I bought a newer Correct Craft in 2020 and therefore looking to sell my Excel. I created a diary entry back in 2017 after my first season with the boat. Below is the blog over the past few years.
The boat is nearly 30 years old and still looks good. I chose not to put decals back on, except for a White Chromax style one on the transom. If I don''''''''t find a buyer i''''''''ll likely add white chromax "Nautique" to the port and starboard sides to match.
The vinyl interior was replaced by the previous owner and is in good shape. I had the floor carpet replaced in 2019. I added tower speakers, sub, 5 channel amp, and replaced the 4 stock 6 1/2" interior speakers. I added Ford 351 valve covers, replaced the Protec distributor with the respected D.U.I. https://performancedistributors.com/product/marine-dui-distributors/ and matching blue spark plug wires.
Most gauges and switches on the dash were updated to current VDO gauges, along with a new steering wheel. Perfect Pass was upgraded to GPS, and the dash as a gauge-style receiver to operate the audio.
The boat was plumbed with Fatsacs...two in the back and one in the bow, controlled by three toggle switches on the dash. I removed the Fatsac bags as I didn''''''''t want the extra ballast weight, but I left all the plumbing in place in case a future owner wants to put the bags back in.
The trailer has new fenders, new wheels w/ matching spare tire, new bow stops, Nautique trailer guides, and most carpet replaced upon buying in 2017.
I had ideas for more improvements, but a growing family wanted a bigger boat. I''''''''d keep it if I thought I would use it, but perhaps someone will continue the journey to keep this updated classic unique among the remaining Excels.
I bought this Nautique Excel in August of 2017 from a seller in Indiana. The seller bought the boat while living in Florida, towing it to Indiana when relocating. I believe I am the third owner.
Delivery was made via uShip since our vehicles were not yet ready to tow. One week after delivery and with a hitch finally installed, we towed the boat for the first time. After a successful first launch, we went out skiing! We were able to use it the first season up until mid October.
During those first months of ownership, I made some small tweaks. Besides the initial transfer of ownership stuff (titling, registration, etc.) I added a kneeboard rack and ski rack to the tower, and removed one of the two wakeboard racks. I added tower speakers, a new shift knob, new horn button and new dash switches. I also had some wood and carpet replaced on the trailer, and missing/broken trailer lights fixed.
Off-season upgrades will include removing the non-working mechanical speedometer and replacing it with a gauge style radio, replacing the glove box (one with no CD player cutout), replace existing speakers and adding an amp and sub. I also intend to do some gel coat work and potentially add some SeaDek to the boat.
I grew up boating and learned to ski behind the Ski Nautique 2001. I later drove Nautiques (and Hydrodynes) while working at the summer camp where I learned to ski. While working there, we would go out on a friend''''''''s ''''''''91 Barefoot Nautique; ever since then I have liked the v-drive format.
Flash forward many years, my kids were learning to ski at that same camp, and my desire to own a boat peaked. I still preferred the v-drive design, primarily for the interior space.
When I started looking, I missed out on an open bow Excel...a beautiful one owner boat (also in Indiana). I was bummed even though my wife wasn''''''''t yet sold on the whole boat idea.
Then I ran across and almost ended up getting a 176. However, I held off...worried about the potential lack of interior space and also the condition of the motor of that specific boat.
Next, I saw a 196 that looked good in photos, but not so good in person. Even though it was a good deal, I couldn''''''''t get past how much work would need to be done cosmetically. The next boat was a later model 196, but I lost interest after reading about the issues with the gauges used in that era. Also, the design of the 196 would get better (in my opinion) with the redesign in 2002 that featured storage behind the rear seat. The price was so good it still was a good buy - just not for me.
I kept looking, thinking I might get lucky and find a nice 196 for a good price, but every now and then I''''''''d be drawn to either Barefoot or Excel listings. I ended up liking the Excel more, with the walk-through windshield and teak accents. At this point I think the only thing that would lure me away would be a Super Sport or Super AIr Nautique.
But as a first time boat owner, I really like the Excel and look forward to doing more updates.
