Not a Bayliner post, but thought I'd post about our new family lake boat that we purchased this winter. This weekend we finally got the chance to give it a hard shakedown and it passed with flying colours.

Boat is a 2006 Grew 173 XLE with a 3.0L Mercruiser TKS mated to an Alpha 1 leg. The boat is 16' 6" with a 7' beam and weighs approximately 1200lbs. It's a small bowrider that seats 2 upfront, and 5 in the main cockpit. It has a small swimstep with ladder and cupholders for everyone. A ski locker in the hull along with some built in storage under the seats. These boats were built in Ontario Canada until 2011 when unfortunately Grew went out of business and a fire destroyed the plant. Not many of these boats in my part of the world -- a local dealer picked up some inventory for a short period and mine is one of those.

The boat we purchased had roughly 200hrs on it -- lake use only. The engine and compartment are spotless and the hull is in nearly new condition. It had very little use which showed. It had been sitting for a couple years and was a bit dirty, but some effort and chemicals got her back to shiny new. Even my wife commented on how clean the engine compartment looked!!! When we purchased it, we had the battery, impeller, fuel filter and bellows and gimble bearing all replaced as proactive measures along with engine and leg oils. The motor starts very easy (the TKS actually works!!) and is a strong runner. There are a couple of good YouTube videos on the proper starting process for the TKS engines which I've found work like a charm. 4 pumps of the throttle prior to turning the key -- with the throttle positioned slightly open and the boat fires right up each time. I've run a couple of cans of SeaFoam in the fuel and I've noticed the boat starting easier each use.

The hull is a stepped V that really responds to the trim settings. We ran it in some chop and smooth waters and were very pleased with how smooth the ride was. The boat has a nice feel to the steering and we found that it turns like it's on rails -- it doesn't lean into a turn like prior boats I've owned. It's designed with an interesting notched hull which I understand is part of the design from a racing heritage of the designer. We've not quite pushed the limits of top speed -- but so far have hit speeds in the mid 40MPH range so I suspect this boat will hit close to 50MPH which is way faster than we want to go. Dead stop to plane is deadly fast -- have to get a clock on it but my guess is something like 5 seconds. The Alpha has a stock 3-blade prop on it today and I could go to a 4 or 5 blade for even better performance but so far, I see no need.

Pulled our teens on their slalom skis and both commented that the boat was way easier to ski behind. Pulled them out of the water very quickly and the wake was very small. Also pulled them around the lake on a 4-person tube. Because this boat can turn so quickly, I suspect that the boat driver will have a ton more fun than the tubers!!!

Very pleased with this little addition to the family cabin. We replaced a 60's era 14' Hourston with a 70Hp 2 stroke with a boat that weighs close to the same with a 130HP 4 stroke. We were able to sell the Hourston and netted out the deal for a couple thousand dollars. Had a big grin on my face all weekend!!!

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