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SPEEDBOAT MAGAZINE

DRAG BOAT SHOWDOWN!

DREAMY

DECKS Nordic, KMG & Domn8er

SPEEDBOAT LEGEND

SEE PAGE 50

REGGIE FOUNTAIN APRIL 2016

APRIL 2 0 1 6

MOVIN’ ON UP Miami Show’s New Digs speedboat.com 59515_Speedboat_April_001.indd 1

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TABLE OF CONTENTS April 2016

COLUMNS 10 CHRIS DAVIDSON 12 RAY LEE 14 ALEXI SAHAGIAN

34 2016 PERFORMANCE EVALUATIONS

FEATURES

50 SPEEDBOAT LEGENDS

18 MIAMI BOAT SHOW With its first year at a massive new location, the world-famous exhibition enjoyed a much-needed shot in the arm.

30 SPEEDBOAT OF THE MONTH Meet Brett Miller, whose 40' Skater Recovery is actually his very first performance boat.

In the second part of our 2016 West Coast boat tests, we evaluate a Nordic 29 Deckboat, KMG 22 Phantom SD, DCB M31 and Domn8er 22.

In our third installment of our Hall of Fame series, we salute champion tunnel boat racer, offshore kilo record-holder and sport boat designer/builder Reggie Fountain.

56 MISSION: MARATHON Stu Jones leads the charge to the Florida Keys for three days of sun and fun with his Florida Powerboat Club.

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.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

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

BRETT’S COVE 64 BUILDING A BETTER BAHNER Rick Reiling re-creates the dreamboat of his childhood...with a lot of help from his performance pals.

70 DAD’S SURPRISE Boat builder and rebuild wizard Jay Pilini helps a customer transform an old Sidewinder for his son.

72 HEAD HONCHO Billy B helps his brother-in-law, Jerry Griffin, restore a piece of Biesemeyer mythology.

76 ADBA SHOWDOWN Drag heroes converge at the Bluewater Resort & Casino for an season-kickoff battle royale.

Photographers Todd Taylor, Pete Boden, Randy Nuzzo, Kenny Dunlop, Paul Kemiel, Jeff Girardi, Mark McLaughlin Operations Manager Michele Plummer michele@speedboat.com

Subscriptions Valerie Snedeker valerie@speedboat.com

Webmaster Craig Lathrop craig@speedboat.com

Web Design Wes Nielsen wes@speedboat.com

Editorial Offices 9216 Bally Court Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730 (888) 577-2628 (BOAT) SPEEDBOAT MAGAZINE (ISSN#1941-9473) is published 8 times a year by DCO Enterprises LLC. SUBSCRIPTIONS: Domestic $34.00 for 9 issues, Canada $56.00 for 9 issues, International $60.00 for 9 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.

Cover photo by Todd Taylor Table of Contents photo by Todd Taylor speedboat.com

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MY VIEW CHRIS DAVIDSON

Fixing Miami’s Vices The line to the water taxi: Agonizingly long and blocked foot traffic.

I first attended the Miami Boat Show in 1989. Jim Kohls of Larry Flynt Publications had decided that the offshore boat market would be the next growth area for Hot Boat. We were excited to hit the Miami scene and had hopes of going on the set of Miami Vice, which was located at the Alexander Hotel in the heart of Miami Beach on Collins Avenue. The show was in full production, and I had a good contact with Gordon Houser at Wellcraft Marine, who was involved with the hit television show due to the company’s stunning 38' Scarab. You may recall Crockett and Tubbs driving that boat throughout the series. Miami was the most exciting and beautiful city that I had ever visited. Held at the Convention Center, the Miami Boat Show was vast, and on the same level as IMTEC, Chicago’s marine trade-only show. Boasting hundreds of exhibitors with thousands of square feet to cover, the five-day event became an annual trek for me and my staff. Inside Halls C and D, high-performance boats were lined up, connected by vast pathways of red carpet. Fountains, Cigarettes, MTIs and other big-name brands were grouped together so that buyers could easily find what they wanted. I always looked forward to chatting with Reggie Fountain, always dressed impeccably in a suit. Reggie, who is this month’s Speedboat Legend (see Page 50), almost single-handedly supported 15 different boat magazines with his multimillion-dollar advertising budget. 10

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Large fishing boats were always in the next aisles over, so that the fishermen could dream of their next purchases as well. The tents behind the Convention Center, as well as the open-air exhibits, were sometimes difficult to visit due to the elements—sweltering heat, heavy rainstorms and Florida’s famous stifling humidity. Even so, there was a flow to the show. It appeared to be by design, and that’s part of what kept me coming back to Miami over the past 25 years. And then, late last year, it was announced that the Miami Convention Center on Washington Avenue would be getting a complete remodel, and that the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) planned to move the show to the old Miami Marine Stadium on Virginia Key, just off the Rickenbacker Causeway. Admittedly, the Marine Stadium is rich with powerboating history. Built in 1963, it was the first stadium/complex built for the purpose of holding speedboat races. Hollywood took advantage of this, filming tons of TV shows and movies there, including the race footage for the 1967 Elvis Presley film Clambake. The movie features Elvis as a boat racer positioned against Bill Bixby (cast against type as the villain). Marine Stadium was operational from 1963 until its closure in 1992, due to both dilapidation and damage caused by Hurricane Andrew. I have visited Marine Stadium several times over the past 25 years. At the time, I thought it might serve as a functional alternative for both exhibitors and attendees. Boats could be demoed in the water for potential buyers, exhibitors would all be in one location, and there was a vast amount of empty lots for parking. Indeed, this is precisely how the vision was peddled through the well-written press releases issued by the NMMA. Unfortunately, the reality proved con-

siderably more difficult. The NMMA spent a great deal of money tenting the majority of the 20 acres of land that borders Biscayne Bay, and constructed a massive amount of dock space inside the bay for exhibitors to display their wares. (The entire facility of the Stadium totals more 240 acres in land and water acreage.) But the NMMA will need to work on several areas to improve this venue for 2017. In my opinion, there are a variety of areas they need to focus on improving in order to make the revamped Miami Show the genuine success it needs to be. 1. Organization. The show needs to do a better job of grouping the boats and accessories together. I understand that exhibitors naturally want to choose their own space at the show, but that doesn’t help it to be organized. The NMMA needs to designate areas by categories. This is how it’s done for the yachts, and some of the center-console manufacturers did at least appear to be grouped together. But this effort should really be streamlined in a way that is sensible and effective for showgoers. I know there are some manufacturers that don’t want to spread their staff thin with multiple locations, but the show is about selling product and getting buyers to the correct locations for maximum sales potential. Car dealerships discovered this more than a decade ago, and it works wonderfully for both sellers and buyers. 2. Water taxis. The NMMA provided boats that ferried people back and forth to Marine Stadium from various parking areas in and around Miami to avoid the traffic across the Rickenbacker Causeway and toll booth. This proved chaotic at best. I stood in line on Thursday for more than an hour trying to get back to Miami. The water taxi staff and signage guaranteed that boats would be running every [Continues on page 80] speedboat.com

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OBSERVER’S SEAT RAY LEE

A True Game Changer

Martin Sanborn, Fred Kiekhaefer, Ray Lee and Mystic’s John Cosker.

It’s easy to stay the same. There is comfort in familiarity. Change can be difficult. So when we heard that the 2016 Miami International Boat Show had a new and different venue than the one we’d come to know and love, we were hesitant – to say the least. For years, the show had resided at the Miami Convention Center and we, along with everyone else that had frequented it, had our regular routines, knew where all of the exhibitors were and had our favorite places to eat, drink and be merry. This year, there was a whole new learning curve and we had to learn it quickly. With the new (and likely permanent) home at the Miami Marine Stadium Park and Basin near Virginia Key, we suffered the growing pains along with everyone else there on the opening Thursday of the five-day show.

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The commute into the show was excruciating. Despite hearing the grumblings of impending road traffic woes, we chose to drive in anyway. Big mistake. Surrounded by other show goers, transport shuttles and police vehicles, the Rickenbacker Causeway became a lost “cause” in our attempt to get into the show remotely on time. With it being the only artery in or out of the area, there was mass chaos. Even the event staff seemed to be learning as they went, because we were directed into several different directions – all of which were not near the entrance of the show. Speedboat Magazine team member Jay Forbes “took one for the team,” as he dropped us off near one of the openings and left to go find a place to park, several miles away. It took him another hour and a half to meet back up with us. But… we were finally IN!

