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Alumacraft Competitor FSX 185 (2021-)

w/ 1 x 150-hp Mercury Pro XS

Brief Summary

The Alumacraft Competitor FSX 185 is a multi-species aluminum fishing boat that’s definitely fishing focused but has been updated with some features to make her more appealing to family activities as well.

Key Features

  • Riveted construction
  • Double-plated hull
  • Livewell and baitwell
  • Custom built trailer
  • Alumatrack system

Test Results

600 2.9 2.5 0.5 5.8 5 177 154.3 59
1000 4.5 3.9 0.9 5.3 4.6 162 140.9 67
1500 6.2 5.4 1.3 5 4.3 152 132 70
2000 7.5 6.5 2.3 3.3 2.9 101 88.1 77
2500 9.7 8.4 3.1 3.1 2.7 96 83.3 80
3000 20.4 17.7 3.4 6 5.2 183 159.3 83
3500 26.3 22.9 4.7 5.6 4.9 171 148.9 82
4000 30.3 26.3 6.2 4.9 4.3 151 130.9 84
4500 35.3 30.7 8.3 4.2 3.7 130 113 89
5000 39.5 34.3 10.3 3.8 3.3 117 101.9 88
5500 43.5 37.8 13.7 3.2 2.8 98 84.8 88
5900 48.2 41.9 13.4 3.6 3.1 110 96 87


Length Overall 18'8"
5.7 m
Beam 95”
2.4 m
Dry Weight 1,500 lbs.
680 kg
Tested Weight 2,770 lbs.
1,256 kg
Person Capacity 6
Fuel Capacity 34 gallons
129 L
Total Weight 2,770 lbs.
1,256 kg

Acceleration Times & Conditions

Time to Plane 4.3 seconds
0 to 30 7.3 seconds
Props 14 x 19
Load 3 persons; 94% fuel; no water; 50 lbs. gear
Climate 78 deg.; 40 humid, wind: 5-10; seas <1

Engine Options

Tested Engine 1 x 150-hp Mercury Pro XS

Captain's Report

The Competitor FSX 185 has an overall length of 18’8” (5.70 m) with a beam of 7’11” (2.41 m) and maximum power is a 175-hp outboard.

By Eric Colby

Mission Statement

The Competitor series is the heart of the Alumacraft lineup, and the manufacturer calls the Competitor FSX 185 a Fish & Ski crossover for anglers who want to use their boats for more than just fishing. It has the expected fishing gear including a livewell, a baitwell and dedicated rod storage. A new aft section includes two fold-up jump seats.

Alumacraft Competitor FSX 185 Major Features

  • Choice of outboards from Mercury, Suzuki, Yamaha and Honda up to 175 hp
  • Livewell with dual access hatches
  • Standard fishfinder at the helm
  • Fold-up rear jump seats
  • 13-gallon (49 L) insulated cooler
  • Custom-built trailer

The aft deck is 6” (15.24 cm) larger and the forward casting area has plenty of space for two anglers to fight fish.

Alumacraft Competitor FSX 185 Performance

The Specs. The Competitor FSX 185 Performance has an LOA of 18’8” (5.70 m) and a beam of 7’11” (2.41 m). With an empty weight of 1,500 lbs. (680.39 kg), 94 percent fuel and three people on board, we had an estimated test weight of 2,270 lbs. (1,029.65 kg).

Our test boat was powered by a 150-hp Mercury Pro XS four-stroke outboard turning a 14” x 19” (35.56 cm x 48.26 cm) three-blade stainless-steel propeller. At a maximum rpm of 5900, we hit a top speed of 48.2 mph. Best cruise came in at 3000 rpm and 20.4 mph, where the 3.4 gph fuel burn translated into 6.0 mpg and a range of 183 statute miles. This number is calculated while holding back a 10 percent reserve of the boat’s 30-gallon (113.56-L) fuel capacity.

The Competitor FSX 185 rides level and if she does start to porpoise in chop, a little negative trim on the outboard is all it takes to settle the ride.

In acceleration tests, we reached plane in 4.3 seconds and then accelerated through 20 mph in 5.5 seconds before hitting 30 mph in 7.3 seconds.

Handling. Alumacraft calls the Competitor FSX 185’s bottom design Aquadynamic and describes her shape as a gullwing. Basically, what that means is that it has a gradual concave shape from the chine to the oversized keel. The hull grips the water in turns and cut cleanly through our photo boat’s wakes without a hint of slapping or pounding. Even in harder turns that most drivers would attempt, she holds her line tenaciously. In calm waters, the oversized keel helps hold the course when trolling and keeps her in place when drift fishing.

The Aquadynamic hull bottom has a concave design from the chine to the keel that we found worked well for overall performance.

The agile Competitor FSX 185 is one of the best handling multi-species boats we’ve driven.

