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Hydro classes, where to start..

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  • Hydro classes, where to start..

    I have been thinking about where I would like to start in SO hydro's. Not only what class would be suitable for me but also what class or classes need the most help increasing their numbers. So the vitals are I have zero experience in an outboard hydro. I weigh about 187 and my goal weight is 170.....hopefully by mid summer 2019. I am 58 years old and still fairly mobile as I am an avid I can move around pretty good for an old guy. I know a C boat matches my weight but I have an open mind on other classes to start out in. Your opinions are would be very helpful. Thanks, Dave.

  • #2
    300ssh would be perfect for you
    The biggest advantage of 300ssh is you get a new motor.
    Don't waste your time with a used motor no matter how cheap it is or "how great" it is supposed to be.
    I drove myself (& everybody else) crazy my first year dopping around with two used motors-
    I did not start having fun racing boats until I bought a sealed 321 from Brother Jerry Davids
    It ran dozens of heats in 2018 & let me sit ONE TIME because squirrelboy forgot to open the vent
    It still has the orig plugs in it


    • Tunnelman801
      Tunnelman801 commented
      Editing a comment
      Good advice Squirrelboy!! Tunnelman801

  • #3
    Dave,you might take a look at the 125mod class. Utilizes a water cooled go-kart motor, ready available and I think a new motor cost less than $2,000. You can use any midsection and have to use a 11:17 gear ratio lower unit. I build a combination composite and wood boat with fin and steering for $4,000. With a total cost within range of most people wanting to go racing. Low to mid sixty mph and will give you an opportunity to see if you really like our great sport. Great entry level and with you weight at 185 or so it will be perfect for this class. Enclosed picture of the boat, thanks fir considering boat racing, the greatest people in the world are boat racers.


    • #4
      Definitely consider 300ssH. It's very competitive, there are plenty of boats to race against in every region, and it's a lot of fun.

      The motors are sealed to keep them close in speed, and props are exchanged at drivers meeting to ensure that no one gets an advantage by buying and testing a bunch of props.

      The motors are reasonably priced, extremely reliable, and will run great out of the box.

      You should also be able to find a good, used, innexpensive boat to get started with. Don't hesitate to ask a few racers in your area for help in finding the right boat.

      The set ups are pretty simple, so you can spend the majority of your time practicing driving and racing... and having fun!

      - Mike


      • GrandpaRacer
        GrandpaRacer commented
        Editing a comment
        Well said, the 300ss class is designed for people like you David!

    • #5
      Agreed........ Go with the 300SSH. The 125 Mod Motor still has some issues.... solvable, but still there are issues.

      Dean F. Hobart


      • #6
        Dave your not alone starting to race at an older age I started at 59 five years ago. The men and women of the APBA are the most amazing group of people I have ever been apart of. I've learned a lot from them and still continue to learn. For lots of reasons the 300 class is the best way to start.
        Jeff Sherwin 229A


        • #7
          I'll just add with what everyone has already said. Go with the 300 SSH class. It is an excellent class that is not a killer on the budget. One of the nicest things about this class is that you dont need to worry about props (as we switch props between racers each week) and the motors are sealed motors. They are very reliable, quick motors. Where are you located?


          • Dave Cofone
            Dave Cofone commented
            Editing a comment
            I am in New Jersey......thanks so much for your input...

        • #8
          I would not recommend the 125 cc mod class for the following reasons:

          1. Total costs after purchasing all the components assuming you bought a new powerhead is over $3,000.
          2. There are about a dozen rigs (estimate) in the US at this time since 2018 it is the first season of this new class.
          3. You will be running with the 200 mods and maybe A stock classes until there are more boats.
          3. I weigh 122 lbs and carry 30 lbs of weight. Your weight of 180-160 will put you over the weight limit.
          4. This motor is finicky until you get familiar with it.
          5. Getting on plane is tricky since it has very low torque.
          6. According to the dealer the go cart crowd does a top overhaul after 3 hours of run time. Break in time is 40 minutes. Some boat racers do not do this. The result of deferred maintenance is a broken piston skirt which essentially ruins the motor.
          7. After three top overhauls it is recommended you do a complete overhaul.
          8. Bob Wartinger and I have worked on this class and we have determined that it acts like a pro motor.
          9. Inspection of this motor in boat racing as compared to go cart racing reveals that hour for hour boat racing is more severe on motor wear.
          10. If you want to have fun in the shortest amount of time, avoid the 125 mod class. We took about 6 testing sessions over three months to wring out our rigs for the runabout and hydro.

