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Blue Wave 2800 Makaira. My Review

Old 12-27-2020, 09:01 AM
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Default Blue Wave 2800 Makaira. My Review

Ok, first off Happy Holidays to my fellow THT members. What a crazy year but still one to be very thankful for! I've had some people ask me to do a little review on this boat. I am not a writer or real expert so take it easy on the bashing. With that said, here's the story of why I bought a hybrid, how I chose the Makaira and my thoughts on the boat after 25hrs of use.

First off, I am not a bay boat, hybrid or single engine type of guy. I love the looks, ride and function of a 3 piece, deep V hull with 2 or more motors. That's just what appeals to me. We have owned several bay boats from different manufacturers and I always pretty immediately got tired of the ride, getting wet or simply not having the ability to get offshore when I wanted to. The one bay boat that I did enjoy was our Sportsman Masters 247. Admittedly, I have never been on a Sportsman that I liked at all before the 247 but for whatever reason they got that boat right.

So after being approached and finally deciding to sell our OB27, the hunt for another ride was on. This time I decided to actually stop and think about the past 5 years or so and what we were really using our boats for most of the time. Life had changed a lot for us. 5 years ago we had a son to go along with two teenagers. Fortunately we are using the boat a lot as it's our escape from what can sometimes be a really hectic life. Our friends are with us a lot more now and sometimes there's 2-3 other families with us when we go out. I found that we fish a lot inshore, at the jetties, nearshore and at the 10-20 mile reefs. Sadly as much as I love to be in blue water and chase mahi, tuna, wahoo, etc, we are realistically only getting there 4-5 times a years out of Charleston and on our planned vacations to South Florida, the Keys and Bimini. We have also been doing a lot of traveling on the boat on the Intracoastal. We take several trips a year to Beaufort and Daufuskie Island every year. Sometimes we just get in the boat and go out to lunch or dinner.

What this all told me is that if I was being true to myself, I could make my life a lot easier with a more versatile boat. I sat down and thought about exactly what I could buy that would do everything that we enjoy and do it well. The absolute musts were fishing/ move around space, comfortable seating that didn't intrude on fishing, 2 or more livewells that could keep finicky baits, spot lock trolling motor for inshore, jetty and most importantly reef fishing, speed and fuel efficiency preferably from a Mercury outboard, storage space, fish boxes, cooler space and modern electronics and finally it had to ride fantastic and keep us dry in the situations we would be using it in.

After I made my list I did a lot of research to find that perfect boat for us. As most of you already know, this is usually not a possibility. Typically there is always give and take. You sacrifice speed for the ride, seating for storage, comfort for fishing amenities, etc.( I should note here that if money were no object this would obviously make the search much easier. We wanted to stay at our below 140k though.) I really loved our Onslow Bay 27. I thought what would be perfect would be to find an OB27 with forward seating. Two problems with this is they are very hard to find and honestly it's pretty tight in that boat up front with the FS. I looked at all the obvious choices.. Reg 26FS, OB27XS, Contender 28S, etc and I just found something in each of them that didn't work for us. I then started to think outside the box. If I looked at my list and was really being honest with myself, a big hybrid would be ideal for EVERYTHING that we love to do. Better yet I could accomplish everything we love to do on a boat with....gulp.... a single engine...

So now the decision was made. I was focused on finding a large, single engine hybrid that fit at least most of the needs I listed above. I started by looking at and/or riding on hybrids from Sportsman, Crevalle, Seahunter, Pathfinder, Everglades, Contender and a few others. I ruled out a few brands just simply because of quality issues, Seahunt and Crevalle are two examples. I ruled out a couple more because of insane pricing, Seahunter, Seavee and Barker for example. I ruled out a couple due to the fact that they were way more of a bay boat than a true hybrid, think Pathfinder and Sportsman. Some I just wouldn't own do to past issues with quality and ride, included were Scout and Grady White. So I was down to the Everglades 243, 253, 273, Yellowfin 26 and possibly a Contender 25 Bay. The Everglades 243 and 253 were next to be ruled out. Too small, weird forward seating, small console and the ride was just ok. Next out was the Everglades 273. It had everything we liked but price came into the picture again considering it only comes with twins. The Contender 25 Bay was overall just a weird and disappointing ride. I also couldn't get into the looks of the boat for some reason. So I was down to a single engine YF26. One walk around and I knew as much as I have always wanted a YF, this would not be the model. Build looked great but again everything was small and the ride was just ok for a very expensive, used single engine hybrid.

