3/26/2015 I purchased the boat new In November with a 75 Mercury 4 stroke. Although it is only 1.5 feet longer than my old 16' with 25 Yamaha, it is light years better in stability, comfort, and speed. I feel very satisfied with this purchase, and say that as as a constant fisherman who lives on the water front and fish over half of the decent weather days.
I had one minor problem with the drain plug leaking but it was replace by dealer at no cost. Otherwise no issues with the boat, trailer, or any accessories.
The boat is camo, and many times when I am gassing up the guy at the next pump will walk over to look and compliment how sharp it looks.
I fished through the winter (it is now almost April) to shake it out and get ready for Spring, organized my gear so it is stowed, and accessible. Under deck storage is more than adequate, so much so that at first I found I was misplacing some of my gear.
I also added a trim gauge and dual volt meters, and relocated the two Humminbirds and MotorGuide from the old boat. I installed a battery isolator so that the trolling battery will charge once the starting battery is satisfied. It does not fully satisfy the trolling battery but helps keep it charged on long fishing days. So far I've not run a trolling battery down completely. Also added a water separating fuel filter to protect the engine from wet fuel (got towed in from out on the Gulf in a friends' boat last summer for just that problem).
Boat Speed: With an 18" pitch prop I am seeing 40 mph on flat water, no wind, seats up, with me and (my incredible amount of) gear, live wells empty. At that speed it is in good control, comfortable on flat water. Running in medium chop at 30 mph is very comfortable and dry, that is a happy cruising speed for the engine and the hull on this big lake in most conditions.
I borrowed a 20" prop and found that the motor has the power to pull it and hit speeds of 44 mph, but at that speed the hull is essentially airborne, so not much control. so control feels a little squirelly, waves pushed bow around. It also gets more sensitive to trim. This is what I expected for this hull design, so no surprises there.
Fuel Economy: I am seeing 8- 9 miles per gallon, mostly at cruise speeds of 28 to 32 mph, better than expected, almost as good as my old boat with the smaller 2 cycle engine runninng 22 mph.
Boat Handling: Hole shot is quick and effortless. If I advance the throttle smoothly, boat is planing before I'm even at half throttle, no cavitation noted. It planes at about 18 mph. I have not noticed a difference with the live wells full (they are large, so when full they weigh a lot). Boat is steady under foot even if standing on the gunwale or stern. I ran it fast into a hard north wind last week and stayed fairly dry, just a little windblown spray, much better than expected.
Trolling motor: The Motorguide 45# thrust has plenty of power even in the wind. One battery charge has been sufficient to power it for a long day of winter fishing.
Liner: My model has the camo bed liner finish and I absolutely love it, will never go back to carpet. The liner material is tough, easy to clean, good traction under foot. The trailer is also painted with liner so don't anticipate any future rust issues there. The camo hides dirt well so it always looks clean.
I have about 50 hours on this rig so far and I am very pleased. I also cannot say enough about the Mercury 4 Stroke. Plenty of power and easy to start, what's not to like.
Tom - Kirbyville, TX