The entire layout was impressive and overwhelming. It seemed like an endless array of everything marine, under the sun. The accessories vendors along with the boats under 36' were displayed under the massive tents on hard land, while the ones over 36' had dock space displays on the water. Hundreds of logoed flags helped to identify where the manufacturers were, as well as the printed Show Guide, which could be found almost anywhere. And again, as in years past, the center console boats were everywhere! Previously, the on-the-water portion of the show was in a separate location from the convention center on Sea Isle. It was nice to have everything in the same location now, especially if we wanted to take another look at something. Also, and more importantly, all of the exhibitors that I spoke to seemed to be pleased with the logistics of the new venue. Especially that they were able to give test rides easily to potential customers. The next day, we had learned from our previous day’s errors and utilized the free water taxis that were available to the masses and us. We parked the car at one of the many designated locations and hopped onto a large, diesel-powered catamaran for a nice, slow cruise across the bay. We were dropped off at the waterside doorstep of the show, which was far more convenient than driving and definitely less stressful. From a publishing standpoint, the dock displays proved to be difficult to photograph all of the amazing hardware to present to you within these pages. The boats were tightly packed in together, making it hard to get a shot that fully represented the overall beauty of each vessel. But I realize that the show [Continues on page 61] speedboat.com

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ON THE DYNO ALEXI SAHAGIAN

Oil PSI Fluctuations Dear Alexi: I have a 502 Mag MPI MerCruiser engine in my stock Advantage boat. I recently had the engine rebuilt by a local person here in Texas. Ever since I did this, the engine oil pressure is all over the place and now it will be the third time it has wiped out my bearings and started to put debris in my bearings. The first time, the shop told me that it was the oil I chose to run, which is a good Valvoline. The second time, he told me it was my driving. This is the third time, and I finally took it to a better-known place, and they are leaning toward the oil pump pickup. Again, my oil PSI is good, but fluctuates from 40-55 under load and has less fluctuation at idle. Any good info would help. Thank you! Dan McLain Plano, TX Sorry to hear you are having no luck with your rebuild on your stock engine. It would be best to look into why the engine bearings are failing. Unfortunately, it could be from several factors. One must assume that your rebuilder is measuring bearings properly with a micrometer set, etc. We will also assume that they are replacing your oil cooler each time to assure no debris is transferring from rebuild to repair each time. It seems as though you may be on the right track now that you are at a more reputable shop. Oil pressure issues are usually caused by a few things other than the bearings themselves. Make sure the builder installed the bypass valves in your block 14

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(assuming it’s a later generation engine like most 502 MPI series were). Ensure that all of the pipe plug in the lifter valves is actually in. Surprisingly, a lot of builders forget them, and then the oil pressure usually is all over the place. The most common issue is a broken or loosely installed oil pickup. This is the pickup that press-fits into your oil pump. You must make sure you install it, properly place it and at least tack weld it in place to assure it stays in place. If the seam is loose, the pump can easily suck air, causing air bubbles to enter the oil. Then you’ll have all types of trouble with pressures and oil protection. Put the pickup in the freezer for an hour, and then run a heat gun on the new oil pump minutes prior to installing the pickup. If you do this little trick, they usually slip right in place with minimal effort. Once it’s in place, verify the proper location quickly, let it cool and then use a good welder and tack it in place. Remember, they are dissimilar metals. One is cast iron and the other is mild steel so use a proper welding rod for this process to assure good penetration on the tack. When you’re done and the engine is assembled to at least the rocker arms, run a pre-oiler drill in it and verify the stability as you slightly rotate the engine. It should be fairly stable within a few pounds if all is good. Check that out and remember that the pickup bounces around and pounds around on a boat, so tack welding them is a good idea. Some folks use a metal bonding epoxy, which is fine as well, as long as it is designed for those metals.

Oil Leak After Rebuild Dear Alexi: My boat is a stock 502-hp 500 and it is in a DCB vee-bottom boat. It has always run well. I had it gone through about six months ago. It seems OK and runs like new again; the only thing is that there seems to be a good-size oil leak at the rear of the engine in the middle. I was told to

have the shop look into the rear main seal. It leaks at idle, midrange and wide open. It’s driving me nuts as I am worried about it getting worse as it is! Please give me some tips as I took it to the shop and they seem to think it will seal up. Greg Salers Lake Havasu, AZ OK, let’s see. It was stock and likely used for a long time, then you had it rebuilt and a few trips later or less, you notice oil leaking at the rear of the engine. Shop says perhaps it’s the rear main, but the leak is worsening. My suggestion, of course, is to go back to the shop and have them verify this. One thing I can tell you for sure is that if they recently rebuilt it, the rear seal should be fine and new and it is usually one piece on those 502-hp 500-c.i. engines. They almost never have issues when they’re new. I would look above at the distributor area to see if perhaps the gasket up there is leaking oil down the back. If that is OK, look at the mating surface in the center rear of the intake manifold for a potential leak or breach in the cork or silicon used to seal it. If that checks out, you may need to remove the motor, pull the bell housing off and look into the rear oil galley pipe plugs. I can’t begin to tell you how many rebuilders put these back in without sealer or TFE paste of some type. If the leak, they simulate a rear main leak and if they are loose, the leak will get bigger until the Allen plug falls out dumping all of your oil into the bilge. There are three at the rear of the camshaft area and at times a couple others below and to the left at [Continues on page 62] speedboat.com

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Aerial view of the new site, the Miami Marine Stadium Park & Basin. (Photo by Pete Boden)

MIAMI

Boat Show

Wi h iits fi With first year at iits massive i new llocation, the exhibition enjoyed a much-needed shot in the arm. Story and photos by Brett

Bayne & Ray Lee

Boats could enter the show via Biscayne Bay— or exit for test rides. 18

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W

hether you loved the Miami Boat Show’s new digs on Virginia Key (as many did) or if you chose to focus on its shortcomings, one thing seems indisputable: actually getting to the

Top: SeaHunter cut its boat in half to prove that it’s unsinkable. Top right: Miss Geico team members Scotty Begovich and Gary Goodell. Above: The original Miami Vice boat—a 1986 Wellcraft Scarab 38’ KV— delighted showgoers. Below: The Carol Suzanne, a 1962 “Y” class hydroplane that once raced at Miami Marine Stadium.

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75th annual exhibit was problematic. Moving so many people in and out of the repurposed Miami Marine Stadium Park & Basin would naturally pose some challenges. Many showgoers naturally assumed they could simply drive to the show, rather than take advantage of the many “Park and Ride” routes. That led to innumerable cars routed away from the island, doubling down on Miami’s already crippling traffic problems. But once you finally figured out how to actually get to the show, the rewards were considerable. Of the more than 1,200 boats on land and in the water (with more than 400 slips), the show was alive with high-performance muscle, including boats from the likes of MTI, Sunsation, Hustler, Skater, Outerlimits, Cigarette, Mystic, Midnight Express and Nor-Tech, as well as big-hp engine builders like Mercury, Ilmor, Seven Marine and GM. Encouragingly, NMMA said the show was “a resounding success,” and that that attendance was up 4 percent over last year, with more than 100,000 visitors. Walking most of this show required at least a couple of days, and if you weren’t wearing comfortable footwear, you were doomed. And if you couldn’t make it, don’t sweat it—Speedboat’s team brings you all of the best displays for the performance market. S P E E D B O A T | April 2016

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Miami Boat Show

OFFSHORE BLING—Above and above right: Cigarette’s 50' Marauder SS, outfitted with twin turbocharged 1550s. Left: an MTI 48' powered by twin Mercury Racing 1350 engines. Below: Displaying its C4400 equipped with twin 1,100-hp motors, Mystic Powerboats reported that this year’s Miami Show was its best ever.

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DO THE HUSTLE—Hustler Powerboats’ 25' Talon (above), 41' Razor (right) and 29' Rockit (below right and bottom). Below: the 26' Convincor, from Hustler’s newly acquired Checkmate line.

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Miami Boat Show

Outerlimits all-carbon SL50, with staggered twin 1,550 engines. Right: Company head honchos Tommy Turso, Joe Sgro and Paul Fiore.

Two versions of Douglas Marine’s 2016 318 Skater: a twinoutboard (middle) and an I/O with Whipplecharged I/Os (above and left). 22

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POWER GALORE—A cross-section of Mercury Marine gearcases (above) and the company’s 400 big-muscle outboard (right).

Outboard builder Seven Marine (above and right) snared the 2016 Progressive Insurance Miami International Boat Show Innovation Award for developing its 627 SpectraBlade outboard motor.

GM’s 6.2L LT4 Gen 5 V8 puts out 650 hp at 6,400 rpm.

Ilmor Marine debuted the One Drive package, which combines its MV8 engine series with a twinspeedboat.com propeller sterndrive.

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Miami Boat Show

CENTER CONSOLES—Sunsation Powerboats showed off its 32 CCX (top of page) and 34 CCX (bottom of page). Both of the Michigan builder’s craft offer tons of room and scads of amenities, along with spacious cabins. The 32 is powered by twin 350 outboards, while the 34 sports triple 400s.

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With its 11'6" beam, the MTI-V 42 sported quadruple 350 outboards. This model was MTI’s first vee bottom.

Nor-Tech’s 390CC was equipped with four Mercury Racing 400s.

Among Cigarette’s center consoles: the 42 Huntress Lip-Ship Edition, left, and 41’ SD GT3-inspired concept boat, above.

Above and right: Midnight Express partnered with watch maker Ulysse Nardin on this concept boat, powered by quad 557-hp Seven Marine outboards. As part of the collaboration, Ulyssee Nardin created 100 specialty watches with the Midnight Express and Seven Marine logos.

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Miami Boat Show

HOT ACCESSORIES—From Hardin Marine: the Seaward Series BigBlock Chevy Exhaust System (left) features a 356T heat-treated tubular style cast internal core that has been optimized to flow with the technology design of a tubular header. This system produces maximum power in a compact design. Above: the Mayfair four-slot LED trim indicator panel, for use with Mecury or Mayfair trim tabs and Mercury drives; they’re available with carbon-fiber faces in black, silver, blue, red and purple.

Caldwell Racing Technology showed off a system (left and above) that allows an outboard user to change the port timing for different HP applications and hp levels. With this innovative design, you can change the height and size of the port and the inserts that flow the air and fuel in a loop charge around the piston and sleeve behind the liner. Livorsi Marine displayed its 1050 hydraulic trim tabs (below), available with a powdercoat finish and custom logos. Right: Speedboat editor Brett Bayne with Mike Livorsi.

