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The Best Boats & Bling from the Miami Show

FOUR Our Annual

Performance Evaluations! Nordic • Eliminator Shockwave • Caliber 1

APRIL 2018

APRIL 2018

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

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Table of Contents APRIL 2018 ®




10 MIAMI BOAT SHOW The legendary exhibit celebrates its 77th year with 1,100 exhibitors and 1,400 boats on display on land and in the water.

34 FANTASTIC 4 Speedboat’s annual Performance Evaluations include four custom West-Coast thrill rides from Nordic, Eliminator, Shockwave and Caliber 1.

52 FACTORY TOUR Speedboat tours Iconic Marine Group, the shop where Fountain, Baja and Donzi boats are born.

58 NIFTY NORDIC Jason Cenora gives his Nordic 28' Heat a well-deserved makeover.


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3/12/18 3:56 PM Published by DCO Enterprises, LLC Publishers

Ray Lee

Chris Davidson


Brett Bayne

Senior Tech Editors Jim Wilkes

Alexi Sahagian

Tech Editors

National Sales Director Art Director

Greg Shoemaker Jim Wilkes Valerie Collins Ray Lee

Gail Hada-Insley

Helicopter Services Fred Young


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

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

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

BRETT’S COVE 68 FAMILY THERAPY Paul Ferris of Rezurxn Speed & Marine tells how he gave his Hondo a creative facelift after a fire nearly destroyed it.

74 SOUTHWEST SHOWDOWN 7 The Arizona Drag Boat Association kicks off its 2018 season at Parker’s BlueWater Resort & Casino in grandiose style.


Craig Lathrop

Web Design

Blair Davidson Market It Mobile, Las Vegas, NV

Editorial Offices

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

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.

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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OBSERVER’S SEAT RAY LEE Each February brings the Miami Inter-national Boat Show and with it, the new and exciting products and hardware that is available to the public for the new year. It gives manufacturers a good spotlight to display their latest creations, and it gives the vendors the target audience to sell their latest and greatest products.

pending deals and the crown jewel–– the dynamic duo of the Cigarette Racing/ Mercedes-AMG 515 Project ONE boat and car. We attended the unveiling on the first day of the show, and it did not disappoint. Another show standout was the MTI (Marine Technology Inc.) booth at the end of Pier 3. The quality of work that Randy Scism and the Wentzville, MO team have been producing over the years cannot be ignored and this year’s show fleet was no exception. With their immense and beautiful new V-57 Center Console dominating the docks, it was difficult to notice much else. But we did. The latest 340X in red,

and/or game-changing unveiling from the Fond du Lac, WI company. While it wasn’t the higher horsepower outboard engines that the “fake news” and rumor mills touted last year, it was equally exciting to highperformance enthusiasts. Introducing the new 1350/1100 dual fuel calibration engine that runs on pump gas! This is especially notable because of the lack of readily available higher octane fuels in some/ most locations. With the engagement of the 1100 fob, the engine detunes itself to only require 89 octane—which even Anytown, USA will have. The 1350 fob requires 91 octane (aka Super Unleaded).

The Mystique of Miami In its third year at Florida’s Miami Stadium Park and Basin on Virginia Key, the woes of getting into (and out of) the show proved once again to be tedious, at best––and a nightmare at worst. It was reminiscent of their first year troubles at the new venue when very few knew how to best navigate the new home of the Miami Boat Show, including the Show staff. The increased number of pick-up/dropoff locations for the water taxis and shuttle buses that were available to the masses last year were inexplicably slashed to only two spots this year, causing the trip to the show’s entrance to be time consuming. (One vendor told us it took them 2½ hours to return to their hotel just across the bay, after the show had officially closed. This qualifies as the nightmare I referenced earlier.) However, once inside the show, it becomes a boater’s paradise. Almost anything and everything you could ever want or need for boating was available for public consumption, as per usual. The growing pains endured by the manufacturers the previous two years were overcome, as they set up their designated spots on the docks, like old pros. To have the boats actually on the water is the best part of this show, as potential boat owners are able to go on a sea trial, with little effort. As expected, the Cigarette Racing booth proved to be the show stealer, with their display prominently in full view and hard to miss. They brought six boats to exhibit, had private glass-enclosed offices to close


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the 48' cat in blue and white and a pair of V-42 Center Consoles sat proudly for all the attendees to admire. John Cosker and Mystic Powerboats brought to the show my single favorite boat that debuted in 2017. So much so, that we put it on the cover of our September 2017 issue—Chad and Heather Collier’s C4400 cat, Habitual. Its sleek lines, sexy stance and the color combination of graphics made this boat an instant hit and it’s no wonder that it was tapped to be the representative showpiece for the manufacturer. Meanwhile, Mystic’s new Director of Sales/ Dealer Development, Greg Weber had his hands full showing their über-popular Center Console line—both at the docks and out in the open water. Performance Boat Center was also kept busy by the masses that flocked in to catch a glimpse of (or for a lucky few, a ride in) their new 360 Wright Performance cat with twin Mercury Racing 400s. Also one of our faves that graced our January/February 2018 cover, this boat is an all-around homerun. With speed, style, beauty and class, the joint collaboration of the folks at Performance Boat Center and Doug Wright Boats has proved to be a bona-fide winner. As evidenced by the boat on display was immediately sporting a “SOLD” sticker. Speaking of Mercury—each year we have come to expect some sort of big news

We can’t forget Fred Ross’ Iconic Marine Group and Big Thunder Marine—which brought industry icon Reggie Fountain back into the spotlight and the forefront of conversation. Along with him, the Fountain, Donzi and Baja brands—and a new 32' Fountain cat which we were fortunate enough to take a ride in. We were impressed by the stability of the ride out in the bumpy waters of Miami and despite having full fuel and five grown men onboard, we had little trouble getting into the triple digits. Judging by the Miami show, the industry is thriving, and 2018 should be a great year. Mystic, Outerlimits and Sunsation all have new models in the works that should debut later in the year, and all companies report strong off-season sales!

Correction In our March 2018 issue, we neglected to credit photographer Pete Boden for his photo on the Table of Contents page. Speedboat regrets the omission.

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International Boat Show


Miss Geico Racing: The offshore race team’s boat is a permanent fixture of the Florida shindig, with crew members and the race team typically greeting showgoers. This year, Miss Geico brought out its current hull, which won the Superboat Unlimited world title in November.

he 2018 Progressive Insurance Miami International Boat Show celebrated its 77th year with a five-day run over

President’s Day Weekend in February that saw a 3 percent boost in attendance, according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association. The show featured 1,100 exhibitors and 1,400 boats on display and in the water. It was the show’s third consecutive year at its new venue, the Miami Marine Stadium Park & Basin, after a long run at the Miami Beach Convention Center. The show was loaded with performance exhibitors, including the usual East Coast muscleboat builders like Skater, Mystic, Cigarette, Sunsation, Nor-Tech, Fountain, Donzi, Wright Performance and Hustler. Naturally, Speedboat Magazine was on the scene, and we bring you the best of what the show had to offer on the pages that follow.

