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Eddie Knox Racing / PROBLEM CHILD Top Fuel Hydro ‘06, ‘11, ‘12, ‘13 World Champion TFH World Record: Speed 262.238mph / ET 3.3

Tony Scarlata, Team Driver 28X World Champion / Top Alcohol Flat World Record: 5.168 ET Sudden Force Racing Water Ski Team

K-711 Eason & Irlick Racing #512 WOT Marine Racing Team

K-69 Freedom Child, Jennings/Rankin Racing. World Champion 2011, ‘12, ‘13

P-74 Crackerbox Pro 2014 Lucas Oil World Champion

These champions choose NRI. Bad Attitude Racing 1st in Class 175 mph at 2014 LOTO

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TABLE OF CONTENTS March 2015

COLUMNS 8 ALEXI SAHAGIAN 10 JIM WILKES 12 INDUSTRY NEWS 60 NEW PRODUCTS

FEATURES 14 BLOOD MONEY Boatbuilder Brian Golie got more than he bargained for when he bought his 40' Skater—he was investing in a piece of racing history. 4

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26 THEN & NOW As the 2015 offshore racing season heats up, Speedboat invites you to a take a very special trip down memory lane.

34 PERFORMANCE TESTS, PART 2 Our second round of 2015 boat evaluations gathers formidable models from Caliber 1, Cobra, Essex, Nordic and Skater.

54 THE BATTERY BOOSTER Our tech crew tests the Battery Saver, an apparatus designed to charge, maintain and enhance the life of your boat’s battery. speedboat.com

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Speedboat.com To find your nearest location to purchase a copy of Speedboat Magazine go to: www.WheresMyMagazine.com

Published by DCO Enterprises, LLC Publishers Ray Lee ray@speedboat.com

Chris Davidson chris@speedboat.com

Editor Brett Bayne brett@speedboat.com

Senior Tech Editors Jim Wilkes jim@speedboat.com

Alexi Sahagian alexi@speedboat.com

BRETT’S COVE 64 ENDLER’S GAME Jordan Endler’s story marks yet another chapter in the neverending saga of immaculate boats that were found languishing in a barn.

70 HEAD TURNER Scott Turner’s 1982 19'6" Hallett SS previously graced our swimsuit section. Now she gets her close-up.

Tech Editors Greg Shoemaker Jim Wilkes Valerie Collins National Sales Kerri Trapani Director kerri@speedboat.com Art Director Gail Hada-Insley Helicopter Services Fred Young fyoung@live.com

Photographers Todd Taylor, Jay Nichols Randy Nuzzo, Kenny Dunlop, Stu Jones, Jeff Girardi, Andrew Gates Operations Manager Michele Plummer michele@speedboat.com

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Webmaster Craig Lathrop

Lake Havasu resident Rick Escott gets his kicks in a beautiful 1966 Schiada.

Web Design Element Media Design

78 NO BAIN, NO GAIN Deep in the heart of Texas, Eric Bain flexes the muscle of his 1997 Tom Papp Stealth. Cover photo by Todd Taylor Editorial: Speedboat Magazine assumes no responsibility for unsolicited material. All manuscripts, materials, photographs and artwork submitted are at mailer’s risk and must include self-addressed envelope with proper postage if requested to be returned. All letters sent to Speedboat will be treated as unconditionally assigned for publication and copyright purposes, and are subject to Performance Boats’ right to edit and comment editorially. All rights reserved. Reprinting in whole or part is expressly forbidden, except by written permission of the publisher. Postmaster: Send address changes to Postmaster: Send address changes to Speedboat Magazine, 9216 Bally Court, Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730.

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SPEEDBOAT MAGAZINE (ISSN#1941-9473) is published 8 times a year by DCO Enterprises LLC. SUBSCRIPTIONS: Domestic $34.00 for 8 issues, Canada $56.00 for 8 issues, International $60.00 for 8 issues. All prices are for one year and in US funds. For subscription info: call (888) 577-2628. PRINTED IN USA These rates represent Speedboat’s standard subscription rate and should not be confused with any special rates or premiums otherwise advertised or offered.

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ON THE DYNO ALEXI SAHAGIAN Setting Timing on EFI Dear Alexi: I have a 502 MerCruiser engine. I exchanged the distributor for a nice billet one. Now that it’s done, my friend helped me install it. However, we seem to have a reduction in performance and idle quality, and the engine just does not seem right. We tried to set the timing, but it was all over the place. Please help, as boating season is coming quick for us and we want to get it back up and running in tip-top condition. Gene Reynolds San Pedro, CA On any computer-controlled EFI engine with a distributor, you must follow the manufacturer’s specifications on setting the timing. It is a precise operation and requires some special tools. I will attempt to give you the basic process. Usually you set the engine so it is on the compression stroke (approximately 16 degrees) before top dead center compression stroke. Then mark your old distributor and replace the new one to the exact spot the old one was in. If not, and you already took the old one out without marking it, you will need to find 16 degrees BTDC (before top dead center compression) and set up the number-one distributor cap pin on the rotor to the cap. Keep in mind that you must make sure where you install the housing will clear things, as you will need to plug in the two weather pack plugs in the wire harness. Once you set it in and install the plug wires back in the standard 1.8.4.3.6.5.7.2. firing order. Then you must get a MerCruiser scan tool or timing plug to be able to put the ECU in timing mode once the engine starts and is warm. This is a must! Once you start the engine in a safe place (perhaps with a professional assisting you), simply warm the engine up a bit, put the engine in timing mode and follow the base timing specs they provided on the placard or manual on that serial numbered engine. (It is usually 6-8 degree at idle.) Once you’re finished, make sure you put the engine back in 8

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normal mode. This is a mistake folks often make and the engine does not run well. You will hear the idle rpm change to normal and I always recommend disconnecting any electronic scan tools, shutting the motor off and do a restart to be assured it took! Once you follow the manufacturer’s spec, you should be back to normal or better. I hope this gives you a good reference and remember to verify the procedure with the specific manufacturer.

Valvetrain Stability Dear Alexi: I purchased a single-engine boat with a dyno-tested 500-hp engine in it. It runs well, but it seems to be down on power and pop once in a while. The previous owner said I needed to have the valves adjusted and that it had a solid cam. Would that really affect the performance this much? I’ve only put 25 hours on it. Roger McIntosh San Pedro, CA Valve adjustments are critical in a marine engine, as they run seats within the heads, and other parts wear in changing clearances quite a bit. This is why hydraulic camshafts/lifters were

designed to follow these very changes; however, they can be limited to rpm and cam lift size. The short answer is yes, you need to follow his instructions and set the cold/ warm lash on the rockers, inspect the springs, etc., while you’re underway with the process. Take good notes as to what the lash is prior to changing them to the spec. It will let you know how far off from spec it was when he last did it. This may help you pick a sooner time to make the next adjustments. We always mention to folks that every 15-20 hours of hard run time is when we would review them. The lash spec is usually set by the cam manufacturer, however block and head material and temperature ranges matter a bunch. Try to see who built the 500-hp motor for him and get the details so it stays reliable. I would guess the range is .016 intake and .018 exhaust +-.004. Once adjusted, you will notice a smoother power, restored power and less blow by and weirdness in general. Good luck with your boat!

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V-DRIVE TECH JIM WILKES Balancer vs. Flywheel Dear Jim: I own a hydro that pushes the nose down pretty hard on the starboard side when getting into it. Right now it’s set up so the V-drive is driven off the flywheel so the torque of the motor is spinning that way. How much will torque from the motor upset the boat? If I were to switch it around, how safe is it running the balancer? Seems like the crank narrows up quite a bit on that end and would be prone to snapping off. Thanks for your consideration. Wes Flynn Denver, CO

Turning your engine around to drive off the harmonic balancer is not the answer. It’s a big expense and not worth the money to do it. It is safe to do, but you will need to add another keyway on the end of the crankshaft. One keyway is marginal. Back in the late 1960s at Long Beach Marine Stadium, I would go down to starting line and watch the hydros start. Every driver would turn the steering wheel to the left at the same time they hit the throttle. Propeller torque is something every V-drive driver feels. Now, how much torque is acceptable? That is the question. Have you tried a different propeller? I would like to know if you have an aluminum plate on the underside of your sponsons. If so, you might want to add some length to the right sponson plate and you can shim the plate down slightly to off set the propeller torque. Try a few different propellers and see if you can decrease the torque.

