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SPEEDBOAT MAGAZINE

DRAGBOAT SHOWDOWN!

TICKFAW

200 Poker Run

PARTY OF

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Summer Swimsuit Spectacular!

JULY 2017

J ULY 2017

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Where true luxury meets speed and dependability at over 110mph.

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Table of Contents JULY 2017

COLUMNS 8 10 12 14

CHRIS DAVIDSON RAY LEE ON THE DYNO INDUSTRY NEWS

36 OUTERLIMITS SV50 Jason Moe christened his massive 157-mph machine with the quintessential name: Hurry Up.

42 ELIMINATOR REGATTA Bob Leach and his crew welcome customers to their 27th regatta in their 48th year of business.

46 COCOA BEACH CLASH

FEATURES 16 TICKFAW 200 Southern Louisiana’s famous fast fest lures plenty of beautiful musclecraft to the Pelican State.

22 PARTY OF FIVE 12 fast boats, five beautiful girls and three editors with cameras. It’s our Summer Swimsuit Spectacular! 6

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The Superboat high rollers move to the East Coast of Florida— where the rollers are very high indeed.

52 SPEEDBOAT OF THE MONTH In which our intrepid photographer bonds with a Facebook friend who owns one hell of a muscleboat.

58 SPEEDBOAT LEGENDS This month, we salute Sanger Boats founder Jack Davidson, known for his innovative, record-setting drag hydros. speedboat.com

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Speedboat.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

National Sales Director Art Director

Greg Shoemaker Jim Wilkes Valerie Collins Ray Lee ray@speedboat.com

Gail Hada-Insley

Helicopter Services Fred Young fyoung@live.com

Photographers

BRETT’S COVE

Cover photo by Todd Taylor Table of Contents photo by Stu Jones

66 A SUMMER PLACE 19’ Placecraft owner Jeff Burgess used the online forums to trade up to a boat that’s both fast and has a sterling safety record.

68 RACING THE JOE Jetboat racers in three classes compete for the ultimate glory on Idaho’s infamous waterways.

Todd Taylor, Pete Boden, Kenny Dunlop, Paul Kemiel, Jeff Girardi, Randy Nuzzo, Mark McLaughlin

Operations Manager Michele Plummer and Subscriptions michele@speedboat.com 5840 W. Craig Rd Suite 120, #386 Las Vegas, NV 89130-2730

Webmaster

Craig Lathrop craig@speedboat.com

Web Design

Blair Davidson Market It Mobile, Las Vegas, NV blair@speedboat.com

Editorial Offices

9216 Bally Court Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730 (702) 313-1400

74 MAY MADNESS NJBA competition lights up Bakersfield’s Lake Ming for race #3 of the season.

SPEEDBOAT MAGAZINE (ISSN#1941-9473) is published 8 times plus a bonus issue this year by DCO Enterprises LLC. SUBSCRIPTIONS: Domestic $34.00 for 8 times plus a bonus issue, Canada $66.00 for 8 times plus a bonus issue, International $77.00 for 8 times plus a bonus issue. All prices are for one year and in U.S. funds. For subscription info: call (702) 313-1400.

Postmaster: Send address changes to Speedboat Magazine, 9216 Bally Court, Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730.

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 Speedboat's right to edit and comment editorially. All rights reserved. Reprinting in whole or part is expressly forbidden, except by written permission of the publisher.

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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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MY VIEW Chris Davidson

So many fascinating and curious things have occurred in our industry over the past decade. Undeniably, one of the most interesting is the upsurge of popularity in pontoons, wakeboards and center console boats—all of which have prospered with new models, spiking sales and, inevitably, profits. Nothing illustrates this phenomenon quite as dramatically as what is currently being created in the factories of most offshore builders along the East Coast and Midwest. Many manufacturers have completely sold off their “traditional” performance molds—or simply wrapped them up and pushed them outside for a future that may never return.

Speedboats Get a Bump One of the first performance builders to venture into the center-console game was Fountain Powerboats, back in the 2000s. Reggie Fountain was a visionary for many reasons, and this is just one more example of his foresight and brilliance in the speedboat industry. Reggie saw an opportunity for more boat sales in this specialty market, so he combined his proven performanceoriented hull with an open center console interliner for ease of maintenance and cleaning, when most others were reluctant to make the investment into that market at the time. Reggie and I talked about this at length at his factory in Washington, NC, during several trips I took there a decade ago. Apparently, there was a more traditional—and more homely—center console manufacturer located a few miles from his factory, and Reggie boasted about how much better a mousetrap he would build with his own

hull designs. He expressed some concern about Fountain’s image as the fastest Top Gun in the vee hull market, but made the leap into this new market nonetheless. Hindsight is 20/20, and during my years at Hot Boat Magazine, we failed to recognize the market shift as we turned up our noses at those early Fountain center consoles. But times change, and you either change with them or perish. Center consoles have been all the rage for the past several years, and they are primarily driving the majority of new performance boat sales for recreational use on both fresh-water lakes as well as on the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. Builders like Sunsation, Cigarette and Mystic have leaped into the fray to put their own personal thumbprint on stunning new center-console speedboats that are now dominating the waterways from New York to Miami, and on fresh water lakes throughout the Midwest. [continues on page 63]

Hustler’s 388 Sling Shot.

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OBSERVER’S SEAT RAY LEE

The snow has thawed in the colder parts of the country, while boating season is in full swing in the others. The boating events of 2017 are in full force and all of the upcoming ones are gearing up

The Magnitude of That Moment

Left: Plaque commemorating Speedboat’s proud sponsorship of the Eliminator Regatta. Right: The Speedboat Legend award presented to Eliminator Boats founder Bob Leach. Top: Photographer Todd Taylor, publisher Ray Lee and helicopter pilot Fred Young in front of our trusty chopper. for their turn to host the masses in their respective towns. All in all, the forecast for this summer is 100% chance of awesome! I attended the 27th Eliminator Boats Regatta last weekend in Lake Havasu City, AZ, to join the hundreds of others who were there to participate. The event was organized and executed by the owner of Joker’s Wild Productions: Speedboat’s chief photographer, Todd Taylor. Over 100 boats had signed up to join founder and President Bob Leach and his crew for a weekend of fun in the desert sun. This was truly impressive, because they only had 40 total registered boats a couple of weeks prior.