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Miami Boat Show

STU’S CREW—The Florida Powerboat Club’s Stu Jones (left) presided over the group’s infamous bikini contest at Monty’s Sunset Raw Bar in Miami.

Above: FPC’s deejay kept the grooves going. Below: Ally Woodruff (left) with poker-run hero Kenny Armstrong and his date.

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M

ost owners of big offshore boats start with smaller musclecraft and

of the month

work their way up the performance ladder. Not Brett Miller. The first boat he ever owned—an aluminum Glastron—was shared with his brother when he was 12 years old. “We bought it used, restored it with Walmart’s indoor/outdoor carpet and ran it on the Missouri River,” he recalls. His most recent nonperformance hull was a 27-foot Crownline Sport Cruiser (sort of a Bayliner on steroids). Then, in 2011, someone gave him a ride in a 40-foot Skater, and it opened his eyes to a whole new world of supersonic speed. Barely a year later, Miller was writing a check for one of offshore racer Stuart Hayim’s Recovery Skaters, a 40’ Flat Deck that had been through a series of repowerings, repossessions and re-riggings. The boat now has two 1,200 Sterling engines with Mercury dry-sump SSM #6 outdrives and 37" five-blade Hering props.

Story by Brett

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“I never had a performance boat before Recovery,” says Miller, an orthopedist specializing in sports medicine. “Of course, I had to take Tres Martin’s course. I put a lot of seat time with him and then a lot of seat time time with Myrick Coil of Performance Boat Center, as well as with a bunch of guys around the lake. Bob Bull and Randy Scism also provided a lot of great guidance.” Miller now co-owns the boat with his cousin, Tyler Miller, who works for an underground utilities construction company. “I owned the boat myself the first year,” Brett says. “Then I took Tyler for a 100-mph ride, and he wanted to get one. We’re like brothers—we live about 100 yards from each other, and we’re always together in the boat, so I just made him a partner in it. And it has worked out great for us.” Both of the Miller families frequently boat together—Brett, his wife and his two kids, and Tyler, his wife and their four kids. Each family has a vacation home near St. Joseph, MO, and both have boat lifts for Recovery—you’re bound to find it on one lift or another when it’s not in use.

Bayne • Photography by Todd Taylor

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Top speed of the boat was 161 mph with big props and the engine set up for maximum speed—before Miller took delivery. “The way it’s set up right now, we’re getting about 141 mph,” Brett says. “They’re the same engines—you just need the race gas and big pulleys. We run it de-tuned on 93 octane.” According to the owner, the boat has been set up perfectly by the crew at Performance Boat Center. “Tres Martin even commented on how well the boat behaves, how safe it is and how nicely it’s set up,” he adds. “It’s very predictable and it turns

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Recovery is powered by two 1,200-hp Sterling engines with Mercury SSM #6 drives. The dash features the full range of Livorsi gauges that have been color-matched to the boat, as well as a Garmin 740 GPSMAP.

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Speedboat of the Month well. It doesn’t really have much of any porpoise and it’s a wellminding boat. It’s a gentleman’s offshore boat.” For the time being, the Millers are not planning on any modifications. “We’ve always done the maintenance with an open checkbook,” Brett says. “We’ve had drives rebuilt, motors rebuilt. Performance Boat Center does every ounce of maintenance. Sometimes we’re overcautious—we take care of problems before they happen, because we don’t want to miss a week of boating. We only have three months to do it so we don’t want to miss a day of it.” You can find Recovery at virtually every LOTO event, and various other poker runs as well, including Stu Jones’s Key West run with the Florida Powerboat Club.

The Millers pay tribute to Myrick Coil and the crew at Nauti Marine (later acquired by Performance Boat Center) for all their help with the Skater.

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Nordic 29 Deckboat Fast, fun and luxury with a double-dose of outboard thrust.

Introduced at last year’s Miami just come out with the new 400s, so it cleaner it seems, in calm water. Plus it gives you more interior. It runs flawBoat Show, Mercury Racing’s new just made sense to pair the two.” Verado 400R performance outboard became the most powerful consumer outboard engine ever produced by Mercury, providing the highest powerto-weight of all the other four-stroke engines in its class. This powerhouse motor was designed to complement the latest generation of high-performance hulls, and Nordic Powerboats of Lake Havasu City, AZ, was eager to see where this package could take one of its hulls. Ditto our Speedboat test team. “Our 26' and 29' deckboats are our biggest sellers, and it just so happened that the 29' is only the second one that we’ve done with the outboards,” says Nordic’s Thane Tiemer. “Mercury had 34

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To take advantage of the outboard configuration, Nordic customized the back of the 29' by moving the rear bench back 20 inches, giving the boat more seating area and a large trunk while sacrificing the rear stairway. The end result: A comfortable and quintessentially roomy deckboat that delivers triple-digit speeds and superior performance. With a pair of 400s, or with a 825 EFI package, the boat has been tested at over 100 mph, “so basically, 800 horsepower will move right to the 100 mph mark,” Tiemer says. “It’s a little more agile with the twin outboards—it actually carries the nose a little better because you’re setting the motors back, so it actually runs a little

lessly, and it’s one of our favorite boats to drive.” Introduced in 2009, Nordic’s 29' Deckboat has proved a hit with customers with its attractive water profile, numerous amenities and top-of-the-line performance. Our team’s first encounter with the model was with an I/O version during 2015’s Performance Evaluations; the Mercury Racing 565 package delivering a respectable 82.5 mph. The Package: As with last year’s tester, our outboard-powered 29' is wide and roomy, and looks great on the water. Up front is a spacious lounge-seating ensemble designed to provide exceptional comfort for passengers. Interior speedboat.com

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Nordic 29' Deckboat Length: 29' Beam: 102" Engine on test boat: twin Mercury 400R Verados Base price: $114,900 Price as tested: $209,900 Options on test boat: upgraded stereo system, extended ski pole, etc. Top speed: 102 mph @ 7,000 rpm Nordic Boats 770 North Lake Havasu Ave. Lake Havasu City, AZ 86403 (928) 855-7420 nordicboatsusa.com

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Nordic 29 Deckboat

The 29’s dash is fairly basic, with just two Livorsi tachs and Mercury SmartCraft Vessel View system. Standard features include custom gelcoat graphics (no upcharge), triple-axle trailer, full fiberglass liner with snap-in carpet, stainless bimini top and through-transom exhaust.

“It goes across all of the wakes and bumps with no problem. We were going over the boat wakes and not even paying attention to them.” —Bob Teague 36

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features include a built-in privacy enclosure, ergonomic console with wraparound split windscreens and a signature molded swim platform. Built with 100 percent composite construction, the boat is loaded with attractive custom installations and solid, comfortable upholstery work, all done in house. The 29' virtually defines family deckboat fun, with a truly incredible array of special features; it offers more interior room than other boats, including Nordic’s own 29' I/O-powered version. The list of standard equipment is lengthy: custom gelcoat graphics (no upcharge), triple-axle trailer, full fiberglass liner with snapin carpet, stainless bimini top, Livorsi gauges and controls, through-transom exhaust and wash-down system, just for starters. In addition, our test boat came equipped with an upgraded stereo system ($6,800) and an extended-height ski pole ($600). Sitting in the driver’s seat, we were impressed by the dash layout of the Nordic, its SmartCraft gauges arranged intelligently on the dash. The only slight speedboat.com

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reservation we had were the placement of the key switches, which were a bit too close to our knees. But the seats are plush, solid and very comfortable. Our dry-land inspectors gave the 29' exemplary grades on the boat’s workmanship and interior—9s and 10s down the line—with the highest marks awarded for engine and carpet installation, seating arrangement, cabin layout, fit and finish, and gauge and throttle configuration and installation. Simply put, our takeaway is that on looks alone, this is one of the finest deckboats out there. Performance: With the 400Rs, the 29' gets on plane handily with the 400Rs. It’s an amazingly quiet boat with this setup, especially for the speeds it’s capable of. “Just hold it straight, feed it a little bit of trim and the boat just drives like a big offshore boat with twin engines,” says test driver Alexi Sahagian. “The 400Rs respond well, and the full power tilt trim capabilities are great.” The 29’ is a great turning boat; it leans into the turns fairly well and

would make an excellent boat to ski behind—in fact, our tester actually featured a large ski pole. The boat was clearly propped for top speed, given Bob Teague’s WOT of 102 mph. “There’s a sacrifice though—it takes about 12 seconds to get on plane,” he says. “That’s with two people in the boat…it would probably be a little faster if people were sitting in the nose, and probably a little bit slower if people were sitting in the back.” The boat also negotiated the rough Havasu water perfectly: “It goes across all of the wakes and bumps with no problem,” Teague adds. “We were going over the boat wakes and not even paying attention to them.” We liked the way the Nordic handles. In the slower turns, the boat tends to lean a bit on the outside; however, Teague observed that going 90 through the canyon, it handles those same turns “very nicely.” The general consensus of our team was that the heavy outboards on the back are a well-suited package for the 29'. “It’s rock solid,” says driver Alexi Sahagian. SPEEDBOAT |

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KMG 22 Phantom SD Here’s a super-fast deckboat ideal for Lake Havasu or the river. This is not our first encoun- more than 30 of DCB’s stylish Mach “I told him I wanted to get back into ter with the racy 22-foot Phantom SD. 22s before Dave and his crew turned a performance boat,” Brecht says, and We’ve gotten seat time in KMG’s tunnel boats on more than a few occasions, and we always walk away impressed by his knack for not only creating a marvel of perfectly sculpted rocketry, but one that’s packed with performance and comfort. Kevin Mickaelian launched KMG after expanding his thriving custom painting, repair, and fabrication station, having honed those skills at DCB’s rigging and finishing university. It was there that he helped to build 38

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their attention to the upper end of the size stratosphere. Mickaelian’s revival of the one of the purest-handling recreational hulls ever designed for highimpact boating has been nothing short of an inspiration to fans of this boat’s screaming fast bottom. One of those fans is Tim Brecht, a racecar driver who also happens to own a BMW dealership in Southern California. Brecht, who has a home in the lower river near Yuma, AZ, met Mickaelian while boating in the area.

