Virage Design History
Hi Randy! Great to see this new addition to
the I.H.R. I have a model question for you, rather than a set-up
question. Mark thought my question to him would make a great
question to you!!
I had a 1989 Virage last year that I sold to Ron Pratt (Alaska 'Streamin).
His article is on the I.H.R. on his trip to the lower 48 and the adventure
towing/transporting my/his boat all the way to Sitka Alaska. My '89
had the step in the outer sponsons. I know that in '89 there was
also a non-stepped Virage model. I believe my/Ron's hull was called
the 'Turbo'. My question is this: What bottoms were available
for 1989 thru 1991? What were the models called, and what is the
difference between the 'Stage' bottoms? Was my '89 a stage one or two?
What makes a stage 3? Was there a stage 2? Was a stage 4 in the
works when Pipkorn closed down? I'd love to see a detailed
description of the Virage models.
I live in Michigan, and a guy on the other side of the state has purchased
Virage bottom molds out of Minnesota and brought them back here. I
sure wish the 'factory' would decide to bring the Virage model back.
The timing is right, with all the tunnel bottoms that are so popular now
in the 'offshore' sized boats.
Thanks a bunch!
My Virage originally came from Avon Minnesota,
probably from a dealer you were familiar with in 1989! It still had the
dealer sticker on it when I bought it last spring.
I'll give you what I know on the Virage. The Virage was built on the ZT
hull. This was the Hooker bass boat hull that preceded the Virage. I sold
a fair amount of the bass hulls and was trying to help Howard with the
development. The original ZT's (stage 1) had no steps in the sponsons.
They couldn't carry weight very well, and they rode wet at low speed. I
wanted to sell more, so I worked with Howard to free the boat up. The
second version (stage 2) had a simple 12" notch put in the rear of
the sponson. It worked better. Before you needed a 14" set back to
get a stage 1 to fly the bow. Now we used a 7 or 8 inch jack. But the boat
still galloped at low speeds and rode kind of wet. All this time the
Virage was taking shape. An all red and an all yellow stage one had been
built for the brochure and then sold. I still wanted a looser running
boat. So with Howard we can up with the stage 3 or "turbo"
bottom. All of these bottom mods were done with clay inserted in the stage
1 mold. They did make a more permanent insert later. The turbo was good as
a bass hull and the Virage. Just before the closing the Stage 4 was taking
place. The multiple running surfaces were pulled forward another 18 inches
with a few more tricks. The whole object of all this was to make the boat
run free and act like a v-bottom that trapped air.
There were also 3 HST's built with a short sponson. One I crashed in Mod
VP and it is in the dumpster. One more was the black one shipped to Muscle
Boats but it was placed on the truck with the bow facing up and the driver
went under a low bridge on the way there. You can guess what happened (it
was shorter!). The last one is owned by Jon Graff of Brainerd, MN. It was
the only HST special with a production interior. Again the object was less
set back, faster boat.
In closing I hope this explains some of the different models of streams.
It also might explain why I come across as not being a big fan of set back
plates. I have always felt, why buy a lightweight boat and put a ton of
metal back on it. Why not just do it right the first time. Roark
Summerford did it with the STV pro comp. The balance and performance is
always better on that boat when you bolt it right on the transom. We had
Howard thinking that way too and I think great boats could have come if
they had not closed down.
it is white with blue/red orange and yellow stripes, it's probably my old
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