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S PEEDBO AT M A G A ZINE

INSIDE: AMAZING TEAM APACHE RESTORATION

THE RED

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BARRON

WEST COAST’S AWESOME NEW 29-FOOT DECKER

All the BEST BLING from the WORLD’S BIGGEST BOAT SHOW A PR I L 2 019

AP RI L 2019

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TABLE OF APRIL 2019

COLUMNS 8 RAY LEE

FEATURES 10 MIAMI BOAT SHOW

It’s the most expansive and comprehensive exhibit of its kind in the world. Here are the best of the high-performance products.

36 BARRON 290-S

Jerry Barron, formerly of Hallett Boats, launches his new company with a safe and stable deckboat.

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42 ELIMINATOR 28 FUNDECK

Our latest encounter with the builder’s spacious deckboat confirms why it continues to be their best seller.

48 MIAMI BOAT SHOW POKER RUN

Stu Jones takes his Florida Powerboat Club to Key Largo for another memorable journey to paradise..

56 RETURN OF THE APACHE

A World Champion thoroughbred revived: Team Apache undergoes a major restoration, and looks better than ever.

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Cover photo by Todd Taylor Table of Contents photo by Jerry Wyszatycki, Courtesty Florida Powerboat Club

Speedboat.com Published by DCO Enterprises, LLC Publishers

Ray Lee

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Editor Senior Tech Editors

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Tech Editors

National Sales Director Art Director Helicopter Services Photographers

Greg Shoemaker Jim Wilkes Valerie Collins Ray Lee

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BRETT’S COVE 68 SPARE CHANGE

Patrick Kelley found his 1972 18' Sanger on the hot boat boards—then found a new engine for it online as well..

72 HEAVENLY HOWARD

Troy Mcintosh of Lake Elsinore, CA, shows off his 1982 18' Howard T-Deck Runner Bottom.

76 ADBA SHOWDOWN

The Arizona Drag Boat Association kicks off its season on the Colorado River in Parker.

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

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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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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. 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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RAY LEE

The Miami International Boat Show. It’s held every year in mid-February and it is by far, the largest, most impressive display of boats, vessels, watercrafts and their accessories that we encounter, in one place. It is truly an “international” event, as people

from all corners of the world congregate around Miami’s storied Marine Stadium. The show runs for four days and there is so much to see and document that we are hustling the entire time—just to make sure we can report on all of the latest that the high performance world has to offer. The Cigarette Racing booth, as in years past, was the undeniable crown jewel of the show. It’s obvious that no expense is spared when building their display and it’s easy to forget that you’re on actual dock space, when visiting it. They debuted their latest (and largest) all-black, all-amazing 59' Center Console–the behemoth known as Tirranna with six Mercury Racing 400R outboard engines and contrasting red interior. Then there was the 41' black and red striped Center Console with quad 400R’s and matching Mercedes-AMG GT 63S sports car–marking the 12th year

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MIAMI’s Masterpieces

of collaboration between Cigarette and Mercedes-AMG. There were three more Center Consoles in their booth, as well as a patriotic red, white and blue-themed 38' Top Gun, commemorating their 50th year in building performance vee-bottoms. The company was presented the 2019 “Best In-Water Display” award by the Show’s committee and it was well deserved. Marine Technology Inc.—more commonly known as MTI—also displayed impressively well as the Wentzville, MO builder brought an awesome lineup of performance-based hardware. Taking their regular spot at the end of Pier 3, their booth was hard to miss as their candy-red canopy served as a beacon to draw in the masses. Most noticeably was their MTI-V 57 XSF Center Console with quad Mercury Racing 400Rs–complete with a custom fishing tower with a second station, live

wells and full luxury cabin. But the beautiful catamarans that the company is so well known for were also well represented. A fire-breathing red and white 48' cat with twin Mercury Racing 1550/1350s and the immensely popular 340X with a pair of the 400Rs. The company also announced their upcoming customers Fun Run in Chicago, June 27-30, 2019—a joint venture with Westrec Marinas that promises to be a unique and exciting experience. The team at Performance Boat Center certainly has been busy during the offseason. They displayed just how busy by introducing their amazing new Wright Performance 420 with a pair of Mercury Racing 400Rs. This 40+ foot boat was completed and arrived in Miami just prior to the opening of the Show but still managed to achieve a remarkable 116 mph along the way, with minimal testing and tuning. It was available for test rides all weekend to potential buyers, so it was a rare sight to see it empty around the docks. It has since found a new home. PBC was also promoting their partners MTI, Sunsation and Cigarette all around various docks–as well as their new facility in Hollywood, FL. Mystic Powerboats showed off their latest M3800 and M4200 Center Consoles, along with the third offering of their newest model–the C3800 catamaran with twin Merc 400Rs. We had the opportunity to run both of these boats and we saw great improvements from the first C3801–prototype to the show version C3803. Company owner John Cosker told Speedboat that they were able to learn from the proto-

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photos by Todd

Taylor, Daren Van Ryte, Ray Lee and Brett Bayne

T

he 2019 Miami International Boat Show, sponsored by Progressive Insurance, boasted almost 1,400 boats spread out

across Miami Marine Stadium Park, including numerous musclecraft—some returning favorites, and others that made their debut at the show. There were also many new product introductions in the engine and accessory categories. In the following

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Boat Show

It’s the most expansive and comprehensive exhibit of its kind in the world. Here’s the best of the high-performance products. pages, Speedboat has collected several of the new boats and products that helped make this installment of the show a must-see for power junkies. One of the coolest on-water displays this year was on Pier 2, where a special Mercury Racing dock featured several boats that employ the company’s highperformance outboard and sterndrive propulsion systems. These boats—all available for demo rides—included a

Nor-Tech 450 Sport center console (powered by quad 400R outboards), an MTI 340X cat (with twin 300R outboards), an MTI 48 Pleasure cat (with twin QC4 dual-calibration 1550/1350 I/Os) and the brand-new 420 catamaran from Wright Performance (see Page 14 for more on this incredible release). The Miami show continues to be a can’t-miss showcase that perfectly defines the art of high performance. speedboat.com

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Mystic The DeLand, FL-based builder of super-fast catamarans and deep-vee center consoles, are constantly striving to make their boats as usable as possible, taking things they learn in one platform and integrating it into the other. Mystic brought its 3800 and 4200 center consoles, the latter of which debuted at the 2015 Miami Show. “We’ve brought it back to Miami every year since,” says company President John Cosker. “It’s been a fantastic boat for us—we brought the 38th one here to Miami this year, and there’s another in the mold now.” Meanwhile, the C3800 is Mystic’s newest cat; the first, built for Slug Hefner, ran at last year’s LOTO Shootout; the third was at Miami while Mystic had the seventh in the mold.

