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28 American Offshore Deckboat - Sunday Funday Review - Demo

RiverDave

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I gotta admit sometimes owning RDP has its privileges and this last Sunday was no exception being that we got to demo the American Offshore 28' Deck Boat. I have to say we were very impressed! Factoring in the price point and I'm sure it will leave a few of the members (including myself) scratching their heads as to why one isn't parked in their garage already.

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Now this is a typical "RDP" style article, meaning that if we are going to demo a boat then we are going to load it up with the fam bam and actually "demo" the boat as we would use it for our own use or in this case the . The program started with Ricky showing up at my house with the boat in tow, and the family going outside and giving it the "ooohh's and aaaahh's for a few minutes, while we finished loading up the boat. Being that this is a new boat there is virtually nothing in it, so I brought all the typical stuff you would need for a day on the water : Ropes, Fenders, 36 pack Igloo cooler, towels, baby supplies etc.. The crew was to be Tom (Tommygun Images), My entire family (Stacy, 2 Toddlers, and 1 infant), and Ricky and Kelli.

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I have seen this boat before as it was part of our RDP tests, but in an effort to not show "bias" towards any of the manufacturers at the tests I myself didn't go out and drive any of them (or I would've had to go out and drive all of them). I took a few cell phone pics in front of the house. The boat sits on a triple axle trailer built by Extreme Trailers. Trailer sported LED's all the way around, recessed (with the caskets) slim lines on the rear, and two of the axles had disc brakes. Pretty standard trailer with a few nice little upgrades, but still affordable.

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So now begins the story of our day. We launched the boat at Windsor and idled out a bit while Stacy and I were getting the kids situated.

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As soon as we got the kids prepped for the ride (sunglasses on, baby stuffed stowed etc..) I drove us down to 3 Dunes on the south end of the lake.

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The first thing I noticed about the AO is IT'S RIGID. Most deckboats have a lot of "flex" to them when you are crossing big rollers. It's often referred to as "helm movement" in articles in the past. I'm not sure how Cliff had this laid up, but the boat is rock solid. A common trait of this style deck boat as well is generally when you run them through decent water there's some amount of "spray" that will come up through the front of the tunnel. Cliff modified the front of the mold so that the walk off in the front is actually part of the boat, and he wisely didn't put any slots in it. This in my opinion solved that problem that this boat (and others like it) used to have. (FYI American Offshore claims to be the first company to integrate this platform into the mold, as opposed to the old plastic bolt on pieces that everybody used to do)

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While the boat may share some similarities from a distance to a lot of the other deck boats that came on scene over the years, they did quite a bit to streamline the top of the boat and make it a very well functioning overall package. To talk briefly about some of the changes they did quite a bit of work to the transom of the boat. They lowered the swimstep down to the waterline, and inversely raised the bottom portion of the step so that you can get a more aggressive (and correct) X-Dimension for higher Horsepower applications. When they did that it actually (by the nature of the toolign) provided two areas on the edge of the swimstep where you can grab the boat and easily pull it off a sandbar after it has been beached for a day. The reconfigured the steps in the back to make them more aesthetically pleasing, and reclined the rear bench seat a little to make it a whole lot more comfortable. They reconfigured the dash and integrated the offshore controls into the helm so there isn't a "side pod" that is in the way and limits interior room. There's a bunch of other little things, but those are the main things that I noticed when we were out in the boat for the day.

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So I'm going to wrap this up here pretty quick. When we got to Three Dunes everyone was extremely impressed with the boat. All of us have been in quite a few boats over the years, and generally speaking a boat with a lower price point and the word impressed don't generally go hand in hand. This boat had very little rattling from the lockers (usually a problem with decks), it was rock solid, was docile to drive, and most importantly everybody had a blast riding down in it and hanging out on it for the day!

You can't deny the smiles on everyone's faces.

Riding down to 3 Dunes
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Sierra and Ricky enjoying the love seat
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Summer fell asleep on the ride
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She liked the boat when she woke up.
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Kids jumping off the back of the boat in the cove.
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Enjoying the day

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Enjoying the ride home
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This boat as it sits fully loaded with Livorsi Gauges, Offshore zero effort controls, Dual batteries in billet battery boxes, dual hatch rams, 8' or 10' bimini, stereo, interior lighting, LED lighted cup holders, stereo, triple axle trailer, 502Mag HO (65'ish mph), Hydraulic Helm Steering, integrated to drive.

