New Vegas/Merc 175 Optimax Setup

Hi Randy,

I am not currently a Hydro Stream owner, however I am going to be in the near future. A friend of mine turned us on to the HydroStream product last summer, and I am currently working with John Spaeth to have us build a Vegas XT for the coming season.

I am not the most technical guy when in comes to setup of boat to motor, so I thought I would contact you with a few questions. We will be putting on a 2001 175HP Merc optimax. My Questions are what should the height, setback and prop size be. Info I can provide that may help with these questions are:

- Boat weighs about 950lbs
- Motor weight 430lbs
- Max RPM for this engine is 5250-5750
- Gear ratio is 1.87:1
- Will be putting on a hydraulic jack plate
- Primary use will be for skiing and stuff...not looking for just flat out speed

Thanks for your insight,

Rick Ross


    The Vegas is a great boat and lends itself well to all types of power. It is a very forgiving boat in the sense that even with small power, it responds very well. I wouldn't be too concerned about investing the money in a hydraulic jackplate. With the power you are talking, the benefits are extremely small for the large money invested. It would be wiser to spend it on a good prop, and maybe a foot throttle and other accessories. This next setup may sound goofy to most people, but the boat exists and is currently running in MN. It was the very last Vegas XT ever built at New Brighton. The boat is powered by a stock 225 Yamaha that is mounted right on the transom in the fourth hole. (2 1/2 inches up). The motor has no nosecone, and the prop believe it or not is a 13 1/2 x 26 Merc Laser 2. This prop is designed for the small 115 style gearcase. So when installed on the big gearcase, the exhaust goes over the blades. Why we did this is because this prop has a ton of progression. It's pitch peaks way over the 26 mark. The boat comes out of the hole like a well setup drag boat. Excellent for skiing. Here is the great part, it runs over 80. If I owned the rig you are describing, I would virtually copy this. The setup is extremely simple, and it works. I have run probably 20 - 25 Vegas' in my time, with setbacks, jackplates and all the things you can think of. Sure with BIG POWER, the boat can go faster with a few accessories such as nosecones, jackplates, etc. With the 175, even a jackplate at an elevated engine height, is only going to be a mile an hour or so better than the above setup. On the 175, I would probably run the engine in the 3rd hole, as any 175 on a Vegas is going to be a 70ish boat. I think this rig will pull skiiers great, carry weight and handle excellent. It would be a great way to start out your new Hydrostream experience.




Please submit whatever questions you have to  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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