Ski Nautique 196 Team
Since 1961, the Ski Nautique has helped set the standard for just how perfect a ski boat can be. For 2005, that decades-long legacy is still going remarkably strong with the 196 Team. Ski boats don't get more hard-core than this. It's one of only two closed-bow models in our guide, and its slalom wakes rank among the best we've ever seen — in any year.
Every feature lends itself to world-class skiing, from the TSC2 hull that Andy Mapple helped design to the interior amenities. The driver enjoys an easily adjusted back-and-forth sliding chair with the throttle control ideally positioned and a full-size mirror for excellent visibility. The observer's seat is wide and comfortable. Storage, with helpful shock hinges, is exceptionally deep and long because the front compartment expands into the bow. This Team edition loads on even more features, including ski racks, Perfect Pass, Kicker stereo upgrade and a 200-pound ballast tank for trick skiing. Serious skiers quickly realize that this is a true dream machine.
Sets behind the Ski Nautique 196 are always a highlight of our tests. Year after year, we rate its performance with plenty of perfect 10s.
Actually, the incredible responsiveness earned a 10+. With the PCM 375-horsepower engine, the boat shot to 36 mph in 4.8 seconds — tough to top. The tracking is on a rail, and it turns on a dime. Even through choppy water, the 196 has impeccable handling for its size. Summing up the skiing wakes is easy. They're world-class at all line lengths, perfectly soft, perfectly small, with virtually no spray or bump. It's no wonder Andy Mapple could get 1 at 43 off behind this boat. But anyone can appreciate how the TSC2 hull works, even those of us looking to be the best skier on the lake, let alone in the world.
• The closed-bow Ski Nautique 196 lives up to
its proud legacy as one of the best-ever ski machines.
• Official tow boat for the IWSF World Water Ski Championships.
• Handling is world-class, too, with a tremendous hole shot and superb tracking.
• Team package includes keyless ignition, Clarion stereo upgrade, Perfect Pass, 220-pound ballast trick tank and much more.
• Great small touches include rubber gunwale step-ups, dual gas fills and audio jacks in the glove box.
• Walk-through windshield is an option.
Top Speed 48.7 mph 5,300 rpm
Accel. to 30 mph 3.7 sec. 87.7 ft.
Accel. to 36 mph 4.8 sec. 139.4 ft.
Noise Levels (db) Neutral 61 D 67 R, 36 mph 88 D 98 R
Length 19 ft. 6 in. Beam 91 in.
Seating Capacity 6
Fuel Capacity 29 gal.
Test Prop Acme 12.5 x 15.5 4-blade
Test Engine PCM ZR6 6.0L, 375 HP