LIST PRICE IS 109,000!!
Call Maxed out Marine to discuss details and schedule your demo! 928-854-3060
 

RiverDave

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Couple of I phone pics of when we pulled the boat out of the water.

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I have a few videos that are uploading to YouTube as well.
 

RiverDave

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This boat does have something on it that I have never seen before in any other boat that I have ever been in personally..

It has Hydraulic steering to the helm, but they integrated it into the stock hydraulic for the drive! It's absolutely bitchen, and something I'd like to do to my Schiada to ditch the cable steering.

You can see the reservoir fill for the steering in this pic on top of the dash.



RD
 

Bigbore500r

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Thats really slick. Question (and my apologies if its a dumb one....) - Is the Castillas shop doing the glass work for AO?
 

RiverDave

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Thats really slick. Question (and my apologies if its a dumb one....) - Is the Castillas shop doing the glass work for AO?
Joel is doing the glass work, but they are doing a layup schedule specified by Art. Art is/was an engineer out of Texas. Cliff was telling me they it's a 100% vinylester boat, and they use 5/8ths balsa across the entire bottom of the boat up to the rub rail (most mfg's just lay balsa on the tops of tunnels, top tier mfg's do the entire bottom half of the hull). I was really impressed that this boat didn't flex it all, and I ran it through some pretty big water on the way down the lake.

That steering thing is bitchen and I'm absolutely sold on it. I can't hardly believe I forgot to talk about it in the article, but that article was more or less to say you get A LOT of boat for the money, and we had a blast in it all day. I was really impressed with the boat overall. There's a few things I would change and modify to the rigging, but it's peanuts compared to the overall package.

RD
 

Bigbore500r

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Joel is doing the glass work, but they are doing a layup schedule specified by Art. Art is/was an engineer out of Texas. Cliff was telling me they it's a 100% vinylester boat, and they use 5/8ths balsa across the entire bottom of the boat up to the rub rail (most mfg's just lay balsa on the tops of tunnels, top tier mfg's do the entire bottom half of the hull). I was really impressed that this boat didn't flex it all, and I ran it through some pretty big water on the way down the lake.

That steering thing is bitchen and I'm absolutely sold on it. I can't hardly believe I forgot to talk about it in the article, but that article was more or less to say you get A LOT of boat for the money, and we had a blast in it all day. I was really impressed with the boat overall. There's a few things I would change and modify to the rigging, but it's peanuts compared to the overall package.

RD
Cool, i asked because I remember Joel talking about the AO deckboats when we picked up the Raptor.....er Stingray......err......Whattaveritsgonnabecalled 30
 

TCHB

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What do these boats sell for new? I see the MSRP but sometimes that is just a funny number.


I like what you said about no flex!!
 

RiverDave

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What do these boats sell for new? I see the MSRP but sometimes that is just a funny number.


I like what you said about no flex!!
Wish I could say. They have built quite a few of them before, but I think this is the first one with that trailer, and this rigging style etc.. I know Ricky is asking 109.. I'm sure there's some negotiation in there, but I don't know how much it is.

I would imagine as the word gets out on these things and build quality the price will be going up in time. That's what always seems to happen.

RD
 

Briley

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Great looking boat :thumbup:, would like to see some pictures of the rear step at water level. Some of the builders like Nordic and Hallet are putting large swim platforms on the back and their awesome. As for the front walk off, not sure they get to claim the first integrated....but I may be wrong.
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RiverDave

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Briley this isn't a "new model" to AO.. This particular style of deck boat (all mfg's) has been around for over a decade before cobra was even in biz.

The original conquests had nothing between the sponsons. Then Conquest elim, magic and others started doing a retro bolt on deal. Now most of them have integrated it into the hull by now. Honestly I have no idea who was first from going from that bolt on deal to integrated.. But certainly there was a 100 deck boats out there that had true walk offs before Nescher brought this style to market.
 

Stainless

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This is similar to what I would like to have but add a wake tower to it. Something that tops out around 70 mph, can haul 2 families, pull a wakeboard and water ski. No ballast needed for me, I'll never be that good.
 

