Greg Terzian's X-Stream V-King with Mercury Bridgeport EFI.
Well, as many of us know, most boats that are unique or special to their owners usually have stories to go with them. We all remember how we worked hard to save the money for our version of what a hot boat should be – well, at least some of us did. We looked all over, asked questions, wore out old catalogs, and spent countless hours dreaming of the day when it would be our turn to show up at the launching ramp with something that would inspire fear and awe in the minds of the average boater.
Our boats say something about ourselves. The hard work and dedication that goes into creating, restoring, and maintaining a high performance rig is an extension of our willingness to show to others (and ourselves) what we are capable of. Hydrostream boats offer a special place in the eyes and hearts of many hot boaters. Why is this? Maybe it’s the unique and sinister look of that famous hooked nose, or the metalflake finishes that only a Hydrostream can keep in style. Perhaps it’s because Hydrostream boats represent an era in hot boating that we just will not allow to wither away.
Like many of you, my current project is not my first Hydrostream. It all started back in 1988, when I purchased my first Hydrostream – a silver and red metalflake Vector. I can still remember the day I looked at the boat, knowing little about them except that I had to have it. It was a 1979 model, in prime condition, rigged with a Mariner 140 inline six, no low water pickups, single cable steering, and no setback. That boat turned a 14 x 24 Chopper at 6200 rpm, and that was all the inspiration I needed to be hooked for life.
Several years later, I purchased a 1982 Viking with OMC power. I loved the boat, and thought that it handled and performed better than my Vector. The boat looked great, however, it suffered the fate of many Hydrostreams and other older boats – water impregnation in the stringers and core. It was a hard lesson to learn, but a necessary one.
A 1986 Valero YT replaced that boat, which was the first tunnel hull I owned. At first, the Valero took getting used to. It didn’t look like a classic Hydrostream, nor did it perform like one with its YT bottom. I began to respect the capabilities and limitations of the YT bottom, and grew very comfortable with it. I also began to notice that the YT could almost pilot itself at speeds over 90 mph when rigged properly, and I believe my V-bottom skills dulled as a result. Nevertheless, the Valero was a fantastic experience, but it was time to move on to something new – something untouched and never rigged. Something that could be created exactly the way I wanted. I had an idea…
As may of you read in my Part I of my X-Stream project, I located a boat nearby that had been sitting here for years, unrigged, and never sold. It was a new X-Stream V-King, in the exact colors that I wanted! I called the owner of the dealer where the boat was located, negotiated a price for the boat over the telephone, drove to the dealer to inspect the hull, and had it delivered the next day. I couldn’t believe that this hull was sitting around for almost six years without ever being sold, rigged, or damaged in any way. It was perfect, and I paid a total of $4600 for it, with a new trailer and cockpit cover – delivered to my door. That in August of 1999, and the boat went into my garage, where is stayed until the spring.
March of 2000 would be the start of my project. First, I wanted to evaluate the platform – its construction, potential weaknesses, and manufacturing quality. The front bucket seats were mounted on painted steel platforms, which were already showing signs of corrosion from sitting for years. Aside from being aesthetically unappealing, they weighed about 30 lbs. each.
The floor of the boat was constructed of construction-grade plywood, which was painted instead of glassed over for water protection. Clearly, this situation was not desirable, and it was decided that the entire floor would be removed, as well as anything below it. It was time for a fresh start. At this point, the boat went to Progression Industries (manufacturer of Progression offshore powerboats) for a structural makeover. The team at Progression are experts at composite construction and exotic layups, so this was the only logical choice. I was determined to have a boat that would not suffer the fate of most Hydrostreams and older boats.
Progression greeted the boat with skepticism. Compared to what they were used to constructing, the X-Stream was a joke. The entire boat was evaluated, and a plan was put into action. AME 4000 series resin, bi and tri directional fiberglass, Baltek Decolite composite panels, and other composites would replace the existing structure. After the new stringers were completed, the all-composite floor was installed, with access panels as well. There is no balsa core in the hull of my X-Stream. Finally, all hull hardware, including the windshield and snaps were removed, and the holes countersunk, to prevent stress cracking. The windshield was thru-bolted when replaced.
After the floor was installed, Progression looked to the transom for improvement. Two very large composite knee braces were installed, effectively boxing in the entire transom area underneath. Further, the wing chines were included in the box structure by adding lateral braces that tied in with the transom knees. This solution will minimize concentrated stress on the stern of the boat, as well as reduce unwanted flexing of the structure.