          Listen to the yamoto recommendations. That motor is very dependable and bullet proof.

          Bob Smiley


          • #9
            Dave Cofone
            DVORA is in the process of readying a 300ssH turn key boat/motor for the 2019 driver school; it is also available for sale to driver school graduates
            I am pretty sure the boat is a Runnecraft and as described above the motor will be a new sealed 321
            Something to think about/dream about/lust after


            • Dave Cofone
              Dave Cofone commented
              Editing a comment
              I think I know the boat. I was supposed to take driving school in it at the last Millville race in Oct. but a mechanical issue kept me on dry land. I am supposed to try again in April in that same boat. It would very simple to just throw down some cash and make it mine but then what happens to the school boat to bring other drivers into the sport..? I do want to buy a used boat and have thought about collecting some parts and pieces over the winter that I am going to need. Keep me in the loop as far as used equipment is concerned.

          • #10
            Hey Dave,
            Welcome to the family, where in New Jersey are you? Were up in Sussex County. I think the best class for you would be 300ssh as said multiple times before. 300ssh has grown as a local class and wherever you travel you will have a class to race. The motors are easily purchased from APBA, either TJ or Jerry Davids. Boat wise, you can either find an older CSH and get your bearings in the class or purchase a new boat. (East coast builders- John Runne, Bob Oconner and Jerry Davids all build great hulls). If you have any questions, feel free to reach out. If you have a chance, check out Throttled: Stock Outboard Racing Podcast, weekly podcast where we talk boat racing and have on different guest and cover topics that benefit beginners as well as veterans.
            Johnny Wlodarski III


            • Dave Cofone
              Dave Cofone commented
              Editing a comment
              Thanks for the info. I was thinking C class because of my weight and I know it can run in other classes (300ssh). My plan was to buy a used boat and then build one myself. I have built kayaks and repaired racing shells so while no expert I do believe I could built a small hydro and think it would be fun. I book marked your webcast, thank you. I look forward to being on the water with you all next season. Also I know Sussex pretty well, I went to the Sussex Airshow as a religion in years past. I am located in Middletown.......

          • #11
            At the risk of this thread getting political, I am a huge advocate of the 125mod class. It is a class designed to be an entry level class.
            • Total cost of a complete engine, factory new, sits right around $3300 with easily replaceable parts if things break (I had 2 rigs run all season with no issues other than nuts vibrating off).
            • The only thing people NEED to be aware of is that the break in process is everything if you don't want to break the engine. Follow the manual and you'll be fine. It is a longer process than normal engines, but if you just do what the manufacturer recommends there will very likely not be issues.
            • Currently there are somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 engines across the country that I'm aware of, just people testing and figuring out the set-up/prop for this class. This season was slow, but so was 300ssh when it started in 2013 with 18 boats with only 3 with more than 3 races (earliest data I found on APBA website). Any new class will take more than a season to find a formula that works and I am sure the boat count will be higher in 2019.
            • As far as weight, I weighed 177lbs this past race season with a 120(ish)lb boat and was 5-10lbs over consistently. I will admit I am probably large for the class, but as we learn more about the engine and props it will be less important.
            • Planing comes down to prop and carb settings. I have not heard of too many planing issues once the carb has been adjusted. For prop, we ran 6"-(8.5" to 9.5") 3 blade props between 1/2" below the bottom to level with a little kick out
            • The dealer I had been given information from said that we will have LESS maintenance/wear than karts because we have will not reach the RPMs the karts turn (15.5k vs 11k or 12k from what we saw all season)

            Not trying to talk you out of the 300ssh class, but if nobody gives 125mh a chance it won't grow. Ultimately the best choice will be the class where you can get cheap(ish) reliable equipment to get boat time and a class where you can run as much as you are willing to travel. Both classes are good options.

