By Eric Colby
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
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.