Photos by Ray Lee, Chris Davidson and Jay Forbes

The legendary exhibit celebrates its 77th year with 1,100 exhibitors and 1,400 boats on display on land and in water. 10

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Performance Boat Center: The Lake of the Ozarks-based dealer and service center offered test rides to customers on two of its lines, represented by Sunsation’s 32 CCX center console (with twin Mercury 350 outboards), and the Wright Performance 360 (with twin Mercury Racing 400 outboards).

Livorsi Marine: The Grayslake, IL-based maker of gauges and other marine accessories displayed many of its most popular items, including trim tabs, billet throttle controls and its newest product, a line of leather-like and smooth, soft-grip steering wheels.

Custom Marine Inc.: CMI used the Miami show to showcase its Gen-X headers, small-block LS E-Top headers and sea strainers. New this year: a 520 Upgrade Package that offers horsepower gains from 31 hp to 48 hp.

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MIAMI International Boat Show CP Performance: The national online marine dealer brought as many of the 100,000+ parts they sell as possible, from fuel and electrical systems to trim tabs and fittings. CP unveiled the new Hardin Marine Seaward Small Block GM direct-fit series exhaust system, which is quickly becoming one of its most popular aftermarket items.

Hardin Marine: Legendary race-car driver Max Pappis poses with a copy of Speedboat Magazine, as well as some of the steering wheels produced by his company, Max Pappis Industries, which are being sold through Hardin Marine.

Florida Powerboat Club: Group leader Stu Jones (below) gave away copies of his Powerboating in Paradise magazine with models Whitney (left) and Patty (right). The club recently celebrated its 25th anniversary; after the show, Stu and his members set course for the Keys for the Miami Boat Show Poker Run. Full details to follow in our May issue.

Deep Impact: The Opa-Locka, FL-based manufacturer of center-console performance and fishing boats, offers various configurations of its 360 and a 399 models. The 360 Sport (above) is a perennial favorite at the Miami show; this one is powered by triple Mercury Racing 350 outboards. Deep Impact’s Terry Sobo, the firm’s newest director of sales and marketing, is at the helm, while Mike Livorsi of Livorsi Marine (left) wanders away from his place on Page 11 to check out the boat for himself. 14

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MIAMI International Boat Show Mystic: Readers may recognize this C4400 cat (powered by Mercury Racing 1350s) as Habitual, our cover boat from last September; it’s owned by Chad and Heather Collier. Mystic also brought its M4200 center-console machine powered by triple Mercury Racing 400 outboards. Mystic President John Cosker told Speedboat that he’s building a new outboard-powered 38-footer for Slug Hefner, which will be a “mini version” of Hefner’s 50-footer that Mystic delivered to him at LOTO two years ago.

Nor-Tech: The Fort Myers, FL-based manufacturer of high-speed catamarans and deep-vees showed off this eye-catching and ultra-roomy 450 Sport powered by quad Mercury Racing 400 outboards.


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MIAMI International Boat Show

Hustler: Among the boats displayed by the Calverton, NY-based builder was the new 39 Shotgun, a deep-vee boat that mimics the facade of a center-console. Powered by triple Mercury Racing 400Rs, the boat has a unique seating configuration that features a very roomy lounge area with a sink, table, recliners, and even a cigar humidor.

Mercury Racing: The boys from Fond du Lac, WI, were working overtime with new product introductions for 2018. Top: Here’s the new dual-fuel calibration 1350/1100 sterndrive (coupled to an M8 drive). The engine pumps out 1350 horsepower on 91 octane fuel, but engaging a fob to 1100 hp reduces the octane requirement to 89 or REC-90 fuel. Center: Introduced last year and still going strong is the naturally aspirated 860-hp engine with the M6 outdrive. Bottom: The popular 565 with XR outdrive celebrated its sixth year in the Mercury Racing lineup.


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MIAMI International Boat Show

Outerlimits: Turning a lot of heads at the Bristol, RI-based builder’s booth was this new SL44 vee-bottom (above right) powered by a pair of Mercury Racing 1100s (above). It was delivered to first-time Outerlimits owner Rob D’Angelo. The company also showed renderings of its upcoming SL36 (inset).

MTI: The Wentzville, MO-based company brought two versions of its quad-powered MTI-V 42 center console, including a fishing edition (above left) and a luxury-oriented model (below left). Above: The 48 Cat with twin Mercury Racing 1,110-hp engines. 22

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MIAMI International Boat Show

Iconic Marine Group: Owner of Fountain, Baja and Donzi, Iconic showed off a stylish Fountain 39NX center console model (top, above and above right), as well as its new 32' Cat (center right). Also on display was a 22' Donzi Classic powered by a powered by a 380-hp Mercury Marine 8.2L Mag engine (right). Reggie Fountain himself (top right) showed up! 24

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BBlades: Company owner Brett Anderson (left), who spent a dozen years working for Mercury Marine, educated consumers about his “6 Shooter� modular propeller, which features interchangable blades that can be swapped out without tools in emergencies or if one becomes damaged.

Cigarette Racing: Company head honcho Skip Braver (above left) celebrated his 11th year in partnership with Mercedes-AMG with another spectacular boat-and-car concept: the Mercedes-AMG 515 Project ONE. The boat (above center) is powered by two staggered Mercury Racing 1550/1350 dual-calibration engines. Both vehicles feature a distinctive black-and-silver paint motif. 28

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MIAMI International Boat Show Ilmor Marine: Introduced a couple of years ago, Ilmor’s revolutionary One Drive system (below) continues to set new standards for sterndrive propulsion. Powered by the MV8 engine, the One Drive offers a refined ride and greater maneuverability for an incredibly smooth and confident experience on the water.

Seven Marine of Germantown, WI, displayed its 627-hp supercharged outboard engine, introuduced in Miami three years ago. The engine offers enhanced performance potential via its innovative, marine-specific High-Turbulence Combustion Technology.

Motor Monkey: From Covington, LA, comes a new dual-purpose outboard protection device that offers a unique blend of style and functionality. Handcrafted by industry professionals using quality, high-resistant materials, the Motor Monkey fender gives boaters an innovative way to protect their boat’s motor for a worry-free experience while backing into a dock. A series of flexible and durable foam core panels protect your outboard from virtually anything. 30

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MIAMI International Boat Show

Skater: This twin outboard 318 cat (above and right) features a custom interior and Garmin gauges; it will run 121 mph. Below: The 318 sits next to a 388 (far lane), which is powered by twin 1100 Mercury Racing I/Os. This boat, which runs 171 mph, is Skater’s hottest seller right now.


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Waves & Wheels: Owner Justin Wagner’s latest innovation is a pro audio system engineered exclusively for the marine industry. Bluave (pronounced “Blue Wave”), is designed to deliver superior sound quality and volume at the highest possible levels. It got its official debut at IBEX in 2016.

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Todd Taylor, Kenny Dunlop & Daren Van Ryte


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Caliber One

Speedboat’s Annual Performance Evaluations Include Four Custom West-Coast Thrill Rides.


ith the economy going gangbusters, the smiles have returned to the faces of builders who are busy laying up new boats for their customers. This year, we invited Nordic, Eliminator, Shockwave

and Caliber 1 to bring us the best of what they had to offer. Not surprisingly, the first three brought family deckboats for us to test, while Caliber 1 brought the next-best thing: a walkthrough bowrider almost roomy enough to count as a vee-bottom deckboat. These machines had a few things in common—outstanding workmanship, amazing attention to detail, topof-the-line gelcoat work, clean installations and dazzling craftsmanship. These builders have been building boats for a very long time, and their love and passion for what they do is evident in every square inch of their wares. So join us as our dryland inspection team and on-water test crew put these four muscleboats through their usual trials on Lake Havasu.