RiverDave

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[video=youtube;yfNdpp6JC8w]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yfNdpp6JC8w[/video]

Kids playing on the back.

RD
 

Uncle Dave

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This boat does have something on it that I have never seen before in any other boat that I have ever been in personally..

It has Hydraulic steering to the helm, but they integrated it into the stock hydraulic for the drive!
Its just the helm though right?

looks like standard bravo with no assisted steering in back or am I missing something?


UD
 

purrfecttremor

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My cousin bought a 2006 last winter and it seems to ride solid and its an all around great boat!:thumbup:
 

Briley

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Briley this isn't a "new model" to AO.. This particular style of deck boat (all mfg's) has been around for over a decade before cobra was even in biz.

The original conquests had nothing between the sponsons. Then Conquest elim, magic and others started doing a retro bolt on deal. Now most of them have integrated it into the hull by now. Honestly I have no idea who was first from going from that bolt on deal to integrated.. But certainly there was a 100 deck boats out there that had true walk offs before Nescher brought this style to market.
See.. glad I put "but I maybe wrong". Whatever brand it was I'm sure glad they started that. Thanks.
 

RiverDave

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Its just the helm though right?

looks like standard bravo with no assisted steering in back or am I missing something?


UD
Yes, as I said in the video and in the thread. They remove all the cable stuff and go straight to the hydraulic on the drive. Cliff told me that teleflex makes the part custom for them, but I don't see why any hydraulic helm with he right ratio wouldn't work. Then you can ditch the power steering all together.
 

paradise

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Maybe I'm missing something, but my 2001 pontoon has this same setup? Is it that uncommon?

It's got a hydraulic reservoir at the helm and then it's run straight back to the bravo drive. Also no PS.

Here is one, you can see the fill on the right
 

RodnJen

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I looked at them a few years ago at the street fair and I like them and the owner. Not sure if it's same people putting it together but they do a nice package for the money.
 

RiverDave

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Maybe I'm missing something, but my 2001 pontoon has this same setup? Is it that uncommon?

It's got a hydraulic reservoir at the helm and then it's run straight back to the bravo drive. Also no PS.

Here is one, you can see the fill on the right
I have never seen it before.. I wasn't aware any other guys were doing it with I/O's.. I can say I have never seen it on a performance boat? (or anything else for that matter) It works really really well.
 

RiverDave

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[video=youtube_https;P93a530MMK8]https://youtu.be/P93a530MMK8[/video]

Video of us leaving 3 dunes.. Next vids are cool of cruising with the sunset.

RD
 

RiverDave

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[video=youtube_https;7ekoJ4WIa0s]https://youtu.be/7ekoJ4WIa0s[/video]

A quick vid at sunset.

RD
 

DaBank

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I have never seen it before.. I wasn't aware any other guys were doing it with I/O's.. I can say I have never seen it on a performance boat? (or anything else for that matter) It works really really well.
I have had it on my last three boats and it is a great set up.
 

Beerme

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:thumbup:Great evaluation Dave. It's nice to see someone demo a boat and include the reality of what most of us do on our boats (family, beers, good times)! That is a great deal on that boat!
 

Q4mtxUS

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With respect to the hydraulic steering from helm to drive as talked of in this thread, is the PS pump and resivoir removed from the engine with this setup?

BTW Nice "demo" article & boat, and looking forward to full blown test soon.

Rob
 

Hammer

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That's a hell of a deal on a new deck boat. Nice evaluation RD. 🏻
 

RiverDave

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I have had it on my last three boats and it is a great set up.
You had a hydraulic helm rigged to the INSIDE stock Merc steering hydraulic? I am around a lot of boats and I have never seen it before.. I was shocked when the guy with the pontoon said he had it..

What were your last three boats??

I had seen vids of some Aussie ski race boats where they were running a bravo with no external steering and was told of a setup like that when asked.. But that was years ago.
 

RiverDave

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With respect to the hydraulic steering from helm to drive as talked of in this thread, is the PS pump and resivoir removed from the engine with this setup?

Rob
Yes. I talked to AJ from Barrett this morning and he had never seen one like this, but said he didn't consider it a huge upgrade because the tiller arm is still the weak link. (I feel it is still an upgrade because you lose all the slop from the cable)

I talked to Aaron at absolute and he said their are setups that are similar that are used in pontoon boats where routing the cable is an issue. He has seen ones where they use an electric pump to boost it off a hydraulic helm. And others where they just use a hydraulic helm. He mentioned that a lot of times it takes a lot of turns from lock to lock on the steering wheel so sometimes people don't like them.

