Budget Buzzard


First of all, you are best kept secret for Hydrostream Tech. I really appreciate what you are doing here and regularly stop in to see if I might find some Vulture tech:)

Well it seems scarce, so I just better step-in and ask!

We have been fortunate to find, what I think is going to be a good solid project boat. Aside from some gel fade and the need of a good cleaning...we have found an all original 1980 "CocoLoco" Vulture. The Boat has been recently moisture metered and it is not near needing a core, transom or floor replacement ...Lucky me cause this needs to be a budget project. This boat was meticulously owned by the original owner for 20 years!!

Knowing full well that the Vulture is probably the toughest Stream to set-up,  am looking  to just put together a modest 75-80 mph ride...that is efficient and well set-up!

So plans include setback and, of course, a good prop and gearcase.

Here are my questions

I certainly want to play with the Center of Gravity (C/G). It is my hope that maybe setting the front seats back 6 - 8" might help. This Vulture has back to back, high-backs....Are the seat bases removable or are they glassed to the floor?  If they are glassed, is there any effective way of placing them farther back without cutting the boat?

I am considering the use of a Merc Paralift for setback. Do you think the standard transom will be structurally adequate with say a 400# Merc fixed to it and the Paralift?  Should I do some transom reinforcing like Knee braces? If I have the 20 gal gas tank, is there any room to make some small knee braces? If the transom and the floor are good, will glassing these knees braces from the transom to the floor, be adequate or do you recommend getting in the stringers!!!

Since the Vulture requires setback and lift, here is what I am thinking. I would like to use a Sportmaster (SM) gearcase due to their good stern lifting qualities, but knowing full well that it only works well with 0 to +/-.5 neg trim. So this would mean my hull has to be flat, sharp and aerated. Does the Vulture have a factory hook or flat pad? If is has a hook it will be hard to drive the SM the way it should. Should I flatten the pad? What do those speed rails on the Vulture bottom really do???

My hope is not to waste too much energy trying to lift the nose of this Vulture. So I am hoping to use the SM's stern lifting qualities to fly the boat flatter and hopefully more efficient. What do you think?

I plan to power this set-up with a 200 something carbed Merc. What have you got you can build for a guy on a budget with an SM case and maybe an offshore mid???:-)

I really like Merc ETs and the new Chopper IIs...what do you think?  Again I am hopefully not going to bury the transom of this boat just to lever the bow.

Aside from this, the boat will undergo rewiring, switch to opposed steering and  some gauge cleanup...drive-it and go have fun, for our young family of five, and some grandparents. It should be a sweet boat to do that in, and some fun for dad too.

THANKS...I anxiously await your thoughts and again, I appreciate your efforts



    The photos of the boat look really good. Getting the Vulture to run 75 to 80 is actually quite easy. In my opinion, do not, I repeat DO NOT, run the paralift on the transom on that boat. Several things will happen:

    1.     Those little aluminum wings try to correct the water flow coming off of the center pod. The farther away the gearcase is, the nastier the water to the gearcase. This is an unusual phenomenom, but we worked on one this summer that had me stumped until I moved the motor to a 6 inch jackplate from the 10 inch one that the boat had on it. Believe it or not, we gained bowlift by shortening the jackplate.

    2.     The transom on that boat was not intended for any jackplate, so you can imagine what a paralift would do to it.

    3.     With those little aluminum wings, and the long pod-like pad, the boat actually has a lot of natural taillift and does not like to be flown with it's nose in the air. We ran a noseconed Bob's case at an inch or so below the bottom. Had gobs of bowlift, and easily ran 80+ with a 200 ProMax.

    4.     Moving the seats back would probably help. Tork, who works with me, had a Vulture that we took to Balz to the Wall Fest 1, and we moved the seats back 5 inches. Now this boat had the bucket seats in it, and not the highbacks like yours. Those highbacks, as you know, weigh a ton. So, I would exchange them for the newer style buckets. The seatbox is glassed in, but you can remove it with a cutting wheel on die-grinder. You cut around the outside edge and lift. We ran a 6 inch steering extension to a formuling wheel and it worked great. To gain some of our seating back, we moved the backseat a foot forward and built a little deck behind it. Now we gained a ton of fuel tank area, and were able to mount the battery right in the center.

    5.    Make sure the hull pad is very flat. If it is not, blueprint it. Also remove any hooks from the tail on the outside of the pad going up towards the lifting strakes. Some of the boats had these hooks put in. If you remove them, you won't believe the difference. Because of the height you need to run the gearcase, the Sportmaster would actually lift the bow, not create taillift. Running the gearcase at or above the bottom, would not have
much benefit in this particular case. Until we break 100, there is no reason to have the gearcase that high.

    6.    On Tork's boat, we ran 2 inch spacers behind a Land and Sea jack for a total of 6 1/4" of setback. We ran the jackplate down a couple of inches from the normal height of 1 inch below the bottom, only when he carried a larger person in the front with him. And even then, the boat would still run in the high 80's. Granted, this was with 260 ponies.

    I hope this gives you some food for thought, and I could share more detail with you if you wish. We ran our Vulture for 2 years, and tried a lot of different things in it and started with 200 stock hp. The boat would run over 80 with the 200, so I think it would be what you want. As far as building a motor with or without an offshore center, that is kind of what we do, and I would be happy to discuss any combination with you. You can
contact me through our website, www.gpiracing.com, or you can give me a call at (320)267-0440 (cell) or (320)356-9068. I would be glad to talk about your project anytime, so feel free.




Please submit whatever questions you have to IHRTechTalk@yahoo.com.  All questions and answers selected will be displayed on this page as they come in.  Note: though all boaters are welcome, priority may be given to I.H.R. members.  Randy can not be held responsible for any advice given.  Though his information and expertise is second to none, he has no control over what you do with your boat.  It is up to you to boat safely and act responsibly, and his advice is only to be used as a guidance for your high performance boat/motor of which you are the one responsible for the risks involved.

Mark C.


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