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Nordic 29

Deck Boat OB


ordic’s 29' Deck Boat is one has paid off big time. The Package: When you board the 29' of its biggest sellers, and it’s easy to see why. Introduced at the bow section, you’re standing on nine years ago, the model an oversized flat docking platform with

was an instant hit with the Lake Havasu-based builder’s customer base, thanks to its attractive water profile and top-of-the-line performance. The 29' is the intermediate model in Nordic’s current deckboat family, falling neatly between the 26' and 34' (each of which have won high praise from their base and our evaluators alike). In our most recent report on the 29', Mercury had recently unveiled its 400R Verados, and Nordic was eager to pair the outboards with its 29'. We’re glad they did— it was a quintessential marriage of aerodynamic expertise, and the experiment


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Nordic’s dragon logo on it. On either side of this platform, there are large storage compartments for stowing away your anchor, lines or gear, which makes things easy when you’re pulling up to the dock. Take a step down into the main bow lounge area, and you’ll find two very roomy benches, each of which contain both forward and rear-facing seat backs for stretching out against at a 30-degree angle. On the port and starboard sides of this section, there’s also a stainless-steel rail you can grab while getting in and out of the boat—or even if you’re seated during

a ride. One of the boat’s standard features is a JL Audio system with speakers in the bow section, integrated with cup holders on each side with some LED illumination. Between the bow area and the helm, there are two bulkheads containing large storage compartments. The passengerside bulkhead features a sink on the top, while the driver’s side bulkhead is roomy enough for a porta-potti, which our boat had. The driver and passenger bolsters are adjustable and sport Nordic logos on the back. They sit atop billet seat bases that appear to be polished stainless steel—they’re mighty fine-looking and exceptionally sturdy. Our tester had a

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Nordic 29 Deck Boat OB Length: 29' Beam: 102" Engines on test boat: 2 Mercury Racing 400R outboards Standard features: Full composite construction, billet ski tow, billet vents, AM/FM/Bluetooth/USB/Aux.-ready, 6-speaker stereo system, electric lift engine lid, pull-up stern light, elliptical stainless steel, built in ice chests, Livorsi controls & instrumentation, Nordic signature navigation lights, built-in sink, etc. Price as tested: $210,000 Top speed: 95.5 mph @ 7,000 rpm 30 to 50 mph: 6.14 seconds

40 to 70 mph: 13.9 seconds

40 to 60 mph: 7.69 seconds

60 to 95 mph: 21.1 seconds

Nordic Boats 770 North Lake Havasu Ave. Lake Havasu City, AZ 86403 (928) 855-7420

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Nordic 29 Deck Boat OB

Astonishingly, everything on our 29' Nordic was standard equipment. Among the highlights: wide, comfortable forward seats in the bow area (with front- and rear-facing seat backs) and a wraparound lounger in the back. This decker has a sink, a portapotti, tons of storage space and some incredibly nice stitching in the upholstery.

“Everything about the boat is solid. It handles and performs beautifully. Like any cat pointed in the right direction, it takes off and goes, fast and very stable.” —Greg Shoemaker 38

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Eliminator 28 Fundeck


liminator Boats, the unofficial age, looking every bit as gorgeous as the king of the Southern California previous model—and threatening to reach peformance builders, is cur- commensurate speeds.

rently celebrating the 10-year anniversary of its versatile 28' Fundeck. In the decade that has passed since its debut, the boat has risen from the ranks to Eliminator’s top seller. It’s the little sister to the company’s 30' Fundeck, itself a strong performer—especially to customers trading up from the 28'. When Speedboat ran this model in 2016, our test-team members couldn’t resist heaping all kinds of glowing praise upon the single 565-powered hull, which brought in a top speed of 82 mph. The 2018 version came to us in Lake Havasu equipped with another single 565 Mercury/Bravo pack-


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The Package: Our dry-land inspection team summed up the boat in four words: “What a beautiful boat.” First impressions are critical, and Eliminator’s gelcoat never fails to turn heads. Whether you’re looking at the Fundeck from a distance or up-close as it sits on its gleaming-white trailer, it’s a truly stunning show piece. It has that classic Eliminator splendor—or, in the words of test driver Alexi Sahagian, “It’s just a really classy-looking deck boat.” At the transom, the Eliminator sports an oversized swim step; the rear of the boat also features grab handles, a drive button and stereo control. Eliminator has installed

IMCO full hydraulic steering and mufflers, along with a Mercury Bravo XR drive with ITS, so the steering and gimbal are all one piece. It’s an exceptionally clean installation. The drive spins a Mercury Bravo 26" four-blade prop. One of the many attractive elements on the Fundeck is the 565 engine, which has been custom painted orange to match the gelcoat. Fender holders were placed underneath the engine bay to hold your bumpers, and we took note of the two billet vents on the side for enhanced ventilation. Walk into the cockpit, and one of the first things you’ll notice is the durable, shock absorbent SeaDek flooring. These

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Eliminator 28 Fundeck Length: 28' Beam: 96" Engine on test boat: Mercury Racing 565 / Bravo drive Standard features: SeaDek flooring, pin cleats, IMCO mufflers, billet glove box, etc. Options on test boat: Trans. ITS, full hydraulic steering, Mercury Vessel View, Livorsi GPS speedo, underwater transom lights, color-changing interior lights. Price as tested: $190,000 Top speed: 80.2 mph @ 5,200 rpm 30 to 50 mph: 6.7 seconds

40 to 70 mph: 16.9 seconds

40 to 60 mph: 9.4 seconds

60 to 80 mph: 17.9 seconds

Eliminator Boats 10795 San Sevaine Way Mira Loma, CA 91752 (800) 306-3343

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Eliminator 28 Fundeck

There’s storage galore on the Fundeck, with numerous areas in the floor, bulkheads and seats to hide things away. The dash layout is fairly simple, with two gauges and Mercury Vessel View. Passengers can board easily from from bow and stern alike. This is one of the most comfortable deck boats our test team has ever encountered.