The hull work was complete, and now I had a boat that was lighter, much stronger, and will not have the water impregnation problems a typical wood-reinforced hull would have. Next was the rigging – the fun part. The boat went to Bob Garone, of Marine 2000, where he installed a full set of Rex Marine Auto Meter gauges, with red anodized bezels. Bob was very helpful, and he gave my boat the kind of care and attention to detail that he would if it was his own. Simply stated, his work is among the best I’ve seen, and his wiring work is nothing short of a masterpiece.
After leaving Marine 2000, the X-Stream came back to me, where Wayne Lavender and myself mounted the freshly built Mercury 2.4 EFI Offshore Bridgeport. More on this motor later. After the motor was mounted on the Bob’s Machine heavy-duty jackplate, the boat went back to Progression for final rigging work.
Progression essentially knew that I wanted all of their experience and knowledge to go into rigging my boat. I wanted the best of the best to go into it, and that’s what they did. It all started when Bill Howard of Progression began installing the wiring harness, and the main elements to the electrical system. All wiring was color-coded, using waterproof conduit as a passageway to protect as well as clean up the installation. The conduit ran from the dash to the stern, and completely encapsulated all wiring and connections. The difficulty with this task was maintaining this standard in the confined quarters of the X-Stream’s inner transom structure. The conduit runs underneath the front of the transom well, and the appropriate exit points for wiring were fabricated and sealed. Bill’s work was stellar, and anyone who owns a Progression powerboat will know what I mean.
After the wiring was complete, the fuel system was installed, along with the power trim pump and accessories. The fuel system used a Weldon high-pressure fuel pump with a spin-on filter, and the return line enters the Mercury water separator. There is no low-pressure fuel pump, and a primer bulb is used to prime the fuel pump. Although this setup is somewhat unorthodox, it was recommended for my application, and seemed to function flawlessly. The fuel tank is an aluminum 20-gallon unit, which was removed during the floor work, and painted with a special coating to protect it against oxidation and corrosion. This is the same finish that Progression coats their internal fuel tanks before they are installed into the hulls of their boats.
The hydraulic system uses an Oildyne high-pressure pump, which feeds the trim ram through Aeroquip aircraft stainless steel braided lines and fittings. It should be noted that all fittings on the boat are manufactured by Aeroquip, including fittings needed by the motor as well. The problem with this setup was that it was very costly – just ask Jim Wheaton what Aeroquip fittings cost!
At this point, the boat was nearing completion, and the foot throttle and shifter were installed. Both components were manufactured by In Control, and I feel they are the best quality available anywhere. A custom foot throttle platform was constructed and fiberglassed to the floor, which was carpeted to match the interior. The In Control shifter has a very classy look – it’s not too fancy, while most of its mechanicals are hidden behind the installation mount. This shifter also has a neutral lock, which would prevent any accidental shifting into gear while the motor is running. No, I’ve never had that happen before.
The motor started life as a Mercury EFI Offshore Bridgeport, which was never blown or welded. It was a perfect starting piece. Wayne Lavender and Bob Garone disassembled the motor entirely and they began a long rebuild. Essentially, all internal components are new, and the only performance tweaks are minor engine block exhaust work, and Boyesen reeds. The engine block was painted black, and the engine was assembled using all stainless steel hex-key bolts. In addition to providing corrosion resistance, the stainless steel hardware also added a custom look. I just better remember to include a full set of hex keys in my toolbox! The midsection and trim bracket were all disassembled, sandblasted, and powder coated black. The final touch was a Bob’s Machine engine cowl and lower pan with Bob Garone’s custom stainless steel pan plate.
The boat only saw the water once, for about 15 minutes. I never ran the boat wide open, but the initial impression was that the boat is brutally fast. It seems very light, as it should, weighing in at a little over 1000 lbs, including the motor and rigging. This rig is going to take a little getting used to. We ran the boat in Tanner Park, Long Island, for its first run, which ended prematurely because of a fuel pump leak. The faulty pump was changed the next day, and the boat now sits in my garage, until the weather gets warm enough for another test run.
This season, the boat will go back to Progression, where it will be measured for a race hatch, which will include a motor fairing. The hatch will necessitate the installation of a lateral bulkhead, which will be removable when the hatch is removed. The hatch will be constructed of Kevlar and reinforced with balsa. According to Progression, the total weight for the hatch should be about 35 lbs.
I hope you all enjoyed the article, and I apologize if it was a bit long. I guess that’s what happens to us northerners as we wait for the weather to allow us back to the water. Until then, I’ll send the Hydrostream Registry updates on my X-Stream project.
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