One of Mystic’s true “showstoppers” was its gorgeous 4200 center console, powered by four Mercury Racing 400R outboards. Spacious, lavishly appointed and ridiculously comfortable, this 4200 was Mystic’s 38th, and its popuarity shows no signs of slowing down. Mystic has loaded up the cabin of its center consoles with plenty of headroom and tons of amenities. The 4200 features 38 inches of freeboard and seating for up to 15 passengers. Right: the third-ever C3800 outboard-powered cat. speedboat.com

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BOAT SHOW

MTI Marine Technology Inc. showed off its huge luxury center consoles, as well as its world-famous high-speed cats— some with I/O power, some with outboards. Company President Randy Scism, accompanied by a crew that includes daughter Taylor Scism, displayed the company’s biggest boat, a MTI-V 57XSF center console with a large fishing tower (bottom right), an SV42 center console with four Merc 400Rs (above), a pair of 48 cats with Mercury Racing 1550/1350s (top left), and a 340X with a pair of Merc 400Rs (middle right). “We’ve got some really great customers who push us to the limit all the time, and it really helps us innovate and keep new things coming out,” Randy told Speedboat.

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Above: Brittany Dunn poses on the MTI-V 57XSF center console. Right: Speedboat test-team member and columnist Bob Teague and Brittany with Taylor and Randy Scism aboard the luxury center console, which features a large tower. speedboat.com

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BOAT SHOW

Skater Company President Peter Hledin displayed a a 368 cat (above), as well as a 388 that was 13 inches wider than standard (right, docked at left). These immaculate, megahorsepower cats are not new to the Skater stable, but Hledin told Speedboat that he’s got both a new 32-foot outboard-powered model coming soon, and as a 55-foot behemoth as well, which will become the biggest boat in their line. In addition, Skater has just finished dialing in its 438. “It’s a very fast boat,” he says. “It’s got a totally different bottom than standard.”

Wright Performance One of the most exciting debuts in Miami was the much-anticipated second collaboration between Performance Boat Center and Doug Wright Designs, whose twin-outboard 360 took the industry by storm a couple of years ago. The new 420 arrived with the expected fanfare, the next logical step in Wright Performance’s quest for performance domination; it will continue with the creation of a third collaboration, a 440 catamaran, coming soon.

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BOAT SHOW

Adrenaline The Lincolnton, GA-based builder brought two of its luxurious vee-hull muscleboats to Miami: the all-new 45 Speede (powered by quad Mercury Racing 400Rs, top right) and the stunning ZRX-47 (powered by twin Mercury Racing 1100s, above left, middle and right). Both are all-carbon boats with CNC-cut tooling; everything is designed in CAD at the factory and boast magnificent detail work and supercar-style design, fit and finish, etc. The ZRX-47 featured a sound system on steroids (right) that really impressed showgoers.

Victory The Dubai-based Victory Team, which markets its 32’ VT XCAT outboard cat overseas, debuted the boat last year in Key West, powered by twin Mercury Racing 400Rs. But customers in the United States get their 34' VT XCAT, which is both bigger and lighter than its little sister. It will be distributed by FB Marine Group.

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BOAT SHOW

Donzi Like several of its competitors at the Miami show, Donzi took the opportunity to show off examples of both its outboardpowered traditional go-fast cats and luxurious vee hulls.

The 41 GT (above right, right and below) features a well-appointed cabin.

Iconic Marine Group (which includes Fountain and Baja) proudly displayed Donzi’s new 44' Icon (above), a super-wide full carbon composite boat co-designed by Wilson Composites. Donzi also showed off its new 41 GT with triple Mercury Racing 400Rs (three right photos). As this issue was going to press, Iconic Marine announced that its COO, Joe Curran, had passed away. Curran had spearheaded Iconic’s sales, new product development, marketing and dealer network expansion.

Fountain The 32' Thunder Cat continues to make the round at the shows; it can be seen below, docked next to the triple 300 outboard-powered center consoles. Fountain has been focusing on supplying its dealer network with the center console models in its new NX line. These boats are built for boaters who appreciate the functionality and performance of a center console, but enjoy the refinements and features of a luxury sport boat. The boat seen to the right below is Donzi’s 41 GT.

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BOAT SHOW

Sunsation After unveiling its brand-new 40' CCX center console at the Fort Lauderdale boat show, Algonac, MI-based Sunsation brought its little sister, the 32 CCX, to Miami to re-instroduce it as a “Gen II.” It’s got a brand-new interior with a redesigned rear seat and dash. “We’ve updated it and made it more luxurious for our customers,” says company owner Joe Schaldenbrand. “The entertainment factor on this boat is phenomenal—that’s what really attracts people. It’s got a nice big lounge; we’ve designed it so that you can step up the lounge and entertain up on top of the boat.” Twin 350 ouboards get you 75 mph; upgrade to the 400Rs to reach speeds beyond 80 mph.

Formula Decatur, IN-based Formula wowed the crowd with a new center console that came out of the success of its 430 SSC. The 40 SSC (pictured here) boasts a very large bowrider area, a huge lounge area in the back, and also a substantial cabin and head with great features throughout. The model on display in Miami featured Mercury Marine’s brand-new 400 outboards—among the first to have them installed. “We wanted to do it as a 40' to offer a different price range,” says company President Scott Porter.

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BOAT SHOW

Hustler Company President Joe LoGiudice showed us something we haven’t seen before: His triple 400R-powered 39 Shotgun featured a rear bench with reclining lounge seats (top right), a very cool feature. The boat also has a built-in generator installed underneath the back seats and numerous other bells and whistles. Hustler also displayed its very popular 29' Rockit with a Mercury Racing 540 engine and Bravo ITS XR drive; this boat had a special boat-show price of $212,536. Finally, LoGiudice displayed a Checkmate (a line he now owns) powered by twin 300 outboards.

Bob Teague and Brittany Dunn interview Nor-Tech President Trond Schou aboard his stunning 56'.

Nor-Tech In addition to displaying its outboard-powered 390 Sport (right) and 450 Sport (above) center console models, Nor-Tech grabbed the spotlight with a colossal 56-footer (right) powered by triple 550 Cummins diesels coupled to Arneson drives that gets 1.3 miles to the gallon. It’s got huge sundeck and bowrider areas, as well as a fully furnished cabin area. Nor-Tech has also rigged a couple of the 56' models with four 550 inboards, and another with quad outboards from Seven Marine, both of which ran in the 80s.