“This makes a really good package with the 565. I’m very pleased with the overall performance. This would make a terrific entry-level family boat for having a good time on the lake.” —Greg Shoemaker 42

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Shockwave 22 Deck


hen we last encountered that really makes the most of its 22 feet. Shockwave’s 22' Deck in (The hull was recently tweaked to accom2016, it was in the form of modate outboard power and now features

a jetboat—power supplied by a Cadillac LS4 6.2 (550 hp) engine coupled to a Dominator jet. This year, company owner Bob Anderson brought us the same hull with a Mercury Racing 6.2—but with I/O power, the Bravo IV spinning a 22"-pitch prop. The drive might be different, but the fun has only improved. And if speed is your fun-measuring stick, guess what? We actually found another 2 mph. The Package: “Talk about a boat that acts like a bigger boat—this is certainly the epitome,” declares test driver Greg Shoemaker of this diminutive decker. Indeed, as we remarked two years ago, this is a model


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an even larger floor area, so we’re obviously hoping to test that one in the near future.) It’s worth mentioning that the gelcoat on our 22' Deck adds an extra dimension of coolness by sparkling in the sun—especially in the grays, and it’s this metalflake effect that demonstrates Shockwave’s savvy attention to detail. Entering the boat from the bow, you’ll step on a platform with the Shockwave logo carved into a SeaDek flooring. (This area includes both a shower wash-out compartment, as well as a stereo control, which are both ingenious and helpful touches.) Step over a little hump to enter the bow area, and you’ll be standing on plush snap-

in carpet. To your left and right are long, wide benches with the popular angled, forward-facing seats to lie back on; behind these benches are cup holders, speakers, grab handles and some pull-up cleats. Shockwave has designed some of the nicest and widest seats we’ve seen, especially in such a relatively small boat. This makes it especially attractive for some of our, ahem, larger team members. Stepping down into the main cabin, there are ski lockers to store your gear away. Both driver and passenger get oversized bolster seats with ample room in the forward bulkheads for extra storage. Even the glove boxes are larger than the usual ones we’ve encountered. Taking our position in the driver’s seat,

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Shockwave 22' Deck Length: 22' Beam: 89" Engine on test boat: Single 6.2L Mercury Standard features: 7-year limited warranty on hull, 2-year Mercury certified warranty on motor (exclude racing motors), custom tandem Extreme trailer, custom gelcoat, colors and graphics (unlimited colors), custom interiors, colors and graphics to match gelcoat, electric power hatch, etc. Top speed: 70.0 mph @ 5,000 rpm 30 to 50 mph: 6.9 seconds 40 to 60 mph: 10.64 seconds Shockwave Custom Boats 1800 Capital Street Corona, CA 92880 (951) 898-9360

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Shockwave 22 Deck

From the sparkly gelcoat to the oversized seats and benches, the Shockwave 22 Deck is both beautiful and comfortable. The boat features a full fiberglass interliner, premium 40-oz. marine-grade carpet and plenty of other amenities. We loved the SeaDek area in the bow (opposite page, middle) with the Shockwave logo carved into it.

“Talk about a boat that acts like a bigger boat, this is certainly the epitome. This little 22 handled everything that Lake Havasu could throw at it.” —Greg Shoemaker 46

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Caliber 1


t is interesting to note that of the four models reviewed in this issue, all but one—the Caliber 1—have been previously reviewed in these

pages over the past couple of years. Caliber 1 has consistently brought us something different to test each time we hold our Performance Evaluations, and it’s great fun to experience the variety of their lineup. Currently, the Lake Havasu City, AZ-based builder is offering five different models, ranging from the 210 Magnum open boat up to the 280 Thunder Offshore— all vee-bottoms except for the 265 Silver Bullet deckboat (which we reviewed in our September 2016 issue). The 230 Velocity is


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230 Velocity

a spacious open-bow walkthrough boat available in both I/O and jet configurations; according to Caliber 1, it’s one of their best-selling models. The Package: Our 230 Velocity arrived at Lake Havasu sitting atop a beautiful grey Extreme tandem-axle trailer with block custom wheels, a pretty classy setup. The Extreme trailer is part of the boat’s standard features, although this one enjoyed Caliber 1’s optional “trailer convenience package” ($2,000), which includes race line wheels, trailer guide bars, breakaway tongue, etc. The boat itself boasts beautiful, sleek lines and a very spacious cockpit. Our gorgeous green test boat was also the recipient of an optional “appearance

package” ($5,000), which includes unlimited gelcoat, poker-run upholstery, billet seat bases and fiberglass seat backs (with matching gelcoat). It’s a very attractive boat. The exterior earned high praise for its gelcoat, mold work, rubrail, swim platform, etc.; we liked the stainless-steel molding on the side of the boat that’s accompanied by some Eddie Marine pop-up cleats and bezels that are all powdercoated grey. “The first thing I noticed about the Caliber 1 is the huge cockpit area behind the driver and passenger seat,” says dryland inspector Alexi Sahagian. “This boat also has a huge bow section for such a

[continues on page 82]

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Caliber 1 230 Velocity Length: 22' Beam: 7'8" Engine on test boat: Mercury Racing 6.2L / Bravo 1 Drive Standard features: Electric hatch ram, stereo, dual batteries, stainless prop, thru-hull exhaust, Extreme trailer, etc. Optional equipment: Custom gelcoat, poker run upholstery, billet seat bases, custom stereo, Livorsi gauges, etc. Price as tested: $68,400 Top speed: 64.0 @ 5,000 rpm 30 to 50 mph: 6.97 seconds 40 to 60 mph: 12.27 seconds Caliber 1 Custom Boats 905 Port Dr. Lake Havasu City, AZ 86404 (888) 780-8282

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Caliber 1 230 Velocity

The Caliber 1 230 Velocity may be small, but it’s got some major amentities on board— everything from upgraded Livorsi gauges, custom steering wheel, beefed-up stereo package, unlimited gelcoat options, pokerrun upholstery, billet hardware and even an enhanced Extreme trailer with race line wheels and trailer guide bars.

“What a fun little boat! Maneuverability at low speeds is way above average. The motor is pretty quiet and mellow, and does everything the driver tells it to without any kind of a fuss.” —Alexi Sahagian 50

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story and photos by

Brett Bayne

Iconic Marine Group Speedboat tours the shop where Fountain, Baja and Donzi boats are born.

Above: Fountain Powerboats founder Reggie Fountain with Joel Kinney, who designed the canopied 40' Fountain (below). The company is attempting to reclaim its world kilo speed record in this boat. Above right: the Iconic Marine Group factory.


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Two new models for Iconic: the Baja Outlaw 36 (below) and Fountain 39 NX (right).

upp Above: This 22' Donzi Classic was featured at the 2018 Miami International Boat Show.


ountain. Donzi. Baja. Three iconic brands with legendary pasts, each one dominant in their own right. Today they

are part of the fittingly named Iconic Marine Group, headquartered at the Fountain Boats factory in Washington, NC. Led by Fred Ross, the company began to relaunch and restructure their brands in 2016, with Joe Curran as chief operating officer of IMG. They spent their first year concentrating on getting the plant back in order, tooling and hiring new staff across all departments. In 2017, Fountain Powerboats founder Reggie Fountain was brought back on the team last year to work on a variety of special projects, including at attempt to reclaim his world kilo record. Speedboat recently got an opportunity to tour the factory and see boats of all three performance brands being assembled. One of the first boats we saw was Fountain’s new 32' Thunder Cat, fresh from its appearance at the 2018 Miami International Boat Show Feb. 15-19. After acquiring the original molds designed by Smart Marine, Fountain has made a few tweaks to the mold here at the factory. The 32' Thunder Cat is powered by a pair of 400R Mercury Racing outboards. It’s the first time in the company’s history that Fountain, famous for its legendary Cat Killer vee-hull raceboat, has offered a high-performance catamaran to its customers. It is the fastest recreational boat in the IMG line, capable of speeds up to 110 mph. On our tour, we got a peek into two oversized buildings in the factory and marveled at areas devoted to lamination, metal, detail, mating, rigging, woodshop, upholstery, shipping, paint, final assembly, detail and final prep. All upholstery is made in

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Above: Fountain’s new 32' Thunder Cat.