Controlling Porpoise Dear Jim: I am a newbie learning to operate and set up a V-drive. I have no problem doing the “trial and error” thing to learn to launch a boat. But when it starts to porpoise at 60+ mph, I want to figure out safely how to deal with it. Basically, I know my boat can be set up to not hop around at speed. I just don’t know how to do it. For now, I can keep it stable by using what seems to me like a lot of down pedal. About the time she starts to take a set, it starts to porpoise, which I’ve read is fairly typical (until time is put in to the setup). I’m looking to be able to run around the 90-mph mark without being on the down pedal and plowing with the nose. I know all this won’t happen overnight. For now, my plan is plenty of seat

time. The boat is a 19' Sanger Family Ski with stock 427 BBC (375-400 hp), 10-degree Casale box (with Whirl-Away and 9% gears) and 11 3/8 x 16 prop. The motor is 31" from transom, and the V-drive is 97" from transom. The back of strut barrel is 25" in front of end of plates; the plates stick out 10" off the back of the boat. Any suggestions on how to get this thing to settle down? Carl Charleston Memphis, TN Years ago, I built an engine for a customer, Scott Neils, who had the same 19' Sanger that you have now. We built a 496 that made 685 hp on pump 91 octane gas. Scott’s boat ran 95 mph. I don’t want to take the wind out of your sails, but I don’t think you have enough power to run 90 mph. Now, lets talk about your boat’s setup. Nine gears in the V-drive is good, but for my liking, I would try a smaller-diameter propeller. A propeller size of 11"x16" would help diminish some transom lift. Your engine placement is great, along with the strut location. Now for your plate adjustment. This is an area that is somewhat different from boat to boat. Your 19' Sanger has a small vee and is not a true flat or runner bottom style hull. I don’t remember how many strakes your boat has on the bottom or how far back they go. Anyway, one problem you might have is that you need to raise the plate where the strakes are so you can help channel the air out the back of the boat and not spill or push it out the sides. This air will help keep the boat from building a wall of water under the boat causing the bounce under acceleration. You will still need to control the plate with your foot override pedal with less foot input. Hope this helps! [Continues on page 58]

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Industry News BRETT BAYNE

Spectre Plans Big Comeback for 2015 Spectre Powerboats, the builder of APBA World Champion catamarans that launched in the 1980s, is under new ownership and is poised to stage a major comeback—starting with the 2015 Miami Boat Show. Chris Ivey, a former endurance car racer, purchased the company from Gary Smith last week. He told Speedboat that his #1 priority is “getting the company back up and running,” beginning with moving molds from storage to the production facility in Fort Pierce, FL. In addition to exhibiting a 32' Widebody at the Miami Show, Ivey said Spectre will resume production of the company’s 30', 32', 36' and 42' models. He said Spectre would be attending a variety of poker runs, starting with the Tampa Bay Poker Run, held April 16-19 by the Florida Powerboat Club.

“We want to let people know that we’re out there, and that we plan on providing support for other Spectre owners at the events,” Ivey said. Spectre’s rebranding and relaunching of its boats will involve getting its website (spectrepowerboats.com) up and running again after a long period of dormancy. Second Amendment, a 36' Spectre driven by Karl Steger and throttled by Neil Wobbe, has been an active competitor in Superboat International’s recent offshore races in Production 3 class. Spectre Powerboats founder Jay Pilini

is currently building a successful line of center console models under the Pilini Marine Technologies name. Based in Clearwater, FL, Pilini offers 24- and 35-versions. In 2014, it was reported that Pilini was at work on a pair of go-fast catamarans, to be available in outboard and stern-drive configurations.

Lucas Oil Moving to Parker in April

Two Twisted Liquid hulls being readied for the Junior Dragboat Racing League's exhibition season with Lucas Oil.

After hosting three drag races in Lake Havasu City that were thwarted by high winds, the Lucas Oil series is moving its April race to Parker, AZ. 12

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Wind has been a continual problem on the lake during the races, with competitors facing a safety hazard. Parker is better protected from wind, and the

venue will likely result in less preparation time and less wait time for everybody. The Lucas Oil drag boat race will be held April 10-12, in front of Parker’s BlueWater Casino, while racing will proceed as scheduled in Lake Havasu on Oct. 2-4 The Parker Race will kick off a new exhibition series for the 2015 season: the Junior Dragboat Racing League, in which kids 10 to 16 will race with professional racers like Tony Scarlata riding shotgun. The series was pitched to Lucas Oil by Geoff Archer of Twisted Liquid Marine, Lake Havasu City, which will be providing two of their mini-hulls for the races. Based on feedback from the races, it’s hoped that the series will turn into an official class beginning in 2016, with elapsed-time eight-mile bracket runs. speedboat.com

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RESTORATION

Boatbuilder Brian Golie got more than he bargained for when he bought his 40' Skater— he was investing in a piece of history.

Story by Brett

Bayne

Blood Money 14

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Opposite: Golie and the completed Skater. Left: The original Finnscrew offshore competitor. Below: The boat when Golie took ownership; it was de-rigged soon afterwards.

W

hen Brian Golie bought his vintage 40-foot Skater, he knew he was acquiring a diamond in the rough.

But he never dreamed he was acquiring a piece of history. While doing some repair work on the hull last year, Douglas Marine President Peter Hledin recalls seeing the boat and thinking, “Holy s—t, this is probably the most famous 40' Skater ever made!” The boat he was working on turned out to be Finnscrew—the winner of the Offshore World Championships in 1992. So how did Golie wind up unintentionally owning a now-legendary race boat? Growing up in Orange County, California, Golie is a veteran of boating on and around the Parker Strip and Lake Havasu dating back to the late 1970s during his high-school years. His earliest boats included 18-foot jetboats. speedboat.com

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Blood Money

Here’s the concept drawing of the Skater’s new paint job, by Visual Imagination. “Back then, there was really no such thing as the big boats we see nowadays,” he recalls. “Or, at least, not too many people had them.” After school, Golie focused on launching his own company (Golden West Biologicals Inc., a manufacturer of human and animal biological products) and got out of the boating scene while concentrating on the business he started out of his mother’s garage in 1989. Later, when the “need for speed” returned, his interest shifted to larger boats, finding a playground in Southern California’s Lake Elsinore. “I used to do a lot of water skiing there,” he says. “I used to go out early in the morning and do ski runs before I came to work.” When the passion hit hard around 2005, he purchased a 24-foot HTM cat powered by a 565

that delivered triple-digit top speeds. It was around that time that Golie (with Fred Young and Steve Gurlitz) launched another company—the speedboat builder Innovative Marine Concepts, or IMC. “We basically threw our money together and started building boats.” It was Fred Young who sent Golie an ad he found online for the 1991 40' Skater. At the time, the boat was painted white and blue, with red and yellow accents, featuring a classic deck configuration. The boat was purchased from World Champion Offshore Racer Randy Kent of Speed Racer fame, who was handling it as part of an estate sale. On his first encounter with the boat, Golie saw potential in the boat, and immediately set about de-rigging it with plans to redo the interior and repaint the boat. The 850 engines were removed and sold, then eventually be replaced with 1075s. The drives, which had been rebuilt by a shop, blew apart during one outing. So Golie decided to put the boat in the hands of Vern Gilbert of West Coast Drives (Lake Havasu City, AZ). “I wasn’t sure if he was interested in doing a complete redo on this boat,” Golie says, “but I took it to him with the blown-up drives, and he put them all back together and made them like brand new.” Next, the 1075s were removed and sent to Carson Brummett, who did some fine-tuning on them—leak-down, pressure, dynotuning, etc. “He did like $20,000 worth of upgrades to these two motors,” Golie says. Among other things, it required replacing various bearings and pulleys that were gone. “It just wasn’t cool, man,” Golie says. Then another problem reared its ugly head. “The first time I took this boat out for a test run, both of the tanks were full of water because they hadn’t been plugged up correctly,” Golie says. “Can you imagine how much power that took away from the boat, having 400 gallons of water in the tanks? We didn’t find out about that until after Randy started de-rigging it—after he pulled the back seats out, he looked down and exclaimed, ‘What the hell?’

Golie reworks the dash.

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Blood Money

Above: Repairs are made to the boat at the Skater factory.

The old engines were removed and these 1075 engines installed into the Skater. The motors, interior, wiring, paint— virtually everything on this boat was redone. Near left: the slogan “No Good Deed Goes Unpunished” appears between the rear buckets and the engine compartment. 18

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Blood Money

Above: The boat and trailer both receive a new paint job by Visual Imagination. Above right: drive wizard Vern Gilbert.

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The 40' Skater with its updated facelift.