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Even more impressive was that it was only the regatta’s second year back after taking a hiatus during the lean years. This stands as a testament to the labor of love that Bob Leach devotes to his brand and also to his clientele that stand loyally behind him throughout the company’s 48 years of building performance boats. Speedboat Magazine recognized Bob Leach as one of the esteemed Speedboat Legends last year (in our June 2016 issue). The physical awards were delayed in production, so this gave us the perfect venue to finally present him with his hardware at this event. With the Eliminator brethren in attendance for the Saturday morn-

ing driver’s meeting, I took the opportunity that was a year overdue and brought him up before the packed house. As his family and friends looked on, I thanked him on behalf of Speedboat Magazine and our readers for his countless contributions to West Coast performance boating and to the industry as a whole. He became overcome by the magnitude of the moment. With tears welling up in his eyes and a quiver in his voice, he graciously accepted the award. Soft-spoken as he is, the crowd fell silent as they strained to hear his gentle words. He thanked everyone for their support and loyalty to Eliminator Boats for nearly five decades. It was evident that he truly loves what he does and that his customers do, too. The regatta was on a more casual schedule than other events, which gave boaters time to do some early morning boating, skiing and breakfast, all before the start of the festivities at 11 a.m. The plan was to have a staggered group lunch run down to the popular destination of Havasu Springs at the south end of the lake. Hamburgers and hot dogs were available to the masses there, as well as cold refreshments. It was great to see classic Eliminators docked next to some newly delivered 2017 models. Directly after lunch were the sched-

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ON THE DYNO Alexi Sahagian

Stroker Clearance Dear Alexi: I’m building a fairly mild small block 383 engine for my boat. I am learning to assemble it myself by reading books, browsing the Internet and getting advice from a neighbor. I have the bottom end all together, but it seems as though my connecting rod bolt is really close to the block when it goes around. I am sure it is OK, as the bearings would need to wear out all the way for it to hit, but is there a spec for this clearance? Your help would be appreciated. Tom Minor Las Vegas, NV It’s cool that you’re having fun building your own engine. On all engine builds, there are specs of all types. There are also opinions of all types—in fact, you may get a different answer from each person you decide to consult. When we build stroker engines—or any engine at all—we look for a minimum clearance of .060" from the rod bolt to the block, gasket and pan. With this measurement, you should be in the clear. If it’s less, and you end up losing a bearing, the damage will be catastrophic, as the rod or bolt will connect with the engine block and shatter into pieces. Thus, if you need more clearance, you will need to disassemble and grind or mill some clearance into the block. It looks like you have about .025" or less in the photo you sent, but I can’t be sure. Just measure it and see—sooner rather than later.

Air/Fuel Gauge Importance Dear Alexi: I have a single-engine Eliminator. Power is a custom 540 engine that my

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It’s crucial to clean the blades and the blades’ edges of throttle bodies very well. friend and I built. It runs pretty well, but needs some help, as it seems lean in some parts of the power band and rich in others. We do not have a dyno, so I was thinking of putting an air/fuel ratio gauge in it. Your thoughts? Ken Bermendez Lake Havasu City, AZ

we use, due to installation parameters, and at times the ECU itself can output to a NMEA2000 gateway to display any place you choose. Get a meter and bung installed, get your setup dialed in, and that gauge will provide an extra layer of security.

Dirty TBI Dear Alexi: I have a fuel-injected HP500 with serious modifications. The other day, I noticed that my engine started to idle funny, and it has been slowly acting up. I was told to look into cleaning my throttle body on the engine. How often should I do this? What tips can you give me? Dane Winslow Miami, FL I think an air/fuel ratio gauge should come in every vehicle possible. I actually think it’s the most important gauge these days. Having an air/fuel meter or gauge installed in the boat can warn you ahead of several disasters. In your case, you can pinpoint the air fuel ratios in your load and rpm band, giving your tuner an idea of where to start making changes. It’s also nice to be able to monitor your air/ fuel ratios and get immediate feedback. Imagine that you’re cruising down the lake or ocean and your fuel flow gets restricted from a clogged filter, blocked pickup or a collapsed fuel hose. You will see a direct change in the air fuel meter on the dash, and if you’re watching or setting up a buzzer system when lean, you can let off the throttle and save your engine. On EFI engines, we often set alarms in the event that the engine goes into a lean parameter to add fuel. If that does not fix the problem, then it’s set to shift into idle, then off. So, I am very biased to liking and relying on good meters. My meter of choice for a marine application is the AEM product. We stock them and replacement sensors, and now the sensors last a bit longer with leaded fuel. There are several other brands

Well, we clean throttle bodies about every time we do an oil change for folks with high-performance engines. It’s crucial to clean the blades and the blades’ edges well. What really affects the idle quality, more so than the blades themselves, is the orifice for the idle air control motor. This is usually located within the throttle body housing. If the throttle body housing has a Positive Crankcase Ventilation (PVC) system, they tend to get even dirtier near the blades and Idle Air Control (IAC). If you use a carb cleaner, make sure it is rated for IAC cleaning, as some are too strong and can cause damage. Make sure the orifice is clean and free of gummy sludge. Once this is clean, you should notice an improvement in the idle quality, along with some consistency (assuming there is no other problem). Keeping parts clean is very important to a great tune-up. Have fun cleaning! speedboat.com

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INDUSTRY NEWS Go-Fast Community Mourns Loss of Larry Goldman

Rusty Rahm OK Following Neck Surgery

Larry Goldman, the visionary behind Miami’s Xtreme Powerboats sales and brokerage firm, died on May 30 following a stroke at the age of 57, sending the performance boating industry stunned by the loss of a man known and beloved by many. The respected businessman—a fixture on the offshore muscleboat scene—touched the lives of many friends and colleagues. Goldman sold MTI catamarans and was close friends with Randy Scism, the founder and owner of MTI in Wentzville, Mo. He was known for his prowess at throttling and rigging speedboats. He is survived by his wife, Jodi, and their children, Jake and Jillan.

Desert Storm Management To Transition to New Firm

Jim Nichols of LakeRacer LLC—producer of both the iconic Desert Storm and Monster Bash events in Lake Havasu—announced he will be taking a reduced role for the future. In a press released distributed on Monday, Nichols said that a new organization, Phantom Productions, would take over. The firm will be headed up by Jim Nichols Jr. and Christina Crane. “After much consideration, I have decided to step back from an active role and transition event management to a new organization,” Nichols said. “Both Jimmy and Christina have been involved in my events for many years and in many positions. They have not always agreed with the directions I have taken, but they have always had our common goal, for Desert Storm and Monster Bash to provide the close camaraderie and connection with our participants that made the events special from their conception.” Nichols said he would act as a silent partner and consultant. “They bring a fresh younger perspective and I think will ensure the Desert Storm and Monster Bash events’ longevity.”

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Offshore powerboat driver Rusty Rahm of the Wake Effects team is doing well after undergoing neck surgery—which he received by Michael “Doc” Janssen, a longtime friend and fellow offshore racing celebrity. Rahm, winner of the Super Boat International Triple Crown in Superboat Unlimited class in 2016, began experiencing neck pain during last year’s season. Spinal surgeon Janssen—who once owned the record-setting Outerlimits Snowy Mountain Brewery—told Rahm that the pain was caused by severe pressure on his spinal cord, and recommended a procedure to receive an artificial disc replacement in Rahm’s cervical spine. Rahm underwent surgery on March 28, and within hours, he was up and walking around. By May 21, he was back on the water with a newly wrapped boat for the Super Boat International’s season opener in Cocoa Beach, FL. “I have a tremendous sense of gratitude to Doc,” Rahm says. “He saved my life. If I had shown up in Cocoa Beach and hit a wave, it could have been a life-ending event for me. You won’t find anyone more caring, professional or talented. My wife and I appreciate what he did from the bottom of our hearts.” speed speedboat.com spe

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Justin Digiovanni’s 28' E-Ticket Flat Deck cat.

