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Newbie: 2001 Sugar Sand Tango vs. 2003 SeaDoo Speedster
Posted on Jul 15,2009 3:13:18 AM GMT         General Boating - General Boating
Joined: 7/14/2009
# of posts:3
I'm considering buying a jet boat. I've found two that I'm interested in, but I was needing a little help with the pros and cons of each. The first is a 2001 17ft Sugar Sand Tango 4+2 w/175hp Mercury sportjet engine. The second is a 2003 15ft Seadoo Speedster w/155hp Rotax 4cylinder engine. Any opinions on which boat handles and performs better? Is more reliable? I'm concerned about the Sugar Sand using a 2 stroke Mercury sportjet(I've hear they tear up easily) compared to the SeaDoo using a 4 stroke Rotax engine that may be more reliable. I've heard the Seadoo Speedster(15ft) doesn't handle the smallest of chop very well and it's a wet ride. The Sugar Sand is about $2000.00 cheaper than any of the Speesters that I have found. I would rather save the money by purchasing the Sugar Sand but I don't want to end up putting it right back into the Sugar Sand in 3 months because the 2 stroke Merc sportjet needs rebuilding. Please share you opinions and experiences with me.



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reliability Jul 15,2009 3:57:38 AM GMT

the 175 on up sportjets are nothing but outboard engines bolted to a jet pump. They are VERY reliable, and the 175 in particular is probably one of the best engines built by mercury. (it is the same block as many larger engines, so for 175hp it is overbuilt)

Given all that, the block is tried and true design, very reliable, a little heavy, but rock solid performance. Also, it is MUCH easier to find a mechanic to work on mercury sportjets, anyone familiar with an outboard motor will be at home. Whereas lots of marine mechanics won't even look at rotax's, especially 4 strokes.

Anyway, those boats are quite a bit different as far as capacity also. Sugar sands are generally better built (hand laid hulls, less mass production and more attention to detail), and you are comparing a 17 foot boat to a 15 footer. If you ever plan on having 4 or more people, the tango is your only choice.

finally, sugar sand went out of business a couple years back, but is most likely coming back soon. for the most part sugar sand didn't actually make any of the critical parts such as engine/control/latches, but it does make getting new seats or hatches difficult. seadoo uses all custom parts, so in most cases your only choice is seadoo oem at dealer prices.

(disclaimer, I've owned a sugar sand heat and now a 2001 tango 4+2 175hp, and have friends with sportsters)

General Boating Reply to this message

Thanks for the input! Jul 15,2009 12:26:44 PM GMT

I was leaning more toward the Sugar Sand anyway. I've been researching and looking at both. The Sugar Sand I found is a much better deal than the SeaDoos I've come across and it is at a dealer that is including a 90 day warranty. I will say that I did not know that the Merc sportjet was a well built dependable motor. I've owned a couple of boats in the past with Mercury outboards and they were awesome. I just had heard the 175 sportjet was a bad design and always tearing up. I think it was probably operator error and abuse from the people that I talked to. I see that you own the same Sugar Sand boat I'm considering buying. How does it handle light chop? I live on Lake Pontchartrain which can get pretty rough at times and I also like to go to the barrier islands 7-10 miles off the MS coast which can be smooth to mild chop most of the time. Would the tango be able to handle some of these conditions? I'm not afraid of getting a little wet, I just dont want everything on the boat falling off because of it not being built well. Thanks again for your help!
General Boating Reply to this message

Reliability Jul 15,2009 3:24:26 PM GMT

On this forum, read the Engine Maintenance section on Mercury and you can see the various troubles that posters are having with their engines, from blown blocks to bad ignition systems.  Now read the Rotax section and see how many problems are reported with the Rotax 155 hp 4-Tec - basically none.  Granted, the Sportjets have been around a lot longer and there are many old engines out there, but the reliability scale is tipped toward the 155 hp Rotax at this time.

In the end, though, buy the boat model that suits your needs as far as price, seating capacity, features and style.  In this case the Tango has more capcity than the 15 foot SeaDoo (which is a pretty small boat).

General Boating SeaDoo - 2004 - Speedster 200 - Twin Rotax 4-TEC Reply to this message