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BOAT SHOW

Outerlimits Two of Miami’s genuine jaw-droppers belonged to celebrated Bristol, RI-based Outerlimits Powerboats: Jet, a canopied SC46 catamaran powered by a pair of Mercury Racing 1350/1100s (right), and Crypto, a canopied SV43 vee hull powered by twin Mercury 1550/1350s (top). Both boats are tributes to the company’s innovative founder, the late Mike Fiore; Crypto features a magnificent under-the-hatch mural of Fiore (above), while the SC46 is named after Fiore’s son, named Jet.

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BOAT SHOW

Cigarette When Cigarette Racing travels to the Miami show, they don’t leave a lot behind. One of the most luxurious center consoles is its new 59’ Tirranna (engines and bowrider, left), which is so big that it requires six Mercury Racing 400Rs to reach 72 mph. (See Page 52 for a proper running shot.) Two years in development, this luxury sport yacht seemed to go on for miles. Cigarette also brought a patriotically painted 50th Anniverary Top Gun (above), a couple of 42-foot center consoles (below left), and a unique 41’ AMG Carbon Edition painted to match the Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door that it shared the dock with (below).

HCB And speaking of gigantic center consoles, HCB was another builder with some XXXL models on display. The company has relaunched its quad-outboard 52'11" Sueños (right) with a sophisticated design that perfectly balances speed, ride, comfort and luxury. HCB is also the creator of the world’s largest center console boat, the 65-foot Estrella, described as a “mega center console yacht.” And we’re not going to argue with that description. It’s powered by five outboards, typically from Seven Marine.

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BOAT SHOW

Mercury Racing The new Mercury Racing 1100-hp Competition sterndrive was unveiled in Miami this year. The tamper-proof 9.0-liter engine will be the exclusive power for the newly formed APBA Offshore Championship series. Its Quad Cam Four Valve (QC4V) valvetrain allows the engine to produce 1,100 horsepower at 6,500 rpm on 89-octane pump fuel. Mercury Marine also introduced the 400 (non-R) Verado, which builds on the success and popularity of Mercury’s 350-hp Verado outboard engine.

Top center: Mercury Marine’s Director of Public Relations Lee Gordon (far left) and President John Pfeifer (third from left) pose with Speedboat Magazine’s Ray Lee and Bob Teague.

Livorsi Livorsi Marine introduced its

Wet Sounds

“Full Sweep” 5-volt gauges (inset) for position and pressure applications (indication for rudder, trim, trim tab, jackplate, jet pump bucket, throttle position, throttle percent, etc.). Livorsi also showed off its brand-new 1025 Trim Tab, offset for triple and quad engines (left).

CMI Billing itself “the highest performing marine audio on the planet,” Wet Sounds has been a supplier and installer of stereo systems mostly for production-type boats, but is planning to start targeting more high-performance craft in the year ahead.

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Custom Marine touted its new 520 upgrade package, which allows boaters to unleash the raw power and enjoy gains up to 48 hp with CMI’s 520 Sport Tubes or gains up to 31 hp with the new 520 E-Top Headers. Both systems offer improved midrange acceleration and torque and a patented “cool collar” design. speedboat.com

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BOAT SHOW

CP Performance As always, this wildly popular national online marine dealership and mail-order superstore displayed thousands of boat parts, hardware and accessories, including fuel and electrical systems, trim tabs, exhaust systems, sea strainers, steering wheels, gauges and Berkeley jet-drive rebuild kits. You can find virtually every kind of boat part at their display, and when the show is over, just go to their website (cpperformance.com) to find hundreds of thousands of other cool products.

SeaDek The nonskid flooring offered by SeaDek has become so popular in recent years that it was difficult to even get near their booth because of the spike in foot traffic. The staff spent every second educating customers on the benefits of this durable and shock absorbent surface, which isn’t just for floors anymore—Sunsation’s 32 CCX, for example, integrated it all over their boat.

SeaDek is available in a wide range of color options (left). SeaDek also protects your deck from scratching, chipping and dents. We also appreciate the product’s noise-reducing qualities.

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Hardin Marine Hardin’s booth was loaded with all kinds of steering wheels (including the top-of-the-line Isotta wheels pictured above), as well as sea strainers, trim indicators, exhaust systems, gauges and more. Hardin is currently selling the DriveGuardian, a patented device that reduces the leading cause of pitted/broken gears and twisted shafts in Bravo sterndrives. DriveGuardian replaces the factory Bravo rubber coupler with a multi-plate torque-limiting clutch that is calibrated to your specific application. speedboat.com

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photography by

Todd Taylor

290-S

N

ew speedboat companies don’t launch very often these days, so when Jerry Barron (son of Nick Barron,

the legendary founder and president of Hallett Boats) set up shop as Barron Boats last year, the industry brimmed with anticipation to see what kind of fruits the fledgling venture would bear. At the time, Jerry spoke of creating a 29-foot family deckboat with fresh, contemporary styling, and by the end of the year, the first 290-S had hit the water. “We started this company with a pencil,” Barron tells Speedboat. “That’s the bottom line. Our first boat out of the realm was our 290. We drew it up, put it all on CAD, whittled it out of foam, and finished the process in house.”

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To say he was pleased with the results would be an understatement. “The boat absolutely performs better than I had anticipated,” he says. “All cats around this size have a tendency to porpoise at some speed. But this boat had none. Zero. It planed with very minimal bowrise and turns on a dime. I think that we’ve hit a home run.” With Mercury Racing’s 540 engine, the first boat out of the mold achieved 75 mph in its initial testing, according to Barron. “I was pretty happy with that for the first boat,” he says. “I’ve never built light boats. Yes, I could build them a lot lighter and maybe pick up a few miles an hour, but I think it’s a very respectable speed for that particular powerplant and that big of a boat. With some prop testing and a bit of

positioning, I think we could bump it up a couple of mph.” The Package: The 290-S is a wide catamaran that leans more to the traditional walk-through open-bow style tunnel than some of the deckboats we’ve tested with wraparound seating. The cockpit of the 290-S contains two buckets seats for the driver and co-pilot, plus a rear bench for up to three adults to sit comfortably. That bench—the back of which lifts up as part of the engine hatch—has been sculpted to accommodate a set of rear-entry stairs on the starboard side of the engine compartment for easy access to an extended swim platform at the transom. The bow section, meanwhile, contains ample room for up to eight passengers, assuming that some of them are kids. speedboat.com

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BARRON 290-S Length: 29' Beam: 8'6" Engine on test boat: Mercury Racing 540 with Bravo XR drive Options on test boat: 540 upgrade with XR drive ($18,500), full hydraulic steering ($7,500), 18" tires and wheels ($600), swim platform ($400), bimini top ($2,500), full cooler ($200). Top speed: 75 mph @ 5,100 rpm BARRON BOATS 161 Peckham Road Azusa, CA 91702 (626) 633-9000 barronboats.com

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Jerry Barron, son of Hallett founder Nick Barron, launches his new company with a safe and stable deckboat.