Brett Bayne photographer : Pete Boden story by:

Tickfaw

200 Southern Louisiana’s fast fest lures plenty of beautiful musclecraft. 16

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T

his year’s Tickfaw 200 ppoker run had the misfortune of bumping up

against the dates of the 2017 Desert Storm poker run and shootout event. That caused a number of boaters to make some tough decisions about which event to travel to. However, despite the overlapping dates, Tickfaw ended up with a healthy attendance, with nearly 300 boats showing up and 351 total poker hands sold. “We’ve been running this event the same weekend since 1992,” says event organizer Casey Harrison. “I understand the folks at Desert Storm were rescheduling to avoid some weather issues, and from what I hear, they had a good turnout. That’s all you can ask for.” Harrison reports that Tickfaw enjoyed a record number of California boats this year—among them high-performance insurance wizard Devin Wozencraft and former offshore racer Rick Bowling. This year, Tickfaw raised money to purchase water vehicles for the sheriff’s department. “All the money raised is going back into the community—specifically to the surrounding areas,” Harrison says. speedboat.com

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Left: Stacy Parker, Keli Lockwood and Melissa Nelson. Above: A Donzi ZX.

Greg and Vicky Blase make a dramatic spashdown in their Fountain.

Right: Bennett Loftin in his 43’ Nordic.

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Tickfaw 200

Below: Tne Kemp family’s 27' Eliminator Daytona, Lick’ty Split.

Above: The Propstop Inn, the ultimate party Bar on the Tickfaw River.

Left: Ken Milstead’s 40' Skater. Below: Jason and Tara Ivey’s Baja SST.

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Left: Mike Goldbaugh’s 368 Skater, powered by Mercury 700s with #6 drives.

Left: A 38' Fountain center console Open Tournament Edition. Below: Tickfaw draws all speedboat types, and from coast to coast: a hard-deck vee from Florida-based Active Thunder and an openbow cat from Dave’s Custom Boats of Southern California.

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Tickfaw 200

Above: Ray and Stacy Andrus’s Cigarette 42' Tiger. Right: A Nor-Tech quadruple outboard center console.

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Above: Nick Buis (far lane) and Jeff Campbell in their 380 Statements.

Below: A beautiful 42' Cigarette Tiger.

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12 fast boats, five beautiful girls and three editors with cameras. Trust us—creating our annual swimsuit issue is the best way to experience Lake Elsinore, CA!

Party Photographer :

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Ray L R Lee

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W

e invited five truly gorgeous young women to pose with a dozen of the

coolest boats we could find (that were owned by people clever enough to take the day off from work for our photo shoot). We met at Lake Elsinore on April 19, 2017, and—with a skeleton crew of only three staff members—managed to wrangle the five bikini-clad ladies and the 12 boats (plus their owners and cohorts) through one long but enormously fun day of photos, music, beverages and the camaraderie that only a passion for boating can provide. Honestly, it’s hard to recall working with a more patient and effusive group of people. You’ll see more elaborate profiles of most of these boats in later issues. (By the way, if you’re looking for boat #12, turn to page 65.)

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Party of Five

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SV50

Outerlimits Jason Moe christened his massive, Mercury-powered machine with the quintessential name: Hurry Up.

If you saw a massive 50-footer called Hurry Up, well, you’d probably think, “That makes sense. A boat like that, with two huge engines, has that name because its owner wants it to go really fast.” While that’s certainly true, it’s only half the story behind the SL50 Outerlimits Hurry Up. “That is my motto of my company, and with my kids, with my family—I say ‘hurry up’ all day long, every day,” says owner Jason Moe. And then, as if to demonstrate, he bellows, “C’mon! Let’s go. Hurry up!” The man has had a lot of practice saying these words. Jason and his boat—which both live in Washington State— came down to Lake Havasu recently for the 2017 Desert Storm poker run and shootout. He kindly turned over the keys to our test drivers, Bob Teague and Ray Lee—“the Bob and Ray Show,” as Teague is fond of saying. We’ll let them have their say, but first, back to the Moe Show. Before trading up to the 50-footer, Moe owned a 46'

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Outerlimits. Explaining what made that ride special, “I made Mike Fiore a deal,” he says of the late Outerlimits founder. “I went down there and said, ‘Mike, you’re selling a lot of those hulls now. Well, I want a one-off 46. I want mine to be different. I don’t care what it takes—I want mine to be the fastest 46' you ever produced.” When the topic inevitably turned to what such a request would cost, Fiore wanted about $50,000 more than Moe was prepared to pay. After a few minutes of haggling, Moe agreed to pay the extra $50K—under the condition that Outerlimits could produce a boat that exceeded 140 mph. “We made a handshake deal in his office,” Moe recalls. “He actually changed the hull on my boat—it was the only 46 whose bottom was altered, as far as I know. But it was indeed the fastest 46 he ever had.” The 46' was powered by Teague 1200s and ran, according to its owner, “amazingly good.” Hurry Up, Moe reckons, may be among the fastest veespeedboat.com

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Outerlimits SV 50 Length: 50'1" Beam: 9' Weight: 11,400 lbs. Fuel Capacity: 250 gallons Engines on test boat: two Mercury Racing 1550s Drives on test boat: M8 drives Standard features: Adjustable front buckets, plush rear seat, carbon dashes, built-in storage, cooler area, wraparound windshield, etc. Options available: Half or full cabin Top speed: 157 mph @ 6,400 rpm

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Outerlimits Powerboats 3 Minturn Farm Rd. Bristol, RI 02809 outerlimitspowerboats.com (401) 253-7300

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Outerlimits SV50

The Outerlimits is stylish, plush (with high-end Alcantara fabric) and loaded with goodies. Jason Moe’s SV50 has a finished cabin with comfortable seating. Driver and passenger alike have access to digital navigation systems, and the boat features 100% carbon fiber and a killer stereo system to boot.

“I’ve never been in a boat that had almost zero chinewalking. It’s just about as smooth as they come. For a 50-footer, it feels like it’s a 20-footer. It turns great, it handles great, the acceleration is incredible.” —Owner Jason Moe 38

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Outerlimits SV50 bottoms in the nation. “I certainly believe it’s the fastest vee bottom that Outerlimits has ever turned out,” he says. “I think [production manager] Dan Kleitz will confirm that. And now I’m talking to him about doing a 46-foot cat.” But going the air-entrapment route is bound to produce some interesting results in the family dynamic: Moe’s wife Laurie likes the SV50 enough to hold on to it indefinitely. “She told me, ‘I think we should have a his and her boat—and then a hers and hers.’ So the vee bottom would be hers and the cat would be half mine!” he laughs. The Moes, along with son Colton and daughter Katelin, enjoy using the boat on Lake Washington. Performance: Now it was our turn to get some seat time in the SV50—a “mini test on a maximum boat,” Teague mused as he and his navigator prepared to fire up the behemoth. Our team opted to test with the dual Mercury Racing 1550 dual-calibration sterndrives in 1350 mode. The SV50’s dash layout was expertly crafted, and the Garmin navigational units were ideal for Mr. Teague. “They’re so good—they’ve got cameras built in, and it’s got all the data across the top. The Mercury trim indicator panel is stellar. You can actually zoom in on the trim indicator.” Crucial rpm info is available on either side; if you find yourself a little bit out of trim, or if you get an engine that’s running a little more or less rpm, you can fix it with just a tap of your finger. Overall, the boat was extremely comfortable and perfectly laid out, with outstanding placement of all controls. Workmanship was off the charts, and the plush Alcantara interior is about as high end as a big vee bottom gets. “The boat’s amazing,” Teague raves. The Outerlimits is a gigantic boat with a truly unique (and totally cool) stance. It actually handles like a sports car. Our water conditions were cool, flat and sticky, but the temperature was decent. We started by taking the

