Issue: October 2006
This brawny beast is wakeboarding’s latest best friend.
WORDS – ANDREW RICHARDSON
Avante Marine has gone ‘wake-o’ in a big way! It’s now importing the hefty Tige wake boats, with the flagship 24Ve arriving just in time for the Sydney International Boat Show. And judging by the attention it received, this rig will go on turning a lot of heads out on the water.
We were lucky enough to tag along on this big toy’s maiden voyage on Berowra water, well away from the hustle and bustle of Sydney. The boat launch went off without a hitch, champagne and all, but the retrieve was not quite as smooth. But we won’t talk about that just now and maybe never will!
Tige are a big name wakeboat builder based in Texas and although new to Australia, they aren’t new to the wakeboarding game and have a 2400-strong member owner association. They’ve been messing around with wakeboats for so long they’ve patented a hull design and trim system that delivers no ballast wakes! You heard it right- this mothership of a wakeboat has no water ballast! It surprised us at first but then once you give the boat a burl, it all makes sense. Essentially, Tige has taken a chunk from the under aft section of the hull, so when you lift the tabs, the hull falls deeper into the water, pumping out a hefty wake. We took some shots of the wake (with only one onboard) in both the wake and slalom setting, so you can be the judge.
PEOPLE V WATER BALLAST
As they say, everything is bigger in Texas. We’ve never been on an open ‘production’ speedboat with such large passenger capacity. The big Texan has seating for 16, which is almost water taxi territory and is perhaps another reason for the absence of water ballast on the standard wake boat. If you need more weight; forget the water bladders in the aft compartment. All you have to do is pack this boat full of eager bodies. Only problem is that they will all want a turn on the board behind the boat. If you want to add water there’s room for it in the big stowage bays aft ! And if you’re dead set on adding water ballast it can be ordered as a factory option. The Tige’s 6.2lt 330hp V8 Black Scorpion VDrive was spinning a four-blade brass prop that delivered rapid but smooth hole-shot and extracted spritely performance from this 2 tonne craft.
First go at the helm and you realise these guys have the wake and slalom configuration all worked out. It takes little time to get used to this boat and the ‘Taps2 plate’ trim tabs really work. I wouldn’t call the Tige’ fast, but she’s not meant to be.
Her low-pitch prop, high torque set-up delivers the goods down low and running around 3000rpm/24mph is the most common cruise speed. The patented Convex-V hull design and the use of the Taps2 plate boosts the wake when required. We had her almost at full wake position and she felt at her best. Further adjustment has the bow right down, producing a smaller wake suited to the slalom skier. We cruised around at mid-trim for quite a while and found the hull carved through the water and held exceptionally well in the corners, never showing signs of cavitation. The hefty midship fins kept her on the rails in the turns and I was sure the hull could handle plenty more than what we gave it.
The helm position felt comfy and the dash had a range of engine instruments including a ‘perfect pass’ cruise control system, digital depth, Faria speedo and a gutsy stereo with subwoofer under the helm, but no sign of those huge speakers on the rack. Yet! The seating was abundant and so was stowage. There were two huge ski lockers accessed from each side aft . The oversize, removable swim platform boasted access to rope stowage integrated into the stern. There was also a large under seat cooler, dash stowage, side pockets and plenty of drink holders.
Finally, the bow carpets were removable for cleaning, but not so the aft cockpit carpet. The teak swim platform really sets this boat apart from the crowd, as does the custom hull and deck colours. This craft had a black tower to match the hull colours, but I’m told many people go for the silver/anodised look – the choice is yours. The tower’s board stowage system wasn’t as sophisticated as some I have seen, but it did the job. Customisation is the key with these craft, so you can go for a base model around $95,000. The tested craft has the Black Board Tower, remote stereo, a larger engine package and the Perfect Pass Cruise Control system, which pushed the price as tested to $113,000.
The Tige’s build quality is up there with the best and her weight shows the construction efforts to support the life-plus warranty off ered by the manufacturer. The underwater gear (including fins) are heavy-duty brass, while the hand-laid, multi-directional hull features a Vinylester barrier coat. We’d have loved to see this boat alongside some other wakeboats because the Texas beast certainly felt like a fully featured wake mammoth. Big and different, she will certainly stand out in the crowd.
A 6.2lt 330hp V8 Black Scorpion
MerCruiser V-Drive powered the Tige.
The following speed-to-rpm figures
were logged in smooth water.
Beam: ……….. 2.55m
Fuel: …………. 177lt