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The very first 290-S is powered by a Mercury Racing 540 with Bravo XR drive. The boat features full hydraulic steering, large swim platform, bimini top, built-in ice chest, three auto bilge pumps and Mercury Vessel View. SeaDek flooring is incorporated throughout the boat— always a welcome amenity.

“This is an impressive first effort. We drove it over a couple of big boat wakes, and it just went right over the top of them. It handles really good, and has a nice soft ride.” —Bob Teague 38

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The hull combines white, grey and maroon colors. A stainless rubrail encircles most of the boat (except for the front of the boat, where it’s capped). The 290-S is equipped with some nav and docking lights, Accon pull-up cleats and some stainless-steel handrails in the bow section. SeaDek flooring has been installed throughout the boat. We discovered a couple of ski locker with carpeted covers in the floor with a depth of about 6 inches; in addition, there’s ample storage throughout the Barron, including underneath the seats, in the sponsons, and in the large bulkheads lockers forward of the helm. A single hydraulic ram opens the engine hatch—which, as we mentioned, comprises the rear bench’s seat backs. The underside of the engine compartment, along with the complete bilge, is basically flat fiberglass with a purple/ maroon spatter finish. The overall workmanship of the engine setup struck our dry-land evaluation team as slightly more of a production-style effort than a full-blown custom piece, but since this boat was the first out of the mold, it was still fairly impressive. In future boats, we’d like to see the wiring harnesses given a better support system, and if we’re being a little picky, the connecting strips on either side of the transom were held in place only with a couple of screws with no heat-shrinking. Those are minor quibbles, and we’re confident that Barron will address those points. Our team was pretty enthusiastic about most of the Barron’s amenities and fit and finish. Rubrail, the large swim platform, seating arrangement, cupholders, carpeting in the storage areas, SeaDek installation, hardware and access to minor services were awarded 8s and 9s across the board. The dash layout was straightforward and simple, with tach, speedo, volt meter, fuel level gauge and Mercury Vessel View there to tell the driver what’s what. Performance: The Barron performed quite well for a first-ever model. It turned left and right without any problem; fuel consumption appeared to be above average, and we detected zero deceleration reaction (for which Teague awarded a coveted 10). Teague also raved about the way the 290-S handles. “It has a nice soft ride. We actually drove it over a couple of big boat wakes, and it just went right over the top of them. For a deckboat, it handles really well. There were no rattles, either.” Our top speed was 75 mph at 5,100, which was precisely what Jerry Barron predicted. With some more wind, some extra dialing in with the prop and the new Mercury program, it’s likely that we’d have found considerable performance improvements, according to Teague. We look forward to testing the boat again in the near future.

speedboat.com

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Powerboat Nation is the world’s leading resource for Powerboating Videos, Photos, News and more!

There’s no better place on the web to live the powerboating life! 93990_SpeedboatSept18_03,09,12,21,27,45,47,57,83,84.indd 12

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photography by

Todd Taylor

28' Fundeck

N

ow celebrating its 50th year in business, Eliminator Boats is currently offering six different models of its Speedster catamarans

(from 25 to 36 feet, including the latest, a 30'), as well as its 28' Fundeck, which is probably the builder’s strongest overall seller. Every year, Eliminator brings the Speedboat team one of its boats to evaluate, and more often than not, it winds up being the aptly named Fundeck. That speaks volumes about their passion for, and confidence in, this particular model. While our last two testers were each powered by a single Mercury Racing 565 (top speeds 82 and 80.2 mph, respectively), this year’s Fundeck got an upgrade to a

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Merc 600 with ITS drive (1.50 gear ratio) with an available 5,400 rpm. The powerplant may have been different, but it was the same clean, nicely sculpted deckboat that we’re used to seeing from the firm that has come to be known as the original king of the Southern California builders. Our 2019 tester happens to be Eliminator customer Carlos Martinez’s second Fundeck. His first was powered by a milder engine, so when he decided to trade up, he went with the model he and his wife loved, but checked a lot more boxes, including the 600. “The smaller motor was fine at first, but over the years, I got tired of being the boat everybody else had to wait for every time,” he says. Among the augmented additions: a

big-muscle stereo system (installed by Joe Ihmud at Pacific Stereo) and custom pinstriping by artist Phillips Finelines (626-482-1638). And, as special tribute to his wife’s Native American heritage, their last name became a special logo (with a feather motif) integrated throughout the boat—it’s on the seat’s headrests, bimini top, transom and steering wheel stitching. The couple, who plan to use the boat on Lake Havasu beginning this spring, are unabashed Eliminator fans—as are his stepdaughter and her husband, who also purchased a 28' Fundeck. Funny story: Carlos had tuned into the local news when he saw a report from the L.A. Boat Show, where company President Jake Fraleigh was being interviewed at speedboat.com

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ELIMINATOR 28’ FUNDECK Length: 28' Beam: 102" Engine on test boat: Single Mercury Racing 600 SCi/ITS drive Options on test boat: Custom metalflake gelcoat upgrade ($5,000), extended swim step ($5,000), custom trailer with LED running lights and custom wheels ($13,000), bimini and boat cover with custom stitch work and polished hardware ($4,000), removable ski pylon, fiberglass seat backs, chrome hardware, etc. Top speed: 82 mph @ 5,250 rpm ELIMINATOR BOATS 10795 San Sevaine Way Mira Loma, CA 91752 (800) 306-3343 eliminatorboat.com

performance evaluations

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We’ve tested the 28' Fundeck several times, but this one was the most customized and personalized version we’ve seen to date. Personal touches, including a special owner’s logo with a Native American theme, are everywhere. The boat features a primo sound system and a first-rate gelcoat job.