At this point I was not sure that we would find the right Hybrid for us. If money were no object and I could own multiple boats I would have probably looked hard at the Seahunter 28 Floridian or Everglades 273 with twins. However if we were going to spend 170-250k on a boat at the present time, there is no way I would ever invest it in a hybrid model of any brand. Then as I was browsing one day I ran across a video from Saltwater Sportsman reviewing a 2020 Blue Wave 2800.. To be honest, up to this point in all my boating experience, time spent at many Miami Boat Shows and daily obsession with boating and fishing, I had never even heard of this brand. The only thought that came to mind was that I vaguely remembered seeing something on THT a year or so ago possibly about Blue Wave and that they were building a big Hybrid that was going to be a true inshore/ offshore ride.

Although I put almost zero trust in what a magazine or paid reviewer says about a boat or any product for that matter, this boat had my full attention. I was completely into the looks (except for the weird pattern molded into the front hull sides) and if the ride, seating, comfort, options, fishability and build quality were as good as was being presented, this could be our next ride. I was very intrigued but reluctant to believe this boat would work out for us. It all goes back to the fact that I had never heard of this company, or at least paid any attention to them when I did hear the name. Anyway, as always I got to work digging up everything I could find about Blue Wave. I searched everything I could find, talked to fellow THT members, dealers, and ultimately called and talked to Steven Parks himself. It was during that call hearing the explanation of the build process of their 28, especially way their stringers are built, the quality of adhesives and products used and seeing the videos of the boat coming to life that I knew I needed to see one in person and go for a ride.

This is getting long winded so I'll just say finding a 2800 Pure Bay or Makaira at the time was impossible. Finding a 2800 Makaira ( FS model) new with a single was almost impossible. There were 2 in the country when I was looking. One with a Suzuki 350, not for me and one with a Verado 400, now we are talking! I decided to make the trip to NC to see the boat in person and honestly I couldn't be happier that I did. Here is what I found when crawling all over this boat.....

Number one things that stood out to me when I walked up to it was that it was a big, wide, nice flare and visually beautiful! The weird indentions on the front all of the sudden made sense in person. The boat had a beautiful flow to it, especially with the two toned gelcoat and stepped hull. The gelcoat was visually flawless upon close inspection as well. I would not change a thing on the outside of this hull, I was impressed.

Things only got better when I stepped inside. The first thing I noticed was that the floor had that super solid feel to it. I don't know how to describe it exactly but it's what you feel when you step on a Freeman or Onslow Bay. It feels like you are walking on a solid piece of concrete that has been prettied up. Along with that was the grip of the non skid. I will say it's by far the best non skid I have ever walked on. It's so good that some owners don't like walking on it with their bare feet although this has never bothered me at all.

I first wanted to see the bilge access. The entire rear seat lifts on hydraulics and reveals a wide open bilge area. I noticed EVERYTHING was labeled, all thru hulls are big, bronze Groccos. All pumps are high quality Jabsco or Rule. Everything is clean, neat and smooth. No its not as finished as an Onslow Bay or Intrepid for example but it is very nice.

The hardtop and piping were next. I hung on the sides, back and front and found no movement at all. Much like what an Onslow Bay hardtop feels like. The piping is big, the powdercoating is flawless, they use nylon washers on all bolts to protect the coating, etc. There is also a ton of storage in the top. There's a traditional Ebox, a front and rear "glovebox" and plenty of lighting. There are even built in phone holders on the top, It is extremely nice but not as finished around the edges as what you would see on a high end CC if I am being critical.