Both the tanks were full of water!” The next thing to be addressed was the white interior. “The upholstery was a problem,” Golie says. “Everything we touched, bruised. If you put your hand on the upholstery, it turned purple.” Thus, the interior needed to be addressed a second time, courtesy of Bill Sturgis at Conquest Boats (Group One Marine). The boat was named Blood Money, a nod to his firm, which handles blood, plasma and other human-based products. With the tanks rotted out, Golie and Vern Gilbert hauled the boat to the original manufacturer—Skater builder Douglas Marine of Douglas, MI—to have them redone and to address

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a few other minor problems. On the way, the pair got stuck in a huge snowstorm for several days. “When we got to Skater, we put the boat inside because we got there late at night,” he says. “Everything was perfect on it. When we came back the next day, the bottom and sides had blown out of it.” Skater’s Peter Hledin recalls making repairs on the boat—and of the interesting discovery he made: “When he brought the boat back here, it was rather poorly done,” Hledin says. The original hull had a pair of F-16 canopies, and even though it had been converted into an open cockpit, the boat’s history immediately registered with Hledin. “I recognized it right off the bat, and when we ground off the paint, there was the yellow and the blue. I said, ‘Holy s—t. You got probably the most famous 40’ Skater ever made. It won the very first World Championship that was held, in Dubai back in 1992.” Indeed, Hledin has photos of the boat, named Finnscrew after the Finnish propeller company that sponsored it in Offshore [Continues on page 24]

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Blood Money [Continued from page 21]

1 class. It was campaigned by Finnish businessman J.P. Mattila and Italian fashion icon Walter Ragazzi. The 1992 World Championship event was televised across the planet, giving a real visibility boost to the Finnscrew brand. Finnscrew was one of a few 40' Skaters built by Hledin around this time; others included the famous Circus Circus offshore racer (later successfully campaigned by Stephen Dorcich at Risky Business in POPBRA-sactioned races on the West Coast, powered by Arneson ASD8 drives) and its competitor, Powerboat Marine Products (powered by twin 1,000hp Chevy engines and Mercury drives, and raced by Russ Wilkin and Jim Dyke). “You could tell the boat had been worked on, converted and repainted so many times—it had a quarter of an inch of 24

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paint on it,” Hledin says. “It resembled a dowager empress who kept putting more makeup on without taking off yesterday’s makeup. They just kept adding more and more paint instead of stripping it down.” Hledin advised Golie to strip the excess paint off the boat and start fresh, but Golie had already spent $40K painting the boat. Skater fixed the fuel tanks and a few other things for Golie. “It’s a great little high-speed boat,” Hledin says. “It is a very iconic boat, and I’m glad someone like Brian has got it.” Golie is proud of the boat, but admits he sunk a fortune into the restoration of Blood Money. “It’s kind of idiotic,” he says sheepishly. “I mean, I could have probably had a new Skater for what I’ve put into this boat.” As for the Skater’s performance, “There’s

nothing like it, as far as I’m concerned,” Golie says. “I get out on Havasu, and man, you barely have to give it anything. It doesn’t jump out of the water. Just feed it some throttle, maybe you’ll see 6 inches of bow lift, and then it comes right down and you’re doing 60. We haven’t run it really hard yet, but I know the boat is capable of 150 going wide open.” Golie extends special thanks to everybody who helped make the project a success, including Peter Hledin, Vern Gilbert, Carson Brummett and Fred Young. And now that the boat is finally in great condition, he’s looking forward to taking it out on the water this summer. “I would like to do the Texas Outlaw Challenge and the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout,” he says. In the meantime, he’s going to be seeking out a tilt trailer. speedboat.com

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Archival photography by Paul

Kemiel

Then & Now

Let us invite you to a trip d down offshore racing memory lane.

Eliminator Top: How Sweet It Is, a 40' Eliminator cat, captures first place with an average speed of 79.30 mph at an APBA race in 2002. Above: a 27' Daytona Speedster.

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Fountain Above: The Executioner, a 40' Fountain at a 1991 Michigan City offshore race. Left: Black Pearl, a 38' Fountain currently racing in Production 3 class.

Cigarette Above: Cigarette Hawk, a 37.5' Cigarette at a 1982 race. Left: a 42' Cigarette Tiger on the current pokerrun circuit.

T

he most dramatic way to appreciate how speedboat styling has evolved through the passing years is to observe the radical differences side by side. That’s the

concept behind this particular trip down memory lane: here we’ve collected an array of raceboats from yesteryear, juxtaposed with the same builder’s thoroughbreds of the modern era. Think of it as our “Throwback Thursday”—a chance to celebrate how styles, lines, colors and ideas have changed over the last quarter of a century. How these rockets have morphed may be an indicator of progress, but there’s no denying that some things simply never go out of style...especially the never-ending quest for the checkered flag. Speedboat salutes the champions from a bygone age, as well as the current crop of speedloving horsepower freaks. Designs may come and go, but the addiction to going fast on the water remains the common denominator, our passion, and our ultimate goal.

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Then & Now

Outerlimits Left: Obsession, a 37' Outerlimits with driver Harry Turner and throttleman Michael Fiore at the 1996 Offshore World Championships. Above: Snowy Mountain Brewery, a 29' Outerlimits with driver Brian Forehand and throttleman “Doc� Janssen.

Below: Conch Attack, a 30' Spectre cat at the 1995 Offshore World Championships. Right: 2nd Amendment, a 36' Spectre driven by Karl Steger.

Donzi

Below: Damn Donzi, , a 28' Donzi vee hull, averaged 60.48 mph in Factory I class at a 1998 race in Fort Myers, FL. Left: a modern Donzi vee hull at a recent Emerald Coast Poker Run.

Right: Team Woody, a 39' Extreme from the 1999 Offshore Worlds. Below: Crazy Chicken, a 28' Extreme racing last year.

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Spectre

Extreme

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Then & Now

Scarab Left: The 38' Scarab Michelob Light at a 1982 APBA race in Michigan. Above: Rum Runners, a 28' Scarab currently running in P4 class.

Below: Tommy Bahama, a 40' MTI powered by two 700hp Nemschoff engines, at a 2000 APBA offshore race. Right: Team CRC, a current 42' MTI competitor.

Nor-Tech

MTI

Below: Mastry Engine Center, a 38' Nor-Tech hull at a 1998 APBA offshore race. Left: the 52' Nor-Tech Loose Foot Too at last year’s Tampa Bay Poker Run.

Phantom Left: Mr. Technology, a 34' Phantom at the 1995 Offshore World Championships. Below: #401 Simmons Marine in 2010.

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Then & Now Victory Below: Systems, a 44' Victory at the 1996 Offshore Worlds. Above right: current World Champion Miss Geico, a 44' Victory.

Formula

Above: Kaama, KAAMA, a 40’ Formula cat at a 1983 APBA Offshore race in Detroit. Right: a 35' Formula FasTech at the Powerboating for a Cure Poker Run in Virginia.

Skater

Below: Miss Minneapolis, a 24' Skater cat driven by owner Bob Erickson and throttleman Hurley Stepp at a 1984 APBA Offshore race in Northport, Michigan. Right: The 32' Skater TJA Motorsports with triple 300 ProMax outboards.

Velocity Left, Still Crazy, a 30' Velocity from 1984. Below: Aqualicious, a 29' Velocity shot at the 2013 Big Cat Poker Run.

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Caliber 1

28 Thunder Offshore Now under new ownership, the company offers a midcabin cuddy with solid workmanship and plenty of family appeal.

After launching Caliber 1 Powerboats in the walkthrough configurations, a 24 and 25 open-bow (midcab1980s, Cliff Lotz carved out a modest reputation for in or walkthrough) and the 28 Offshore (available in closedbuilding a fine line of performance lake bowriders. The company’s popular 2450 Interceptor nabbed Hot Boat Magazine’s coveted Boat of the Year honors, and other models (206 Skier, 2450 Phantom) are fondly remembered creations from a bygone era. Ownership of the company has changed a few times through the years, most recently to Robert Hoffman (of Coast Motor Group) and Jason Clarke (of Clarke Motors). The pair have set out to rebrand the company, offering a range of craft aimed at entry-level users on through to experienced muscleboaters. Their line starts with a 21 jet or I/O model, with 20, 21 and 23 models available in open-bow and 34

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deck and open-bow versions); they’re also about to launch a newly tooled 2650 Deckboat. “We’re relaunching the Caliber 1 name, and plan to step the game up even higher, going for a really custom look at an affordable price,” Hoffman says. For our test, Caliber 1 lent us a 28' Thunder Offshore, a model originally released in 2004; it was powered by a stock MerCruiser 8.2 Mag HO sterndrive, with an anticipated 65-mph top speed. This was the midcabin cuddy open bow version, a very deep vee with two forward-facing love seats up front, two bucket seats for driver and co-pilot, and four molded-in seats in a rear bench. It’s a fairly frill-free boat, speedboat.com

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Caliber 1 • 28 Thunder Length: 28' Beam: 8'6" Engine on test boat: 8.2-L Mag HO Drive on test boat: Bravo 1X Base price: $89,900 Price as tested: $105,300 Options on test boat: JL Audio/Alpine stereo system ($4,900), billet drop-down seat bases ($1,500), matching gelcoat design inside cockpit ($700), flow-cloated engine compartment ($2,500), hydraulic scissor hinges with upgraded SS braided lines ($2,000), snap-on covers ($1,300), SS bimini with hard poles ($1,500) Top speed: 63 mph Caliber 1 Custom Boats 905 Port Dr. Lake Havasu City, AZ 86404 (888) 780-8282 speedboat.com

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Caliber One 28 Thunder Offshore

The billet seat stands are mounted on stainless plates screwed into the boat; they feature billet aluminum pieces that drop out. On the dash, Caliber has rigged Livorsi gagues on silver carbon fiber with race-style angled blue anodized bezels—a very nice touch.