house for all of the boats; Iconic employs nearly 200 to build models in all three lines. “We owe an homage to all the Iconic brands we carry,” says Iconic Marine Group Director of Marketing Tara Galligan. “They all have their own distinctive DNA and followings. We like to stay to true to that while combining the latest technology and advancements in boat manufacturing to produce the fastest, safest, smoothest, best handling boats on the water.” Making our way through the factory, we saw boats being assembled in various stages of construction. Two that were either completed or close to completion were a Baja Outlaw 36 (a new model for IMG) and the Donzi 22 Classic that appeared at the 2018 Miami International Boat Show (see Page 24). Currently, Iconic is producing four Fountain models (38CC, 34CC, 39 NX and the 32 Cat), three Baja Outlaw models, and Donzi Classics 16, 18 and 22, with a new Donzi 39 GT on the way. The boats have a 6- to 8-week build time; Iconic plans to introduce a new model per quarter, having invested heavily in design and R&D. Following final assembly, every boat produced at IMG is run and tested on the Pamlico River, adjacent to the factory. Systems are calibrated and any issues are attended to before the boat is sent to the dealer. “Our dealers have had successful boat show seasons this year,” Galligan says. “There has been a positive response to the reemergence of the brands into the market. IMG is excited about continuing to expand the model offerings quarterly as these Iconic brands continue to make their mark on the boating industry.” S P E E D B O A T | April 2018


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Fountain Factory Tour

A whiteboard tracking various events and projects hangs in the office of Iconic Marine Group Director of Marketing Tara Galligan.

Top and Above: Various boat parts under construction; wiring components are seen being lined in the top hull.

Above: Foam for seats awaits construction in Iconic’s upholstery area. Above right: A hull liner drying. Below right: A hull liner is being prepared for a Baja.


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Jason Cenora gives his Nordic 28' Heat a well-deserved makeover.

Nordic story by

Jason Cenora

action photo by

Daren Van Ryte Above: The Nordic participates in last year’s SCOPE Poker Run.


estoring boats is in my DNA. My company, Precision One of the most dramatic changes we made was installing Detailing OC of Placentia, CA, is a full performance a new “one off” set of controls built by Mike Livorsi of Livorsi

and fabrication shop. We specialize in paint restoration and correction. We’re the folks you bring your boat or car to if you actually want it to look the best it possibly can. We can remove all of the paint defects. A friend of mine purchased this 2000 28’ Nordic Heat from Orville Sommerstedt, and I actually had the pleasure of codesigning the boat. Eventually, my friend decided to sell the Nordic, so I bought it. I don’t own a single car—I have 10 cars, two boats and a golf cart. I don’t have anything that’s stock. After I bought the Nordic, I started upgrading it almost immediately. The entire project took about a year and a half.


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Marine. It literally changed everything about how the boat performed. The boat previously had an old Gaffrig model in there; it was a ratchety old shifter and it would clunk every time we would change gears. I don’t know why. But the new Livorsi throttles were like a night-and-day difference. I participate in the Catalina Ski Run, and when I was pulling my skier, it made my throttle increments so much better. When you’re pulling a skier, it’s all about making changes without him even knowing. In the pages that follow, I explain everything we did to the Nordic. Later in the year, we’re going to be put on some Livorsi Trim Tabs and a ProCharger.

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Top right: Bob Jeanblanc and the team from Marine Industries West in Anaheim, CA, pulls my engine so that we can rebuild the outdrive and I can redo the interior. Right: The original MerCruiser 502, still in its original form after 400 hours of use. It still runs like a charm. It’s stock for now, but a Procharger Supercharger is in the works this year.

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Above: The carpet had seen better days. Originally, I had no plans to remove it, but after I started to add some of the new parts, it just wouldn’t fly anymore. We ended up using six Optima Batteries (four dedicated to the audio and lighting systems). S P E E D B O A T | April 2018


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Nifty Nordic

For 21 years, I have been friends with the owners at Advance Car Creations in Garden Grove, CA. Normally, they don’t let non-staff members into their shop, but they kindly allowed me the opportunity to work alongside their experts. The most important part of a subwoofer box (avove) is its enclosure. Since we were going to install Kicker Solobaric 12” subs,, keeping the seat from crumbling was important, and getting a deep bass sound was critical as well. We had Marine Industries West rebuild the structure of the seat, as over the years water had rotted it. They used new marine-grade pine. Being a guy who knows fiberglassing, I went to town inside the box. I lined the shell with 3/4” MDF Wood and then about 3/8” thick of fiberglass matting and shred to make the inside of the box unable to flex. I then lined the inside of the box with Hushmat Sound deadening foam to isolate the “backslap” of the subwoofer. All in all, there is about 60 hours into the making of the sub boxes. A HiFonics 35th Anniversary 2,500-watt Class D Amplifier was the recommended unit.

My company, Precision Detailing OC of Placentia, CA, doesn’t just do detailing. We also have an full performance and fabrication shop. Wiring the boat proved to be a delicate and daunting task. Every connection had to be soldered, and routed so that nothing would be in the way. The underneath of the seat allowed me just enough space to mount some of the hundreds of connections. The LED lighting was the worst of it: Every single daisy-chained LED light in the speaker grille had four leads of 22-gauge wire that needed to be connected. We ran six speakers and two subwoofers (meaning eight lights times four wires) and then disconnects so that the seat /audio centerpoint could be built outside of the boat and removed if needed. Every connection point was soldered to a marinegrade connector. We lit the pockets (eight), and some separate ambient floor lighting, all on dedicated switches so that each lighting bank could be lit independently. The interior had 20+ lights added. The Kicker speakers light up and rolls colors in sequence. Every system was tested prior to installation to ensure proper installation. In total, about 400’ of wire was installed. Six 8” Lag bolts were installed into the stringers to ensure the weight of the bench was secured.


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After 18 years of use, the wooden deck had taken a beating. The resin had lifted and all the deck screws into the stringers bored out the holes and were loose. We sanded down about a 1/4” of the deck until perfectly smooth and then installed new screws into the deck through to the stringers. The floor was very secure. Since we were going with a hard surface floor, we didn’t want the water to get places it didn’t belong. Putting a waterproof deck in posed the issue of water not being absorbed into the carpet. I came up with the idea of securing aluminum angle sticks the length of the cockpit prior to the installation of the new surface. This gave us a protective barrier not to have water go in places it shouldn’t. This would also help secure our panels instead of the flimsy plastic retainers.

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3/12/18 12:27 PM

Nifty Nordic The Team at LineX of Orange County worked closely with me on a custom color material from PPG. Getting that “perfect purple” wasn’t easy. We opted to do the transom as well to get rid of the dated splatter effect that Nordic did. To date, my boat has been the biggest object in their booth, let alone the first boat. Getting in all the angles and crevasses was no easy task, but they pulled it off with perfection. After the LineX was finished being sprayed, Bob at Marine Industries West reinstalled the engine. Now it was our job to tuck all the wires and install the six Optima batteries and make it all look seamless.

Above: The simple white gauges would just not do. However, since I did like the gauges, Marine Industries West makes billet trim rings. Installing these is not something I’m willing to remember, as it was a nightmare to do. Since most of our trips will be in the ocean, we opted for a 9” Simrad Navigation unit, which doubles as our depth finder. Livorsi Marine built our “one off” throttle.