“The gelcoat on this boat is absolutely stunning. It’s got a real fine metalflake that’s just over the top. It’s the best gelcoat we’ve seen this year for sure.” —Bob Teague 44

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the Eliminator booth—right in front of the Martinez’s boat. That’s one to save on DVD.) The couple say they come back to Eliminator because of their outstanding customer service, and the ability to customize the craft. “We were able to design our own boat, which was a huge plus for us—it was the first boat of its kind that we had ever owned before.” The Package: In his commentary about the boat’s workmanship, here was inspector Bob Teague’s opening remark: “The first thing I’ve got to say, walking up to this boat, is that this is some of the most stunning gelcoat work I’ve ever seen in my life.” The custom heavy-flake gel upgrade, featuring various shades of maroon and orange, was a $5,000 option—but it’s dazzling and worth every last penny. “I can’t find any flaws in it, and it has a lot of detailed work even inside the interior. It is crazy. I think this is the best gelcoat job we’ve seen this year. The mold work also very good, and this is not new tooling. It’s been around for a while,” Teague adds. The gelcoat has even been incorporated into the boat’s two wraparound acrylic windscreens, which are slightly dark but very cool-looking. The Fundeck’s entire rubrail, which runs all the way around the boat, has also been gelcoated to match the boat. It’s attention to details like this that really made our dry-land test team sit up and take notice. “The workmanship and the paint work are truly amazing,” Teague raves. The Fundeck features an impressive extended swim platform, Livorsi running lights, Accon Marine cleats, custom stainless-steel handrails around the bow section. The engine hatch and the entire bilge has been painted to match the boat’s gelcoat—a very nice installation. Other upgrades we noted include a removable ski pylon, chrome hardware, LED transom lights and custom engine compartment floor panels. This boat is absolutely gorgeous, from stem to stern. And it’s a roomy boat with plenty of seating (Martinez boasts that he was able to accommodate up to 15 passengers comfortably). Performance: The Fundeck is a very predictably handling boat that turns like a dream in the slaloms. The boat leans into the turns, never skipping out. We detected zero acceleration reaction or steering wheel torque, and Teague awarded 9s and 10s to the boat’s wide stance, low-speed tracking, throttle response and sensitivity to trim. Eliminator reports they’d driven this boat at 90 mph. Teague got it to 82 mph with a fairly light fuel load and with only two people in the boat, but conditions weren’t conducive for WOT. Speed notwithstanding, the Fundeck has always given us a remarkable ride, and the custom look of the boat with all of the tricked-out details was nothing short of astonishing—right on par with all of Eliminator’s boats. speedboat.com

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The Wednesday group turns away from Haulover Inlet to avoid the rough seas offshore, taking the protected Intercoastal Waterway instead, through Miami Beach and out to Biscayne Bay.

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The larger Friday group gets its start from Haulover Marine Center, idling for a short distance before cruising into the open ocean waters and turning southbound.

FPC

Poker Run

Jerry Wyszatycki, Florida Powerboat Club

Photos by

Following the Miami International Boat Show, Stu Jones takes his Florida Powerboat Club to Key Largo for another memorable journey in their spectacular fleet.

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T

he Miami Boat Show Poker Run returned to the Florida Keys for its 24th running, finding new dual headquarters in Key Largo. Florida

Powerboat Club members enjoyed the luxuriouis Playa Largo Resort & Spa, a Marriott Autograph Collection resort, along with the newly opened Bakers Cay Resort just a half mile away. Both properties are premium resort destinations that are each equipped with docking facilities, allowing FPC to bring this event back to a 50-boat roster, and giving the participants an escape to paradise in the middle of February. The two-departure format gave participants the chance depart as early as Thursday—just three days after the completion of the Miami Boat Show—while a second group then followed on Friday. With attendance from many of the major factory sponsors, a handful of new boats came straight from the Miami Boat Show docks, giving some manufacturers the first chance to really show off some of their newest models. Many were impressed by the shear size and speed of the all-new Midnight Express, Pied-a-Mar, the new 60' luxury center console from the Miami builder, while Nor-Tech owners wowed the fleet with two new 450 CC models, along with a brand-new, all-red, factory-sponsored 39 CC Sport, powered by triple Mercury Racing 400Rs. Deep Impact owner Mark Fischer brought a new 399 model, while Performance Boat Center staged an MTI 340X Cat, which they borrowed from the manufacturer after selling virtually every boat in their Miami Boat Show display inventory. S P E E D B O A T | April 2019

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POKER RUN

Ron Szolack put his new Skater 388 through the paces, throttling up the Mercury Racing 1100s in the brand-new boat.

Stu Jones piloted his new Project 1080 Cigarette Top Gun, giving the Mercury Racing 540s a good workout.

Deep Impact owner Mark Fischer put his newest 399 model through the paces, fully equipped with Quad Mercury Racing 400Rs.

Matt Borcina enjoys his new Wright Performance 360.

Also returning to the sponsor lineup for 2019 were T.D. Wall Sportchassis and the SeaKeeper crew, led by Bryan Mullinax in the Seakeeper 35' Contender demo boat. A Friday night party brought the group together at the luxurious Playa Largo Tavernier Ballroom, while guests from the neighboring Bakers Cay Resort were able to shuttle back and forth with an FPC-provided shuttle van and a new twist—an in-water pontoon boat taxi service! Saturday’s weather was magnificent, and most teams got out on the water. Some took a ride to Marathon for lunch, while others stayed closer to

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home base to enjoy a staged raft-up party just one mile down the shoreline in Key Largo, using the late Eric Peterson’s luxurious waterfront home as headquarters for an elaborate barbecue. On Saturday evening, the party shifted gears to a new venue at the Bakers Cay Resort, where the poker cards were dealt out and sponsor awards and President’s Choice awards were presented in a variety of categories. With all the cards played out, congratulations are offered to Kevin and Melissa Welch of New Hampshire for winning the poker run’s grand prize, a dazzling collection of watersports toys

that included a blow-up paddle board, an embroidered AO Cooler, heavy-duty FatTowel for the boat and various Florida Powerboat Club incentive prizes. Editor’s Note: Sadly, less than two weeks after the completion of the Miami Boat Show Poker Run, FPC lost a true friend. Eric Peterson, the homeowner who hosted the Saturday poker run raftup barbecue party in Key Largo, passed away in a tragic airplane accident that claimed the lives of five adults. Not only was Eric a longtime friend of FPC, he was also legal counselor for our club. He will be dearly missed. speedboat.com

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POKER RUN Left: Raymond Roberts of Canada’s famed Double R Performance showed off his newest creation, a Nor-Tech 3600 Supercat, converted from sterndrive power to a set of quad Merc 400Rs. Below: Greg Harris and Yvonne Aleman dig the performance of their 32 Skater, getting in some good airtime along the way.

Left: Newcomers Brian and Leslie Blount of the Portland, OR, area participate in their first FPC poker run aboard their new Wright Performance 360 cat. Below: Derek Wachob and friends took the new Cigarette 59' Tirranna for its first official poker run following the boat’s amazing reception at the Miami Boat Show (see Page 30). The boat is powered by six Mercury Racing 400R Verados!

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POKER RUN The all-new Midnight Express Pier-a-Mar turned heads with its stout 60 feet of length, stylish design lines and quad Seven Marine 627s.