Kevin started work on what became our test boat. We’ll hear more from the owner in a bit. The Package: Like the Domn8er reviewed on Page 46 of this issue, this is a deckboat that makes the most of every inch of its 22 feet. The wide entryway up front leads into a bow with twin sofas, each with forward-facing backrests; from there, you head back to the cockpit, where the driver and passenger seats are positioned in front of a rear bench with three distinct and contoured seats with speedboat.com

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KMG 22 Phantom SD Length: 22' Beam: 90.5" Engine on test boat: Mercury 300XS outboard Drive on test boat: Sportmaster Base price: $79,000 Price as tested: $97,050 Options on test boat: Bimini top, custom aluminum dual mounted ski pole, stereo upgrade, front & rear cap, custom painted cowling, etc. Top speed: 91.4 mph @ 6,400 rpm KMG Custom Boats 11641 Riverside Dr., Suite 107 Lakeside, CA 92040 (619) 733-0593 kmgboats.com

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KMG 22 Phantom SD

Standard equipment on the KMG includes hydraulic jackplate and steering, dual batteries, electric hatch actuator and Extreme tandemaxle trailer. Our upgraded interior sported custom Alcantara fabric.

“What I really liked about this boat is that when you get to 70 mph, you barely have to do anything.” —Alexi Sahagian

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headrests. The Phantom differs from its deckboat competitor in a few distinct ways: first, while the Domn8er has two steps down from the bow, the Phantom is set on a level platform, resulting seats that rest near to the floor—that’s the tradeoff for the Phantom’s sleek, lowprofile appearance. The other big difference is that our Phantom gets its power from a single 300XS outboard, sitting atop a 12" hydraulic jackplate from Bob’s Machine Shop. That left plenty of bonus space in an engine compartment that would traditionally contain an I/O, but that was just perfect for owner Tim Brecht, who savors the extra storage. “I’ve got two kids who love to go tubing and a wife who loves to go wakeboarding, so Kevin installed a billet aluminum ski pole for me,” he explains. “I can use the engine compartment for all of those toys, and when they’re done playing, I store the pole underneath the engine hatch, suit up with the lifejackets and go 90 miles an hour.” The compartment is also home for speedboat.com

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twin batteries, oil tank, etc. At the port-side helm, the driver uses electric hydraulic steering with controls for trim and tilt (“Basically it looks like a turn signal behind the steering wheel,” notes test driver Alexi Sahagian. “It’s kind of neat”). Racecar driver Brecht also requested a foot throttle, along with carbon-fiber gauges. “BMW has a lot of carbon fiber in their street cars and race cars,” he says. “I wanted the boat to look and feel like a racecar.” Indeed, the boat’s colors match his own racecar team’s colors: blue, black, silver and white. Our dry-land inspectors were impressed by the boat’s interior, which features seats made with Alcantara suede that features a snazzy double-stitching diamond pattern courtesy of West Coast Marine Interiors. (Mickaelian says he plans to bring that job in house at some point, along with every other part of the boat.) Other bling aboard the Phantom: Eddie Marine black anodized swim steps, electric hatch actuator and electric fuel valve, all of which have been flow-coated.

There’s also a quality stereo system with LED mood lighting that features a pair of 10-inch subwoofers, JL 6 ½ inch speakers and a 6 channel JL amp. Top it all off with a color-matching bimini top. We found the construction of the boat typically sturdy and impressive. Performance: The Phantom is compact and easy to handle, and though it sports a big engine, it doesn’t seem oversized for the boat. We rolled right up on plane in a flash, and achieved the best acceleration numbers out of every boat we tested this time around. The KMG turns, tracks and leans into the turns exceptionally well. “What I really liked about this boat is that when you get to 70 mph, you barely have to do anything,” says test driver Alexi Sahagian. “You can set the trim, adjust the jackplate and have a blast. It’s a very user friendly boat.” Its owner echoes our opinion: “It’s phenomenal across the chop and bumpy water,” Brecht says. “The ride is exceptional.” Our top speed was 90.4 mph at wide-open throttle. SPEEDBOAT |

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DCB

M31

Armed with a twin 700 SCi package, Dave’s amazing cat is the perfect combination of comfort, styling and all-out performance. Our test team has encountered DCB’s Masterful installation, insane our favorite package for this boat—that comfort and a ride that’s guar- would be a couple of 1,100s—but we Widebody models numerous times anteed to please. That’s our take- do like going 130 mph, and the 700s are over the years, unfailingly delivering away after testing the M31 Widebody from Dave’s Custom Boats. For the second year in a row, DCB of El Cajon, CA, has brought this model to our evaluations. In 2015, our review was of an M31 with the base power: a pair of Mercury Racing 565s—a somewhat milder package than the dual 700 SCis it tends to get coupled with (if you can call a top speed of 102.9 “mild”). For 2016, Dave and his crew delivered us an M31 with twin 700 SCis. It’s not 42

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definitely up to the challenge. When DCB released its M31 seven years ago, it took its place alongside its M35 sister ship in the newly christened Widebody series. Both boats sported a beam of nearly 10 feet and four individual bucket-style seats in place of a traditional rear bench, as well as a stylish, full-wrap 3/4" thick windshield with perfect optics. In addition, both featured front extended wings, wider sponsons and wider tunnels.

on their promise of reliable handling and state-of-the-art machinery. Like the M35 reviewed in our March issue, our M31 was tricked out with bling galore and rigged to perfection. On workmanship alone, the boat received better grades than virtually any other boat we’ve ever tested, with the number “10” circled almost every time on every single facet, from gelcoat and mold work to throttle installation, fit and finish, and attention to detail. speedboat.com

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DCB M31 Length: 31'6" Beam: 9'8" Engine on test boat: twin Mercury Racing 700 SCis Drive on test boat: NXT1s Base price: $378,000 Price as tested: $499,500 Options on test boat: Engine and propeller upgrades, Mercury custompainted blocks, gelcoat upgrade, passenger gauges, stereo upgrade, et al. Top speed: 128 mph @ 5,250 rpm Dave’s Custom Boats 1468 N. Magnolia Ave. El Cajon, CA 92020 (619) 442-0300 dcbperformanceboats.com

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DCB M31

The M31 has bucket style seating not only for the driver and passenger, but for the four rear passengers as well. The premium interior vinyl sports French stitching and stainless-steel fasteners. Our test boat featured a Stage III gelcoat upgrade.

“The quality of the dash is just so nice-looking compared to other boats. The fit and finish on the M31 is a complete 10.” —Alexi Sahagian 44

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The Package: The M31’s construction includes a vacuum-infused resin deck and hull, with a custom half-cap and stainless-steel rubrail. The boat’s premium interior, plush and almost obscenely comfortable, features French stitching and stainless-steel fasteners with matching padded eyebrow dashes, DCB logo embroidery package, molded interliner, plush snap-in carpet and fully carpeted cuddy. The pokerrun bucket-style seating is arranged with two at the helm and four individual buckets in place of a continuous rear bench, each seat with its own grabhandles. The arrangement and execution is nothing less than gorgeous. On the driver’s side dash, DCB has installed a pair of tachs for each engine and a speedo, along with Mercury’s SmartCraft Vessel View system, resulting in a clean, uncluttered appearance. The driver uses a Livorsi throttle/shifter combo; in front of the passenger is the same tach/speedo arrangement. “I would say is that the quality of the dash—including the anti-glare matespeedboat.com

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rial they use—is just so nice-looking compared to other boats,” raved evaluator Alexi Sahagian. “The fit and finish on the M31 is a complete 10.” Standard features on the M31 include tilt helm, dual sea strainers, slip-in Gatlin mufflers, interior lighting, three bilge pumps and XM/Sirius sound system with four premium speakers. Below the deck, there’s a cuddy area that has been fully carpeted with 40-ounce marine-grade carpet. There’s not an abundance of room down there, but it would be suitable for lying down and getting out of the sun, or for storing gear. Performance: Our two 700 SCi motors, coupled with NXT drives, make the M31 nimble and quick. As our team put it through its punishing series of tests, the boat responded like a champion. It gets up on plane efficiently, and at speed, it’s as smooth and rocksolid as any boat DCB has ever built. Like its M35 sister ship, the 31 is an electrifying driving experience. At all speeds, the boat remains hooked up, slicing through boat wakes like they’re

not even there. Simply put, this is the culmination of everything Dave and his crew have accomplished in 25 years of precision performance craftsmanship. “It’s a great boat for a guy who’s looking for an upper-end boat with the intermediate power,” says test driver Bob Teague. “It’s civil enough for someone who wants to get a sport cat—this could be his first boat. The workmanship, the overall finish, the way it handles, the way it’s presented—it’s a 10.” Teague gave stellar marks to all of the M31’s handling and turning characteristics down the entire speed range. “Goes across the bumps really well,” he says. “There were some boat wakes we had to deal with while making the speed runs, and they presented absolutely no problem for us.” DCB is devoted to making sure that every boat out of the mold is a true work of art. From the rugged construction and intuitive drivability to the pristine fit and finish, the M31 is a superb all-around package from a team that’s committed to excellence. Prepare yourself for perfection. SPEEDBOAT |