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SPEED SPECS 0-5 seconds: 12 mph 0-10 seconds: 35 mph 0-15 seconds: 66 mph 0-20 seconds: 88 mph Time to reach plane, with tabs: 8.73 seconds 40 to 60 mph: 5.77 seconds 40 to 70 mph: 8.29 seconds 70 to 120 mph: 13.62 seconds Speed at 5K rpm: 111 mph Speed at 6K rpm: 140 mph Top speed: 157 mph @ 6,400

SV50 through some test slaloms at various speeds, starting at around 50 mph. “The boat really finds itself at that speed,” Teague says. “The slaloms are absolutely fantastic.” The boat turns with perfect responsiveness and stays on track. Take it a bit out of trim, and you’re apt to notice a bit of hop, but this is instantly remedied by altering the trim. “It’s perfectly sensitive to trim,” says Teague. “There’s no steering wheel torque.” Turning the boat was easy and a sheer joy, and the it also tracks extremely well all of the time—enough for Teague to rate the ride a perfect 10. “Throttle response is low—it takes

a little while for the turbos to get rolling,” he notes. “That’s why you’ll see it going only 12 mph after 5 seconds.” But then the boat comes alive, with stellar mid-range and top-end performance. We noted that the Outerlimits also offers terrific low-speed maneuverability, although this is not a boat for a novice—you’ve gotta know how to drive this beast. “There’s really no negative about the performance,” according to Teague. “It’s all positive. You can see that I like the boat very much.” So does owner Jason Moe. And so, no doubt, will you. speedboat.com

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Eliminator Regatta Bob Leach and his crew welcome customers to their 27th regatta in their 48th year of business. Brett Bayne photographer : Todd Taylor story by:

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B

ack in the good old days, the Eliminator Regatta would draw as many as 200+ boats.

Times have changed, though, and two weeks prior to this year’s event, producer Joker’s Wild Promotions had commitments from just 40 boats. Thus, a scaled-back regatta was planned, with no formal on-water activities. Astonishingly, though, in the days leading up to the regatta, reservations more than doubled, with almost 100 boats set to attend. As you might imagine, this made things a bit challenging. But thanks to Joker’s Wild visionary Todd Taylor—this magazine’s star photographer—the regatta was still a rousing success. From Friday night’s registration party at the Nautical Resort to Saturday’s “no host” lunch in Havasu Springs, photo shoot and raft up, Taylor reports that 99.9 percent of the participants were “ecstatic” and had a terrific time. Saturday night brought a banquet, raffle and awards ceremony. “What’s neat about this regatta is that you’ll see smaller boats, bigger boats, older boats, brand-new boats,” Taylor says. “Nobody is intimidated about coming out.” Congratulations to Randy McGaffey and Rae Ann Diehl, winners of the “oldest boat” awards (both rides were 1976 models). For more on the regatta, read Ray Lee’s Observer’s Seat column on Page 10. speedboat.com

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Above: Shane Williams 33’ Daytona, which he totally refurbished over a year and a half. Right: Company founder Bob Leach with daughters Brianna and Brandie. Above right: Boats raft up in Havasu’s Steamboat Cove.

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Eliminator Regatta SUPER VEE LITE WINNER caption

Above: Anthony and Natalie Reyes in their 22 Extreme hull. It’s got 720 hours on it and still sports the original 454 engine. Left: Mickey Mackenzie’s 1992 24' Daytona. Below: Jason Root’s 25’ Daytona, Fire and Ice.

Below: Carl Melnik’s 2008 28' Eagle.

Above: Spencer Laymon in his 25’ Daytona.

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Dick and Todd Lepke in their 1987 Whaler.

Left: Tom Cowle’s 2016 21' Daytona. Above: Victor Williams’ 28’ Eagle. speedboat.com

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Cocoa Beach The Superboat high rollers move to the East Coast of Florida—where the rollers are very high indeed.

STORY BY:

Brett Bayne PHOTOGRAPHY BY:

Pete Boden

T

his year, 28 race teams traveled Class), a 38' Skater piloted by Myrick (Superboat Vee), a 30' Extreme with Brit to Florida’s Space Coast for their Coil (driver) and John Tomlinson (throt- Lilly (D) and Ron Umlandt (T);

eighth year attending the Thunder on Cocoa Beach Superboat races. The event comprised five days and nights of music, food, parties and plenty of no-holds-barred competition. It’s one of the biggest events of its kind in Central Florida, and always lures the finest racing teams in a variety of classes. Half a dozen of the participating teams were defending their 2016 World Championship titles: • Performance Boat Center (Superboat

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tles); • FJ Propeller (Superboat Stock), a 32' Doug Wright with Jimmie Harrison (D) and Gary Ballough (T); • 2nd Amendment USA (Production 3), a 36’ Spectre with Karl Steger (D) and Neil Wobbe (T); • AMH Construction/Instigator (Superboat Extreme), a 40' Fountain with Johnny Stanch (D) and Peter Meyer (T); • LSB Hurricane of Awesomeness

• Wake Effects (Superboat Unlimited), a 48' MTI driven by Rusty Rahm, who is recovering from neck surgery, with Jeff Harris on the sticks. Of those boats, four came out on top in their classes: Performance Boat Center, FJ Propeller, 2nd Amendment and AMH Construction/Instigator. Congratulations to all! Next up for the Superboat racers will be a stop in Mentor, OH, on July 21-23 for the Cleveland Construction Super Boat Grand Prix. See you there! speedboat.com

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BELOW: US-1 Performance Boat Center, with driver Myrick Coil and throttleman John Tomlinson, were victorious in Superboat Class with an elapsed time of 00:47:24. BOTTOM: Competitors Team CRC/ Sunlight Supply (near lane) and Wake Effects battle it out in Superboat Unlimited class. Team CRC, a 48' MTI, cinched it with an elapsed time of 00:43:26.

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Cocoa Beach CLASH Left: 2nd Amendment, a 36' Spectre driven by Karl Steger and throttled by Neil Wobbe, edged out The Developer to take the win in Manufacturer Production 3 class. Below: Superboat class competitor Cleaveland Construction, featuring driver Edward Smith, welcomed World Champion Bob Teague as the team’s new official throttleman.

Below: Two Cruel, a 30' Phantom, topped the Production 4 field. Owner/ driver Daniel Racz and throttleman Bruce Walter bested the four-boat field with an average speed of 64.80 and an elapsed time of 00:40:00.

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Below: AMH Construction/Instigator, a 40' Fountain with Johnny Stanch (D) and Peter Meyer (T), topped the Superboat Extreme class.

Above: The S-111 Reliable Services team of driver Tanner Lewis and owner/throttleman Ryan Beckley fought hard for the win in Superboat Stock, but ultimately had to settle for the second-place position. The pair achieved a respectable average speed of 76.70 mph and an elapsed time of 00:38:01. The boys beat out competitors Specialty Marine Center and Nick’s Creative Marine in their 30' Skater, which is powered by a pair of Mercury Racing 300-hp outboard motors.