Alumacraft Competitor FSX 185 Features Inspection

The Bow. In the bow, Competitor FSX 185's forward casting deck is 5’ (1.52 m) long by 2’3” (.69 m) wide forward and 6’6” (1.98 m) aft at its widest point. The full area is carpeted and there’s a single socket for a bucket seat. Outboard on each side are lockers that are open for storage while in the center is a locker that can take rods up to 8’ (2.44 m) long. The gunwale depth in the bow is 13” (33 cm) and there are backrests on the fronts of the consoles. Optional foam bow cushions are available.

Captain Steve gives us a good idea of the amount of space available for fishing in the bow of the Competitor FSX 185.

The bucket seats have been improved for 2021 with more wraparound support in the backrest. Notice that the base plate has been trimmed to let the rod locker open fully.

The lockers to starboard are open, while on the port side, the aft compartment is a baitwell. The rod locker is in the usual center location.

Only the hatch for the rod locker opens on gas struts. Note that the outboard hatches lay over against the gunwale shouldn’t be a problem since they are carpeted.

The aft racks for the rod locker are removable, so an angler can customize the compartment the way they want.

The Cockpit. The Competitor FSX 185’s cockpit has sockets for four bucket seats, plus there are the aforementioned folding jump seats in the aft deck. This means six people can travel protected from the elements behind the large wraparound windshield. For storage, there are two small lockers flanking a 13-gallon (49.21-L) insulated cooler to port. To starboard, there’s more locking rod storage. This is also where the optional aluminum ski-tow pylon would stow. A slot in the 3 ½” (8.89 cm) wide caprail is called Alumatrack and an assortment of accessories can be clipped to the track.

The cockpit has seating for up to six people with an unobstructed passage from the walk-through windshield to the aft deck.

The cooler to port in the cockpit is insulated and has a slot for a divider. There are lockers fore and aft of the cooler for added capacity.

To starboard, the locking rod locker can accommodate fishing setups as long as 8’6” (2.59 m).

There’s also a dedicated rack for the optional ski-tow pylon in the starboard locker.

Here we see a rod holder clipped in place in the Alumatrack rail. It clicks in easily and it’s just as simple to release.

The Helm. To starboard, the Competitor FSX 185’s helm has space ahead of the steering wheel for the Lowrance Elite fishfinder with an open slot in the top of the console to the right. To the left of the wheel are USB and auxiliary input plugs above the cellphone holder. To the right, the accessory panel has rocker-style switches above the stereo control panel. In the port console is a glovebox.

The helm has a straightforward feel and should be well protected from wind and spray by the tall windshield.

The black console and faux carbon print panel for the fishfinder should help keep glare to a minimum.

To the left of the steering wheel is a cellphone holder with USB and auxiliary plugs just above.

The Master Power is a smart idea because it shuts down all battery power so an accessory can’t be accidentally left on. We’d like to see the horn button in red to be easier to identify quickly.

The glovebox in the port dash has a shallow tray on top with a beverage holder immediately outboard.

Drawers in the base of each console pull out to provide more access to gear.

The Stern. It’s a 13” (33.02 cm) step up to the aft deck, which has twin access hatches for the 22-gallon (83.28-L) livewell in the center. Outboard on each side are jump seats that are 19” (48.26 cm) wide with 21” (53.34 cm) tall backrests. We like that there are grab handles outboard of every seat onboard our test boat. On each side of the transom are EVA foam comfort pads that anglers can kneel on, or they can be used after ascending the boarding ladder. A hatch to port in the aft deck accesses the battery.

The new aft jump seats are a big boost in comfort and versatility for 2021.

Just aft of the seat socket, the receptacle for the tow pylon comes standard, but the pylon itself is an option.

The starboard jumpseat and the center hatch both provide access to the livewell, which makes things easier for anglers.

There's access to the battery beneath the aft port jump seat.

The ladder is on the starboard side of the transom but it is only a three-step model. We’d rather see four.

Rugged Construction, Long-Lasting Finish. The Competitor FSX 185 is fully riveted with double-thick aluminum plating in the bow and stern. Alumacraft calls this the 2XB hull. In addition to strengthening the hull, doubling the aluminum helps dampen sound and vibration.

The Trailer. Alumacraft Packages the Competitor FSX 185 with a painted steel trailer that has integrated transom tie-downs, LED lights, aluminum wheels, diamond-plate step sections and a swing-away tongue.

The automotive-quality finish on our test boat almost warrants that an owner buys a tow vehicle to match.

The travel-cover ratchets in place to protect the boat during a long haul to a hidden cabin or fishing spot.

Retail Price. As tested with a 150-hp Mercury Pro XS outboard, and deluxe trailer: $38,700.


The Competitor FSX 185 is a multi-species boat that has a fishing focus at her core, but options like the aluminum ski tow and bow cushions can be added at minimal expense to make her more family-friendly. We were impressed with her performance, especially the handling with the Aquadynamic hull. We could see an active family putting many hours on this boat during the summer.