Above: Considering this boat had one interior light, we are ready for the Fourth of July or any reason to be out on the boat at night!

Right: Here’s a shot of the original interior. Our company, Precision Detailing OC, did a in-depth restoration of the interior, and it looks brand new!


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Nifty Nordic

Above: The Nordic is looking as good as new after the full restoration by Precision Detailing OC and our partners did. In this shot, the boat is sitting at the dock of the Yard House Restaurant in Long Beach, CA, as we grab some food and drinks.

Above: The completed engine has been installed!

Above: Here’s my custom throttle, built by Mike Livorsi. He has really been a big help and supporter!


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Nordic 29 Deck Boat OB [continued from page 36] billet glove compartment on the passenger side, along with a stainless steel handle, two cup holders and a JL Audio stereo control. The 29' is equipped with a Livorsi tachometer and speedo, along with a Mercury SmartCraft console located dead center in the dash. The driver also has a billet panel with white Carling switches, all neatly labeled for the engine bilge and accessories. Off to the right side is the Livorsi digital trim tab gauge, key switches for the outboards, and another stereo control for the JL audio system. The driver uses polished Mercury DTS wireless shifts and throttle controls, along with a breaker panel off to the right side, down below the kill-switch area. Both driver and passenger have cupholders and the JL audio speakers for their convenience. An Isotta Carlotta steering wheel with a tilt Mercury steering column is another exquisite touch. In the rear of the boat, there’s a plush wraparound couch with angled backrests for extra comfort; there are knockout areas on both sides with more speakers and cupholders. The rear area is quite spacious, since this is the OB version of the 29' (there’s also an IO version), and there’s more extra storage space underneath the rear bench. The two Mercury 400 Verado fourstroke outboards feature a 1.75 gear ratio, and they spin 26"-pitch four-blade propellers. Our engines were painted white with blue accents to match the boat. Overall, the boat is clean, very wide, and it looks incredibly useful. From the side, it resembles a high-performance cat. This boat is attractive from every conceivable angle. Performance: The Nordic has a set of tabs that you’ll need to get the boat on plane without too much bowrise; we got it on plane in about 15-20 seconds. At low speeds, the 29’ is a genuine pleasure to drive. It turns well and doesn’t have any negative characteristics. Tracking and low-speed maneuverability is well above average. You’ll need to know how to use the tabs in order to operate the boat at peak drivability. Finding the sweet trim spot will allow you to take off, and the

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ride will feel like a typical catamaran experience, with the nose carrying really well. One thing we noticed about the Nordic is that when you’re at the dock, when moving from bow to stern, you’re basically walking downhill. It’ll help to keep that in mind when you’re driving the boat—you may think you’ve trimmed it out because the nose is up, but it’s actually running pretty flat. So be aware that you may have a “false sense of trim.” Test driver Greg Shoemaker sums up his feelings about the 29' this way: “The overall construction of this boat and workmanship is a 10 out of 10,” he says.

“Everything about the boat is solid—no rattles and no squeaks, and it handles and performs beautifully. This is the first time I’ve driven a twin-outboard deckboat, and it’s very responsive. Like any cat pointed in the right direction, it just takes off and goes, fast and very stable. It runs very solid across the water.” Our top speed was 95.5 mph. The Bottom Line: Nordic’s 29 Deck Boat OB is a terrific family boat with plenty of room, and it’s amazingly quiet. We’d like to see a slightly higher windshield to cut the amount of wind on our face, because this family boat is also a rocketship.

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Eliminator 28 Fundeck [continued from page 43] pads provide exceptional traction for any boat; the padding for your feet is a luxurious touch. The interior is laid out very intelligently: simply enter via the rear swim platform, go down two small steps and you’re in the main cabin area. There’s a cool wrap-around seat in the rear section, as well as two large seats for the driver and passenger. Between the driver and pas-


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senger consoles, there’s more than ample storage built into the floor. The bow section is huge, with two forward-facing couches port and starboard that offer plenty of room for friends and family members. What’s particularly cool about the Fundeck is that when you look at it from the side, it doesn’t necessarily scream out “deck boat!” It simply resembles a classic

high-performance boat, but it has all of the amenities of a deck boat. We liked the pull-up cleats, billet vents, fiberglass seat bases, etc. The driver’s helm features a simple layout: Mercury’s DTS wireless throttle/ shift control, Mercury SmartCraft monitor and two Livorsi gauges (tach and speedo). Custom cutouts are positioned on the side panels with cup holders and several speakers; these have been painted to match the gelcoat. There are ample grab handles, and storage areas throughout the boat, including large mini-closet rooms with doors built into the bulkheads on both sides. Performance: After firing up the 565, it was time to take the Fundeck for our usual thrill rides. At low speeds (30-45 mph), the boat turns confidently, leaning into the turns. Taking her up to 50, we loved the way the Eliminator tracks—as long as you have the trim set to the low position when you’re doing the slaloms. It’s definitely trim-sensitive for that kind of performance. Overall, acceleration is outstanding in this boat. When you first throttle it, the Fundeck gets on plane quickly and efficiently, then really picks up and takes off. We hit some pretty good-sized little wakes, and nothing seemed to bother this hull. When you’re driving in the 40-50 mph range, the boat requires neutral trim—that seems to make her lay down nicely and take off. “As you start to look for every little inch of speed at the top end, neutral trim helped the speed pick up,” says test driver Alexi Sahagian. Test driver Greg Shoemaker put his two cents: “I’m always wanting a little bit more power, but this makes a really good package with a 565. I’m very pleased with the overall performance. This would make a terrific entry-level family boat for having a good time on the lake.” Our top speed was 80.2 mph, which is exceedingly close to our speed in the identical hull two years ago. The Bottom Line: This would be a great model for both a first-time boat buyer and a veteran boater. “The quality of the boat is a 10,” Sahagian says. “It’s very secure, very comfortable, and I love the layout.”

3/12/18 2:17 PM

Brett’s Family

Therapy Hondo Resto


ADBA Season Opener

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Family Paul Ferris of Rezurxn Speed & Marine tells how he gave his Hondo a creative makeover.

Therapy “I “I ““H H a h ha a outsi ou o uttssi iing in ng iin n “ d dow do down ow wn n dogs d do og gss ffew fe ew h tthou tho th ho ou u to a c to

story by

Brett Bayne

photography by


Ray Lee

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igh performance has been in Then, about four years ago, the hobby Paul Ferris’s blood since he was became a business: At his Rezurxn Speed about 16 years old—hopping up & Marine of Hesperia, CA, Ferris’s passion

hot rods, or a buddy’s boat, or his own boat. “It was just another engine to work on,” he grins. “From there, it was never going to be fast enough—it always had to be bigger, better, faster.” His hobby was deeply integrated in the “hot boat scene,” where the correlation between custom paint and beefed-up engines were the stuff of imagination.

is now his dream job, bringing new life to hot rods and fast boats. The first boat he took serious interest was a 1994 Placecraft, which he purchased 15 years ago, followed by the 1978 19’ Hondo pictured above (both of which he still owns). The Hondo was previously owned by a man who’d had a fire in the garage where the boat had been stored. “When the fire department showed