The seating is up next and this boat does not disappoint. This boat has one of the most well thought out forward seating designs you will find in a CC. The forward seating is actually recessed into the front gunwales. This is genius as it barely takes up any floor space at all. The seating may look smaller in pics however a 6'2" person can sit against the backrests and fully extend their legs on each side of the boat. Add in the bow filler/ casting deck and cushion and three adults or 4-5 kids can comfortably sit in the FS. When I say comfortable, I mean it is actually super comfortable up front. After all, the entire boat is cushioned by Llebroc. Moving rearward you get a Yeti 75 with a Llebroc seat cushion in front of the console. It's your choice to use it or leave it out. The backrest stays in place. The helm has twin Llebroc seats with side and center armrests. There is a pull down footrest on the leaning post and a molded in footrest in the console. In the stern is a flip up 2-3 person seat that is again super comfortable because of the perfect seating height and Llebroc cushions. This boat delivers in the comfort and seating areas. By far the most comfortable and thoughtful seating of any boat we have owned. The best part is that it does not hinder fishing in any way.

Speaking of fishing features,,, The boat has plenty of rod holders. There are holders on the Ttop, including two kingfish holders, along the console and in the gunwales. There's plenty of room for more to be added as well. The boat has a great elevated casting deck area in the rear and with the bow filler installed the front serves as a fantastic casting or net throwing area as well. There is a large amount of fishing area behind the leaning post. Because of the width and thoughtful front seating in the boat, you can comfortably fish all down the gunwales and sight cast or fight multiple bottom dwellers or sailfish from anywhere. The fishbox up front is massive as well and has two separate access doors. The depth and length is impressive and will hold just about anything you can throw at it. If that's not enough, the insulated areas under the forward seating double as dry storage or extra fish holding options.

One of the best fishing features of this boat is the livewell options. Ours has the leaning post livewell which brings the total to four. Being someone who does a ton of fishing with very finicky live bait, multiple livewells that are built properly and have good capacity is absolutely a must. This boat has the leaning post livewell that will hold a ton of pilchards or ballyhoo, two corner livewells that are perfect for smaller amounts of menhaden. mullet, shrimp, mud minnows and pinfish and coolest of all, a front 6 gallon pitchwell option. This front pitchwell is fantastic when pitching baits to tuna or sailfish or just to have baits for people at the front half of the boat while bottom dropping. All livewells are blue, round, recirculate, are oxygenated with bubblers and are lighted for night fishing.

Another very well thought out and genius feature on this boat is the toe kick. Blue Wave managed to mold in a fantastic toe kick under the gunwales of a two piece boat. The impressive part is that it carries all the way to the forward seating. It is present around the entire sides and back of the leaning post as well. So you can lock in and fight a fish all up and down the gunwales with padding hitting you exactly where you want it. You can pull bait out of the livewell comfortably as well. This is a super cool feature that makes fishing this boat super comfortable.

There is a lot of storage on this boat, especially for a 28 hybrid. The forward seating has dry, insulated storage lockers, the front floor fish boxes will hold a ton of luggage or groceries, inside the console there's a very nice space and you can use the rear livewells if needed by simply cleaning them out and shutting off the valves. There is ample floor space to put your coolers as well and there's multiple ways to place them in the front and behind the leaning post without hampering the ability to move around. The coolest storage space on the boat are the dry box/ rod storage that's built into the gunwales behind the forward seating. These boxes hold 6 rods on each side and lock. It's another very well thought out use of space on this boat. Anything you can open on this boat has either a hydraulic arm on it or friction hinges and all parts and pieces are from quality manufacturers.