“Overall I’d give this boat a 9 all the way down the line, including the interior layout, which is very well thought out.”—Alexi Sahagian

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with a place for an ice chest, a flowcoated engine compartment and a JL Audio/Alpine stereo system. The seats feature French-stitched vinyl with padding, which got a big thumbs-up from our test crew. The cockpit is carpet-free, just a fiberglass floor with some inlaid rubber mats; the cuddy and bowrider section feature glued-in carpeting. The billet seat stands are mounted on stainless plates screwed into the boat; they feature billet aluminum pieces that drop out. On the dash, Caliber has rigged Livorsi gagues on silver carbon fiber with race-style angled blue anodized bezels, a very nice touch. The engine hatch lifts the entire back rest of the seat and provides decent access to the Mercury Mag HO, a catalyzed motor. The entire areas on either side of the motor have been allotted to storage; the bilge is finished quite nicely with silver gelcoat, even under the motor. It’s an impressive installation, with rigging wells built into the transom that allow hiding the wires and cables coming to the motor. speedboat.com

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Odyssey batteries in billet boxes have been placed starboard; engine hatch actuators operated with a hydraulic setup. Among the other creature comforts on the Caliber 1: blue billet grabhandles done in blue powder paint, an Aqua Performance telescoping ladder under the port side, rubrail made with a stainless molding and set in a plastic extrusion, a very attractive gelcoat, done largely in silver with a blue and green tribal print, and a little piece of carbon fiber insert on each hull side. When asked to grade the boat, virtually every aspect of the installation was awarded a solid 8. For our on-water test, we made some slalom turns in the boat, paying a bit more attention to extra maneuvers because of the Caliber 1’s very high freeboard—such boats have a tendency to lean out in the turns, but this one does not. For a vee, it executed the slaloms decently and won the admiration of our test team. The boat does, however, have a deceleration reaction—back

off the throttles fairly hard, and it tends to go slightly off in another direction. The hull also does a bit of chinewalking when it takes boat wakes from the side at the faster speeds. But that’s a minor issue; tracking while going straight ahead in low and midrange speeds was a 9-10 on our evaluators’ scales. Holeshot performance, throttle response, overall maneuverability and trim sensitivity were all decent. Ultimately, the 28' is a good, smooth, quiet boat. It comes up on plane with ease, drives along great at low speeds to tow a skier or a tube, and slices through the water like spaghetti. “Overall I’d give this boat a 9 all the way down the line, including the interior layout, which is very well thought out,” said test driver Alexi Sahagian. “The engine installation is very clean. It’s kind of amazing when you lift the hatch the engine is so far down because it’s such a deep vee.” The 28' would be a great boat for a family stepping up to a larger boat in pursuit of lots of room and some nice styling. SPEEDBOAT |

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Cobra

270 Python Jeff Bohn creates a new deckboat that’s roomy and stylish.

New models are a rare breed these days among cables and wiring, so the back of the boat has a unique look. the go-fast builders, who have recently played it The interior features two bucket seats for pilot and passensafe with their tried-and-true hulls. Jeff Bohn of Cobra Performance Boats (Montclair, CA) has bucked the trend by unveiling a new model: the 270 Python. It’s a bold move in an era where few are apt to spend their profits on new R&D. Initially, the idea was to create a closed-bow cat, but Bohn decided that a deckboat would be a better direction. “We wanted to make it look racy on the outside to please the husband, and a deckboat configuration on the inside to please the wife and kids,” Bohn says. “It’s a very flashy on the outside and roomy on the inside.” The transom has been raised to hide a lot of the steering 38

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ger, a rear bench with three headrests, and a forward bow area with two forward-facing seats, extended to accommodate plenty of passengers—the boat will easily host a dozen or so adults and children, making it ideal for family and assorted friends. Pilot and co-pilot have a traditional wraparound windshield, a break from the typical Cobra canopy styling. The boat has no rubrail—it’s completely capped, will all of its colors in the gelcoat. Ours was a completely silver boat with orange, green and purple details, executed flawlessly. It’s got a lot of round edges and some straight but spectacular tooling. speedboat.com

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Cobra • 270 Python Length: 28’ Beam: 105” Engine on test boat: Mercury Racing 565 Drive on test boat: Mercury ITS Bravo XP Base price: $106,900 Price as tested: $185,000 Options on test boat: Full capped hull, fully hydraulic steering, 565 XR ITS / Sportmaster drive, Alpine stereo with four amps, four subwoofers, Vessel View 7 with depth, temp, GSP; Monster GPS gauges, hydraulic hatch hinges, full gelcoat in engine compartment, Alcantara interior fabric with headrest, etc. Top speed: 84 mph Cobra Performance Boats 5109 Holt Blvd. Montclair, CA 91763 (909) 482-0047 speedboat.com

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Cobra 270 Python

There’s a large glove box for the passenger (right), while both driver and passenger have easy access to the stereo controls. Other amenities include numerous cupholders, large speakers, snap-in carpet and easy access to the expansive front bow.

“This would be an ideal boat for a guy who wants something sporty and who needs the room to hang out. It’s a Havasu River style boat, and it’s pretty cool.” —Bob Teague 40

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Our tester was equipped with a Mercury 565 with Bravo drive and a 31" prop; it featured full hydraulic steering, ITS gimbal housing, Alpine stereo, Monster GPS and hydraulic hatch hinges. The interior sported an attractive custom fabric, which drew high marks from our evaluators, along with the impressive gelcoat. The windshield was extra tall, with large billet aluminum supports on each side. Seating is expertly sculpted, with driver and passenger granted a generous distance between seat rest and dash. There’s a large glove box for the passenger, while both driver and passenger have easy access to the stereo controls. Other amenities include numerous cupholders, large speakers, snap-in carpet and easy access to the expansive front bow. Seat boxes are molded with ample storage underneath. “It’s a very well laid-out boat,” notes test driver Alexi Sahagian, who gave high grades to the dash layout’s Mercury Smartcraft screen and two analog gauges on either side, along with a fuel hatch pump and speedboat.com

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bilge pump switch on the left side and other accessory switches on the right. The 565 MerCruiser has been painted orange to match the boat with carbon fiber accents—very clean and simple, with no unsightly wires. The entire package is straightforward and sano. The boat also has a hideaway bimini top beneath the hatch, which will be invaluable during those hot California and Arizona summers. The 565 gets the Cobra on plane with relative ease; after some brief bowrise, it takes a set and feels glued to the water to about 40 mph until you give it some positive trim. Our drivers observed a slight list to the left side during the test. “When you get to around 65-70 mph, the boat comes alive and performance is very good,” Sahagian said. “Even though you’re driving along at a steady 70 mph, the boat still has a bit of a list to the left side.” The Cobra stays flat and really excels while turning at cruise and slalom speeds. There’s no deceleration reaction, and the weight shift has a nice,

wide stance. The Cobra won high marks from Bob Teague on low-speed tracking and midrange speeds, though he notes that trimming at high speeds resulted in a hop. “It might be different with a couple of people in the bow,” he observed. In his acceleration run, Teague planed in 4.88 seconds; zero to 60 was achieved in just under 20 seconds; top speed of 84 mph came at 5,400 rpm. We awarded the Cobra high marks for having zero steering wheel torque, dash layout, low speed and overall maneuverability and performance at speed—with the exception of the porpoise at higher speeds, even in neutral trim. “This is the first of the units from Jeff Bohn, who has been on a little bit of a hiatus from Cobra,” Teague says. “He’s done a respectful job and put a lot of effort into this. This would be an ideal boat for a guy who wants something sporty and who needs the room to hang out. It’s a Havasu River style boat, and it’s pretty cool.” SPEEDBOAT |

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Essex 28 Fusion The Ontario, CA-based builder flaunts their A-game with this stylish and roomy family deckboat.

Above: the 28' Fusion turns heads at a recent Los Angeles Boat Show display.