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Cocoa Beach CLASH Top left: V-1 LSB Hurricane of Awesomeness, defending their 2016 World Champion title, finished second in Superboat Vee Class. Below left: S-1 FJ Propeller, a 32’ Doug Wright hull with driver Jimmie Harrison and owner/throttleman Gary Ballough, captured the win in Superboat Stock class. Their average speed was 81.99 and their elapsed time was 00:35:34.

Right: Owner/driver Billy Mauff and throttleman Jay Muller in WHM Motorsports got an unexpected decoration after colliding with the course’s north-turn buoy. That didn’t prevent the team from earning a fourth-place finish in the 40-foot Skater, with an elapsed time of 00:49:59. Below: The Superboat Vee winner was Phantom, a 30' Phantom driven by owner Mark Niemann. The boat achieved an average speed of 78.21 mph, with an elapsed time of 00:37:17.

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Story and photos by Randy Nuzzo

OF THE MONTH

In which our intrepid photographer bonds with a Facebook friend who owns one hell of a muscleboat.

Friendship “Confirmed” “Confirmed” T

he social media landscape can be My name is Randy Nuzzo. I’m a phofilled with rocky terrain and unex- tographer based in Richmond, VA, and pected beauty. For performance my work is occasionally seen in the pages

boaters, it’s no different. You may have 500 friends on Facebook, but have never met the vast majority of them in person. We’ve all clicked “confirm” on a friend request, only to be reminded six months later that today is Gern Blanston’s birthday, and wouldn’t it be great if you wrote on his wall to tell him that you’re thinking about him—even though you’ve never exchanged so much as a “hello”? Performance boating will do that to you.

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of Speedboat Magazine. Perhaps you’ve seen my byline. Some months back, I was making plans for a vacation in New Orleans, LA. One of my Facebook friends is a man named Doyle De Grusha, who lives in the Big Easy. He’s one of the hundreds of contacts I have on social media whom I do not really know...but I’m not going to pass up the opportunity to quiz him on his city’s attractions and (naturally)

places where people go boating. Luckily, he was willing to point me to some of the local hot spots. Looking at his page, I could see that Doyle’s profile photo featured a pair of Spectre powerboats, juxtaposed with a shootout speed trophy commemorating a 118-mph run and images of his very attractive girlfriend. Facebook is a notorious tattletale—along with the photos, I could read posts from his other friends ribbing him about having been absent from the water recently. Sensing a story, I pitched it to the editors of Speedboat speedboat.com

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Magazine and got the OK to proceed. Doyle currently owns the 2003 Spectre 36' Poker Run Edition cat featured in this article. He is part owner of Johnny’s Po-Boys, a French Quarter eatery founded by his father back in 1950. Sixtyseven years of continuous operation is a remarkable achievement for a restaurant in any town, let alone New Orleans. The po-boy sandwiches they’re famous for are naturally immense and delicious, and their gumbo is savory and truly outstanding. Doyle boats on Lake Pontchartrain (named for the Count de Pontchartrain, speedboat.com

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who served as minister of finance during the reign of France’s “Sun King,” Louis XIV, for whom Louisiana itself is named), as well as the many surrounding areas, including the Gulf of Mexico and in Biloxi, MS. One of his personal passions is participating in regional poker runs like the Tickfaw 200 (see Page 16), Emerald Coast Poker Run, and the Patriot Run. Originally built for Spectre founder Jay Pilini, the boat had been through two more owners and was in fairly rough shape by the time Doyle purchased it in 2012. He immediately began to address

the boat’s problem areas, starting with the transom assemblies, shift cables, throttle cables and interior, all of which were redone. The deck had been trashed and needed to be redone. The sides needed to be cleaned up and some dock rash repaired. On the bright side, the engines seemed to be solid and operational, having originally been built by Dave Govatos of MDG Performance (Edgewater, MD). They’re Dart 540s with Dart ProOne heads pumping out 650 horses. The boat’s Mercury Racing Bravo One XR drives, meanwhile, were rebuilt. The S P E E D B O A T | July 2017

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Speedboat of the Month

The boat is powered with the engines originally installed by Spectre: twin Dart 540s originally built by Dave Govatos of MDG Performance (Edgewater, MD). They feature Dart Pro 1 aluminum cylinder heads and put out 650 hp apiece. The drives are Mercury Racing Bravo One XRs.

Spectre is maintained by Sean Desselles of Aftermarket Marine (Kenner, LA). When Doyle learned that the boat would be featured in Speedboat, he realized that it was in need of a thorough cleaning and routine maintenance, since it had been sitting stagnant over the long winter. While the rest of New Orleans was getting ready for Mardis Gras in two weeks, Doyle and Sean began working long hours getting the engines, drives and boat ready for their close-up. Sean decided that it would be just as easy to pull the motors so they could clean everything for the photos, which turned out to be a wise decision—they discovered a twisted output shaft, leaking crankshaft

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seal, and bad roller bearing in one of the drives. A call to Jay Pilini allowed them to get the output shaft the next day, rather than waiting for the part to be ordered and shipped through normal channels. The boat was now ready for the upcoming season. Doyle’s passion for performance boating dates back to the mid 1980s, and he’s been a regular fixture on the waters of Lake Pontchartrain with a variety of boats, including a Formula 233 and 27 Martini before taking the plunge with the Spectre. There were also many standard-issue lake boats that a young father would have while raising a family. He was friends with the Copeland family

back when Al Copeland was racing the famous Popeye’s boat, and he maintains a relationship with Al Jr. to this day. Doyle witnessed Al’s influence on offshore racing firsthand. Back in the 1980s, offshore racers took off and returned hours later, but Al worked with organizers on the concept of running races in a triangular pattern so sponsors and spectators could witness the event, rather than just see the racers leaving and seeing who arrived back at the finish. He watched the races when Al and Tom Gentry brought the big 50' cats (Al’s was a Cougar Cat) when others were racing vee bottoms under 40 feet. He saw Al and others entering their cats in a racing speedboat.com

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6/16/17 9:57 PM


Speedboat of the Month Doyle’s 36' Spectre sports quarter canopies to deflect wind. The cockpit is adorned with Livorsi speedos and Marine Machine throttles and shifters, including a 160-mph speedo for passengers riding in the rear bench. Below: Doyle (in the driver’s seat) with girlfriend Eve Benit and “righthand man” Sean Desselles, who has recently massaged the motors and whose Aftermarket Marine (Kenner, LA) maintains the boat.

scene dominated by vee bottoms, and Al’s help in the improvement of canopies (fully enclosed with an oxygen supply) as speeds were increasing. He recalled how Al would drop canopies from his “chicken chopper” helicopter to test them for strength and performance. Doyle recalls the famous photograph of Al going under a bridge in Sarasota with a monster rooster tail that swamped a fellow’s brand-new Mercedes; Al had bought him a new one. Or the photo of the 50' cat, which was so massive that a picture was taken with a pickup truck in the tunnel. Back then, at the races, most competitors would change props for different water conditions; Al would simply