Kevin and Melissa Welch carve their way through the rough chop in their Cigarette 35 Top Gun, Heat Her Up.

Haulover Marine Center provided an excellent staging facility, rolling out the red welcome carpet to dozens of out-of-state teams

Dueling 46 Skaters! Dale Rayzor in Freedom US1 teamed up alongside Jim Lee in Double Take.

Chris Lamorte pilots his finely tuned 2000 model 36' Skater for the weekend escape to paradise.

Jesse and Stephanie Neumann drive their Nor-Tech 450 center console, powered by five Mercury Racing 400Rs.

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by

Marilyn DeMartini

Apache

RETURN OF THE

B

ack in the early 1980s, when offshore powerboat racing

was at its peak, Ben Kramer’s #69 Apache Racing Team was a well-oiled machine. “We were in sync,” says Bob Saccenti, noted throttleman with Kramer at the helm and Tom Evans as navigator. “We each had our job—everyone knew they had to get it right.” The team raced in several boats and one became known as “the banner boat” because of its hand-painted flowing white banner with “Team Apache World Champions” lettered in gold on a bright red background. The team won numerous checkered flags and championships before Kramer’s racing career prematurely ended. The boat changed hands a number of times over the next three decades, as many race boats do. Then an online ad caught the eye of a South Florida classic boat collector who always wanted a 41' Apache—not one of the many existing pleasure boats, but a true classic with race heritage. He called Bob Saccenti to see the boat and have it surveyed, since no one would know the boat like the man who built and throttled it, and cemented a notorious portion of his racing career in it. Saccenti approved, the boat was purchased and its resurrection began. TNT Custom Marine on the Case: Just like the Apache Racing Team, John Tomlinson and Mike Thomas at TNT Custom Marine

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Presenting the reemergence of a World Champion thoroughbred: Team Apache undergoes a major restoration, and looks better than ever.

Left: Tom Evans and Bob Saccenti, back at the helm of the restored classic #69 Team Apache on Biscayne Bay.

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Left: Years of neglect and stagnant salt water left stringers, fuel tanks and fiberglass on the Apache in a sorry state, but TNT Custom Marine worked hard to get everything back into shipshape. The entire dashboard, helm and engine compartment were gutted and refurbished. Guardardo Marine worked tirelessly on restoring fiberglass and applying new paint.

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RETURN OF THE

Above: The completed hull was shipped to Ocala for Gail Paik to work her magic, hand painting the Team Apache design she created over 30 years ago. have had a tight-knit, small team of passionate motorheads who also work in sync, getting every job done to perfection. They began in a garage shop as teenagers and have grown the business to a full service rigging shop and marina on 135th Street and Biscayne Boulevard in Miami. The duo took the racing world by storm with Tomlinson at the throttles of World Champions like Drambuie on Ice, Bacardi Silver and currently Performance Boat Center/Jimmy John’s. Thomas ran the shop and they worked together, whether on land or on the water, racing and rigging their sponsors’ and customers’ boats. Over the years, TNT became the performance force and preferred shop for international powerboat aficionados. Having already completed one impressive renovation for this boat collector (the spectacular White Tornado Bertram, raced by Italians Vincenzo Balestrieri and Francesco Cosentino), the owner again called upon TNT to undertake the Apache’s reconstruction. TNT stripped the boat from top to bottom.

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New props, drive, trim tabs and Latham Marine tie bars completed the Progressive Marine engine package.

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RETURN OF THE

Above: The crossed American flags and Apache hatchets recall the warrior image of Team Apache. Above right: The dash, updated with modern technology, recalls the clean and authentic racing look, thanks to Cutting Edge. Above right: Analog gauges complete the retro look.

Saccenti is Back as Florida Performance Boats

“I got bored!” Bob Saccenti laughs, as he explains how after a long and illustrious career as a powerboat builder and racer, he got back in the game. Turns out that Peter and Carlos Repo, of Fibertech Fabricators, sons of one of his long-time colleagues in his boat building days, nicknamed Repo, were building boats in a Pembroke Pines shop from a 21' Apache Scout mold that Saccenti had created. They asked if he wanted to help them and he saw it as a good opportunity to put his skills to work. Ironically, the boys’ father used to bring them to the shop and tell them to, “Go help Bobby!” Now they are following in their mentors’ footsteps and Saccenti feels he is working with “family.”

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Not contented to build a 21' boat, Saccenti suggested they go a little bigger and asked his buddy, Charlie McCarthy, Sr. founder of the Historic Offshore Raceboat Association (HORBA), if he’d sell him the 27' Aronow mold that he owned. “Charlie said, ‘No, but I’ll give it to you!’” Saccenti again laughs. “So I went up to Massachusetts and got the mold and we started building the boats.” Following the outboard rage, Saccenti made a deal with Evinrude to use the company’s new performance models on the boats and he is delighted with the performance. Once word got out that he was back in business, he started getting calls for new boats, refurbishing older race boats, and now he is as busy as ever. “I love what I am doing,” he says, “Restoring old boats and building a few custom boats for selected discerning customers who can’t find what they want on the market.” Saccenti thrives on the exciting heritage of the boats he works on as much as doing the performance boat work himself. He is thin, spry and filled with energy. “This is what I have always done—this is what I know and I love it!” he says. Getting back into the business made him want to get back into a race boat and maybe start a new team. “But my wife, Yoko, says, ‘No!’” he chuckles, so he’ll keep building and rebuilding the future, based on the past, which he remembers as clearly as if it happened yesterday. For more informaiton, call Florida Performance Boats at (305) 965-7428. speedboat.com

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The team gets ready to rock at TNT Custom Marine, which managed the entire rebirth of Team Apache. “In these kinds of renovations, you have to always expect surprises around every corner,” says Thomas. “You fix this, clean this up, then something else happens. It’s harder than building a new boat from scratch.” A lot of bloody knuckles go into this work. For example, when removing the trim tabs, they found saltwater corrosion behind the plate, “like a cancer, eating it away,” says Thomas. Since they don’t make those Kiekhaefer/Aero Marine offshore dual-ram trim tabs any longer, TNT started searching and luckily, a connection of Saccenti’s found a brand-new pair, still in the box. Similarly, when they examined the fuel tanks, they looked OK from the top, but the bottom had rotted out, necessitating fabrication of new ones to fit the old boat. Amid the broken stringers, rotted wood and outmoded, worn-out dash and upholstery, the boat’s “bones” were still intact, as was its herispeedboat.com

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“And you can tell them that Bob Saccenti still has the ‘Magic Throttle Arm!’”

