on a EZ-Loader trailer. I stepped on a few in my day but no more.
I received great price on a couple Crestliners in Roscommon but boats were a bit to small.
THANK YOU ALL FOR GREAT INFO, keep it coming.
If you're going to look at Mako's, take a very good look at the Key West's. IMO, they're very nice & well built boats for the money, and a good bit less $$ than comparable boats from say Boston Whaler or Grady White.
 

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I own an Alumacraft and love it, very stable boat but a friend of mine showed me a boat called a Hewes Craft, they are very nice aluminum boats. If I could afford one I would definitely check them out. Starting to see a few on the river.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I want to make clear that Mako builds a great boat but a bit big for my yard and IMO the center console's can be a very seasonal boat without thousands in canvas. as far a taking a ride with another couple, I don't see it fitting my needs.
Didn't CC years ago mean Cuddy Cabin?
 
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