By: Rick Huckstepp, Photography by: Rick Huckstepp

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The Sea Ray 195 Sport Ski is a stylish American bowrider ideally configured for the sports-active family, and with punchy V8 power to boot, notes Rick Huckstepp



Sea Ray boats have been around in the USA in various forms since 1959. They lay claim to having been the first pleasureboat manufacturer to use fibreglass and other high-tech composites in their craft and since then, have grown to a conglomerate that has 40 models on its inventory from 18-foot to 68 feet in length.
Only a small portion of those are seen on our shores, but for the record, they consist of sportsboats, sportscruisers, sportsyachts, and yachts.
In 1986, Sea Ray was taken over by Brunswick Corporation, a tactical move that allows an engine manufacturer to grab market share by incorporating only their engines into or onto a range of hulls. Still moving forward, in 1995, Baja, a performance boatbuilder, was taken over by the manufacturing giant.
If you thought you were seeing more of the Sea Ray brand name around, you are right. The way the Aussie dollar sits against the American dollar it is prime ground to flood the market with stock, especially in light of the economic issues facing Americans with the prime mortgage funds saga.
We checked out the 195 Sport Ski at Soldiers Point and took it for a spin around Nelson Bay.
If you are a bit of a petrol head, you'll have some fun in this rig. Powered by MerCruiser's 5.0-litre 260hp fuel injected V8, it has some serious torque to play with and is very snappy out of the hole.
At full throttle it propelled itself along at 56mph (90.12kmh) at 5000rpm on the instrumentation, and quietly so for a V8. Maneuverability was as good as it gets and easy at the helm, and with the correct trim, no aeration at the propeller was detected in hard turns.




This boat was fitted with the optional ski frame, on top of which is the tow pole consisting of a post with a nylon ring insert on which the rope swings and on top a navigation anchor light. This assembly was not screwed together firmly and it appeared the treads were overly tight. With dissimilar metals involved here some lanolin grease or other non-binding lubricant will be a must to prevent these permanently seizing in place. While this is the base frame, there is plenty of room on the edges of the frame on which to fix racks for wakeboards.
The bowrider section, as with the rest of the boat was nicely upholstered and seating throughout was very soft and comfortable. The usual stowage under the bowrider bench cushions is available and there are drinkholders that will take containers with insulators on them (most Australian manufacturers can't get that right yet) as well as ergonomically friendly grab handles and well placed stereo speakers. The deck throughout this boat has clip-on berber-look carpet which is neat and easily removed for cleaning.
The gunwales at the helm are high and one feels quite safe tucked in here while those in the bowrider section are at a comfortable height to drape the arms over the side. Exiting the bowrider section is via a companionway between the helm and passenger module that has a hinged screen which folds back to reduce wind in the rear cockpit when necessary.
A curved brow on the helm held all of the necessary instrumentation while a matching configuration in front of the passenger hosted a glove compartment in which a Clarion stereo system was installed. Between the helm and passenger swivel seats, a very large hatch in the deck under a clip-in carpet piece will hold wet gear and wakeboards out of the way.
The rear lounge section of the 195 is very user-friendly. Under the base cushions each side are drainable roto-form inserts for wet stowage, and a fold-down armrest centrally located in the back cushion between the two side seats holds a couple of drink container retainers. Here, also, is an aperture with a split blind grommet through which a fire extinguisher hose is pushed to empty its contents should there be a fire in the engine compartment. This fitting seems standard on the Sea Ray sportsboats we have looked at recently. It's a good idea; if there are flames in the compartment and the enginebox is lifted, it usually ends up in a fireball when the rush of oxygen gets in.




The 195 features a full-beam padded sun lounge that can open on gas struts in two sections to access the engine bay. All-round access to the V8 makes servicing belts and pulleys easy as well as for the reservoirs for steering and power trim, and tilt pumps.
Part of the nylon fuel tank is visible here and fuel level is visible at a glance through its opaque wall.
The battery is tied down on the port side. Partitions between the hull sides and the engine itself allow for stowage of spare oils, buckets, cleaning gear and the like, and keep them from rolling into the belts and pulleys. There are a number of ventilation points for the engine bay and two of them exit the hull on the stern under the sun lounge. This further alleviates noise associated with air being sucked into the enginebox in volume.
On the transom, a swim-out platform is fitted with a telescopic ladder that folds up and lies flush in a rebate on its topside. An extra tow ring is installed centrally here.
This Sea Ray is pretty good value for the big family ski party. Although not presented on the test boat, a bimini top and wakeboard rack is included in the package price.
It has plenty of power for towing multiple boards and is roomy enough to seat the riders when not on the water.
While we were not able to check fuel consumption, a 5lt V8 won't be light on fuel and the fitted fuel tank of 98.4lt most likely won't get you through a full day's hard skiing, so you will most likely need to carry a tote tank. A small 4WD should tow this rig nicely, and there should be plenty of room for a couple of tote tanks in the back of that. With all that power, the hammer will be down most of the time, I'll bet!




Plenty of torque




Tow frame should be better presented
Fuel tank is small for a 5lt V8





Specifications: Sea Ray 195 Sport Ski



Price as tested:                                     $60,423
Options fitted:                                       Nil




Material:                                   Fibreglass
Length overall:                          6.15m
Length on trailer:                       7.26m
Beam:                                        2.29m
Deadrise:                                  19º
Weight:                                     Approx 1683kg




Fuel:                                                     98.4lt
People:                                                 7 to 525kg (Australian Builders Plate)




Make/model:                                        MerCruiser Alpha
Type:                                                    Fuel injected 5.0lt V8
Rated HP:                                             260
Displacement:                                       5000cc
Weight:                                     433kg
Propeller:                                              16 x 19in




Lifestyle Marine,
Shop 7, Sunset Boulevard,
Soldiers Point, NSW, 2317
Phone: (02) 4984 7570

Originally published in TrailerBoat #230

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