When our test team first encountered Essex And a stylish boat it remains. Cosmetically, the Fusion Boats’ 28' Fusion six years ago, we were impressed continues to impress us with the impeccable finish that has with its clean consistency and sweet, elevated ride at cruise— the 55-mph ride at 3,500 rpm was truly exceptional. Our introductory power package was a TCM 900 with Platinum XR drive, which barely broke a sweat as it efficiently dispatched horsepower as needed. In our most recent test, Essex opted for the current engine of choice—a 565 (Racing with ITS) coupled to a Bravo One XR drive. Thus, the triple digits we saw originally were going to be off the table this time around. And yet, an anticipated 80-mph tall speed strikes us as perfectly reasonable for a family performance deckboat. 42

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made Essex a coveted brand through the years. “It’s a pretty neat boat,” observed test driver Alexi Sahagian of the Fusion, which sported an attractive gelcoat of orange, white, gray and silver, with a large Essex logo engraved into the mold on the bow. Boarding the Fusion is a breeze, with its extra-wide bow area covered in nonskid, and storage compartments integrated into each sponson. Take a step down and you’re in a roomy bow section that can easily accommodate several adults; seats offer a comfortable forward-facing backrest, speakers and a pair of cupholders on either side. Walking through to the cockpit, you’ll encounter a sink built into speedboat.com

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Essex • 28 Fusion length: jfkdsjlkjfdlk Length: 28'3" Beam: 102" Engine on test boat: Mercury Racing 565 Drive on test boat: Bravo One XR Base price: $110,000 Price as tested: $175,000 Top speed: 80 mph @ 5,400 rpm Prop: 26'-pitch Mercury four-blade Standard features: Stereo with four speakers, stainless 8’ bimini top, dual batteries, tilt steering, interior lights, Cargo Bay lumination, onboard sink and internal water tank, onboard shower and boat washdown, carpet kit, in-floor ski locker, walkthrough transom, remote controlled dual ram sundeck, billet seat pedastels, etc.

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Essex Boats 1830 S. Baker Ave. Ontario Ca. 91761 (909) 923-7739

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Essex 28 Fusion

Both the driver and passenger have small push-up wind visors; on the dash are an array of Livorsi gauges featuring black carbon fiber and billet panels featuring switches for bilge, blowers, etc.

“This is a great choice for people who want a performance boat that’s like a pontoon, but they also want speed and style.” —Bob Teague

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the the starboard side bulkhead and a built-in wastebasket on the port side; both are covered with hinged doors—a rather unique feature on a deckboat. There’s plenty of storage space on this boat, including a compartment located underneath the driver’s console. Both the driver and passenger have small push-up wind visors; on the dash are an array of Livorsi gauges featuring black carbon fiber and billet panels featuring switches for bilge, blowers, etc. A cool Mercury DTS shifter is placed off to the right in matching billet. The entire backrest of the rear bench lifts up for easy access to the engine compartment. Inside, the 565 engine has been painted orange to match the boat. It’s been mounted on a Mercury race-style plate mount on L angles that are through-bolted to the stringers. You’ve got excellent access to the engine on the port side, due to a walkway on the starboard side for exit access to the back of the boat. Snap-in carpet sections adorn the floors; there’s also a floor drain in the rear section speedboat.com

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for when it’s time to hose the back of the boat out. The rear bench features a Velcroed-down seat cushion, underneath of which is a gelcoated storage compartment that goes all the way down into the center pod. Overall, the Fusion a superbly designed lake rod, and one of the nicest-looking deckboats available. Essex builds one of the most attractive interiors in boating, and they genuinely excel in executing the Fusion’s passenger space. All of the vinyl was perfectly comfortable, and leg room was easy to come by. The nonskid texture on the flooring is another excellent touch. Putting the boat through his typical series of acceleration tests, slalom turns and WOT runs, driver Bob Teague noted that the boat tends to lean out into the left-hand turns, producing a vibration from the right sponson—a condition that “gets better as the speed increases,” he said. The boat tracks nicely, is appropriately sensitive to trim, and comes on plane very quickly. “I was surprised that the boat got to 80

mph—it’s one of the better features of the boat,” Teague noted. Above-average grades were earned for overall maneuverability, deceleration reaction, lack of steering wheel torque and visibility coming on plane. “Throttle response is way better than I thought it would be,” Teague wrote. “The ideal setting for this boat is river and lake family fun, and hanging out in the channel. This is for people who want a performance boat that’s like a pontoon but they want speed and style.” Sahagian also noted the mild list to the port side, adding that “once you’re trimmed and bring the speed up, she straightens out and takes a decent set. At low speeds, it’s an unspectacular ride up until about 40 mph, and she wakes right up.” Overall, Sahagian described the Fusion as a surprisingly fast, moderate driving boat, with satisfactory acceleration from 40 to 80 mph. “It jumps right up to 70 when you’re cruising, and then it creeps its way up to 80 mph.” Teague got her to 70 mph in a mere 20 seconds. SPEEDBOAT |

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Nordic

This ultra-wide and roomy craft practically defines luxury deck-boat thrills.

29 Deckboat

Nordic Boats of Lake Havasu describes its five- it out as far as I could go where they could still laminate and year-old 29' Deck Boat as its biggest seller. Though its build the boat,” Tiemer told Speedboat. “And it’s made the appeal is obvious, our recent test of the 29’ was, astonishingly enough, our first on-water encounter with this incredible machine. Designed and tooled by Nordic general manager Thane Tiemer—who previously built Eliminator Daytonas for Bob Leach—the 29' is the sister ship to Nordic’s 26' Deck Boat, itself a very roomy family thoroughbred. With the 29', Tiemer has created a boat from scratch featuring deep sponsons resulting in a very wide boat (101” beam). “I’ve widened 46

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interior huge.” According to Tiemer, the boat’s number-one most popular motors are the 565 and the 520; former Indy racecar driver Dennis Firestone ordered one with a 825 Teague that runs right at 100. Don Schroeder’s 29', meanwhile, has a 1025 Teague that runs close to 110. We grudgingly settled for the 565 setup, said to deliver 85 mph. Credit Nordic for truth in advertising: the 29' is genuinely speedboat.com

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Right: an outboard-powered 29' steals the thunder from other boats on display at last year’s Los Angeles Boat Show. Bottom: our Mercury Racing 565 engine.

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Nordic • 29 Deckboat length: jfkdsjlkjfdlk Length: 27'6" Beam: 101" Engine on test boat: Mercury Racing 565 Drive on test boat: Mercury Bravo Base price: $117,900 Price as tested: $144,900 Standard features: Mercury 8.5/Mag HO, Bravo X drive, dual electric hat rams, billet battery boxes, dual batteries and built-in battery charger, Livorsi gauges, LED bow lights, rear transom mounted trim switch, through transom exhaust, et al. Options on test boat: Custom stereo upgrade. Top speed: 82.5 mph Nordic Boats 770 N. Lake Havasu Avenue Lake Havasu City, AZ 86403 (928) 855-7420 speedboat.com

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Nordic 29 Deckboat

Our test 29' Deck Boat was equipped with a custom stereo system upgrade, located both port and starboard; the dash sports a Smartcraft Vessel View digital monitor, alongside analog gauges. Up front is a roomy loungeseating ensemble designed to provide exceptional comfort for passengers.

“We went over some bumps out there, and the boat just climbed right over them. Great job.” —Bob Teague

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wide and extremely roomy. “It looks great on the water and has a great set to it,” raved evaluator Alexi Sahagian. Its long, flowing exterior lines lend a dramatic flair, and the interior offers plenty of room with tons of storage. Entering from the bow is a breeze, with lots of room and the perfect level at the dock to get in and out. Our tester was equipped with a custom stereo system upgrade, located both port and starboard; the dash sports a Smartcraft Vessel View digital monitor, alongside analog gauges. Up front is a roomy lounge-seating ensemble designed to provide exceptional comfort for passengers. Other interior features include a built-in privacy enclosure, ergonomic console with wraparound split wind screens, and a signature molded swim platform. The boat is full of attractive custom installations and solid, comfortable upholstery work, done in house. The 29' virtually defines family deckboat fun, with a truly incredible array of special features—it offers more intespeedboat.com