Lastly I went to the helm to check the layout. The helm is the perfect size in my opinion. It is wide enough to hold 2-12" screens and still have room for the trim tab controls, Vessel View and Wet Sounds head unit without feeling cramped. The steering wheel tilts and has the blinker switch for the hydraulic jackplate. There are two storage bins on the front of the console as well as the molded in toe kick. Everything is in reach and well designed. I especially like the switch panel with the Boca style push buttons. This to me is a big upgrade from traditional rockers. .

On top of all of this there's plenty of lighting and cup holders placed around the boat. It has spreader lights front and rear, multi color hardtop lights, under gunwale lights, lights in all livewells, in the console and in many of the storage compartments. Again a very well thought out boat in my opinion. The batteries are in their own compartment in the console and all wiring is done properly as far as I could see.

Well at this point I was super excited to buy this boat. I had now talked to one of the owners of Blue Wave, a few THT owners who I trusted, two owners of Blue Wave dealerships who chose to own these boats as their personal rig and it passed my personal inspection with flying colors. The only thing left to do was put the boat in the water and see if it passed the most important tests of ride, reasonable dryness, speed and efficiency.

When we dropped the boat in the water and I saw it sitting at the dock I liked it even more. This boat has a really nice stature in the water. The rear portion of the boat sits low enough to easily handle fish and the height and depth slowly rises similar to a 28 and under Contender as you move to the bow. The boat feels very safe and secure inside which is a huge plus with young kids.

I turn on the properly placed battery switch in the console and start the 400 Vrod. Let me stop and say what a joy it is to operate a boat with Mercury power and controls. Quiet and smooth, nothing compares IMHO. Anyway, we head down the creek and i notice how stable the boat is and how well it tracks for a single engine boat. I move people around while we are idling out and the boat still sits nicely without too much side to side movement at all. After we get out of the creek I bring the boat up on plane which the 400 does effortlessly. I am headed to the harbor and inlet to try the boat out but have miles of river before we get there to play with rpm's and speeds as luckily part of the Mercury break in is to run the boat at WOT. With a full tank of fuel I see cruise speeds in the 36-40mph range getting 2.5-2.6mpg This is exactly where I wanted to be. At mid 40's I am still getting well over 2mpg and top speed on this day was 56mph. So far so good but I still needed to see how the boat rode in much rougher conditions.

When we get to the harbor it's the typical E wind blowing on an outgoing tide so it's sloppy and confused. Perfect to find out what this boat is going to perform like and if we are going to get wet. I would say the harbor is a solid 2' chop, very close together and coming from all angles. It's blowing hard enough that the top of the waves are white capping. I was told that the steps on the boat really start to work at around 36mph and that's exactly what I felt. At 36mph the boat rode through this tight chop like it wasn't even there. I noticed the boat rides super flat and I did not touch the trim tabs at all. I was honestly amazed how good it was and best of all, it was completely dry. I pushed the boat up in the mid 40's and I think it rode better the faster we went. This hull just settles in and rolls. I couldn't have been more impressed with a 28 hybrid. It is rock solid, not a sound from the hull, floor, hardtop, nothing.

As many of you know, I bought this boat. I have put about 25hrs on it already and it is simply a joy to own. Now that the Vrod is getting broken in, I am seeing speed and slight fuel mileage improvements. With a lighter load I am seeing just under 2.9mpg at 40-41mph turning around 4500rpm. I saw a best last time out of 59.9mph at 6750rpm. Not that WOT numbers are that important to me but the boat will hit 60-61mph soon. I have had the boat in the ocean a couple times and it has been great. I have taken non believers out in the harbor on some nasty days and they too couldn't believe how well this boat rode and handled. To this day I have not touched the trim tabs. When you get the speed right, the boat rides super level. It is comfortable in a head sea as well as a following sea. I have not found a single quirk in the way it handles or turns either, It just goes where you point it without any issues. Believe it or not the boat has also been completely dry every time out as well. No spray has touched the inside of the boat, yet. This is due to the fact that the boat throws water down and away from the hull and the boat is simply capable of outrunning anything that tries to get blown back in.

