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New 2017 VR5 - initial thoughts and a couple of questions-gctid805456

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    New 2017 VR5 - initial thoughts and a couple of questions-gctid805456

    I'm a new owner of a 2017 VR5. It was ordered with every option except the swim tower and the table. We didn't get the swim tower because of the bimini top being bigger on the non swim tower bimini, and the table we figured we could get later (or perhaps a different style that is a little smaller).

    VR5

    4.5L - 200HP

    options: stainless steel package, interior lighting upgrade, exterior lighting upgrade, bow filler cushion + bow wind blocker, windshield side wings, bimini top, covers, teak mat flooring & swim deck, auto bilge pump, digital depth gauge, bow speakers.

    The boat made it out onto Lake Pend Oreille last weekend for the day (and is moored there as well). I was able to spend the day with the boat and get to know it (did not really get any photos - it was a busy day, but I'll try and follow up with some photos the next time I see the boat). My previous boat was a 1992 Crestliner 196 (aluminum & outboard) that got trashed in a storm.

    So far I love the boat. It handles nicely and rides over the chop soooo much better than the old Crestliner did. I decided to go fiberglass and stern drive to get a better ride (add weight, change to fiberglass). This is my first stern drive, so it is quite a change for me - I am sure there will be some more getting used to that I haven't encountered yet. The boat is comfortable, and things just "work" (I make reference to my old Crestliner which was really showing its age and stuff sometimes didn't work very well). I chose a Bayliner when I decided I wanted to get a different boat because (1) used boats that were not that old were in the $20k range, and the Bayliner was only a little more and (2) I didn't want something too fancy because I have a cabin which means I'll be hauling lumber, bags of cement, a refrigerator, etc etc etc. Doing all of that with a Sea Ray or something really premium seemed silly and a waste of money. My cabin is primarily boat-in only so the boat isn't a watersports thing, but rather a water taxi/pickup truck as its primary task with other stuff secondary.

    Which leads me to one thought - while the boat is more an "entry level" class than a "premium" class, it doesn't feel that way at all. Once you get things like the SeaDek flooring, and many of the options they offer, it really does look and feel like a more premium boat.

    I did feel bad beaching the boat on the rocky shore of Lake Pend Oreille (the lake was down too far still to get on my boat trolley at the cabin). I was gentle (paddled in the last 50 feet) but still... That is where the aluminum boats have their advantage. I never felt bad about taking the Crestliner up off-season to do work while the water was down - it was a truck. This is one point where I will struggle - off season work and beaching. I know you always see pictures of fiberglass boats beached, but those are sunny and sandy beaches - everyone smiling and having a good day. I'm at Pend Oreille with it raining and windy, everyone miserable, and not a hint of sand. Anywhere.

    The stereo was nice, but I failed to get the bluetooth to work and did not bring a usb-lightning cable. I later found a YouTube video about the Jensen stereo operation, so the bluetooth issue is solved. But somehow in all of the manuals I never saw the information I sought. Overall I was not impressed with the manuals I received. The Mercury powerplant manuals seemed reasonable (I'm sure it will come in handy when I need them).

    A couple of questions:

    1. The depth gauge really never seemed to work. It spent most of the day flashing and other times would be reading ridiculous depths like 50 feet while I was sitting over a thousand feet of water. Is there some information on the gauge I'm missing?

    2. I am 6'0" and have a long torso, but that windshield is really low. I hated looking over the windshield and getting all of that cold wind in my face. I get that it is not going to be like the Crestliner style fishing boat, but geez. Has anyone been able to do something about this (adjustable seat, new windshield)?

    Love the boat for sure!

    #2
    Welcome!

    I don't have the depth gauge, but I have installed a simrad 5 inch.

    Yes, the windshield is really low - I am 6'4" - but you will get use with it easy.

    After 1 year I still don't know how to make bluetooth work on mine. Also, I don't have a USB port on my 2016 VR5 - only the aux plug.

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      #3
      Hello New VR5 owner. I, too have also recently purchased a new VR5, but unlike you, I am fairly new to boating, so I don't have the experience to compare it to anything. My wife and I took it out on it's maiden voyage last weekend, just to get to know her. She performed well on the water, although the body of water where we put her in was too small to really give her a full test. It's more of a training ground, until we bring her up to Sebago lake in Maine. That being said, our VR5 came installed with a Garmin DV44, which was steadily and continuously giving us depth and speed readings. When I did some initial research on this model, one of the few detractions was the height of the windshield. I prefer to look over the windshield myself, but it appears where you're boating may have harsher conditions. We also had our boat finished with the Teak mat, which gives the boat a nice finish. The quality of the interior also seems to be an upgrade from the past, and it really has a nice look. Although the fit and finish is not as nice as say, a Chaparral, I am very pleased with the overall look. Finally, since I plan on trailering her for the first year or so, I insisted on having a keel guard installed. This may come in handy with the occasional beach landings as well. I wish you luck with your new boat! Looking forward to my first summer as a boat owner!
      Rick

      2016 VR5

      4.3L 220 MPI Mercruiser

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        #4
        The depth gauge does not (at first use) seem like the best gauge in the world. I did want it because it was factory installed and I did not want the hassle of having to install one after-the-fact. I need to play with it a little more, but I wish there was some sort of user manual for it.

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          #5
          "baylinerboater" post=805463 wrote:
          Welcome!

          I don't have the depth gauge, but I have installed a simrad 5 inch.

          Yes, the windshield is really low - I am 6'4" - but you will get use with it easy.

          After 1 year I still don't know how to make bluetooth work on mine. Also, I don't have a USB port on my 2016 VR5 - only the aux plug.
          The Henson Blue tooth was a pain but the YouTube video was great. As for the USB if you don't have one at the dash there is one on the back of the radio. It may be tied up as mine was and hard to find at first.
          QuickChek over Wawa
          Taylor Ham not Pork Roll


          2016 Bayliner 215 Deck Boat
          Mercruiser 4.3 220 HP MPI Alpha 1 Gen II

          Sold 2003 SeaRay 176 SRX Bowrider
          Mercruiser 3.0 135 HP Alpha 1 Gen II

          Sold 1988 Sunbird 170 Bowrider
          Evinrude 88 Special

          Restoring 1970 Salem Skiff 13.5 foot
          1992 Johnson 40HP

          40°55'22.9"N 74°39'11.9"W

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            #6
            Got my brand new 2017 VR5 last Friday and first thing I did was pair the radio to iPhone, was so easy I didn't even need the manual. (weird the differences in experience)

            As for the Bimini size, I was pleasantly surprised to see it's BIGGER then I had seen on the Demo and all the pics from Bayliner.

            I haven't been in the water yet but since this is not my first Bayliner, I'm sure I'll be very happy.

            The only option I did not take was the docking and underwater lights, where I boat the water isn't clear


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