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rior room and amenities than other boats, while capturing the style and performance of a ski boat. It’s nearly impossible to find a negative on this boat, but we weren’t crazy about the existing trim gauge, which should have been incorporated into the VesselView system, and Nordic should consider providing a padded area for the driver to rest his elbow, rather than the hard fiberglass area that’s there now. But those are minor quibbles on a boat that offers so much luxury and efficiency compared to many other deckboats available in today’s landscape. The 29' comes on plane with ease, and without a lot of bowrise. Once you’re on plane, feed it some positive trim, and the boat takes a good set. “It runs pretty straight when you’re running along at moderate trim,” reports Alexi Sahagian. “We got from 50 to 70 in no time at all, and the boat cruises nicely between 60 and 70 mph. We were able to get it up to past 80 mph in our flat conditions. We awarded the Nordic high marks

for its ability to turn, particularly in the low-speed turns. “The boat slaloms really good, especially for its size,” said test driver Bob Teague. “It handles great, although it does take a lot of rpm to achieve the midrange speeds. Then it starts multiplying quite quickly.” In addition, he said, there’s no deceleration reaction. “We went over some bumps out there, and the boat just climbed right over them. Great job.” Among the boat’s other positive performance attributes: excellent lowspeed tracking, low-speed maneuverability, overall maneuverability, throttle response, sensitivity to trim, lack of steering wheel torque, and visibility coming on plane. The boat is relatively fast for its size and the power involved. It’s little wonder that the 29' has proved itself as a solid and enduring winner for Nordic. The company produces one of the top deckboats on the market, and this one was unanimously ranked as a favorite of all the models we tested this year. We can’t wait to take it for another spin. SPEEDBOAT |

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Skater

488 SLV

Here’s a one-off vee that offers a little bit of old school styling and high-tech testosterone.

Built by Douglas Marine of Douglas, MI, the boat appeared to be rigged by a third party (based on the Skater 488 SLV is essentially a one-off created by exemplary jobs we’ve seen come from Skater), but quality, fit Peter Hledin in 2011; the boat was loaned to our team by its current owners, the Rodriguez family, who operate it on Lake Havasu and at poker runs across the West Coast. Described by its owner as “screaming fast out of the hole—it really gets up and goes,” and with a top speed around 115 mph, the unique vee-bottom hull is powered by a pair of Mercury Racing 700 SCi engines with Stage 3 Whipple kits, #6 drysump drives coupled to Hering propellers. “It’s an awesome, sexy-looking boat,” gushed test driver Alexi Sahagian, who awarded the overall construction a 9 out of 10. It’s strictly a poker-run machine, and the interior is for storage only. The 50

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and finish were all good, especially considering that this is a four-year-old boat. “From bow to the stern, it’s just a meanlooking machine,” Sahagian says. Basically, the 488 is a stretched version of the Skater 39 vee-bottom, a two-step hull with a dedicated set of tooling. Painted by Boats.com, the boat has no rubrail and sports a typical Skater layout, with epoxy, carbon fiber and Kevlar. It’s got an Aero Marine wraparound windshield that Skater uses on its more well-known cats. Tooling and mold work on the boat is, in a word, spectacular. A Latham Marine unit offers the ability to move the speedboat.com

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Skater • 488 SLV Length: 48'8" Standard engine: 1550 Sterlings Engines on test boat: (2) Mercury Racing 700 SCis Drives on test boat: Dry-sump #6 drives Props: 5-blade Herings Top speed: 111 mph Douglas Marine / Skater 6780 Enterprise Drive Douglas, MI 49406 (269) 857-4308 speedboat.com

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Skater 488 SLV

A Latham Marine unit offers the ability to move the steering from the starboard side to the port side. Each of the passengers on this five-seater has his own high-back seat—driver, copilot and three passengers in the rear, evoking an old-school “Miami Vice” style configuration.

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steering from the starboard side to the port side. Each of the passengers on this five-seater has his own high-back seat—driver, co-pilot and three passengers in the rear, evoking an oldschool Miami Vice style configuration, with a center throttle console setup and aircraft-style toggle switches on a dash panel that’s still stylish today. Indeed, the overall boat is an incredible blend of old school and high-tech. The dash is absolutely covered in gauges, both port and starboard. The Skater has been rigged with a duplicate set of gauges on each side, except for the boost gauges exclusively on the starboard side driver’s position; water pressure gauges and volt meter are on the center console. We were also impressed by the Garmin GPS and the full complement of Autometer gauges, including liquid-filled pressure gauges for oil and fuel pressure. Sitting in the driver’s seat is extremely comfortable, and you’ll look damn good as well. Our entire test crew awarded very high marks for engine installaspeedboat.com

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tion, access to minor services, carpet installation, steering, overall quality of construction and fit and finish. Cosmetically and structurally, the 488 SLV is a stunner. It was a hot and sticky day in Havasu when we took the Skater out on the water. From the get-go, Bob Teague was impressed by the boat’s speed and handling, noting that it accelerates well for its size (the 850 hp with Whipple upgrades making a comfortable fit with this hull). “I was surprised that the boat did the slalom so well,” he observed. “The boat takes a nice set, leans into the turn, doesn’t feel like it’s going to hook. Cruising up the lake and doing S turns, I didn’t even realize I was going 100 until I looked down at the gauges. The boat’s really good.” Driver Alexi Sahagian found that the Skater came on plane quickly by feeding a little trim and leaving the tabs at about 2-3 in our flat water conditions. “The boat feels a little stuck to the water, but it scoots right along,” he says. “A good cruising speed in this

boat is about 75 mph. It’s comfortable and smooth at about 4,000 rpm and everything’s happy. As you transition to full throttle, acceleration is moderate; as you trim it a little higher, the boat starts to pick up and take off.” While we wished the conditions were a little rougher and a bit windier, the Skater was still a pleasure to drive. We coaxed a top speed of 111 in our dead-flat water, a few more mph were obviously possible under optimal conditions. “And it’s very comfortable at 100 mph if you hold it there,” Sahagian adds. The 488 would be a ideal boat to take out on the ocean—a trip to San Francisco Bay, for example, or on rivers and waterways like the California Delta. “It’s nimble enough and big enough,” notes Teague. “It’s a one-of-akind vee-bottom from Skater, a builder better known for its catamarans. This would be a great boat for somebody who would buy a Ferrari or something different than what his neighbors have—as well as a taste for cool and unique stuff. SPEEDBOAT |

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THE

Battery Savior

By Brett

Speedboat tests the Battery Saver, designed to keep your boat’s battery charged—and living longer.

Bayne

T

his month, the Speedboat tech crew tested a new

Battery Saver’s 50-watt model can charge up to four batteries at the same time.

apparatus called Battery Saver, designed to keep your boat’s battery charged, maintained, rejuvenated and conditioned. As the owner of a boat, you already understand how important your battery is—but it’s equally important to keep the battery charged and maintained, and to extend its life as long as possible. This new product claims to do that by changing the old-fashioned (and potentially harmful) way traditional battery chargers do their job. The story starts with auto collector and enthusiast Frank Gabrielli of Danville, CA. He isn’t merely a car nut—he’s also an electrical engineer. So he has an edge when it comes to solving problems, and one dilemma he occasionally encounters is (of course) the dreaded dead battery. In one month alone, he had a series of batteries go bad on 54

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The Battery Booster

him. Why is it, he wondered, that can’t somebody make a high-quality battery charger? The issue bugged him enough that he started thinking about how to resolve the issue himself. “I could probably invent something,” was the conclusion he ultimtely came to. Over the following year, he immersed himself in research, poring over a massive amount of battery-tech literature, and examining virtually every product, patent and manufacturer in the automotive landscape. At one point in his studies, he became interested in a relatively new process called Pulse technology. Originally developed by the government for the military, Pulse was originally designed to accelerate the rate of charge at a lower amperage. When you charge a battery at a higher amperage—the traditional method—you can create a condition that can cause “flaking,” where tiny flakes fall off the plates. (When you hit them with anything above 7 amps, they don’t like it, and 12-15 amps means actual damage is imminent.) Gabrielli reasoned that if you had a charger that was putting out 5 amps, you’d produce a charge rate equal to about 12-13 amps, allowing the user to charge a battery more quickly, but at a much lower amp output. The technology was perfect for huge combat vehicles, which need to have batteries charged in a hurry—replacing a giant battery is often a laborious task under intense conditions. Eventually, that technology expanded to desulfate a battery while you’re charging it at an accelerated rate at lower amperage. After studying this technique, Gabrielli improved on the process, making it more effective. His Deep Cycle Circuitry & Advanced AutoPulse Technology is now utilized by his Battery Saver products—it’s the primary element that prevents and/or dramatically reduces the accumulation of dam56

