The MasterCraft ProStar 197 ski boat has something to prove. Mainly, that hard-core skiers don’t have to be two-man powerhouses. Unlike its sibling and fellow three-event specialist the ProStar 190, this ski boat comes ready for family-friendly fun with an open bow for additional seating. It also comes equipped for epic sets that have our slalom testers chomping at the tow rope every year. But don’t just take our word for it.
Since MasterCraft introduced this ski boat in 2002, the ProStar 197 has become the first boat approved for all five USA Water Ski events and has towed world records in slalom, trick and jump. We’d say that track record is definitely capable of proving a point.
If you’re serious about your skiing and you’ve never taken a set behind a world record-producing ski boat, one wake crossing behind the ProStar 197 will have you sold and wondering why you waited so long. From 15 off open-water fun through the elite line lengths in the slalom course, this boat has got you covered. The wakes are incredibly small and soft, and extreme shortline skiers will be happy to know that chine spray is never a factor, allowing excellent course visibility. The 197 comes standard with the MasterCraft Cruise system, which allows rookie drivers to focus on the boat’s tracking without worrying about holding speed, and also gives a consistent pull.
Pulling world records is no easy task. The tight tolerances for speed and boat path put a tournament water-ski boat to the test — and that’s where the 197 consistently shines. The side-vented, drag-defying EVO hull not only gives skiers great wakes, but gives drivers the means to provide a perfect pull. This world-class hull, combined with digital throttle-control technology, PerfectPass, rack-and-pinion steering and a tunable rudder, make the 197 a driving dream. The boat accelerates up to speed in short distances, and it tracks like it’s on a rail. Upgrade to the Indmar MCX 350-horsepower engine and you’ll have the very same machine behind which the world slalom record was set last year.
The MasterCraft ProStar 197 makes the most of its just-under-20-foot size to combine the nimble handling of a direct-drive with the thoughtful touches of comfort that families will appreciate. The open bow provides a few extra seats, and the rear bench flips up to create 20 square feet of sun pad and an additional place to lounge. When it was our turn in the driver’s seat, we especially liked the new blue-faced gauges and billet aluminum appointments, which enhanced the understated style of this traditionally sleek ski boat. We also noticed the hammered metal-textured vinyl accents that were added for 2006. But for all the luxury and style, there’s also plenty of functionality, including storage space for your 71-inch skis.
Base price: $42,220
Length: 19 ft. 8 in.
Beam: 91 in.
Seating capacity: 6
Fuel capacity: 28 gal.
Test Prop: OJ 12.5 x 12 4-blade
Test Engine: Indmar MCX 5.7L, 350 hp
Top Speed: 42.5 mph 4,800 rpm
Accel. To 30 mph: 4.8 sec. 116.6 ft.
Accel. To 36 mph: 6.5 sec. 201.2 ft.
Noise Levels (db): Neutral 62 D 63 R, 36 mph 91 D 98 R