            On that note if anyone is interested in what I learned from running 125mh this past season, feel free to PM for details. When I have some free time I will compile my notes from the season and share tip/tricks/mistakes that we found to help anyone else get started.



            • bmitch1
              bmitch1 commented
              Editing a comment
              I'm gonna agree with Kyle on all his points. After thoughtful consideration about where to mount the 12v battery in the boat and using Loctite in key locations, we haven't had any issues with our 125 PRD Fireball motor.. the electric start is a gratifying experience.

              Our first run of the year occurred on Friday at Franklin ahead of the TRORA race because the local waters had been flooded early spring and prevented us from testing elsewhere. We loaded the motor on an AXR, set the height at 7/8 deep, propped with a 2-blade KG wheel, and it planed off in about 80'. Performance has continued to improve as we found time to play with props and height.

              We tried our 125MH the following week at Huntington for the first time, same KG wheel...set at 3/4. My 125MH driver is about 160lbs and we added 10lbs to the boat all year to make legal weight.

              I think it's safe to say we have as much 125 time on the water as anyone this year and we have not experienced any maintenance issues with our setup - OMC tower, BTM mounting plate, VRP gearfoot. It's a water-cooled powerhead and, no surprise, you have about 12-14 seconds running it bone-dry at full-throttle before you risk smearing a piston. This is completely avoidable if you use a 'cool-tool' or similar water pickup right behind the prop thrust to pump early, pump-often.

              Complete powerhead and engine parts available on-the-shelf from US-based suppliers. With speeds now approaching 60mph in hydro, and 56 in runabout... the newly established 125 records aren't going to stand very long...

          • #12
            I have asked Bob to send me any notes he is willing to share for the 125 learning curve, but haven't heard anything back yet. I am compiling a "notebook" based on anything that people will be sharing. I am talking with Jerry Davids this weekend to get even more for it. Unless we help each other in all classes, not just 125, nobody's boat counts will be going up.

            We need to all work towards any positive motion, get together with ideas and do what we can to help new people understand why we are so passionate about what we do. I see both of them as positive directions for the sport.



          • #13
            My recommendation is to go with the Yamato. It should provide the best bang for the buck and opportunity to gain seat time in many classes. Don't fret over your age, I started out just shy of 49 and did Ok.

            If you get serious about building a boat, I have a pre-fabbed CSH kit built by Shannon Bowman that I would sell. It comes nearly complete with the exception of decking, windshield and hardware as well as comprehensive instructions.

            Good luck,



            • #14
              Hello Dave Cofone,

              This is about weight... With the 125 Mod Hydro weight being 350 lbs, at 170 that is half the weight. With a 100 lb boat and the motor being 50 lbs ? or so doing the math that adds up to 320 lbs.... so this would be doable. However, this is a class that you would not want to be more than 5 lbs over at the scales.

              So with the 300SSH at 420 lbs... So this gives you more room on weight even though the Yamato motor weighs about 90 lbs.

              Welcome to the Boat Racing family.

              Dean F. Hobart


              • Dave Cofone
                Dave Cofone commented
                Editing a comment
                I have to admit, I didn't expect it to be this difficult to get my hands on equipment. Unless I go for all brand new, I am up against an uncertain ability to actually put a rig together. I am also not loving the fact that I am almost stuck with Yamato engines unless I go modified or into a class well below my ability to make weight......It's good to have this forum to go to. So much information has been exchanged and I am grateful to all who have helped me.....

            • #15
              The prd on an omc tower and clamps battery etc weighs 77lbs. Other towers may be lighter.
              My discussion with Doug Huggler re wear etc. revealed that we are running our motors at full speed all the time around 12,000 while go carts vary around the course with top rpm a small percentage of the race time. In our early learning curve the motor was hot several times thus increased wear on the engine. Later, we improved our procedure and the motor had less abuse. This would be consistent with Bmitch and Kyle's comments. Hopefully time will tell about how the motors wear over a full racing season. A 100lb boat, 77lb motor, 170lb driver with protection is 347lb add 3 lbs for 350. Thus the driver must be less than helmet, jacket, suit, and shoes. So about 155ish for the driver is max. 165ish for a 90lb boat.

              Bob Smiley