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use a different boat. There are myriad stories about Copeland that Doyle loves to share; name dropping and long stories are never in short supply when talking to Doyle. When Hurricane Katrina descended on New Orleans a dozen years ago, the devastation was catastrophic to the people and the city. Doyle owned two homes: the one in Metairie was under 18 inches of water, but the lake house in Slidell took on 14 feet of water. Lost in the flooding was memorabilia and irreplaceable photos from back in the day—pictures of the Formula and the other boats, boating photos, photos of friends, partying, and so on. All gone. The performance boat-

ing scene was crippled, boats destroyed, marina docks demolished. Many boaters permanently left the boating scene instead of replacing their destroyed boats. Many boating friends and business contacts were also lost in the flood. But Doyle has persisted, and his devotion to the sport rages on. It was a singular pleasure to meet him and take photos of his beautiful Spectre—a perfect way to commemorate our three-year friendship that started on Facebook. Social media provided the introduction, but performance boating provided the connection. So think about this the next time you click on “Confirm.” You never know where it will ultimately lead! speedboat.com

6/16/17 8:29 PM


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6/16/17 10:47 PM


LEGENDS

Jack Davidson Sanger Boats T

Top: Two views of “Sanger Jack”—early on in his career, and toward the end of it. Above: One of the many Sangers we’ve showcased: Mark Crane’s 1974 18’6” Runner Bottom, featured in the September 2004 issue of Hot Boat Magazine.

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he year was 1954, and a twentyish Jack Davidson was in the process of turning a hobby into what would become a lifetime business. Jack—who was a mere 16 when he built his first 14-foot wooden boat from the instructions in a magazine—was about to catapult his garage-built, wooden inboard flatbottoms into a collection of the fastest propeller and jet-driven boats ever made. Sanger Boats is named for the town located on the outskirts of Fresno, CA, where Davidson grew up and got his start. In 1956, he built his first Sanger dragster for speedboat racing and began racing drag boats. Two years later, he set a record (at the speed of 118 mph) in Berkeley, CA. Through the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, Sanger Boats prospered and endured the many trials and tribulations of the West Coast custom high-performance boating industry. The builder turned out an array of incredibly sleek bubbledeck flatbottoms and innovative, record-setting picklefork drag hydros that terrorized race courses all over the country. Davidson pioneered the largest custom-boat building operation of his day with an electrifying factory racing program that enlisted daredevil Larry Schwabenland, the greatest driver of his day, to set Top Fuel Hydro and Blown Fuel Flatbottom records and oversee a program that saturated quarter-mile racing, down speedboat.com

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Jack Davidson

Brian Schmidl’s 1983 Sanger picklefork hydro Smokin’ Aces.

to the brackets. Oft-imitated Sanger followed up with pleasure flats, hydros, jets and daycruisers, with daring gelcoat and trick interiors, to enormous success. Because of his sometimes gruff exterior and no-nonsense approach to competition and winning, Davidson became known around the race pits as “Jack the Bear”—a man with an iron will and a great natural gift for knowing how to make boats go fast on the water. “I’m not an engineer—just a guy who uses common sense and isn’t afraid to try something new,” Davidson told me back in 1999. “You can do all the calculating on paper that you want, but until you put it on the water and run it, you won’t know for sure how it’s going to work.” Obviously, Davidson made a lot of good calls during his Sanger Boats career. The records and accomplishments came early, starting in 1957 in Bakersfield, CA, when he drove his own boat to a new flatbottom quarter-mile drag speed record—the first to break the 100-mph mark. A year later,

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in Berkeley, CA, he again upped his blown fuel flatbottom record to an incredible 119 mph. In the early 1960s, Davidson demonstrated his adaptability by switching from all-wood construction to fiberglass. Soon to follow was an entire fleet of lean, mean flying machines: the Sanger concave runner-bottom flatties and the unmistakable picklefork hydros. “We were pretty busy racing just about everything we built back then,” Davidson said. “We had boats at the drags, boats at the circle races, boats at the marathon races. It seemed like there was some race to go to just about every weekend. It was a tough grind.” He added: “I was very fortunate during the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s. Some of the greatest drivers of all time drove Sangers.” One of Davidson’s fondest memories was the breaking of the 200-mph drag-boat barrier, accomplished by former world land-speed record-holder Gary Gabelich. “A lot of people doubted whether that speed was even possible, but once we did it, the era of the 200-mph blown fuel hydro was born,” Davidson

In this vintage photo, Jack Davidson (left), with his young son Mike, confer with a racing official. said. “Then along came guys like Larry ‘the Shoe’ Schwabenland, Dennis ‘the Godfather’ Pollaccia, K-boat driver Bob LaRue and Gordon Jennings Sr. These guys really pushed the envelope. The boats kept getting faster and they drove a little bit harder.” Even the jetboat records weren’t safe when Sanger was around. In the 1970s, Hoig’s Marine owner Dean Willis teamed speedboat.com

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Jack Davidson

Jon Pronzini’s 1964 shovel-nose hydro.

up with Davidson to develop the first successful picklefork jet drag hydro. They called it Royal Flush. “When we set a new unlimited jet record at 133 mph, people in the industry could hardly believe it,” Davidson recalled. “Not only was the boat fast and quick, it was also a lot more stable than the conventional V-bottoms it was competing against.” When the traditional inboard flatbottom business began to decline, Sanger put its efforts into its still-popular ski hydros and the emerging mini-cruiser market. Davidson had also previously started a marine-hardware manufacturing company called Stellings several years earlier, originally making steel propellers. Later on, after attempting to purchase a set of offshore-style, water-jack-

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eted stainless steel headers, Davidson was informed by the exhaust supplier that there was a nine-month backlog. “The Bear”—who also became well known as “Sanger Jack”—just couldn’t wait that long, so Stellings got into that business too. Stellings continued to grow, fabricating a long list of quality highperformance marine accessories used by boat manufacturers nationwide; alas, they have since closed their doors. Sanger Boats went mainstream in the 1990s, with a custom-oriented tournament ski boat considered the best of its breed—after all, Sangers of all variety are instant classics. “We had some great times and wonderful experiences along the way, but things change, and you have to change with them if you want to stay

in business,” Davidson said in my final interview with him. “I still get involved in a performance project now and then with my 24- and 30-foot Alley Cat models, so I still haven’t quite gotten rid of the speed bug altogether.” That “speed bug” served Sanger Boats well for almost half a century. Davidson passed away in 2001, but even though the days of 200-mph drag hydros and bullet-fast circle boats are behind it, the company remains an icon of the West Coast boat-building industry, and its accomplishments are forever etched into high-performance history. Today, Sanger’s line consists of family-style tournament inboard ski- and wakeboard boats that appeal to a somewhat more mellow clientele. speedboat.com