—Bob Saccenti

tage, so a top-notch group of vendors collaborated to restore it to its glory days. Steve McGinnis of Progressive Racing Engines in Miami Gardens refurbished the Keith Eickert engines, including fabricating new intercoolers to replace the leaking aluminum equipment. The boat’s engines had originally been built on GM big blocks, which had later been replaced with Merlin 575 blocks. But under McGinnis’s professional watch, the engines now look like finely polished jewelry and run like hell on wheels—complete with new BAM Marine transmission and Mercury #6 drives that of course had to be “cajoled” in to replace the old #3 drives.

Recalling his work for Kramer and Apache, Eickert reflected, “That was quite a time in my life—quite an experience!” After leaving Mercury Racing in Wisconsin, Eickert moved to Florida to work with Preston Henn and Rocky Aoki. As always, Saccenti had his eye out for talent, and when he formed Hawk Marine with Jerry Jacobi, they recruited Eickert, and then he went on to become part of the Apache team. As you can see, many race boat projects are a “six degrees” to Bob Saccenti. (More on that history later.) MC Engineering’s Mike Cuzno, a retired marine fabricator who has a S P E E D B O A T | April 2019

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RETURN OF THE

Evans and Saccenti shared a lot of memories—and laughs—on this ride.

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RETURN OF THE “You fix this, clean this up, then something else happens. It’s harder than building a new boat from scratch.”

—Mike Thomas

5,000-square-foot shop in Gainesville, was called on for all things that “got lost” over the years—including hinges, which he recreated from memory, the drive shaft cover, wind fairing and an engine step plate. “I can make just about anything,” he notes, and has worked with TNT and other race teams and boat builders for about 30 years, handling the “devil in the details” work from templates and measurements to fit exacting specs. The dash was outmoded by new technology that didn’t exist in the 1980s, so Cutting Edge in Fort Lauderdale came to the rescue. Jeremy Moening grew up around engraving in the marine industry and artistically combined old-world skills with 21st century technology, CNC routing new aluminum panels, anodized with a brushed black finish and an engraved logo. The Apache dash is now functional, but still appears authentic. The upholstery followed suit, with Miami Prestige (the “go-to” family-owned marine interior business since 1971) taking on the challenge. Roger Delarosa even came out of retirement to help direct Reinier Lopez’s current team on this project, duplicating the cockpit from pictures. New bolsters, cushions and floors were installed and now the black cockpit has the menacing look that earned this team its tough-to-beat reputation. With the boat renovated and rigged, its crowing glory was to be the paint. But Guardardo Marine in Opa-Locka still had their hands full, replacing and repairing rotted stringers and spent copious hours of labor, completely refinishing the hull. Eddie Guardardo and his team perfected the fiberglass and repainted the hull, preparing it for graphics. Wanting to be as authentic as possible, the owner was discussing computer reproductions of the original banner art.

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Some other Apache owners had tried for replication, but to create a truly authentic renovation, Saccenti suggested the original painter, Gail Paik. Paik was an intrinsic part of Team Apache over the years. She had married Tom Evans and was the “den mother,” organizing the team to ensure perfect race preparation—and, of course, dynamic artwork on its boats. Saccenti tracked Evans and Paik down in Ocala, FL. The couple was fascinated to hear about the banner boat renovation and Paik agreed to re-paint the graphics she had created over 40 years ago. TNT trailered the boat from Miami to Ocala, where they rented a paint bay and from memory, and Paik recreated the original Team Apache graphics. “I can execute the design I created—it’s a gift I have and this was a labor of love,” she smiled proudly. A Little History: There are many stories about the origination of the Apache brand, but “this is the real story,” laughs Saccenti. “I know because I was there—I was the founder!” Saccenti’s entry into the boat-building industry began with a New York teenager’s dream to go to the Brunswick, Mercury service training to learn about marine engines—but he needed a recommendation to get in. A family member knew Don Aronow from his New Jersey construction days, and at that time, he was making his name as a boat builder in Miami. Aronow wrote the recommendation, saying that Saccenti worked for him. Saccenti excelled in school, and even laughs that the Mercury guys would try to get him to talk about what Aronow was building. Keeping his “cover,” Saccenti would say, “Oh, I can’t talk about what he’s doing—sorry!”

After graduation, he made a trip to the Miami Boat Show to personally say thank you to Aronow, who was at the top of his career with Cigarette Racing Team. In response, Aronow gave him a job. Again, Saccenti excelled, learning the trade, building boats, working for the master and racing with many teams; he built his reputation as an illustrious racer “with the magic throttle arm.” After years at Cigarette, Saccenti starting his own business, Race Headquarters, with Aronow’s support who often lent his protégé his crew to assist with customers who wanted to go racing and needed assistance in building a boat. By this time, Tom Evans had started rigging boats for Saccenti and was rapidly learning racing through on-the-job training. Born into a roofing business family, Evans’ father saw his inclination for boats and engines and got him a boat that changed the course of his life, from climbing on roofs to climbing under boat hatches. In the late ’70s, one of Saccenti’s clients, a Golden Gloves boxer who was of half Cherokee Indian and half Irish decent, wanted a fast boat, so Saccenti created two presentations of team graphics that would portray his personality. One was a charging bull, inspired by the popularity of the hit movie Raging Bull, while the other was American Indianthemed. “I always liked the Apache tribe because they were fierce fighters, so we created this Apache warrior face with a headdress. That’s the one he picked and that is how the name Apache started,” he explains with almost incredulous joy. As Saccenti planned to build the new Apache boat, he approached Aronow about a 41' hull that he had, but couldn’t use, due to one of his non-compete contract clauses as he started and sold boat companies. He gave Saccenti the 41' Aronow-designed mold, which became the first Apache pleasure boat called Warpath, and the Apache Powerboat Company began. The logo was then refined by Gail Paik, who by then had become a part of the team, based on a gold coin that Saccenti had. Paik, a petite and powerful woman, hit the 1970s offshore racing world by storm. As an airbrush artist from L.A. in the texspeedboat.com