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22' Deckboat

DOMN8ER Ideal for a family on a budget, the builder’s small but agile decker feels more roomy than you’d expect. While we’re always delighted when our boat reviews help a potential customer make an informed decision when shopping for a new boat, it’s equally gratifying when we can help a manufacturer improve his product. When Domn8er Powerboats of Lake Havasu City brought us their 22' Deckboat to be reviewed in last year’s evaluation series…well, let’s just say it didn’t end up being our team’s favorite ride. Propped for maximum porpoise, the boat rode rather unpredictably, and our test crew didn’t hold back airing 46

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its misgivings about the setup. But give company President Dory Sarafin credit for making the necessary tweaks and bringing us another 22' to drive during our 2016 test event—one that was more stable and much easier to handle. The 22' is a family deckboat built with an aggressive bottom, deep sponsons and as much room as possible while keeping the price point as affordable as possible. “We did what we could to make a 22-footer as sexy and as roomy as we could,” Sarafin says. “The boat is really wide, with an 8½-foot beam, which is a lot wider than some of

our competitors’ models. I believe what we have is a little different, and people are talking about it.” Most of Domn8er’s 22' deckboats are equipped with 502 big-blocks—typically the HO, as the majority of customers are looking for performance as much as comfort and room. Our test boat contained the MerCruiser small-block 377 Mag (320 hp), more of a family-friendly, 60-mph package that won’t break the bank (base price is a reasonable $60K; options on our tester upped the ticket to $70K). Sarafin says Domn8er built this particular boat for a customer who speedboat.com

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DOMN8ER 22 Length: 22' Beam: 102" Engine on test boat: MerCruiser 377 Mag Drive on test boat: Bravo One Base price: $59,995 Price as tested: $70,445 Options on test boat: Pearl paint, painted floors and under hatch, upgraded stereo, Aqua Step, bimini top, dual batteries, etc. Top speed: 60 mph @ 5,000 rpm Domn8er Powerboats 1790 Industrial Blvd. Lake Havasu City, AZ 86403 (928) 505-4078 domn8er.com

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DOMN8ER 22

Livorsi gauges and Zero Effort controls are part of the Domn8er’s helm; our tester featured upgrades like pearl paint, bimini top, stereo system, Aqua Step and a specially painted floor. There’s plenty of storage on this deckboat.

“This is an entry-level model, but it still has the look of an expensive boat. A huge improvement over previous Domn8ers we’ve tested.” —Alexi Sahagian 48

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was more interested in tubing with his family than breaking the sound barrier. “We focused on a better pulling ability for the boat rather than trying to get top speed out of it,” Sarafin says. The Package: Domn8er has made its 22' as roomy as possible, with plenty of storage compartments and maximum seating areas throughout the boat front. Directly behind the driver’s seat, you’ll find a double-door compartment ideal for stowing away bumpers, dock lines or whatever the customer wants to put in there. That’s where Domn8er has put its battery switch, and it’s very easy to access—no seat cushions need to be removed. The boat offers cupholders galore, a built-in cooler and lots of amenities, including Zero Effort controls, bimini top and an upgraded stereo system. After entering the boat from the wide bow area, there’s a step down into lounge containing twin couches (with forward-facing cushions for those who wish to stretch out). Moving back to the cockpit, there’s a second step down with two bolsters for starboard-side speedboat.com

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captain’s helm and a port-side passenger; to the right of the rear bench is a staircase exit via the transom. Our tester featured a bimini top. One thing that makes the Domn8er unique is the nonskid fiberglass floor, which has been given a grey motif with white pinline accents. “We try to pay attention to detail, and add a little contrast,” Sarafin explains. “We wanted it to look different, because a white floor is rather boring.” The result is the appearance of carpeting without a carpet. “If someone spills something or the family dog didn’t wipe its feet, there’s no stress—just get your front shower out, hose it off,” Sarafin says. Our dry-land inspection team awarded above-average marks to the boat’s overall workmanship and interior, with the highest praise going to seat construction, gauge and throttle installation, and comfort. Our team also admired the ease of boarding and debarking. Test driver Alexi Sahagian echoed the fine job Domn8er has done with the 22': “Looks like it’s constructed very nicely—it’s very basic, more of an

entry level model, but it still has the look of an expensive boat. It’s a huge improvement over their prior models.” Performance: We can’t curb our enthusiasm about the improved drivability of this deckboat. “They have hit upon the right package,” says test driver Alexi Sahagian, who praised the company’s decision to add a rideplate to the Bravo outdrive to help it get on plane quickly and efficiently. As for the overall ride and performance, “What a huge improvement compared to the previous Domn8ers we drove,” he raved. Again, this particular model is was powered not for top-end speed but for family fun, and it delivers. Taking the boat through our usual series of acceleration runs, speed ranges, turns, etc., we found that while we experienced a bit of bowrise on takeoff, the Domn8er takes a decent set and delivers a fine, stable 60-mph ride. Driving it is easy: feed some trim to the throttle and you’re home free. The 22' is a great choice for the entry-level boater with a family on a budget—it’s reasonable on fuel, lightweight and easy to tow. SPEEDBOAT |

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legends

REGGIE FOUNTAIN

In our third installment of our newly launched Hall of Fame series, we salute champion tunnel boat racer, offshore kilo record-holder and sport boat designer/builder Reggie Fountain. His amazing contributions to the performance powerboating industry have carved a path through three distinct areas of excellence—each of which has lent momentum to his ascent to status in our Speedboat Legends series.

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Kemiel

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ven in his youth (he began racing at 14), Reggie Fountain would not be denied once he set his goals. It’s a trait that would

solidify in the pursuit of a business law degree at the University of North Carolina, and as a successful salesman, promoter and developer. At a seasoned 31, Fountain—one year into pro tunnel-boat racing and a factory driver for Glastron—won the Houston Gulf Coast Marathon Association’s championship and was named Outstanding New Driver at the prestigious Lake Havasu World Championships.

The 47’ Fountain of Kjell Rokke, driver, and Reggie Fountain, throttles, en route to first place with a 72.84 mph average in Super Class at the 1991 APBA Michigan City, Indiana, Offshore Classic. 50

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Below: Ohio Steel, a 42’ Fountain deep vee, with owner/driver John Rebhan and throttleman Reggie Fountain, finished in fourth place with an 69.32 mph average in Open Class at the 1992 APBA Offshore race in Cocoa Beach, FL. Below right: Ohio Steel’s 1.000-hp Mercury inboards.

Above: The 42' Fountain Ohio Steel, with owner/ driver John Rebhan and Reggie Fountain on the throttles, made a clean sweep with a pair of first place finishes in the Open Vee class to being crowned World Champions at the 1992 Key West Offshore races.

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Speedboat Legends

Above: Fountain, a 39' Fountain with driver (and son) Wyatt Fountain and throttleman Reggie Fountain, captured first place in the B class with an 82.94 mph average at the 1998 Ft. Myers, FL, Offshore race. Left: Reggie and Wyatt celebrate on the podium in Ft. Myers.

Below: Znetix, a 39' Fountain hull with the crew of driver Wyatt Fountain and Jeff Harris on the throttles power their way to victory with a 88.64 mph average in the Super Vee class at the 2001 Cleveland, Ohio race. Right: Reggie poses with son Wyatt after his win.

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Speedboat Legends Rio Roses, a 42’ Fountain with the team of driver Mike Seebold and throttleman Ben Robertson, won three races to claim 1st place and become World Champions in the Superboat Vee Unlimited class at the 2004 SBI Offshore championships in Key West, FL.

Above: Mike Seebold, David Woods, Reggie Fountain and David Knight attend the 2007 Chicago Poker Run in East Chicago, IN. Right: Merrittorious, a 2009 42' Fountain Lightning hull with driver Wyatt Fountain, Keith Merritt and Michael Merritt aboard at the 2008 Chicago Poker Run in East Chicago, IN.