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MY VIEW [continued from page 8] Chris Davidson Of all the models I’ve had the pleasure of boarding, Sunsation’s 34 CCX is my favorite so far. It is visually stunning, and built by one of the true craftsmen in our industry. Ergonomically perfect, performance oriented and fuel efficient, the CCX debuted in 2013 and has earned its place in history as one of the fastestselling new center-console boats. I’m not sure you could find a better boat in this category. For whatever reason, the dividing line for most of these boats stops at the one of the largest rivers in the world: the mighty Mississippi. It continues to be the barrier for most boat manufacturers, no matter which coast they’re on. West Coast custom boatbuilders have learned that the second longest river in the USA is a significant barrier for selling and transporting product from California eastward (aside from a few DCBs, Eliminators, Nordics and the odd Shockwave we’ve spotted in our travels to poker runs—see Page 16 for evidence of this in our coverage of Tickfaw 200). Meanwhile, East Coast offshore builders have found it difficult to penetrate the West Coast, save for a few Hustlers, Fountains and Bajas. Hustler Powerboats builds one of the finest offshore rockets I’ve ever been in. Built in Calverton, NY, it’s a true custom boat, and company President Joe LoGiudice and his nephew Paul are some of the finest people I’ve had the pleasure to know. I have ridden in several of their models, and exceptional performance and quality are the first adjectives that come to mind when I see one of their creations on the water. What is the real reason for this coastal dichotomy in the go-fast industry? Maybe it’s the lack of representation on each coast. Buyers don’t really have the ability to drop by the factory—after a potential purchase, they’d naturally need to deal with possible warranty issues. After 30 years of listening to both the builders and our faithful readers, I believe it goes much deeper with boaters and their purchases. Most boaters are comfortable with purchasing what everyone else has in their body of water. Local boat dealers in the buyers’ respec-

speedboat.com peedboat com

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Sunsation’s amazing 34 CCX.

SPEEDBOAT |

September 2016

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MY VIEW Chris Davidson tive areas also have great influence related to a purchase. West Coast boat builders made their names primarily on the Colorado River, from Lake Powell down to the Parker Strip. Lake Havasu is the barometer for most— you see this when you cruise the channel underneath the London Bridge on any given weekend. The offshore brands on the East Coast have primarily made their mark on the Atlantic at various events and races over the past 30 years. The differences are not insurmountable for the builder to get product from one coast to another, but the hurdle is not attempted with any kind of regularity. The center console may be the first boat design to break the barrier of the Mississippi, and will continue to dominate the next decade with increased boat sales for several reasons. They’re multifunctional for both recreational boating as well as fishing, reasonable to insure, and require significantly less maintenance and hours of cleaning and detailing. Most are being rigged with Mercury Racing’s new Verado 400-hp outboards, which are very nearly foolproof in endurance and fuel economy—especially compared to big block Chevys, where breakage often results in catastrophic costs. The two-year limited warranty and initial cost of purchase on Mercury Verados also make the new “egg beaters” an attractive powerplant alternative. In addition, it adds a bonus 5 feet of more usable boat space at the back of the boat with no need for the traditional engine compartment. (Check out Brandon Purkiss’s outboardpowered Eliminator 27' Speedster on Page 22 for a great recent example.) As a traditional performance boater who grew up boating on the Colorado River with a boat that had as much seating as it did for the BBC, it’s fascinating to see the changing of the guard. But new product, new designs and innovative gadgets is what drives sales. This summer will be great for new boat sales, as most manufacturers have sold more boats this year as of this writing than all of last year combined.

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Brett’s A Summer

PLACE Jeff Burgess’s 1983 Perfect Placecraft

Featuring

Racing the St. Joe River NJBA Jetboat Action

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A Summer Brett Bayne photographer : Ray Lee story by:

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Owner Jeff Burgess used the online forums to trade up to a boat bo that’s both fast and has a sterling safety record.

Place

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J

eff Burgess of Palm Desert, CA, used to own an 80+ mph river rocket, but eventually came to

realize the wisdom of switching to a safer hull. “The Placecraft has a famously safe record, so that was the best option for me,” he tells Speedboat. When the opportunity arose to buy one, Burgess leaped. “They don’t come around too often, especially one like mine, which still has the original gelcoat.” Burgess used the online forums to track down his 1983 19’ Placecraft. “The previous owner was looking to get into something else, and I couldn’t pass it up.” Fortunately, the original owner had taken remarkably good care of the boat. “Other than a couple of burn-throughs on the gel, it’s in amazing condition,” says Burgess, a construction and handyman specialist. Top speed achieved so far is around 115 mph. The boat’s engine puts out over 1,000 hp, according to the owner. “That’s great for a jet,” he says. “It’s set up for nitrous, but we recently had it dynoed and it runs exceptionally well on pump gas. That’s sort of the claim to fame for this boat—that it’s a pump gas motor and it makes over 1,000 hp. That’s great for a jet.” Burgess gives props to B1 Racing (Santa Ana, CA), which massaged the pump; Head Hoggers (Hanceville, AL), responsible for all of the head porting; and Competition Products (Oshkosh, WI), the hardcore high-performance parts firm that supplied the camshaft and most of the engine parts. Burgess also salutes his wife, Gina, “for allowing me to continue doing this,” he smiles. Look for the couple, along with daughter Aubrey, 8, and son Brennon, 5, along the Colorado River, from Lost Lake Resort down to McIntyre County Park in Blythe, CA.

The Berkeley pump features an Aggressor bowl and inducer, stainless steel AB impeller, Hardin shaft and Place diverter.

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Racing

photographer: Frank

Mignerey

the JOE

L

ocated just north of St. Maries, ID—a city with a total area of 1.10 square miles—is the St. Joe River, a 140-mile tributary of Coeur d’Alene Lake in

Northern Idaho. The river drew more than a dozen race teams, along with hundreds of fans, to participate in the 5th Annual Race the Joe competition May 19-21, and it did not disappoint devotees of exciting jetboat action. Boats raced in four different classes. Stealing the show in Unlimited category was Bad Habit, campaigned by the father-son team of Willie (driver) and Chad Burns (navigator), who were the 2016 USA World Champions. They were first overall and in the class with a time of 1:55:43. Clearly this “bad habit” of winning is a hard one to kick! Meanwhile, coming in second in the class—and overall—was another fatherson team: Rich (navigator) and Ryan Rogers (driver), event sponsors who have helped and encouraged other racers for many years. Their Pure Insanity machine finished with a time of 1:59:20. Finishing in third place overall were CX Class winners Leighton Lillie (driver) and Cody Holzer (navigator) in Preventing Insanity. Meanwhile, in FX Class, driver Adam Steffers and navigator Justin Kelley took their Know Idea boat to the win. Finally, heading up A Class were Canadians Dale Whiteside (driver) and Mike Hodon (navigator) in A Bad Bird. Congratulations to all!

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The Fifth Annual jetboat race on Idaho’s St. Joe River kicks the aderanline into high gear for spectators and competitors alike.

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UNLIMITED CLASS: Chad Burns (navigator) and father Willie (driver) of Alberta, Canada, finished first in the class and were first overall. The pair were also the 2016 USA World Champions. Below: Their Eagle hull, Bad Habit.

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UNLIMITED CLASS: Above: Driver Ryan Rogers with his dad, navigator Rich, pilot their Pure Insanity machine to second place in the class and second overall. Right: Rounding out third place in the class were driver Ross Schlotterhauer and navigator Jake Baker of Post Falls, ID. Their Burley boat did not finish after breaking down in the fourth leg. 70

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CX CLASS: Winners Leighton Lillie (D) and Cody Holzer (N) in Preventing Insanity, above. Left: Second-place finishers Jake Barney (D) and Shaun Flamengo (N) in Never Satisfied. The boats finished third and fourth place overall, respectively.