The first full season was overall very good. Prior to the season, I added new valve covers, flame arrestor, installed new wheels for the trailer, installed a new ACME propeller, among other things. I replaced most of the gauges on the dash, and I even sent in the Perfect Pass gauge to have the face updated to Nautique branding, and the color changed from black to white. The new depth finder transducer was mounted on the transom where the right side original speedo pick up tube was mounted, which had not been in use since the previous owners had installed Perfect Pass.
I removed the fat sacs from the bow and stern as I don''''''''t intend to use ballast on this boat, but it is still wired with pumps ready to go, should I ever decide to sell the boat. I also had the audio upgraded professionally. It is nice to be able to stream music from a phone and control using the new gauge receiver on the dash, which replaced the original left side analog Airglide speedometer.
Early in the season, the ProTec ignition system that was original to the boat started acting up. I found a replacement distributor called D.U.I. (w/ new plugs and wires) from Performance Distributors and had that installed in June...huge improvement! D.U.I. comes in various colors (including clear), so since the boat is blue I went with a blue distributor cap and matching blue wires.
As the season was wrapping up I had the banged up trailer fenders replaced, and I also had some minor upholstery damage (from a raccoon) on the rear bench seat repaired.
Winter projects include removing the worn carpet and replacing with SeaDek, and having gelcoat work done below the waterline, and also making a change or two to prevent/minimize vapor lock.
I would like to overhaul the motor and increase the horsepower by adding a new top end kit, but that might have to wait until the end of 2019. At a minimum I will have a compression test done to get an updated baseline on the motor, but overall I was happy with our boating experience in 2018.
Between the 2018 and 2019 season I removed the black pin stripes on the hull since they were worn in some areas. Also, another v-dive owner of a similar boat noted that black wasn''''''''t an original pinstripe based on the gelcoat colors, so that also encouraged me to remove the pinstripes.
It took awhile to remove all the residue from the pinstripe adhesive. Even though I liked the contrast of the black stripes, afterwards the boat looked even better. I decided not put any other pinstripes on at the time, as I was considering doing a wrap to replicate the look of a modern Nautique. (I still like the wrap idea, but its not currently a priority).
I also tore out a small section of the original carpet that was severely worn in the open cabin area, and after inspecting the floor I decided not to use Seadek on the floor, as the floor would require too much prep work, or would need to be replaced entirely to provide a good surface.
Instead, I found a local upholstery shop that replaced the carpet on the floor from the pylon forward, and the difference was night and day. It felt and looked like a new boat again.
I also had some attention paid to the bottom of the boat, which I felt was necessary if I wanted to keep the boat for several years.
As the 2019 season began, we lost time on the water due to several weeks of flooding. My boat hours were down overall, but we still had a good season.
I noticed at times excessive dripping near the drive shaft stuffing box which I was able to minimize, but will likely replace the shaft packing or possibly move to a no-drip shaft seal for the 2020 season.
In late July one of my head gaskets blew. Fortunately, I was keeping the boat at a marina with a mechanic, who suggested a few options. Wanting the boat back on the water asap, I decided to just have just the one side serviced. A few days later we were back in business, and just like when the new D.U.I. distributor went in, I could notice a difference in the performance after the new gasket was installed.
One other addition this summer was the addition of a battery or switch and running two batteries. I have not had any issues with vapor lock, which I attribute to 1) good gas 2) the D.U.I. 3) more available power when cranking over from the two batteries.
As a new head gasket was put in this summer, I don''''''''t plan on overhauling the engine to get more HP in the offseason.
I still plan to install SeaDek, but just running along the top of the gunnels. Before I do that, I''''''''m planning to relocate the transom mounted cleats to the port and starboard side (N3 Boatworks did this to their ''''''''91 Barefoot Nautique), replace the originals with pop-up style cleats, and possibly add Phender Pro mounts. I also plan to install cupholders in the gunnel near the rear bench like in the 92-94 models, as well as install cupholders where the cleats have been removed from the transom. Then it should be ready for the addition of SeaDek,
After those cosmetic changes are complete, I feel the boat will be close to where I want it to be. Besides additional power, there are only a few items I would consider doing, but may opt not to do (ie - powdercoat the windshield). However, as mentioned earlier, a nice addition in 2020 (besides the cupholders, cleats, and SeaDek) would be the addition of a dripless driveshaft seal.