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aging lead-sulfate deposits (sulfation) on battery plates, thus enabling the battery to continue to accept, store and release maximum power at all times. “All battery chargers charge batteries,” explains Battery Saver distributor Max Ramras, “but our number one job is to de-sulfate the battery while we’re charging it. All the other chargers simply focus on trying to give it as much charge as it can handle or take.” Several models of the Battery Saver are available, including 12W, 25W and 50W configurations. Speedboat tested the 50W, which can charge a dead, nonsulfated battery to full in about two hours at less than 5 amps. (More highly sulfated batteries may and more often do take longer.) “That’s what’s incredible— that Pulse accelerates the rate of charge at a lower amperage rate,” Ramras says. “That’s amazing for a lower-amperage battery charger.” Our techies admired the fact that the 50W models will charge up to four batteries in parallel, albeit at a reduced rate. Another cool feature of the Battery Saver is the Load Tester, which is essen-

tially a battery quality test. The built-in Load Tester and a Proprietary “DeepCycle Circuitry” can not only be used to test the battery condition, but also cycle a weak battery back to health. It also has a built-in diagnostic voltmeter, so that tests on all 12-volt electrical components can be performed. The Load Test is easy to perform: simply disconnect it from the AC power, and now the trigger indicates that it’s no longer receiving power. At that point, it understands it must automatically turn into a tester. You may be wondering if the Battery Saver can bring a dead battery back to life. Although the unit is designed to keep good or new batteries in peak condition for longer periods of time, some Battery Savers can be used to bring batteries that will not accept and hold a charge back to useful condition—even if it’s been left in a discharged state for an extended period of time. That’s one of the many ways Battery Saver distinguishes itself from the competition. After a battery is connected to a linear charger, the sulfated plates can inhibit the amount of charge that kind of charger can provide to a battery. When you try to utilize the battery, it simply doesn’t have the strength to work properly. Utilizing Battery Saver’s proprietary Load Test and “Deep-Cycle Circuitry,” which actually cycles the battery—utilizing its Pulse technology between the

Among the great features of the 50-watt Battery Saver: It can charge a dead, nonsulfated battery to full in about two hours at less than 5 amps.

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Battery Saver’s Micro-Jump unit is designed to jump-start a dead 12-volt battery.

fully charged state and a completely safe but discharged state—the Battery Saver charge can, in most cases, bring a battery back to life. The process is relatively simple: charge the battery, then turn on the Deep Cycle switch. The Load Tester will slowly drain the voltage down to approximately 11.4 volts, and then automatically switch back to charging mode, thus bringing the battery back up to a full charge. Repeating this process is called “Deep Cycling” and focuses on getting your battery back to health. In addition to creating the impressive Battery Saver, the company has also begun marketing its Micro-Jump unit (shown above), designed to jump-start a dead 12-volt battery. “A number of these kinds of products have hit the market in the last year and a half,” Ramras says. “We studied all of them carefully, and talked to a lot of customers to learn all of the positives and negatives of each of the features that were available. Then, after listening to what they had to say, we simply built the best unit available. So far, sales have just been crazy.” The Micro-Jump may not be the cheapest version available, but if you store it without using it, it’ll hold the charge for up to a year—depending on the ambient temperature where you’re storing it. “If you’re in Arizona during the summer, or in Northern Canada, you’d be lucky if you got six months out of it,” Ramras says. “But if you’re in Southern California, it should last well over six months and as much as 12 months.” For more information, or to purchase a Battery Saver or Micro-Jump, please visit r2batterysaver.com or call (602) 717-7800. speedboat.com

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V-DRIVE TECH JIM WILKES

[Continued from page 10]

Old Hydros Dear Jim: I’d like to ask a setup question on an old shovel. I’m having a few concerns about my boat and need to either get my mind right or have my dreams dashed. I’m hoping you will remember back when these things were “fuelers.”

What is the best method for settling back in? Back off and hope for the best, or is there another way? The boat performs awesome at speed, and at times can be a bit unruly settling back in at the end of a pass. Kevin Harper Springfield, IL

What memories you bring back! I was laughing for quite some time about your question, and I’m not sure I have have right answer. Most of these old hydros have a small seat installed, and even when I was younger, before I grew into my full-figured body, I had a hard time staying in the seat both on acceleration and deceleration. I always seem to sit on top of the seat, not in the seat. Now for the real answer. When your boat accelerates, you start to reduce the wetted area or drag on the bottom of the hull. The faster you go, the less drag. Now, do you remember the equation we learned in school: “For every action there is a opposite and equal reaction”? OK. So now you decelerate and what happens you create drag at a rapid rate? Sometimes the boat’s sponsons will drop back down in the water a little faster than other times, causing you to hold on tighter and try to hold yourself in the seat. This seems to happen in this style of hot rod boat. Maybe a custom seat with higher sides might help hold you in better, but it won’t look as sexy as the ohso-small seat. Good luck, Kevin, and keep us informed on the wild ride!

Centered Headers? Dear Jim: Once in a blue moon, I see headers that exit over the transom, one on top the other, in kind of a figure-eight style. What are these called? What do you think about them? Thanks! Jared Thompson Indianapolis, IN I think you’re talking about what are known as 180-degree headers. This type of system was built for the automotive race industry. Jim Clark’s Indy car with a Ford engine used this type of header. They were tuned for maximum performance at a given rpm range. We used a set like this on our SilverWing ET boat with a Jaguar engine tuned for 7,200 rpm. Some guys run this style exhaust because they like the different sound they produced. I’m not sure they make any more power in a flatbottom-style boat, but I have no doubt that the guys who use these headers—and pay big money for them—say they do.

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New Products BRETT BAYNE Premium Pistons CP-Carrillo of Irvine, CA, has introduced its X-Style pistons for Power Adder applications. These pistons include the advanced features and improvements that CP-Carrillo has developed through rigorous testing and R&D. Manufactured from 2618 T-61 alloy, these pistons utilize an “X” forging for added structural support and durability, can be designed with buttons, or with

wire locks. Includes vertical or lateral gas ports and forced pin oiling. They are ready for immediate delivery. CP-Carrillo’s X-style pistons are ready to drop in to an engine, and should improve horsepower and durability out of the box and will be available on the shelf. They are available for Top Alcohol Hemi applications in a +4.467” bore and hemi or Canted Valve for Pro Mod with a +5.000” bore. The struts are straighter

than round style pistons. These pistons can run narrower rods and shorter pins, often resulting in reduced weight for most applications. CP-Carrillo is a company totally dedicated to pistons and connecting rods. Experienced sales specialists provide unique piston and rod solutions for a myriad of engine applications. The company continuously endeavors to combine manufacturing excellence, product guidance, and ongoing technical support to effectively address its customers’ needs. For more information, please call (949) 567-9000 or visit cp-carrillo.com.

Cylinder Heads for BBC Unleash the full potential of your big-block Chevy with the power of RHS 24-Degree Cylinder Heads. These heads feature 24-degree valve angles and raised exhaust ports while using a conventional valve train and pistons.

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The Pro Action line of cylinder heads are the cornerstone of the RHS line. They are ideal for a variety of performance applications, including hot rod, drag racing, oval track racing and marine uses. These heads deliver more features, higher flow characteristics and better finish quality than other competitive brands. RHS Pro Elite Cylinder Heads are designed for racers who want the absolute best engine performance. Pro Elite Cylinder Heads utilize innovative design features, modern engineering methods and precision CNC-machining. For more information, please visit racingheadservice.com.

Billet Trim Tabs

Livorsi Marine of Grayslake, IL, will be unveiling a new line of billet hydraulic trim tabs at the Miami International Boat Show, Feb. 12-16. Available in four different sizes, the tabs will accommodate performance boats as well as center consoles, cruisers, military and workboats from 20 to 50 feet. The trim tabs are all CNC machined billet aluminum and hard coat black anodizing to prevent corrosion. The transom plate can be a Mercury bolt pattern or a much smaller Livorsi transom

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New Products plate. Electric sensor feed the info to LED Indicators, NMEA2000 or a Mercury Vessel View. Some key features of these tabs: • All hinge pins and hardware are stainless steel. • Adjust transom angles with out the use of special tools. • Hydraulic cylinders designed for 1500 PSI working pressure with dual seals; cylinders may be serviced. • Four anodes for complete saltwater protection. • Stainless steel braided hoses are purchased separately. Be sure to visit Livorsi at the Miami show at booth #G90 and consider a set in your next build. For more informationl, call (847) 7522710 or visit livorsi.com.

High-Pressure Fuel Pump

AEM (Advanced Engine Management) Performance Electronics of Hawthorne, CA, has introduced its 380-lph High Flow, High Pressure Fuel Pump for high performance naturally aspirated and forced induction EFI vehicles (PN 50-1005). The pump can be installed externally or in-tank using optional hardware that is sold separately. It utilizes the industry standard "044 Style" envelope and -10 AN female inlet and -6 AN female outlet connections for easy installation on new applications and for quick replacement of existing competitor fuel pumps. The 50-1005 fuel pump delivers incredible performance and value with an approximate street price of $155.00. AEM's fuel pump is capable of supporting over 1,200 HP normally aspirated and a whopping 1,075 HP at 30 psi boost. [Continues on page 82]

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Brett’s HEAVENLY

HALLETT ALSO: • Cole Restoration • TPR Stealth • ‘66 Schiada

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RESTORATION Yet another chapter in the never-ending saga of immaculate boats that were found languishing in a barn.

