Oh, Pickles, You Beast You! – The Sweet 16 Donzi Water Test.

Knees help hold the wheel

If you are in anyway thrill inclined, or miss the time when you could floor your 1969 Z/28 and feel the power. Well, do we have a boat for you! Dang! This little Sweet 16 is so radical, and literally flies. Speaking of flies, I think I sampled several varieties.. Mmmmm.

Lets get this test started!

I felt like I was 16 again, in my buddy Jimmy’s Mach1. Its just amazing. JUST AMAZING! Under high throttle you are holding that wheel for sure.
The entire boat torques when you throttle up. Its a very …ODD… smooth ride and exhilarating at the same time. Like a little Green Pill. WARNING prolonged smiles lasting longer than 4 Hours and you should see your Doctor. Oh and offer him or her a ride. They will understand, YOU HAVE A CASE OF DONZIITUS!

Hold on


Turns on a dime

Little more juice

Nail it

Jimmy smiling says it all!

So after a bit of understanding this beast, Jimmy decided to have some fun.– PHOTOS ENLARGE , just right click.

A simple turn.


Donzi Sweet 16 Gimble geen

Oh hell ya

Donzi Sweet 16 Gimble geen


Off and running

OK, one more

Then I took the wheel

Man that thing is fun

Back to the boat ramp and a complete wash down. She is a fun boat for sure.

She is a fun boat, in great shape for her age, her engine, a 350 Chevy engine was installed in the 1980’s by a Donzi Dealer and is a machine. Aprox 20 hrs on it.

350, not the ford Holman Moody engine.

The Volvo Out drive runs great, and no rips or tears in the interior. Its a straight forward fun Donzi Sweet 16. It is for sale, and this is for a good pal. $6,000 bucks is a steal of a price and you can literally drive it home anyplace and go in the water and run! just like that! You can email me at Matt@Woodyboater.com and we will hook you up with the owner directly. This isn’t a broker deal. We are just helping the community with a special boat and friend who has taken great care of the boat.

Fast and smooth!

Raw power

WARNING, I will be surley about questions. We are not in the business of selling stuff. We would like it to stay in the  WoodyBoater family. All 200,000 of you! HA – The Boat is located in Virginia near Fredericksburg. Unless you are near the Northern Neck this weekend.

OOOOFFFFFF! The expression says it all.

UPDATE-UPDATE SOLD! Sorry, stay tuned everyday, you never know when the magic will happen. We will report on her new home soon!

28 replies
  1. Old Salt
    Old Salt says:

    Looks like a fun boat! I didn’t know that the donzi had the steering wheel on the port side of the boat. Was the to help with the torque of the engine?

    • Eric Tolnes
      Eric Tolnes says:

      The early Donzis fitted with the Volvo outdrive had port side steering because the Volvos spun the prop counterclockwise, (LH pitch). The later ones fitted with Mercruiser stern drives (clockwise or RH pitch) have starboard side steering.

  2. Matt
    Matt says:

    Someone will know better than I, but I recall hearing something about early ones having that regarding the outdrive choice? It def pulls to the right under heavy throttle. So possible

  3. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    Wheel on port is just wrong. Cars and airplanes from the left seat, boats and helicopters from the right.

  4. John Erickson
    John Erickson says:

    PLEASE be careful! Small, light boats with lots of power can be terrific fun, but danger lurks: Last summer while giving friends an easy tour of Newfound Lake, NH in “Jilly Bean,” our rendition of Ken Bassett’s “Rascal” (WoodenBoat Plan #100) we got caught in the wake of a new “wake boat” and capsized. One friend was sent to the hospital. It happened quickly and with little warning. Jimmy (above) should have had a vest, and hopefully had a lanyard.

    While “Jilly Bean” has done her share of wake jumping in the past, she will never again with me as the pilot…

    • Bill
      Bill says:

      Question about this incident with the Rascal: did you get “caught” by a wake, in the sense that you could do nothing about it? Or did you seek out the wake to jump it ?

      We have a couple of boats similar to the Rascal; small and overpowered.

  5. Matt
    Matt says:

    Sound advice John, you are 100% right. I will add that this little boat rides well, and can take a wake. Very nice ride. But Safety first. I would defiantly install a kill switch hooked up to yourself. But that should be on all boats. Another surprising thing is that at about half throttle she is a very “sweet” boat. And that rap around seat is amazing. Brilliant design.

  6. Flash
    Flash says:

    $6,000 is a great price on a turn key classic like this. Awesome pictures and story Matt!

