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Looking at a 88' Starflight tomorrow Help!!!


New member
Im going to most likely be buying a 1988 21' Starflight with a 1988 Evinrude 200XP. I have always loved that hull! One of the prettiest boats I have ever seen. Boat has original gel and with a good buffing it will be in very nice shape. Motor hasn't run in 8 years but turns over and has good compression. WHAT SHOULD I BE LOOKING FOR? Are there and problems that are inherent to the Starflight? Its been sitting under a tarp for several years. I am very familiar with boats but I have never had a Checkmate. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Ray


New member
Here it is!



Well-known member
About 95% of the hulls problems go back to the wood that was used in them. Check for stress cracks in the splash well lip. Simple spider cracks or the cracks open up even a 16th of an inch. Pull up on the mota can you get the transom to flex? Does the trailer bunks extend past the transom. If not 8 yrs is a long time, look for any hook at the transom edge. Look if there’s any rust streaks running down inside of transom. Check for transom knees and if there’s any separation of knees/transom/stringer are they soft. Is the floor soft anywhere. Under rear seat compartment , just in front of rear seats. Is the rear bench soft. (Went thru mine). Does it have a ski locker? Is the edge soft and edge trim secure. Will it hold up the lid with someone standing on it.( had order new trim ring and thru bolt mine) are the screws original, or have the been reemed on. Is the carpet in locker still glued down, if not means lots of water was always down there.
Same for the front pedastals are they loose, look worked over, original screws vs lag bolts.
Work the owner for a good history of the boat. Was just a go fast boat or used a tow rig. ( mine had a dozen nieces & nephews grow up tubing on it it was wet from May thru September)
Under the bow any staining streaks from leaky rivets. Try to feel around the bulkhead to feel how wet the foam is. Once you purchase the boat take 3/8 drill and drill small unseen hole near the bottom of bulkhead , if water runs or drips out need to pull the foam out of the bow, this foam can easily hold 100 lbs of water, lots of starflite owners has done this including myself.
If it was me I’d 86 that motor and look for a ( I believe) mid 90’s 3 liter Merc 225 or 250 hp mota. The torque from and the extra weight is exactly what that hull needs to start flying provided you have working jackplate. With one of these motas, it will be the easiest and safest way to a solid low 70’s mph boat. Don’t extend that mota back 12-15 inches, because if you don’t have transom issues you soon will, a good 5- 8 inches with a 3 liter Merc is perfect.
21 seasons with a starflite merc245 hp 2.5 cle. After 21 seasons of abuse I basically sold the mota and threw the hull and trailer in for free just to get it off the drive to make room for the 24ZT I purchased. Good Luck!

ps my girlfriend just suggested I just cut and paste my answer as this question comes up about a half of dozen times a yr.

Last edited:


New member
Nice looking rig Merc245, I'm digging out my 84 sport fire this week and getting it ready to rock this summer, its been sitting for the past five years. Taking it to local marina to have them go over the motor and running gear. Need to rebuild the flip up section of the back seat and she should be ready to hit the water again, Can't wait, weather should be breaking soon here in New Jersey.


Well-known member
Very through Merc 245, Definitely Shake the 2 front seats, to see if they come loose I had mine pull out. Also check the floor for soft spots. You may also want to check with JT PATRONI on this site he rebuilt a 21 Starflite from the ground up and is very familiar with the boat Welcome to the site, Good luck with the Boat Keep us posted and enjoy your boat.