CX CLASS: Driver Jared Satterlund and navigator John Murray, both of Post Falls, ID, were third in the class driving A Boat in their first race ever. The rookies had just purchased Ross Schlotthauer’s old hull and performed very well for their premier outing in the boat, with a time of 2:32:51.

CX CLASS: Driver Rick Serhan and navigator Danny Blas were fourth place in CX class piloting High IV, left. speedboat.com

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FX CLASS Top: First-place finishers Adam Steffes (D) and Justin Kelley (N) of Lewiston, ID, in Know Idea. They finished with an elapsed time of 2:34:58. Above: Second-place finishers Chuck Thompson (D) and Mike Albright (N) of Lewiston, ID, in Rump Shaker. Their elapsed time was 2:35:33. Above left: Third-place finishers Mark Miran (D) and Johnny Hearne (N) of Boise, ID, in Geis Racing Team. Bottom left: Fourth-place finishers Chris Barger (D) and Chandler Lytle (N) of Orofino, ID, in Better Idea.

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A CLASS Top: First place finishers Dale Whiteside (D) and Mike Hodon (N) in A Bad Bird. Middle: Second-place finishers Ryan Hudson (D) and Tracy Popham (N) in Top Gun. Bottom: Third-place finishers Jeff Edwardsen (D) and brother Jim (N) in Fast Times Maniac.

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photographer: Mark

T

McLaughlin

he National Jet Boat Association (NJBA) finished its

third race of the 2017 season in Bakersfield, CA, with the May Madness extravaganza on Lake Ming. Tony Scarlata was the Big Man on Campus, not only taking the win in Pro Gas Flat class but also demolishing the Top Alcohol Flat record with a 4.96-second pass (at 166+ mph) while testing the new Kevin Felkinsbuilt Shazam boat (sponsored by Cat Spot Litter) in an exhibition run. In the toughest field of all, the Top Eliminator class featured a nearly full field of 15 boats. Bill McGuinn was ready for the action—his hydro ran some impressive numbers on Sunday, with 9.04, 9.02, 9.08, and 9.04 elapsed times to take home the first-place trophy. Tyler Souza, on the other side of the ladder, took out the #1 qualifier and taking the On Re flatty to the final, where he wound up in the runner-up position. While the races were going on Saturday, the hills got a little torched by a brush fire. Water-dropping helicopters and fire-retardant planes spent the afternoon dousing the fire, putting a hold on the race track intermittently for water pick-ups. Fire burned all the way down to the river on the backside of the lake.

PRO GAS FLAT Qualifiers Tony Scarlata and Clyde Menezes (main image) square off against each other in round one with Tony taking the win. Scarlata (above and right) also took in some seat time in the brand new Shazam Top Alcohol Flat. The newly built Kevin Felkins monster machine laid down the most impressive pass, destroyed the old record for an alcohol flat on Sunday with a blistering 4.96 elapsed time at over 166 mph.

Madness May NJBA competition lights up Lake Ming for race #3 of the season.

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May Madness BLOWN GAS FLAT: Winner and #1 qualifier Jim Shelton (below) got past Jason Merritt for the trophy. The BGF class was sponsored by Westerfield Motorsports. Right: Shelton and his faithful crew show off their giant novelty check.

MODIFIED ELIMINATOR: With an 8-boat field, Zach Coin had his hands full. He did lay down the #1 qualifying position, but had some tough competition in the field. Final result: Winner! Inset: Coin and his family collect the first-place trophy. 76

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PRO COMP FLAT: Round one of FCF class paired Steve Boyce (near lane) up against Jason Merritt. Boyce took the win en route to his first-place trophy in a 10-boat field. Boyce got to hold the trophy while wife Teresa (above) gets the money.

PRO GAS HYDRO: Josh Hayden, shoeing for Mark Peters in Chump Change, ran uncontested for the win in the class (left). QUICK ELIMINATOR: Below: Kelly Asbe, owner/driver of the Black Sheep injected flatty mowed down the field of nine boats for the win in QE class. Inset: Asbe and his crew collecting their first-place trophy.

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May Madness

SUPER ELIMINATOR: Justin Perkins (near lane) and Matt Hudson qualify in a field of 15. Perkins took the win in the class and received the trophy surrounded by trophy gals, Stacey, Courtney, and Brooke.

UNBLOWN FUEL JET: Jordan Woods drove his Placecraft tunnel jet—appropriately named Your Place or Mine—to the UFJ win over Steve Penberthy, whose One More Toy jet red-lit by .031 to Woods’ red light of .011. The lesser of the two evils was Woods. Congratulations to his team! Right: Doug Durnall, running in exhibition, drove Donny Lebon’s Fuel Jet all weekend.

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TOP ELIMINATOR: Bill McGuinn ran some impressive numbers Sunday with 9.04, 9.02, 9.08, and 9.04 elapsed times to take home the first-place trophy (above, with wife Peggy). TOP ELIMINATOR: Tyler Souza (right), on the other side of the 15-boat TE ladder, took out the #1 qualifier, sending the On Re flatty to the final, where he wound up in the runner-up position. Below: During Saturday’s racing, the hills were torched by a brush fire. Water-dropping copters and fire retardant planes spent the afternoon dousing the fire, putting a hold on the race track intermittently for water pick-ups.

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May Madness PRO ELIMINATOR: Two for two! Jayne Bradley is on a roll. She shoed her All Grosed Out hydro to another win in the Pro Eliminator class. Not only qualifying #1 and winning the class, she got to take home her first-place trophy for the points lead.

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OBSERVER’S SEAT RAY LEE [continued from page 10] Right: Eliminator Boats owner Bob Leach names Langston Zimmerman and Tanner Gomez as the regatta’s princess and prince, respectively, as Tanner’s dad, David “DGee” Gomez, cheers them on.

uled helicopter aerial shoot, where owners could get photography of themselves running their Eliminators with their crew and the subsequent raft-up in the picturesque setting of Steamboat Cove. Ace pilot Fred Young stepped up the chopper game by bringing a $3M ECO-Star EC-130 to keep up with the high-horsepower water rockets, with Todd shooting stills and me doing my best to shoot video. This became a bit of a challenge, because there wasn’t a designated operations director on the water, due to being somewhat short-staffed. The boats were supposed to run one at a time as directed at the driver’s meeting but this plan quickly deteriorated into a free-forall and the phrase “herding cats” kept repeating in my head. But Fred masterfully maneuvered the helicopter to-andfro as Todd picked off each running boat, like a big-game hunter in the wild. “There’s one underneath us coming in from the right,” said Fred. Click, click, click. “Got ’em… Next!” replied Todd. I was positioned in the middle seat and had to shoot to my left (over Todd and his cameras), which was far from optimal. So between this and the rapid, almost frantic pace of the photo shoot, I regretfully write that I didn’t get much good footage. My apologies to those who were hoping to see the videos. So another Eliminator Regatta is in the books, and Todd, Bob and his team are already looking ahead to the 28th installment to celebrate their 49th year building these timeless beauties. Speedboat Magazine will again be there to document the event.

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Speedboat July 2017  
Speedboat July 2017