  7. Matt
    Matt says:

    Yes it is. It has some cosmetic flaws, but mechanically nice. Its a wholesale price and want to pass this on to one of us. It started with a quick turn of the key. We ran it full throttle once to see what she would do. Most of these shots were about half throttle. It doesn’t take much to have fun. If you look around these go between $4K-$15K so you have room on this one to really do it right. One more case of affordable fun. From some comments its Gimble Green and a rare color like this.

  8. Wudzgud
    Wudzgud says:

    That last picture looks like…. OOOOOFFFFFF I think I just did something childish in my pants.

    • Matt
      Matt says:

      YES I DID! Running to have photos taken requires some more interesting maneuvers. Jimmy used to race boats, I just take photos. So hence me being a little out of my comfort zine. Same look BTW when I went with Seth on his Donzi. 115 MPH.

  9. Fred
    Fred says:

    I agree with John E, I bought a Sweet 16 last year after wanting one forever, and there are a lot of cool things about it, and a few scary things too, even with the V6. It’s scary at full throttle, but sweet at half, which is where I run it. It does bring a smile to my face every time though. I will wear the lanyard from now on, and a vest too. Things can happen in an instant. I’m no kid any more.

  10. Sean
    Sean says:

    The Donzi 16 is a great boat and imho, the best classic plastic you can have (a Walt Walters masterpiece) as a drivers boat. The handling is exquisite and it is built for big water. That said, the more skill you have the more the boat will do but, you NEED a safety lanyard and PFD as you really sit “on” this boat and not “in” it.

    Yes the LHD is due to the Volvo drive. Remember this boat came to the fore when sterndrives were in their infancy. The earliest of boats had Eaton and Volvo units. More modern versions that came with a Merc are RHD.

    The Donzi 18 is truly just an extension of this hull. They literally cut one in half and added two feet for the mold. Also the Donzi 22 was designed by Walters (inspired by Ray Hunt) from the same concept. 24* deadrise with a 7′ beam and a refined lifting strake layout.

    For a monohull, it doesn’t get much better than these three boats.

  11. John Rothert
    John Rothert says:

    A …..S T E A L hoping for a caring thief…..wow….great boat….even though I hate outdrives…the sweet 16 is tops no matter what.

    John in Va.

  12. Matt
    Matt says:

    And its fast enough to make a clean getaway! Hell the engine is 10K the way its set up, Trailer 1500. Its a great deal for someone. Buy it, own it, run it and after some years, sell it for more or at least the same amount. Dont refinish it. Enjoy the originalness.

  13. Dennis J Mykols
    Dennis J Mykols says:

    I have to agree with everyone that of all the boats I have owned, my 1988 Donzi 18 was one of the smoothest rough water boats for its size.
    The first ride, with my son, and he said let’s head out to the big lake (Lake Michigan), so we cruised out and there were one to twos, with nice swells. Now both of us have bad backs from doing this sort of off shore racing in the 1990″s, so we took it slow at first. We were both surprised how soft the wake jumpin was on our back.
    Wished I never sold, it, but I needed the money to buy “Old School”.

  14. steve bunda
    steve bunda says:

    Very Nice boat , a little small or short for my taste but a great fun , priced right boat from great era. In the Late 70’s and early 80’s we had many very excellent boats to chose from. Outboard hulls from Baja, Checkmate , Concord and others. Also larger inboards including , Cigarette, Scarab, Formula, Arrnow, Donzi, and more. go fast flat bottoms, day cruisers
    So Many Boats, So little Room.
    Future Topic, Post your old boat day, especially the one you should have kept.

  15. Miami Vice Troy
    Miami Vice Troy says:

    Love it, LOVE IT!

    I have to admit that this is the kind of boat that really makes my heart skip a beat.

    Honey can we buy another boat?

  16. Matt
    Matt says:

    UPDATE, she was by the afternoon, with three folks interested. She has gone to a Donzi nut, and his first Donzi was green like this one. So its a perfect match and stays in our family. We will update as we can to announce the new owner.

  17. John Rothert
    John Rothert says:

    whew! Somebody saved my ass again! thanks kind stranger….but I will regret it later on….killer deal on a killer boat!

    John in Va.

  18. Pete
    Pete says:

    I did not have a Donzi but my second boat when I was 15 years old was a 1972 Allison Craft with a Mercury inline 6 tower of power on it. It was the first boat I put together and it was dangerous to drive.
    Here is a photo of the old boat before I sold the hull

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