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Fountain had one of the greatest weekends in recorded boat racing history when the following year, as an independent, he set two world records and earned three national closedcourse championships at Miami Marine Stadium. He quickly drew the nod from Mercury Marine’s vaunted factory team, where he joined Bill Seebold and Earl Bentz to form one of the most fabled teams in outboard racing history. Fountain won an incredible 20 of 31 tunnel races entered in 1973, ten of 19 in 1973 and took 15 of 23 first-place trophies in 1976. In 1978, at the height of his success, Fountain retired from competition, intent on harnessing his determination and drive in a different direction—the development of a research and development program for Mercury Marine. Fountain’s extensive on-water testing was addictive, and he soon began to apply lessons learned on the race course to create speed gains in existing, recreational vee-bottom technology. His instincts told him that there was a market for fast, efficient, customized performance boats—and Reggie’s instincts would rarely prove wrong. His ability to intepret the results of experimentation and direct the resulting technology into production applications is nothing short of legendary. The classic Fountain design emerged as an icon in the offshore sport-boating ranks, as well as a symbol of a certain attained status. They are, in more ways than one, a slice of Reggie—who still spends extensive time on the water. Fountain helped launch an entire performance-boating movement with the integration of the step-bottom into his hulls, which improved efficiency and created more speed from the same available horsepower. Virtually every performance builder in creation now builds a step-bottom. In 1990, Fountain resurfaced in the racing ranks, this time in the ocean; his comeback was capped with an Offshore Pro Tour championship in 1992. After astounding success, he attacked the kilo record books, where Fountain conspeedboat.com

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tinues to up the mark (first at 114.58, in 1991 , most lately at 131.94 in a twin, breaking a record held by a triple). By 1999, Reggie Fountain maintained a 55 percent ownership of Fountain Powerboats, and continued to be the driving force behind its success. Sales reportedly exceeded $50 million in 1998 and showed no signs of slowing down. But in 2008, as a new recession took hold, sales dwindled, dealerships began

to fail, and in 2010, family-owned Liberty Associates became the new owner of Fountain Powerboats. Reggie went on to explore new ventures, and became the subject of the documentary film King of Offshore: The Reggie Fountain Story, written and produced by John Potts of American Performance Media. Speedboat salutes Reggie on one more, well-deserved shrine, as one of the Speedboat Legends.

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MISSION:

MARATHON Stu Jones leads the charge to the Florida Keys for three days of sun & fun.

Above: Michael Ciasulli of Green Brook, NJ in Maxon Auto Group, a 38' Skater with 1,350-hp Mercury Racing engines. Left: Mike Fuqua of Hendersonville, TN, in his 32' Sunsation, powered by an 800-hp Mercury engine.

F

lorida Powerboat Club members from more than ten states kicked off the 2016 poker run

season with a mid-winter escape to Marathon, in the heart of the Florida Keys. A Thursday night soiree at the Grove Bay Grill got several of the FPC members re-acquainted, while many others were meeting for the very first time. Whether they owned a Concept center console, a 39' Cigarette Top Gun, or a

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160-mph Skater, it was apparent that the powerboating passion was shared across the board and everyone was just happy to be there. Considering that 80 percent of the participants were from nearly ten colder, snow-ridden states (including Michigan, New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts), it was a welcome escape from the January blues. For those climatized Floridians, it certainly was a cool start at Grove Harbour Marina on Friday morning, where seasonal temperatures had

dropped to the low 60s, but the clear skies and west winds made for calm seas as the group departed on Biscayne Bay. Warm jackets were certainly in order, as club members loaded the boats for the 11 a.m. start. After a touch-and-go for a poker card on the docks of Grove Harbour Marina, they were off and running on Biscayne Bay for the short 50-mile romp to Gilbert’s in Key Largo. As always, the fast cats of the high-performance class were the first to break away. speedboat.com

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Photos by Jerry Wyszatycki

Left: Boats dock at the Island Fish Co. tiki bar for lunch. Below: Yaniv Eliyahu’s 42’ Cigarette, Supercars of Miami.

Ken Armstrong’s 48' MTI Phantom. Right: Luis Sotero and friend pose with his experimental Searey aircraft.

Ron Szolack of Michigan in his 42' Mystic center-console, powered by triple outboards.

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On Your Mark is Mark Munro’s 39' Cigarette Top Gun.

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Mission Marathon

Don House of Clinton, KY, in House Party, a 36' Cigarette powered by a 1,200-hp Mercury.

Ray Gremaux of Islip Terrace, NY, in his twin-outboard 33' Renegade.

Boats Direct, David Pease’s 39' Deep Impact.

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The group continued on its cool-butdry day trip through the scenic Keys to Marathon, which featured the occasional low-level buzz by Luis Sotero in his amphibious seaplane. Then the pack settled in to a full marina at the Faro Blanco Yacht Club & Resort. The marina was jammed tight with cruisers, trawlers and yachts of many descriptions, illustrating that Faro Blanco had quickly made its way onto the mustvisit cruising agenda of many yachtsmen passing through the Keys. The crew checked into their Hyatt Place Resort rooms, and while many stayed on property to enjoy the food and ambiance of the Lighthouse Grill, others ventured off to nearby eateries to experience the Marathon nightlife. One highlight was joining Florida Keys radio celeb Bill Hoebee from Wail 99.5/ Sun 103.1 for a live-remote broadcast that transmitted to thousands of listeners from Miami to Key West. The message was simply, “Come to the Faro Blanco if you want to check out the coolest powerboats in the country and meet the most spirited folks ever!” It worked—lots of visitors stopped by speedboat.com

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Mission Marathon best poker hands. Congratulations to Phil and Kim Mendelson for winning first place in the Air Class, while Mike and Christie Fuqua from Tennessee took top honors in Sea Class, running their 32' Sunsation for the weekend. Sunday morning, the group trickled out in waves, and the three boats that went

home on trailers, supported the normal attrition average of 15%—revealing that 3 out of 20 was right on par. Overall, fun was had by all, and in spite of the cooler temperatures, with over half our attendees coming from snow and ice for this mid-winter fling, most would agree it was every bit worth the effort.

Saturday morning to check things out. Saturday’s fun run took the FPC through the Seven-Mile Bridge and offshore in the calm coastal waters, thanks to the light west winds, for a short tour around Boot Key, Marathon Key and along Key Colony Beach, where they transited ocean-to-bay via the Vaca Cut, arriving at the Island Fish Co. There was plenty of open dockage and great seafood on the menu, as more than 60 participants dined in the open-air restaurant and picked up another poker card before heading back out on the calm bay water. With the day still young and the sun still shining, the relatively small fleet throttled up for another highspeed sprint. “I was reminded just how spectacular Mark and Eileen Fischer’s 52' Nor-Tech was, as Mark pushed the beast to nearly 110 mph,” said FPC President Stu Jones. After two great days on the water, attendees assembled at a private ballroom at the Hyatt Place to enjoy the company of new friends, and play out their poker cards. Peoples’ Choice awards were presented in a total of eight categories, and lady luck helped two teams take home prizes for the

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OBSERVER’S SEAT RAY LEE [Continued from page 12] was not arranged to cater to us, so we accommodated accordingly. There were a lot of amazing displays this year. MTI had a great spot out on the end of the docks complete with an indoor “showroom” and a center console demo boat ready to go. Midnight Express also impressed with their large center console boats with 12' beams— including one built for elite Swiss timepiece maker Ulysse Nardin, complete with quadruple 557-hp Seven Marine outboard engines. Mercury Marine had a huge booth inside the Engines tent, showcasing all of their latest and greatest outboards, sterndrives, propellers and electronics that the Fond du Lac, WI-based Company has built their name and reputation on. They also had a spot frontand-center, on the water with boats boasting Merc power, offering test rides out on the Atlantic. But my favorite display of the show had to be the Cigarette Racing booth. They had a large area on the docks with a total of six boats in water (two performance vee-bottoms and four center consoles) and an indoor “showroom” that housed a stunning 2016 MercedesAMG GT3 racecar. On the outer dock was its matching 41' SD GT3 center console boat with twin Merc 1100’s with M8 outdrives. YES! Sterndrives! On a center console! It was beautiful. I guess I wasn’t alone in my opinion though. Congratulations to Skip Braver and the crew at Cigarette Racing for winning the 2016 “Best Boat Display— In Water” award! So overall, I would have to conclude that the new venue at the Miami Marine Stadium Park and Basin was a success and is a good change for the show and the industry. I feel that the challenges that came with trying to improve the Miami International Boat Show will be addressed and corrected for next year and the years to follow. I look forward to rolling with their changes.

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ON THE DYNO ALEXI SAHAGIAN [Continued from page 14] the rear of the block. Take a look there. If that’s not it, you already have it out and apart and will be able to simply change the rear main seal as the motor is already out. The only other check is the rear cam plug. It looks like a freeze plug. Make sure it’s not dribbling. If in doubt, put a surface sealer on it for peace of mind while you are in there. Good luck, and hopefully the shop that rebuilt it will work with you.

Torque Specs Dear Alexi: I have a V-drive box in my dragboat. I was working on it the other day and noticed that a few of the nuts were cracked on the bolts that hold the case together. I replaced them and one cracked again. Is it the nut or am I over torquing the nut? It runs well and does not leak oil. Dan Bates Stockton, CA Let’s talk torque specs! The V-drive case has a lot of pressure on it as a gearcase. However, the bolts should be OK and surely the nuts should not break. I would say make sure that you have a quality heat treated nut or one rated for the stresses of a gearbox. At times, the good-looking nuts only look good and are not strong. The most likely cause of the nuts breaking is the fact that your boat has a lot of harmonics and the vibration does a number. The other thing is that if it’s a smaller powerful boat, the V-drive box sees a lot of sudden shock, which cause a minimal amount of flex that can stress fasteners. Find out the manufacturer of your fasteners and see what they recommend for torque. Usually they will give it to you. You may also want to look into the use of a stretch gauge. This you can do by mocking up the fasteners and seeing what the bolt itself is doing. If you use the manufacturer’s specs, you should be fine. If it keeps happening, you must look into different bolts or an improper built case adding heavier loads and clearances causing extra stresses.

