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Author Topic:   180 Ventura assessment
LKD posted 08-15-2006 06:36 PM ET (US)   Profile for LKD   Send Email to LKD  
I am considering a 1999 BW Ventura and would appreciate any info of your experiences/comments regarding this hull. I
am only familiar with the classic hulls of the late 1980's.
Thanks, Keith.
sosmerc posted 08-16-2006 10:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for sosmerc  Send Email to sosmerc     
I am surprised you haven't gotten any answers yet. I have been too busy to give you my opinion, but I shall try. I have a 1998 18 Ventura. I bought it used at the beginning of this year. It came from Eastern Washington and had very low hours...about 160 when I got it. It has a 1998 135 Optimax.
I have added: 1. a custom built stainless fixed bracket on the port side.
2. a 2004 15hp ML Merc 2 stroke kicker
3. Bennett Sport Tabs
4. All new compliment of Merc Flagship series guages:
two engine temp guages...one for port, one for starboard head
water pressure guage
volt meter
tach
FlowScan Meter
Garmin 178C with internal antenna
5. New Enertia 17 pitch prop

I get 47 mph on the gps at 5600 RPM...14 gph
I cruise at 25mph @ around 3600 rpm and burn about 5 GPH
This is all with the Bimini top up and 30 gallons of fuel onboard along with a 3 gallon tank for the kicker and 3 gallon oil tank. Also have dual 1000 MCA batteries.

Pros: The boat is very roomy and comfortable and I'm confident it will handle any kind of rough water that Hood Canal or Puget Sound will dish out. It is very fuel efficient.
It's a good looking boat and is easy to keep clean.
Cons: I have found some leaks around the scuppers. And the rear corners of the deck trap water and dirt..and this water seems to find it's way into the bilge rather than out the scuppers. I'm not sure I would take this boat out into the ocean...if you took a "big one" over the bow, I'm not sure it would be able to bail itself adequately to keep going. The rear lids would probably pop open and allow alot of water to fill the hull...you might then loose your battery power if they get swamped. I would rather see the rear lids be more secure and water-tight...perhaps hatches like under the front seat cushions.
But, it is what it is. A great all-around family fish, ski, cruise boat for INLAND protected waters.
The 135 Optimax has plenty of power, performance and fuel efficiency.....the early ones such as mine are notorious for "issues"...and they make some very unpleasant noises at certain rpms. I look forward to the next generation Optimax engines that are supposed to be much more refined and quiet. Being a technician in the business, at least I think I can "deal" with whatever crops up with mine.
P.S. I'd love to have a good looking "rigid" top on this boat. The Bimini top is OK...but it does make noise at speed...and can't serve any other function other than a sun block. A rigid top could be used for storage or electronics, as well as a sun block.

TRAFFICLAWYER posted 08-17-2006 05:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for TRAFFICLAWYER    
I had a 1998 18' Ventura with a 135hp Opticrup.

Boat is GREAT Motor Blew! Traded Boat end of story.

sosmerc posted 08-17-2006 07:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for sosmerc  Send Email to sosmerc     
Sorry to hear about your bad motor experience.
I have owned 2 1998 135 Optis.
I was actually the first person in the state of Washington to acquire an Optimax. I shared it with a neighbor on a 17ft. Outrage. We ran it for 2 flawless seasons. The partnership on the boat ended, and I sold the engine to another neighbor. I installed it on his POS Bayliner Cuddy when his 125 Farce took a dump. The Opti is still running fine for him.
My current Opti 135 is on a used 18ft. Ventura that I recently acquired. I did all the updates on this engine myself...and so the maintenance I do is probably alot more than most. It has about 170 hours on it. There is no question that the early Optimax motors had issues, BUT, I have a number of customers with older Optimax motors and they are still running fine. Must be something to do with regular service, good oil and gas, and correct pitch prop.
Having said that, I can't wait to get rid of this thing while it is running well, so I can upgrade to the "next generation" Optimax which should be VERY reliable and much quieter.

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