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“I said, “I sa aiid d,, ‘What ‘Wh What at do do you yo y ou mean?’ me m ea an n??’’ “He ““H He said, ssa aiid a id, ‘There ‘There ‘T herre he e are arre e cars car ars parked pa p ark rke ed d a h half ha allff a m mile iille in in b both oth d ot di directions irre ect ctiio on nss outside o ou uttssiid ut de on on tthe he h em main aiin st a sstreet, ttre reet, reet re et, comet com com co m-n ng g in iinto nto to y your ou o ur place!’ pllac p ace! e!’ “ I said, said sa id,, ‘Oh id ‘O Oh yeah! yeah ye a ! Come Come Co me on on down d dow do ow wn n and and nd have hav ave so ave ssome ome me ffree ree re e h hot ho ot dogs d dog do og gss w with ith us it ith u us!’ s!’ !’ We’ve We’ e’ve ve gone gon one from fro fr om ma ffew fe ew hu h hundred un nd dre red hot ho h o ott dogs do d og gss tto o ov over o ve err a tthousand, th ho ou ussa and nd, d, as as we we treat trea tre tr ea att everybody ev e ve erry yb bo od dy d y to a ccheap to heap he ap llunch.” unch un nch h.” .”

up to put out the fire, the halon that they used to put the fire out attacked all the chrome, and it was disastrous on the boat,” Ferris says. He bought it and began the task of bringing it back to its former glory. “It had to go to somebody who could clean it up, and I’ve never looked back,” he says. Ferris built the boat’s current 572 engine at his shop, with machine work by Rick Arringdale Machine Shop & Auto Repair (Hesperia, CA). “He does all of

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our machine work. He’s been in business for 40 years and he does phenomenal work,” Ferris says. The boat was dynoed at around 800 hp by Bob Vrbancic Racing (Ontario, CA). The dyno sheets show an excellent fuel curve, torque curve (6,000 rpm) and oil pressure, according to Ferris. All of the chrome was pulled, repaired, polished and replaced. An all-interior was installed, with custom seats fabricated by Rudy Rojas of Rudy’s Custom Interiors (Hesperia, CA). The jet pump

was pulled and sent to Tim Place and Place Diverter to be rebuilt, repainted and powdercoated. The restoration was completed a couple of years ago, and the 40-year-old rig looks like it’s brand-new. Ferris describes Rezurxn Speed & Marine as “a one stop shop, where we do custom engines, custom paint, custom audio and custom airbrushing. In the pages that follow, Ferris shows us how the boat was restored, step by step. S P E E D B O A T | April 2018


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Family Therapy

Left and below: I was not the original painter of this boat. I could not find the name of the painter. So what we did was to update the original paint job, which had been damaged during the fire. We left the colors the same. In these photos, we’re updating the whites to a pearl white paint, courtesy of the House of Kolor (San Diego, CA).

Below: Soon after, we have completed the blending and updating all of the colors.

Below: Inside the shop at Rezurxn Speed Marine (Hesperia, CA). Locally owned and operated, we aim to meet all of your racing engine and performance tuning needs. Here you can see various projects that we were working on at the time the photo was taken. Above: We added the name Family Therapy to the transom. It came out of the wake of my wife losing her entire family over a 2-year period. We healed and came back together as a family at the river. Brad King striped the boat and came up with the design for the logo. 70

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Left: This is the BDS intake scoop, which we later painted. Here you can see the base before the clear coat went on.

Above: AutoTec Pistons actually custom laser-etch our company name into their pistons and builds we order.

Left: The completed 572 engine, which we built at our shop. Rick Arringdale Machine Shop & Auto Repair of Hesperia does all of our machine work. He’s been in business for 40 years and he does phenomenal work. Above: The repainted boat is being prepped for re-assembly.

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Family Therapy

Above left: The interior is about to be cleaned out for new seating, carpet, pulling of the fuel tanks for repolishing, etc. Inset: The pump was pulled and sent to Tim Place and Place Diverter to be rebuilt, repainted and powdercoated. Above right: The Hondo is fitted for its new custom seats fabricated by Rudy Rojas of Rudy’s Custom Interiors (Hesperia, CA).

Above left: The fuel tanks have been completely polished, cleaned up and ready to be re-installed. Above right: AN Fittings from Redhorse Performance were used to rig our motor; they’re used for fuel lines and water lines. 72

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Above: The dyno tests at Bob Vrbancic Racing (Ontario, CA) show an excellent fuel curve, torque curve (6,000 rpm) and oil pressure. Expected horsepower was right around 800 hp.

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Right: The gauge panel is fitted for placement.

Below: The rear transom after the pump has been removed for rebuilding.

Above: Bob Vrbancic Racing at his shop in Ontario performs the engine dyno test. Below left: The rebuilt pump is now installed, with Jason from the Drew Carriage Paint Shop assisting.

Above: The boat is now fully reassembled—engine, seats, gauges, pump, etc. Eddie Marine supplied the steering wheel, bezels and miscellaneous hardware. Left: Cydney poses on the transom as the Hondo hits the water for Speedboat Magazine’s swimsuit issue photo shoot conducted at Lake Elsinore last year.

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Story and photos by Mark



Showdown The Arizona Drag Boat Association kicks off its 2018 season at Parker’s BlueWater Resort & Casino in grandiose style—and with more than a few mechanical challenges.

Modified Eliminator Finalists Mike Munoz (near lane) and Lance Gilbert went deck-to-deck to the finish line, with Gilbert taking the win.


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Below: Joe Irick’s Final Outlaw Pro Mod machine (driven by son Chris) made the trip to Parker from Lake Havasu to put on some exhibition passes for the crowd. Here, Chris laid down a very respectable 5.307 elapsed time at over 167 mph on a 5.30 index for the class. Nice job, Irick family!


unny, warm weather, with highs in the low 80s, contrib- class, where driver Danny Montoya qualified #3 and took out uted to an excellent race weekend in Parker, AZ, as the everyone in his way to the class win.

Arizona Drag Boat Association launched its 2018 season at the BlueWater Resort & Casino this spring. Winds picked up Saturday night and ran into Sunday morning, but other than that, it was a picture-perfect weekend. The Top Eliminator class had the most boats in it, with 14 competitors. Number-two qualifier Vince Nelson went up against Bob Prigmore, who was the #6 qualifier. Results in the semifinal round went to Prigmore’s Abracadabra jet boat, and he would eventually take the win in the finals over Dean Maddox. Meanwhile, one of the most exciting races was Stock Eliminator

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Unfortunately, the race was marred by a plethora of mechanical issues. Jeff Foland’s 580-c.i. Chrysler blew a head gasket and never got to qualify. In her first full season of racing, Tara Scribner finished only to find oil all over the floor and rods hanging out. Tom Bandy found rods hanging out of his boat as well, and Steve Boyce’s machine kicked out the rods on his first pass Friday during test and tune. Fred Hart not only didn’t make it to Saturday qualifying, but he broke the crank in his flatty. Finally, Marty Strech had a nitrous backfire on Saturday and he never made it back. Here’s hoping for a less problematic race as the season unfolds! S P E E D B O A T | April 2018


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Southwest Showdown

Pro Eliminator: The final had #2 qualifier Jeff Swigert (near lane) up against #9 qualifier Brian Schmidl. Swigert took the win and the points lead going into the next race.

Quick Eliminator: Larry Flores roared to the top spot in the class with consistent 6.00 elapsed times and never looked back. With an eight-boat field, he took the win over Dave Lipinski in the final QE race on Sunday afternoon.