Photo by Andrew

Gates

Endler’s Game 64

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Y

ou may have seen Jordan Endler’s pulled back the cover, I had to have it.” Essentially a bare hull with almost no rigging, the Cole was other boat, a 1983 Haskell runner bottom, in

a recent “Reader Rides” section of this magazine. That boat has been sold so Endler could purchase this 1978 Cole TR2 flatbottom. It’s powered by the same 500-c.i. big-block Chevy (15% overdrive) with a Casale 10% V-drive. The boat had been in and out of several garages and barns over the past 25 years. The boat has changed hands several times; it had languished in a barn for 10 years until Endler heard that the owner had some flatbottoms and went to take a look. “The man had no problem showing me his boats,” Endler recalls. “In the corner was the Cole, and as soon as he speedboat.com

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sent to Jim Miller of Miller Custom Boats, who mounted the V-drive and re-glassed the floors. Endler did the remainder of the rigging himself, fabricating nearly everything in his garage. He plans to run the boat in NJBA or Lucas Oil drag racing series in the 10-second Modified Eliminator class. Endler’s cousin, Jacob Rodriguez, helped with the build, dispensing ideas to Endler during its transformation. “He too loves V-drives, and we plan on building a hydro for him to run on the Parker strip or in competition. He’s our crew chef and helps me work on and tune the boat.” Read on to explore how Endler brought the Cole to life. SPEEDBOAT |

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Endler’s Game Left: Endler with his other boat, a 1983 Haskell runner bottom. Below: The boat 25 years ago, photographed by one of the original owners. It was originally rigged in 1986; it was later completely stripped of its rigging and trailer, which was then put into a Canyon flatbottom. The Cole was most likely powered by a big-block Chevy. “I think the boat was originally raced in the NDBA circuit in the early 1980s. It was originally yellow, from what can tell from the the little nicks and under the cav plates.”

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Endler fabricated these engine rails and drilled holes as he prepared to mount the the big-block Chevy. The rudder support was also installed (top left).

Endler mocked up a backup plate on the boat’s transom to support the pillow blocks that hold the control rod to the back of the boat. Endler drills a 2” hole into a piece of aluminum as he fabricates a water temperature gauge and bilge pump switch mount.

2” holes are drilled into the backup plate (seenmounted at left). speedboat.com

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Endler’s Game

The transom has now been completely finished, with backup plate powdercoated blue and the cav plates mounted. Above: the strut brace now has 2" holes drilled and is ready to be powdercoated blue. Below: the base of the strut brace. Right: the strut brace is mocked up and ready to have 2" holes drilled into the flat aluminum braces that connect to the stringers.

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Left: The final V-drive installation comes together, with floors flowcoated and awaiting the installation of the propshaft. Below: the boat on Lake Havasu. We now see the fuel tank and engine completely installed.

Left: Endler painted this helmet in auto-body class during the boat’s restoration. It was painted to match the theme of the boat.

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Head Turner Scott Turner’s 1982 19'6" Hallett SS previously graced our swimsuit section. Now she gets her close-up.

Photos by Ray

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S

cott Turner’s hot-boating odyssey started during his days toiling in a towyard when a flatbottom V-drive entered the

premises. “It was a pile, but my work partner and I put blood, sweat and tears in that thing,” he says. It was good training ground for his later boats, including a Schiada flatbottom and a Barron Sprint. Eventually, a buddy was selling his Hallett. “After looking at it, I just couldn’t get it out of my mind. I had to buy it,” Turner says. So he sold the Barron Sprint and started building a motor for the Hallett—a blown, intercooled 540 assembled by Vince Urieta of V-Power Performance (Lake Elsinore, CA). He’s hasn’t pushed it to WOT yet. “I’ve taken it up to about 90 mph, and that’s as far as I’ve taken it. Starts to get a little squirrelly.” Turner, 43, works in fleet management at an aerospace company.

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Head Turner

Vince Urieta of V-Power Performance (Lake Elsinore, CA) built the Hallett’s blown, intercooled 540. Most everything on the boat is original, including the gelcoat, seats and floors. “The motor is awesome,” Turner says. “At high speeds, though, it wants to pull hard to the left. And I don’t know why that is yet—I’m kind of working out those kinks,” he says. “Starting at about 85-90 mph, it starts to get a little squirrelly.”

The Hallett—once a ski-race boat— sports its original gelcoat, seats and floors. “It comes out of the hole real nice,” Turner says.

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Rat Trap Lake Havasu resident Rick Escott gets his kicks in a ’66 Schiada. Photos by Andrew

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I

f Rick Escott's 1966 Schiada, Rat Trap, seems vaguely familiar, it may be because you saw

it in the pages of Hot Boat 11 years ago, when we posed future Playboy bunny Kendra Wilkinson on it. Back then, it was owned by Kevin Towle (who was only 6 years old when the boat was built). It’s changed hands over the years: Rick, the current owner, bought it from a classic boat aficionado in Los Angeles who’d had it stored in Blythe for a couple of years. “It was pretty thrashed,” reports Escott, who lives in Lake Havasu speedboat.com

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City. “I had to bring it home, buff it all out and get everything working again.” It was only later that people started to tell him they’d seen the rig in Hot Boat. “After I got it home, some people on the online forums mentioned it,” he says. The Schiada’s engine had been restyled with a number of modern-day flourishes: “The valve covers each had a velocity stack on it and a bunch of modern parts,” Escott says. “I put all of the nostalgic parts back on it, including the original scoop– luckily, he still had that in a box.” SPEEDBOAT |

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Rat Trap

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Rat Trap's owner, Rick Escott, needed to buff out all the aluminum on the boat, which was "all flawed or pitted and dull— the same as the boat. It was in pretty bad shape when I got it," he says. "It just required a lot of buffing and cleaning, basically." Escott works for a concrete company in Lake Havasu City, AZ. speedboat.com

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No Bain, No Gain Deep in the heart of Texas, Eric Bain flexes the muscle of his 1997 Tom Papp Stealth.

Story by Brett

E

Bayne

ric Bain's 19' Tom Papp Racing Stealth is a formidable jetboat challenger on any

number of lakes along Texas and Oklahoma. The rig sports a twin-turbo 572" big-block Chevy, and among its most popular haunts is Broken Bow lake, a reservoir in southeastern Oklahoma—one of the state’s largest. “During our Fourth of July outing, hundreds of jet boats gather, and we easily put over 75 miles on the boat driving from Jetboat Cove all the way to the cliffs, where people jump off 150-foot cliffs and have a good time,” he says. Bain, a mechanic working in Greenville, had his buddy Ervin Capps build all of the boat’s hardware, including a custom drop keel. The Stealth also fea78

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tures a pop-off valve and Jet-Away. Dusty Nowlin of Quinlan, TX, fabricated all of the boat’s custom brackets and parts. Bain says that the boat is able to run QE and run the lakes on pump gas at all of the lake outings he attends with the Outlaw Boat Racers group. The boat has two tanks—one for pump gas and the other for C16. “With a flip of a switch from the driver’s seat, I'm instantly on C16 and 30 pounds of boost at over 140. I’ve also got a 300-shot nitrous outlet fogger for lake/river racing so I can cut the lag time out to outrun the nitrous boats in the short distance.” Bain drives well over 1,000 miles on the lakes during the summer, and is still able to bust out a QE number at the track in the same lake trim. speedboat.com

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No Bain, No Gain

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New Products [Continued from page 62] It flows 380 lph (100 gph) at 43 PSI, 340 lph (90 gph) at 73 PSI, and 270 lph (71 gph) at 120 PSI. Complete flow curves from 35 to 120 PSI and current draw vs. fuel pressure charts are available to view at aemelectronics.com. The pump is designed for use with gasoline. Alcohol fuels can be used, but pump life will be diminished. The inlet thread is a -10 AN female ORB (O-ring port fitting) and the discharge is a -6 AN female ORB (O-ring port fitting). A male -6 to -8 AN discharge fitting with integral high pressure check valve, terminal nuts, terminal boots and installation instructions are included. Optional accessories that are sold separately include a -10 ORB fitting inlet pre-filter (for use with in-tank installations), and both -8 and -6 discharge adapters without integral check valves. Accessory fittings are hard anodized. For more information, please call (310) 484-2322 or visit aemelectronics. com.

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Speedboat April 2015 Online Edition  
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