To be fair and realistic, I know this boat is going to have its limits. I'm sure it will start to show in seas close to 3' that don't have enough spacing. I think as long as you use the 3x rule this hull will keep you comfortable and dry while being able to run impressive speeds and get excellent fuel mileage. All in all extremely impressive for a true hybrid boat that will float in a foot of water yet get you offshore on any decent day.

Ok so I have done nothing but praise this boat so what are my dislikes so far...
#1- The front fish box compartments have drains around the floor lips where the hatches shut. They tend to get clogged easily and they drain slowly. This is also true for the forward seating hatches but they are not as bad. I am going to find a solution to this when I have time
#2- There is no fresh water wash down
#3- The console door doesn't have anything to stop it from hitting the Ttop piping when you open it. This is super annoying in rough water but also will be very easy to remedy
#4- Although the trolling motor batteries and charger have their own compartment which is really nice, it is super tight in there
#5- To gain full access to the back sides of the electronics and helm wiring you have to remove the front storage/ footrest panel which requires removal of several screws. Not a huge deal but definitely not ideal either.

So there you have it. I honestly don't think there is another hybrid out there anywhere near this price range that compares to this boat in any way. I don't think you will find another hybrid no matter how much you spend that is as well laid out and thoughtful as this one. I don't know that you will find another Hybrid that will ride any better than this one with the Seahunter Floridian and Seavee 270Z being the only exception I can think of. The best part is if you fall in love with the boat but have the need for twins, you can put up to 600hp on the transom. With twin 300R's guys have seen speeds up to 74 mph.

I know this was way too long but I hope it helps someone out in the future. If you have any questions just send me a PM and I'll be happy to help anyway that I can. I'll keep this updated as well as we get the boat out in different conditions. Thanks guys!

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Old 12-27-2020, 09:09 AM
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Old 12-27-2020, 09:12 AM
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Heck of a write up. You made an honest assessment of how you would be using the boat and found one that fit your needs. Well done!
Old 12-27-2020, 09:12 AM
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Great write up! Now we need some pictures.

Sorry about that. I was busy reading your review while you were posting pictures. LOL
Old 12-27-2020, 09:14 AM
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Nice review. Thanks for taking the time to post it up.
Old 12-27-2020, 09:33 AM
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I really appreciate that guys. Thanks. I wanted to add something about the stereo and trailer. You have the option to get the Wetsounds system in a couple of different forms. Ours has a 9 speaker set up from the factory with a large Wetsounds amp and the newest Wetsounds head unit. This is just another piece of the very well rounded boat they are putting out.

I know different dealers use different manufacturers for their trailers. Ours is sitting on a Road King. At first I was not thrilled to hear this as I typically want something equivalent to an Owens and Sons. However like many things that surprised me with the boat, the trailer is fantastic. It’s fully custom and built to fit this hull, it has all stainless hardware, welded bunks, strong fenders and aluminum steps, all lights are LED, the hubs are from Vortex and it loads and pulls perfectly. I guess Road King has upped their game!
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Old 12-27-2020, 09:49 AM
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Great write up. Thanks for sharing!
Old 12-27-2020, 09:56 AM
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What's the spec on that tow truck and how does it handle it?
Old 12-27-2020, 09:58 AM
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Nice. My wife really liked the FS review on YouTube. Iím kinda in the same boat so to speak. I would love a 28 Contender but family time is important at this stage. Besides, Iím getting to the point that if I need a Contender to go out, I probably donít want to go out.

we fished a 31 Cape Horn for years and went out in some stuff that was sketchy. Thinking back, I never really enjoyed those days as much.

I have yet to climb on one in person but there is one at a storage facility that catches my eye every time I drive by it. Itís next to a Cape Horn 27 and seems a more appealing in function for what I need. (I love the 27 Cape BTW)

My youngest really likes to fish inshore and around bridge pilings. My area seldom needs a true shallow bay boat as our grass flats are usually in 30Ē-6í of water and are adjacent to deep water.