Quick Eliminator: #2 qualifier Dave Lipinski (right) earned the bid to the finals against Larry Flores with a legal single in the first round and a win over Vince Nelson in the second round. Lipinski would runner-up to Flores in the finals.


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“WHAT THE HECK DID I JUST HEAR?” We saw lots of carnage during this first Drag Boat Racing weekend of 2018! Tom Bandy (left) had some motor issues on Saturday and looked down here to see a couple rods hanging out... Left: Jeff Foland’s self-built 580-c.i. Chrysler in his beautiful gullwing blew a head gasket on Friday and never even got to qualify.

Above: Tara Scribner, in her first full season of boat racing, got to the finish line and stopped down in the shutdown area on Saturday, only to find oil all over the floor and rods hanging out. Above: Steve Boyce had an awful weekend also, never even making it to qualifying day. Boyce’s machine kicked out the rods on his first pass friday during test and tune. Right: Fred Hart not only didn’t make it to Saturday qualifying, but he broke the crank in his flatty. His weekend was also over before it even started.

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Southwest Showdown

Stock Eliminator: Danny Montoya (above) qualified #3 and took out everyone in his way to the class win. For only the second time racing, newcomer Charles Calva (right) qualified in the #4 position. He not only went to the finals for the first time, he took out the #1 qualifier doing so. Calva would eventually bow out to Montoya in the finals.

Stock Eliminator: Another newcomer coming from the asphalt to the water, Scott Arriaga (left), landed his Stock Eliminator jet in the #6 qualifying postition going into eliminations on Sunday. Arriaga, who also drives a 300-mph jet-powered dragster, went one round before retiring his boat to the trailer for the weekend. 78

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Super Eliminator: Racers in Round 2 paired up Justin Perkins (near lane) against Mike Munoz. In the end, it was Perkins’ flatty that took the win over Munoz’s jet. Perkins would win the class by end of the weekend.

Top Eliminator: #2 qualifier Vince Nelson (far lane) went up against Bob Prigmore in the near lane, who was the #6 qualifier. Prigmore would eventually take the win in the finals over Dean Maddox.

Top Eliminator: #4 qualifier Dean Maddox had to take out the #1 qualifier to advance to the finals against Prigmore. With technical problems at the start of the final TE race, the two racers had to come back for a re-run. Maddox would runner up to Prigmore.

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Southwest Showdown River Racer: Scott Dolezal (left), the 2017 River Racer champion, continued his winning ways in the class. He struggled in qualifying, only mustering up a seventh-best effort, but went on to win the class.

River Racer: Kevin Foote and Johnny Windle fought it out in Round 2, with Kevin in the outboard taking the win over Johnny in the jet. Kevin’s outboard went to the finals against Scott Dolezal’s jet and finished in the runner-up spot.


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Shockwave 22 Deck [continued from page 47] we encountered a helm with Teleflex wheel, seven gauges and Mercury shifters. Because of the smaller helm area, some of the gauges are obscured by the wheel, and the plastic throttles were our least-favorite part of the whole boat— they’re a bit stiff and hard to work in the absence of hydraulic steering. That quibble aside, our dry-land inspectors gave perfect 10s to virtually every aspect of the construction and workmanship of the 22', including the exterior, engine compartment, deck hardware, cabin and interior. Anything that didn’t get a 10 was awarded a 9. Performance: This 22 handled everything that Havasu could throw at it. Lowspeed tracking, mid-speed tracking, highspeed tracking—it all acted like we were driving a bigger boat. It’s got phenomenal throttle response and excellent trim sensitivity. Getting it on plane doesn’t require a lot of fuss. It accelerates and picks up very quickly, with excellent visibility. In 5 seconds, we got to 23 mph; by 20 seconds, we were at 64 mph. Our top speed of 70 mph was achieved at 5,000 rpm. An armrest right behind the shifter would give the driver a bit more comfort. But the boat is plenty comfortable otherwise. Sometimes it’s the little details you notice first. In a 70-mph deck boat, we’ve lost count of the number of times the snap-in carpet acts like it’s going to fly out of the boat. But even at wideopen throttle, the carpet stayed where it was supposed to be. We like it when that happens.

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Caliber 1 230 Velocity [continued from page 51] smaller boat. It’s very roomy!” The rear section of the boat features a typical offshorestyle bench that’s designed for four but is wide enough to accommodate five. The driver and passenger get bolsters with billet bases; these seats feature the same gorgeous diamond-shaped stitching as the rear bench seats and are extremely comfortable. The 230 offers storage on both port and starboard sides of the engine compartment in carpet-finished areas near the bilge area. Power comes from a 6.2 MerCruiser with Bravo One outdrive spinning a 22"pitch four-blade stainless steel propeller. The rigging is pretty standard for our stock MerCruiser small-block package, which you don’t often see in some of the newer boats; we knew the powerplant would probably top out at around 60 mph. The driver has been given an array of upgrades as part of the “premium Caliber package” ($2,000) including Livorsi gauges (including GPS), billet shifter, billet glove box and a high-quality steering wheel from the Italian company Isotta Carlotta. The high-performance gauges match the interior with a similar color motif. Meanwhile, the throttle-shifter upgrade is head and shoulders above the stock plastic one from Mercury. Another optional package is the “Stage 2 stereo package” ($3,500), which includes two Rockford Fosgate 12” subwoofers, six mids, Bluetooth head unit with transom remote and Odyssey batteries. Moving back to the transom, there’s a good-sized nonstick swim step that puts the “fun” in functional. And there’s a large area on top of the engine hatch with that thematic diamond-stitched upholstery that’s ideal for laying out in the sun. The Caliber 1 is also equipped with some LED accent lighting and quite a bit of additional storage areas, such as a ski locker built into the floor of the midcabin. Simply lift it up and put your skis in. Caliber 1 also offers a bimini-top option; the clip-on hardware is mounted on right on the boat. The bow area of the 230 features benches port and starboard, with the now-typical forward-facing seat backs for those who want to stretch out. Caliber 1 has connected those seats at the very front of the bow by transforming it into a wraparound seating for a lit-


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tle bit of extra seating room. Ten people could fit on this boat quite comfortably. Performance: “What a fun little boat!” says test driver Alexi Sahagian. “When you turn it at idle speeds, it literally goes in a circle—it doesn’t even go outside of its own radius, pivoting in its own little circle.” The maneuverability at low speeds is way above average. The motor is pretty quiet and mellow, and does everything the driver tells it to without any kind of a fuss. We’d prefer it if the boat had hydraulic steering (it’s got the standard Mercury Teleflex cable system), but that’s a minor gripe. Maneuverability through all of the speed ranges was spot on.

Turning around to pick up a skier is a 10+ on this boat. It zips right up on plane and gets to full speed in just under 20 seconds. We found it to be a very responsive and peppy performer. We drove the 230 in some pretty good rollers, and it actually handled better than we expected it to, given that it didn’t have hydraulic steering. We managed to get 64 mph out of the boat, which was about what the builder was looking for. The Bottom Line: The Caliber 1 would make a perfect boat for an entry-level user, and it’s one of the better-priced ones we’ve seen.

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Speedboat April 2018  
Speedboat April 2018