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3/3/16 2:25 PM


Brett’s BUILDING A BETTER BAHNER

ALSO: • Sidewinder Resto • ADBA Racing • Honcho Biesemeyer

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RESTORATION Building a Better

BAHNER Ri k Reiling Rick R ili re-creates the h d dream boat of his childhood...with a lot of help from his performance pals.

Story by Brett

F

Bayne

or Rick Reiling of Mesa, AZ, before taking possession of it. I always liked the style finding and restoring a 1983 of them.” Dad and son spent many an hour on that Bahner, Bahner Sprint jetboat has been all

about recapturing a golden moment from his youth. Nostalgia—as many of our readers are all too familiar—is one powerful mistress. It all started with Rick’s dad, Greg, a friend of Rod Bahner’s many decades back. “My dad had the fifth boat Rod ever made,” Rick says. “Rod personally delivered it out here to Wild Horse Pass, which used to be called Firebird Dragway so my dad could test-drive it 64

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which Greg eventually sold to a buyer in California. As an adult, Rick attempted to relocate it, but his search was unsuccessful. Instead, he threw the net in a different direction—trying to find an exact replica of his childhood ride. “They’re kind of hard to find,” Rick says. “I didn’t really see that many for sale. I looked for around for a year before I finally found one up in Sacramento. Then I had to go pick it up.” speedboat.com

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Far left: the Bahner only two days after Reiling purchased the boat. Left and below left: the upholstery was shot and in desperate need of replacement. Below: Shortly after he bought the boat, the exhaust valve on the 454 head disintegrated, taking out the piston and the rod.

Far left: the oil pan, after the engine blew up. Left: the stock 454 is removed, for good.

The new 468 Chevy engine is installed.

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Building a Better Bahner

Above: the Bahner interior, before and after the seats were removed. The upholstery, foam and wood were all rotting.

The new engine’s dyno sheet. The motor. It puts out 624 hp. Below: the new engine, installed.

Above: New gauges and steering wheel were provided by Reiling’s friend Phil Bergeron of Bergeron Marine. Below: Remnants of the old seats, and some new wood pieces to form all-new seating.

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Bahners have fiberglassed-in floors and stringers, so only new carpeting was required. The replacement boat was virtually identical to Greg’s old boat, from paint scheme on down. Rick plunked down $3,800 for the hull, which was in desperate need of some TLC (to say nothing of a new engine, gauges, carpeting, etc. “It needed everything,” Reiling says. “When I bought it, I knew I would eventually have the trailer restored, engine restored, and so on. I had to start from scratch.” Before doing anything, Reiling took the boat out for a test drive on the local Saguaro Lake in Arizona. With the stock 454 Chevy, the boat ran 64 mph. Reiling’s goal was to surpass 80 mph without sacrificing reliability. It wasn’t long before he found himself forced toward that goal sooner rather than later when the engine blew up and he needed to be towed in by a sheriff’s boat. “The head and the exhaust valve just disintegrated and took out the piston and the rod,” he recalls. “The engine just grenaded.”

That’s when the restoration of the Bahner truly began. It’s a process that took well over a year, his original financial investment leaping to $15,000. The 454 was swapped out for a 468 Chevy with worked-over GM heads, extensive head work, mild cam, roller motor (.60 over), Keith Black pistons, forged crank, TCM valve covers and pistons, billet MSD distributor and wires, Holley 850 marine carb, RPM Performer intake, JC pump by Bergeron Engineering (480-834-1531), Holley fuel pump and Place Diverter. Livorsi gauges, Lecarra steering wheel and top-mount mini high-torque starter were courtesy of Bergeron Marine, while Tom Manier at Jet Boat Performance (805-466-4719) provided the Place Diverter and most of the new jet parts. The original foot pedal was sent out to be rebuilt and polished to keep the boat as original as possible, and the intake shoe was

Left: the boat’s new seats are being resined.

The new seats, by Phoenix Finest, are completed. Marine-grade memory foam was used under the vinyl.

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Building a Better Bahner

Reiling’s friend, rigger Shane Sanders, performed the bolting and adjusting on the Banher’s interior.

also refurbished. Other new items included Rewarder dry ceramic headers (with no injection ports), while the trailer was completely restored, with paint, bunks, tires, full LED lighting and tow bar pad. The boat’s gelcoat is all original, with no cracks. Meanwhile, Rick had the hook taken out of the bottom of the boat. The result, he says, is a very light hull. After replacing the engine, it was time to work on the rest of the boat. Reiling stripped out the seats: “I had to have all of the wood rebuilt, the seats, the foam—all from scratch. Everything was original, but it was rotting and no good anymore.” He hired Phoenix Finest Upholstery (623-518-5408) to create all-new 68

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custom seats, keeping them period-correct. Beneath the vinyl upholstery, marine-grade memory foam was used. Fortunately, Bahners were built with fiberglassed-in floors and stringers, so none of that had to be replaced; only new carpeting was needed. After new carpet was laid down, Reiling’s buddy, rigger Shane Sanders, carefully installed, bolted and adjusted the new seats to Rick’s specifications. The Bahner’s gelcoat, though somewhat faded through the passage of time, continues to be all original. “I took it to Hooks Marine Detailing in Havasu (928-680-1461). “He is phenomenal,” Rick says. “He brought it back from its faded look. There was no speedboat.com

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Above: Before the seats were redone, but after the new engine was installed, Reiling broke it in on the water to see what it could do. To date, the top speed has been 89.2 mph. Above left: Hooks Marine of Havasu restored the luster of the faded gelcoat by wet sanding, buffing and waxing. “It looks mint now,” Reiling says.

gel needed—all they did was wet sanding, buffing and waxing. It looks mint now.” The day the new motor was assembled, Rick took it back on the water to break it in—and to see what the new top speed would be. So far, 89.2 mph is the tallest number so far. “I wanted to be in the 80s, and we definitely accomplished that—and without a blower,” he says. Reactions from spectators has been positive. Driving the boat on the lake, Rick occasionally drives by a cruiser called the Steamboat Dolly that takes about 200 passengers at a time on tours in the evenings. “I passed it recently, and a guy on the boat speedboat.com

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from New Zealand was taking video of me in the boat and loving the rooster tail,” he says. “With the Place Diverter, droop and wedge, the roost shoots about 100 feet tall, which was higher than the two-story boat was!” Rick, who’s previously owned boats by Kona, Eliminator, Ultra and Cheetah, has found his ultimate ride in the Bahner. Father Greg, a retired Phoenix police officer, also continues to be a boat fanatic; his current ride is a 29’ Magic Wizard, powered by a Mercury 502 engine. Rick enjoys using his boat with wife Tessa and their three children, who tube off the back of the Bahner. SPEEDBOAT |

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SURPRISE

Story by Brett

Boat builder and rebuild wizard Jay Pilini helps a customer transform an old Sidewinder for his son.

Bayne

H

Storman is no stranger to the boatere’s a restoration 8778)—was the natural choice to bring story that began the old hull to for an appraisal. The idea ing lifestyle. He’s the owner/operator of

when Brian Storman of St. Petersburg, FL, took his family scalloping. There, in a storage lot near the water, sat an old Sidewinder boat. “I just walked over to check it out and ended up buying it for a few hundred bucks to see if it was worth putting back together.” Storman’s friend of 25 years, boatbuilder Jay Pilini, recalls the old Sidewinder model very well. “We all grew up with the Sidewinder dealer here locally,” says the Florida native. “Brian is roughly the same age as me, and all of us wanted one of those boats when we were kids.” Pilini—the founder of Spectre Powerboats and the current owner of Pilini Marine Technologies (727-32970

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was to restore it for Storman’s son Brice as his main 2015 Christmas present. “We struck up a friendship right here in St Pete,” Pilini recalls. “He just opened a waterfront café and restaurant, so we started frequenting there and got reacquainted because I hadn’t seen him in several years.” Storman pitched the idea of fixing up the Sidewinder. “At first I condemned it, because it was going to be too much work. I just didn’t think it would be worth it. But eventually I just decided it was too cool of a boat to just throw away.” “It was wiped out when we found it,” adds Storman. “There were no seats in it and the floor was gone. But it had good structure—it was mostly all there.”

I.C. Sharks in Tampa Bay, a combination seafood market, tiki bar, live bait/tackle shop and boat rental center. “I’m a bit of a speedboat fanatic,” he admits. “I just haven’t been able to really mess with it until this point, but now I’m just starting to get Brice into it. My dad had a 1969 Sidewinder, so the 1974 Sidewinder was a pretty cool thing to find. ” Given the time and budgetary restrictions, Pilini’s plan was to have his crew work on it after hours, a little bit at a time; Storman paid the labor on it and such to keep the costs under control. Pilini confronted the boat’s many problems, including the rotting floor and stringers, and the original gelcoat had baked off. Fortunately, the original windspeedboat.com

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Before and after: a worker applies epoxy primer to the Sidewinder’s hull. It was sanded down with 80 grit. Numerous imperfections had to be repaired. “The deck was so spongy that we had to rebuild it because the core had rotted out of it,” says Jay Pilini. Below: Storman’s son Brice takes delivery on Christmas day in 2015.

shield was intact. “And one of the coolest thing is that it still has a 1978 inspection sticker on the windshield – which we left,” Pilini says. His crew spent hours building new stringers from Penske board, sanding, applying epoxy primer, repairing imperfections, applying metal flake and adding dozens of coats of clear. New Attwood bucket seats were also installed. After several months, the boat was finished just before Christmas, and Storman had it on the front yard for his son on Christmas morning. “Jay did a beautiful job—it’s like a brand new boat,” Storman says. At press time, Storman and Pilini are in the process of deciding what motor to power the Sidewinder with; under consideration are an Evinrude 150 or a Mercury ProXS 150. speedboat.com

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Head HONCHO Jerry Griffin restores a piece of Biesemeyer mythology.