We are putting in a pool right now so I canít pull the trigger for a bit on a new boat but when I do, the Makaira, and the 24 deep vee Pair Custom will be the main 2 Iím interested in.

Please update as you use it, we want to hear about it.
Old 12-27-2020, 11:27 AM
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Impressive boat and review. Thanks for taking the time to share.
Old 12-27-2020, 11:40 AM
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Nothing short of awesome- all of it: the story to the boat start to finish. Itís like your whole life has been building up to this climactic discovery.
Old 12-27-2020, 03:01 PM
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Gorgeous boat! Love the colors, my 2 month old F250 is "Iconic Silver" and would go perfectly with that colorscheme. For the last 20+yrs my boats have been red or some mixture thereof but I can see my next one being a white/silver like yours. Silvers/grays probably are my favorite color in all honesty.

BlueWave is really a "family affair" for sure. I bought my 2017 BW 2400PB in late Jan 2017, it was my first bay/saltwater boat after 30+yrs of bassboats. The original founder of the company (Mr. Parks) unexpectedly passed a year or two ago but his sons were raised in the biz and are proudly carrying the torch now in Seminole, OK. The 2400 was their largest boat when I bought mine but they soon then released the 2800 and a year later the 2600. I bass fish and use my 2400 here on the TN River and local lakes so it's as large as I'd want right now. But if/when the wife and I officially retire and spend several months at a time on the coast at our place on Okaloosa Island, then you can bet a 2800 will get a serious consideration from me. (Yep twin 300s would likely be my pick)

I ran Allison bassboats for 20yrs before my BlueWave so lightweight, full composite, great performance was a consideration when I picked my bay boat. Hauling around an extra half-ton of useless resins and heavy materials really does nothing for a hulls ride and quality if they are engineered and built correctly. I appreciate the BlueWaves considerable weight savings as I haul mine back and forth to our place on the coast each time we go. (1000m roundtrip, do it 4-6x a year on avg.)

Welcome to the BW family!
Old 12-27-2020, 03:39 PM
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Thanks again everyone. The truck is a Tundra with the 5.7 in it. It pulls the boat very well. No issues whatsoever. This is my first gas truck in a very very long time. I like it a lot but will eventually be back in another diesel.
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Old 12-27-2020, 04:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Windham14 View Post
Thanks again everyone. The truck is a Tundra with the 5.7 in it. It pulls the boat very well. No issues whatsoever. This is my first gas truck in a very very long time. I like it a lot but will eventually be back in another diesel.

"Luther ....you've changed "
Old 12-27-2020, 08:00 PM
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Thanks for this, I am very curious about this boat and have watched the same vids. I hope to see one in person soon and loved your review. I don't understand no freshwater, thats crazy IMO

Did you look at a coffin box model? just curious the room inside difference
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Old 12-28-2020, 01:10 AM
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Great read Wind.....you are THT gold brother. ALWAYS enjoy reading your write ups on all of your dream boat rehabs!!
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Old 12-29-2020, 07:19 AM
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I didn’t look at the coffin box model. There were only a couple left that I could find anywhere and this one just happened to be exactly the way I would have ordered one.
Old 12-29-2020, 07:59 AM
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I agree that the bluewave is a well thought out boat and the only hybrid I would consider over the bluewave is the floridain or the 270z (with an open layout) like you mentioned. I really enjoyed my 2800 pure hybrid and probably would not have sold mine if I had the makaira (it came out 2 months after I bought mine).

Have fun with the new boat. I am sure you will enjoy it.
Old 12-29-2020, 09:19 AM
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Nice write up! Dang I had a quote for a 2019 model bay with a Suzuki 350 for $108,000 but I bought a different boat. I just built online a Makaira with a Merc 400 and it was 170,000
Old 12-29-2020, 09:56 AM
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Thank you so much for the review. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I have recently pulled the trigger on a 2021 Makaira and my decision process was very similar to yours. I cannot wait to take delivery.
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