This was different. It has a high ratio helm in it so the steering was still responsive and it felt like full hydraulic external steering but without all the extra Rams etc..
 

SCBLLC

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Conquest splashed and American 20 plus years ago, and made a deck boat. Right on the heels of the 28' Sea Master Silhouette. I didn't read every page, new or not, it's not.
 

RiverDave

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Conquest splashed and American 20 plus years ago, and made a deck boat. Right on the heels of the 28' Sea Master Silhouette. I didn't read every page, new or not, it's not.
It isn't a new model by any stretch, but it's amazing how many people didn't even know that American Offshore is even in business anymore? Let alone that they made this style of deckboat, or a dual helm deckboat as well.

The point of the article isn't to say there is some ground breaking "new" thing here (although I will admit I had never seen the hydraulic steering setup before). The point of the article is to say that this is the boat we took out on Sunday. I was impressed with the little changes they had made to the boat, I was impressed with the quality of the hull, we had a blast on it, and it seems like a pretty decent price for everything it comes with standard.

RD
 

RiverDave

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Nice timing on this thread Dave. :)
Without putting up a "schedule" that I have to be held too. I am trying to put out a little featured boat article every monday.. and then a different article (developed a kind of schedule that we are trying to get into) for each of the work days of the week deal.

Not sure what ya mean on timing. This was the boat we took out, and I had the pics ready to go so I used it as our feature boat for this week. If I don't have another new one by next week, then I have about 40 boats in the can that I can pick from and start writing them up with pics / videos etc.. :)

RD
 

Ziggy

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Without putting up a "schedule" that I have to be held too. I am trying to put out a little featured boat article every monday.. and then a different article (developed a kind of schedule that we are trying to get into) for each of the work days of the week deal.

Not sure what ya mean on timing. This was the boat we took out, and I had the pics ready to go so I used it as our feature boat for this week. If I don't have another new one by next week, then I have about 40 boats in the can that I can pick from and start writing them up with pics / videos etc.. :)

RD
Timing has to do with my just beginning to look at decks and similar boats.....;)
 

YoPengo

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Timing has to do with my just beginning to look at decks and similar boats.....;)

My wife was all over me for another tri-toon this weekend. I said only if I get to keep the Hallett. :p
 

Ziggy

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My wife was all over me for another tri-toon this weekend. I said only if I get to keep the Hallett. :p
I resisted a very strong desire after seeing a Conquest that we fell in love with a week or so ago....but it has spiked our interest in something a bit more roomy.:)
 

OldSchoolBoats

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Timing has to do with my just beginning to look at decks and similar boats.....;)
Going bigger after the perfect storm as well?? :D

I like this AO Deck, especially the poker run interior in the back..........that is a nice touch.
 

Ziggy

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Going bigger after the perfect storm as well?? :D

I like this AO Deck, especially the poker run interior in the back..........that is a nice touch.
LOL, we actually started looking the day before....we joked about wanting to sea trail it for the raftup, good thing we didn't probably. :p:D
 

Cole Trickle

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Nice job with the videos.....

I know the typed out boat reviews are cool and all but I really dig a simple video with a walk through pointing out all the interior and exterior features.

I think the simple/descriptive videos are great.......do more you have a good feel for it and there entertaining!!
 

RIVERDAZE

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Thanks for the review Dave!
Thats a fantastic looking boat, wish I had mine sold and time to use a new boat!
2 trips a year you can't justify the cost of new or old for that matter...:(
 

Q4mtxUS

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Yes. I talked to AJ from Barrett this morning and he had never seen one like this, but said he didn't consider it a huge upgrade because the tiller arm is still the weak link. (I feel it is still an upgrade because you lose all the slop from the cable)

I talked to Aaron at absolute and he said their are setups that are similar that are used in pontoon boats where routing the cable is an issue. He has seen ones where they use an electric pump to boost it off a hydraulic helm. And others where they just use a hydraulic helm. He mentioned that a lot of times it takes a lot of turns from lock to lock on the steering wheel so sometimes people don't like them.