B

iesemeyer built several boats known as Honcho over the years, some of which still exist today. Jerry Griffin—also known as the brother-in-law of “Billy B” Berkenheger—recently acquired one of these legendary hulls shortly after one appeared on his radar. We asked Griffin to tell the story of his ride. “I’ve been filming boat races for years,” Griffin says. “One of the members of the Nostalgic Circle Boat Club up in the Washington area found the boat—they had seen the Honcho ID number on it and could see the silver metal flake and tape shading underneath some of the red areas. So they contacted me to say they’d found one of the Honcho boats. I planned to shoot a race up at Moses Lake, where the Honcho boat was going to be raced.

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Photography by Todd Taylor

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Head Honcho

Griffin’s Honcho on display at the 2015 Route 66 Hot Boat & Custom Car Show in Needles, CA.

“They had a ‘For Sale’ sign on it. I thought it would be a fun boat, and if the price were right, I knew I’d be interested—I’ve wanted a Biesemeyer for a long time. So I worked out a deal with them, without really knowing which Honcho it was and without a real plan at the time. “We know that it’s a real Honcho; we just don’t know which one it is. It has the base metal flaked silver and a similar tape shading around it from we could tell after razor blading off some red overspray that somebody had put on it. I’ve talked to numerous people trying to figure out which Honcho this boat was, but I haven’t turned up anything concrete. “It was in pretty rough shape when I bought it. I paid $7,500 for the hull, which is the going rate for used and abused old Biesemeyer race deck. It had a Super Stock-style engine in it. We completely restored the boat—I spent 5 grand just in 74

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fiberglass restoration and repair. We knew we wanted to restore it to look like an original Honcho—I just didn’t want to just paint it any color or any design, I thought I’d kind of like to keep something Honcho related with it. The boat Paul had I had pictures of it from the old days and home movies. I thought, that one’s cool. And the deck was similar and the tape shading down the side was very similar to that boat – in a lot of ways, very similar to that boat. Paul Schroder owns a Honcho, so we used photos of that boat to try to get close to the one he ended up with. We decided to go with a lighter color than Paul’s boat, and Billy wanted to personalize it and make it different in other ways. But it’s very similar to Paul’s boat. “I tried to build the best boat I could, and was lucky to have guys like Dave Rankin and Billy B, with all their knowledge, in my corner. Just on the bottom

blueprinting alone, those guys contributed a lot of ideas. I used what seemed to make the most sense, and did the bottom that way. The floors were all redone and the whole boat, from top to bottom, turned into a high-dollar restoration. “I bought a K Boat motor out of Lance Faulkner’s K-70 boat from way back as part of an estate sale. Tom Buckles had purchased that engine from them and had it modernized and upgraded, it so it got aluminum heads and a set of rods. When Tom put it up for sale, I was lucky to get it from him. “The boat is actually is kind of neat. The last project that Ron Bolton did was the fuel tank before he passed away. So every time I look at my fuel tank, I see my old friend Ron. In fact, several parts on the boat came from friends of mine that have passed away. So there’s a lot of sentimental value there for me.” speedboat.com

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ADBA

Drag heroes converge at the D Bluewater Resort & Casino B fo for an early-season battle royale.

SHOWDOWN A Photography by Mark

McLaughlin

rizona Drag Boat Association racers

trekked to Parker, AZ, for the season kickoff event at the Bluewater Resort & Casino Feb. 12-14. The Quick Eliminator class had a full field of 16 boats, including Arek Strohmenger, who fought hard to win his first-place trophy. In Modified Eliminator, Lance Gilbert got lots of test and tune time on Friday, which helped his qualifying times and gave his Old School jetboat the win in the class. Meanwhile, Bob Holloway got his first win of the season in his Stock Eliminator jet. Unfortunately, strong winds cut the event short on Sunday; results were based on prior elimination round elapsed time, and trophies were distributed based on that rule. The action was also marred by an accident involving Wade Stanley during qualifying; he did not survive.

Below: River Racer winner Scott Dolezal pilots his Thunderstruck jet past the finish line as he looks over to see where competition is. Exhibition and testing for the upcoming Lucas Oil Drag Boat Racing Series National events is Mike DeClark. The Top Alcohol Hydro, Lil’ White Lie is going into its first full season of racing this year.

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Runner-up Danny Montoya takes a lap down the 1,000-foot course.

Top Eliminator’s Stan Tweedy found some extra horsepower and qualified well enough to take the runner-up finish.

River Racer Kevin Hutchkiss finishes second overall.

Lance Gilbert was the winner in Modified Eliminator.

Just a good ol’ flatbottom drag race in the Pro Eliminator class. Joe Masck (far lane) takes out Brad Simons in the near lane.

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ABDA Wade Stanley tests his Stock Eliminator prior to his accident on Saturday. Sadly, he did not survive. Our condolences go out to his family.

Bob Holloway nabs his first win of the season in his Stock Eliminator jet, On the Bottle.

Modified Eliminators line up on the holding rope awaiting their turn in qualifying. Rich Saindon (near lane) took home the runner-up spot in the class.

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Roger Roadstrom’s flatty had a bit of a backfire at the finish line, and ended up on the trailer the rest of the weekend with internal damage.

The Quick Eliminator class had a full field of 16. Rick Barretta (near lane) and Arek Strohmenger (far lane) battled it out with Arek taking the win en route to his First Place Trophy. Above: Kjell Adams and Arek get their trophies with Arek’s son, Tanner, helping out.

Kjell Adams’ Quick Eliminator took the top qualifying spot and wound up as runner-up.

Joe LaKamp in Bobsnipper was very impressive—looks like it’s going to be a force to be reckoned with in the Quick Eliminator class.

The lone Turbocharged jetboat, driven by Brad Stewart, took home the win in Pro Eliminator class.

Rescue Captain Jimmy Todd plays trophy presenter to Bob Prigmore. Prigmore took the win in the Top Eliminator class. speedboat.com

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MY VIEW

[Continued from page 10]

CHRIS DAVIDSON Catching a bus was a fun game of the blind leading the blind.

35 minutes between Marine Stadium and the destinations across Biscayne Bay, but that did not happen. (Several of us left in frustration, searching for other means to get back to our hotels.) It was a good thing

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I was wearing tennis shoes, because I put on the miles getting around from the water taxi area to the bus and taxi area. 3. Buses. The area for attendees to grab the bus was disorganized, to say the least. Hundreds of puzzled attendees could be seen standing on the side of the Rickenbacker Causeway, desperately trying to figure out which bus to grab. One guy carrying a clipboard and radio told me that he was in charge—and that he wasn’t even from Miami! I asked him several times for directions, but he said he couldn’t help me. How about putting someone in charge who is both familiar with the area and commands

respect and attention for all to follow? I ended up on a bus that ultimately dropped me off on the Rickenbacker Causeway a mile and a half west of the stadium, just before the toll booth. I walked an additional half mile before I was able to get an Uber driver to (illegally) pick me up and return me to my hotel. 4. Keep it simple, stupid. Although NMMA published a nice, foldable map, attendees crave an easier guide. Halls should be designated as Electronics, Engines, Outdrives, Outboards, Fishing, etc.—that would make it easier for simpletons like me to get through the show and decide which areas I want to visit. 5. Food. What a cluster-rhymes-with-luck! Our crew had lunch on Thursday at the show. We waited for more than two hours for our food, which was brutal for the

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MY VIEW CHRIS DAVIDSON [Continued from page 80] entire staff. After a time-wasting struggle for Ray Lee, Alexi Sahagian, Brett Bayne, Jay Forbes and myself to simply get to the event, it was more important than ever to make the most of our remaining time, and lunch demolished our efforts. Flights, rooms, rental cars, etc., put a prime value on our time spent at the show and stretched our resources. Undeniably, what the NMMA accomplished—moving a multiple indoor and outdoor location venue to one massive outdoor experience—was a practically Herculean feat. But now the group must double-down on its efforts for next year. The premiere boat show in the nation needs to stay on top. It will be interesting to see how the lawsuit plays out between Key Biscayne residents and the County of MiamiDade. It seems that nobody wants the boat show to stay in Miami, with both the Miami Convention Center and residents of Key Biscayne pushing for the venue to be moved elsewhere. I contacted both the NMMA and Miami Convention Center for comment, but neither had responded as this issue went to print. Meanwhile, on the West Coast, attendance at the four-day Los Angeles Boat Show was dismal, except for Saturday. High-performance boat exhibitors were few and far between, with only DCB, Shockwave, Caliber 1, Interceptor and Hallett bothering to show up. Unfortunately, this show has evolved into much more of a wakeboard and pontoon boat show than for the go-fast crowd. We would love to see the Los Angeles show moved to Long Beach, where there’s better parking, restaurants and freeway accessibility. In addition, there are docks for on-water demos, for customers who want to see how a boat handles in its natural environment. And with new models dominating new boat sales, customers are going to want to see how the boat handles in rough water for their money. I can’t wait for Desert Storm, as this appears to be the best high-performance boat venue—both as an event and boat show, which is held two weeks before.

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Speedboat April 2016  
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