- Boat Type: ZT Modified-Vee
- Length: 18'
- Beam: 90"
- Transom Height: 22"
- Recommended HP: 150 - 185
- Approximate Weight: 925 lbs
- Seating: 2 Buckets & Rear Bench; (Cabin Matress on Turbo)
- Fuel Capacity: 24 Gallons
Virage Turbo had the following added standard features:
- Stage III ZT Hull Design
- Formuling Steering Wheel with Anodized Hub
- Six-Gauge Pre-wired Dash Layout with Anodized Bezels
- Anodized Grab Rail
- Custom Pleated Upholstery with Coaming Pads
- 6'+ under Cabin Berth with Cabin Lighting, Side Pads, Mattress, Locking Forward Storage, Custom Headliner
- Marine Stereo System with Weather Cover
- Multicolor Turbo Graphics Package
The Virage is a Mod-VP style tunnel built with the ZT hull which is basically a wider version of the YT with the sponson chines being angled out more for added stability. The sponsons usually have steps for added lift and top speed. The Virage was manufactured from 1989 through 1991. The deck design was actually inspired by a car. Pipkorn saw a concept car in one of the car magazines at the time and it inspired his design of the stylish and futuristic lines of the Virage.
Not many were made (somewhere around 40-60) - buyers at the time were leery of the new design and did not embrace the "non-HydroStream" look. Unfavorable comments in the Powerboat Magazine Performance Report also did not help: unfortunately, HydroStream's driver had a Torque-Shift prop on and decided to do some wheelies before the test. The Powerboat people saw this and put a disclaimer in their report that the Virage was dangerous which is rather ironic since it is the safest HydroStream ever built. This great new model from HydroStream took a publicity hit and sales suffered as a result.
It is arguably the most solid Stream ever built with great style line.. The only real knock on it is weight. Fully rigged, the Virage weighs in at 1300+ Lbs. Like the HST, this hull has limited drag racing capabilities and needs a lot of setback (appx. 10") and power to make it work.
Rough water ability is unbelievable. Whereas other hulls have to slow down for rough water, the Virage just blows through it - slow or fast. Cornering is also exceptional and it performs well as a ski boat with the added bonus of a low wake.
Interior room is not overly spacious, but there is plenty of storage space and the seating arrangement is well done - especially the high back bucket seats. Gauge layout is similar to the HST - excellent.
High speed stability is excellent and the hull is easier to drive than its chinewalking V-bottom and XT cousins. It is a boat that feels much bigger than its 18' size. Blowouts are usually not severe. Even trimming too high at full speed will often result in the prop losing its bite and the boat just laying down still going straight. The Virage allows and actually requires much higher prop heights (1" above pad) than other hulls. At speed, the Virage does not lift its bow up high like other models, but rather still hangs dead straight when aired out. Even at low speeds, the Virage "sticks" to the water due to its hull design. Because of this flatter stance, the Virage really benefits from a hydraulic lift in order for the motor to receive proper water pressure at both low speeds and at the higher speeds where the motor is raised up even more. As usual, Mr. Pipkorn gave great thought to the aerodynamics of the deck design, and was once again successful in creating a deck that offers minimal drag while keeping the front end down to prevent blowover.
The Virage's ZT hull went through a few design changes. HydroStream guru - and design consultant at the time - Randy Pierson explains the evolution: The first ones (stage I) built had the rear of the sponsons similar to the YT design. There were no steps, they couldn't carry weight very well, and they rode wet at low speed. So in late 1989 they made changes by putting a step in the hull (stage II) that were cut about 1 foot forward from the rear of the sponsons. This helped by allowing the hull to air out faster and got rid of some of the side to side bouncing that is typical of the YT hull. Whereas before you needed a 14" setback to get it to fly the bow, now 7" to 8" worked. The boat still tended to gallop at lower speeds and ride kind of wet. Randy still wanted a looser running boat, so with Howard they came up with the stage III, or "Turbo", bottom. The factory cut out more, approximately 2 feet from the rear of the sponsons, and at the rear of the sponsons it looked more like a fat rudder than a hull. This almost made it handle like a pad v-bottom with tiny training wheels at high speed, and a Mod-VP at slower speeds. At high speed the only part of the sponson that contacts the water is shaped like a knife and cuts through it eliminating the side to side bounce. All of these bottom mods were done with clay inserted in the stage 1 mold. In fact, if you look at some existing hulls, you can often see some roughness in the step area where they wiped the edge of the clay to try to smooth it. They did make a more permanent insert later. The Turbo was good as a bass hull (Hooker) and the Virage. There was actually a stage IV design with a few more tricks, but only a plug was made shortly before the factory closing. The whole object of all this was to make the boat run free and act like a v-bottom that trapped air. Testing on the stage IV design showed that this would have been the loosest and fastest yet.