This was different. It has a high ratio helm in it so the steering was still responsive and it felt like full hydraulic external steering but without all the extra Rams etc..
Thanks Dave. That a nice looking deck boat and the price point w/trailer is very attractive indeed.
 

JBS

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Yes. I talked to AJ from Barrett this morning and he had never seen one like this, but said he didn't consider it a huge upgrade because the tiller arm is still the weak link. (I feel it is still an upgrade because you lose all the slop from the cable)

I talked to Aaron at absolute and he said their are setups that are similar that are used in pontoon boats where routing the cable is an issue. He has seen ones where they use an electric pump to boost it off a hydraulic helm. And others where they just use a hydraulic helm. He mentioned that a lot of times it takes a lot of turns from lock to lock on the steering wheel so sometimes people don't like them.

This was different. It has a high ratio helm in it so the steering was still responsive and it felt like full hydraulic external steering but without all the extra Rams etc..

Dave I make several components for these systems. They have been around for years. My2004 CC which you have been on has this system. As I recall the old Lucky strike had it also. Check out the attached link. The Stern Drive section starts on Page 13. These are off the shelf systems.



http://www.seastarsolutions.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Hydraulic-Steering-Selection-Guide-2015-SL6001-18.pdf

BTW I agree with AJ. As configured these are not as robust as some alternate systems but superior in a lower HP setting. They also offer external rams.


There is a heavier duty version also for yachts and Commercial boats.
 

Uncle Dave

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Yes, as I said in the video and in the thread. They remove all the cable stuff and go straight to the hydraulic on the drive. Cliff told me that teleflex makes the part custom for them, but I don't see why any hydraulic helm with he right ratio wouldn't work. Then you can ditch the power steering all together.
Sorry to add confusion I didn't see the video, or the small print "hydraulic helm steering". (working remote - tiny screen old eyes)

What you said at least in the beginning of the thread was " It has Hydraulic steering to the helm"

I've never heard that term applied to a helm only setup.

Boat looks bitchin- I wanna ride.

UD
 

RiverDave

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Timing has to do with my just beginning to look at decks and similar boats.....;)
I have had it on my last three boats and it is a great set up.
Dave I make several components for these systems. They have been around for years. My2004 CC which you have been on has this system. As I recall the old Lucky strike had it also. Check out the attached link. The Stern Drive section starts on Page 13. These are off the shelf systems.



http://www.seastarsolutions.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Hydraulic-Steering-Selection-Guide-2015-SL6001-18.pdf

BTW I agree with AJ. As configured these are not as robust as some alternate systems but superior in a lower HP setting. They also offer external rams.


There is a heavier duty version also for yachts and Commercial boats.
Thanks for posting the link Jeff. The helm in the AO looks different then the ones in the catalog, but you are correct they have I/O helm steering parts on around page 50 and up. I'm going to do a little more research and then put it in my boat when I get a chance I was really liking it!

Sorry to add confusion I didn't see the video, or the small print "hydraulic helm steering". (working remote - tiny screen old eyes)

What you said at least in the beginning of the thread was " It has Hydraulic steering to the helm"

I've never heard that term applied to a helm only setup.

Boat looks bitchin- I wanna ride.

UD
I didn't know what else to call it.. Technically it's a hydraulic helm, and it's hydraulic steering.. It's just on the inside of the drive.

RD
 

RiverDave

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Wanted to make a little correction on my write up here. I originally wrote that the trailer was built by All in Custom Trailers here in Lake Havasu City AZ. Rusty is building trailers out here for his boats, as well as AO and a few other guys now. I had assumed this was one of the trailers that he had built because I saw the sticker on the trailer, and in talking to Cliff at the Evalutations he had mentioned that Rusty was building his trailers now.

I came to find out earlier today that this particular trailer is actually an Extreme Trailer, and that the article had upset the guys over there as it had given someone else the credit for their work/product.

My apologies to the guys at Extreme Trailers. To be clear on this, Rusty did not claim to have built the trailer, nor did he try to mislead anyone. The mistake was on my part (and mine alone), and it was nothing more then an accident. It has been rectified in this thread, as well as on the front page article as well.

For future reference if you need to get a hold of me for any reason my phone # is 949-678-8369. Sorry about that again.

RD
 
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