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tile business, she took a trip to Florida with her then husband, who built a powerboat and wanted to visit family and friends in the marine business. They met Tom Adams from Signature Marine who asked Paik if she would paint a logo on a leather jacket—which led to the boat hatch. Once she put large-scale paint on fiberglass, she fell in love with the work and a new genre of boat graphics began. “I loved boats!” Paik exclaims. “No one was doing exotic paint jobs then. DuPont was just coming out with boat paint and they put stripes on the side. It was so boring! I tried spraying the boat paint with an airbrush and started doing murals on boats, quickly becoming very successful, putting the owner’s name, number and personality on the boat.” At that time, Paik caught Saccenti’s attention. “She was this dynamo little Asian woman with long black hair, airbrushing boats in high heels,” he recalls, “I had to have her work with me.” “I was given a lot of power,” says Paik, “It made me into a bit of a monster, but I love to create. It was flattering when people used to copy my art, but no one would imitate the Apache feathers—that was ours. Apache put me on the map,” she adds. “All these years later, people still have an affinity for Apache—it has its own mystique.” By this time, Saccenti had teamed up with Ben Kramer in a shop on Thunderboat Row and he took Kramer out for a ride in the Warpath pleasure boat. “We cranked it up for a test in rough, blue water, ran it about 90 mph and the boat was unbelievable!” Saccenti exclaims. Kramer was enthralled and excitedly said, “Let’s go racing!” and another new chapter in Saccenti’s racing career was about to explode. “We were wild hippie-like kids, but we followed Bobby because he was a great leader,” says Paik. Elaborates Saccenti: “When you have the right crew and teams work together, everyone in sync, you win races. Ben was the most intense. He wanted, and we all wanted, only to be first. If he was at it today, boats wouldn’t be going around in circles. We’d be racing from New York to Miami and running to Bimini.” speedboat.com

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After running Warpath for a year and winning a number of races, including the World Championship in Key West, Team Apache built the “Banner Boat” that they ran for one year, plus other race boats, including the Apache Cat that won a National World Championship. With Kramer driving, Saccenti throttling, Evans rigging, Eickert in charge of power and Paik in charge of the team, Team Apache had a great run of about six years, traveling around the world, living to race. “It was our everything. Your family would never see you, but we knew we had something amazing going on and we couldn’t think about anything else,” Saccenti says. “We were serious—after the race, we could go crazy, but not before.”

forms and helmets lined up and ready to go, and would then ride in the helicopter during the race. They won races and kept winning—and even when they came in second, they had wild stories to share. Getting the Band Back Together: In February, as the owner prepared to have a video and photo shoot of the test drive to document the resurgence of the boat, he called Saccenti, Evans and Paik and asked them to come to Miami for a reunion. When Saccenti approached the boat, sitting on the trailer, he patted its side and said, “It’s OK, Daddy’s here!” As the trio met at TNT, they looked at each other with déjà vu and delight. Getting into the boat was like old times, except that Paik was in her husband’s old position,

Bob Saccenti, his wife, Yoko, Gail Paik and Tom Evans. The team had a ritual. Evans would stay up all night going over everything in the boat; in the morning, he and Saccenti would fly over the course in a helicopter, evaluating the race course and water conditions. At the driver’s meeting, they would misinform the other racers about the conditions while they perfected their setups. Eickert would pull each spark plug, doing a reading to make sure each was just right. Paik would have their uni-

and he was taking Kramer’s place at the helm. Saccenti was right where he was used to being—the throttle in his hand. As I flew overhead in the helicopter, with Forest Johnson leaning out the window shooting video, I could hear the roar of the engines, feel the glory and saw the joy in the boaters’ faces—reunited as if they had never been apart. The boat ran flat out into the chop, hopping small

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RETURN OF THE waves, getting some air and reflected off the bright Atlantic waters. They took wide and sharp turns and then stopped for a moment as steam flowed from the exhaust. As we held our breath, Evans hopped out from the helm and nimbly slid through the slat in the engine hatch, just like in the “old days,” disappearing for a few minutes. Then he remerged and Saccenti restarted the boat, getting

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[continued from page 59]

back up on plane without a hitch. We breathed a deep sigh as the boat headed due west. We imagined them heading to Bimini for another race and not wanting to return to shore. When we did get back, the team was regaling each other with old stories and talking about the morning’s experience, like it was just yesterday that they were Team Apache. They are all trim, enthu-

siastic and lively—just a little older, but still as much fun. “It was just like old times,” Paik laughed. “The two of them together again was wonderful! They have the same language—they were delighted to be in the boat again.” “He knows what I’m thinking, I know what he’s thinking,” Saccenti laughed. “We don’t have to talk. It’s been a long time, but we were together for a long time too!” Evans agreed: “That was just the way we used to do it—go out for a test, straight out!” They talked about the Key West race in 1985 with big water and crashing waves. “Ben kept pushing my arm to go faster, then we hit a rogue wave,” Saccenti recalls. “I had the boat trimmed out and we went up in the air—it was probably for a split second, but it felt like five minutes! Wondering what I was going to do, I felt the boat coming down and saw blue water coming over the nose—I knew we would stuff and get hurt. We all crouched down in the bolsters, but I still had the throttle in my hand, so I hit it hard and the boat came up. I saw Tom and Ben’s eyes like silver dollars, then we said, ‘Let’s go!’ and raced ahead to come in seconds behind the first boat.” Paik relayed how when they got back to the dock, she ran out, expecting to see the boat split into toothpicks. The guys were all sitting on separate picnic tables, in a daze, just trying to get their breath, and Eickert ran up to see how the engines survived. “That was a testament to the strength of fiberglass,” Paik said— not to mention the strength of the team. To see this group now, well into their golden years, but still lithe and loving life, was a glimpse into the golden years of racing. It was a time when offshore racing was truly offshore—when racing beat up boats and bodies, and when a generation of racers built a legacy that extended to future generations. And perhaps that is what keeps them so young, still tasting the excitement that they lived over 40 years ago. “And you can tell them that Bob Saccenti still has the ‘magic throttle arm!’” he laughs, the magic still evident in his gleaming smile as well. speedboat.com

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Brett’s SPARE

CHANGE ’72 Sanger

Featuring

ADBA Season Opener speedboat.com

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SPARE Change

photography by

Ray Lee and Brett Bayne

Here’s an 18' Sanger that Patrick Kelley found on the hot boat boards. When he needed to upgrade its power, he found a new engine and power compenents online as well. 68

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P

atrick Kelley’s early experiences on the water included a couple of jet-

boats whose power and speed failed to impress him. “When I was a kid, the fastest guy on the river had a Sanger shovelnose hydro,” he tells Speedboat. “Now that I’m older, I’d gotten sick of being beat by outboard tunnel hulls. So I was excited when I saw this 1972 18' Sanger for sale online in

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Northern California, and it was going for a decent price. I figured this was the best boat in the world I could get. The house is paid off, so why not? I got the best boat that I could think of.” The boat was called Spare Change when Kelley purchased it, powered by a 468 Chevy. He found a 540 c.i. Dart engine (1,000 hp) on the Internet, along with a combination blower/intake, carburetors and a Superchiller. “I tried put-

ting it all together myself, but I realized I needed to find a professional to do this.” That professional was Schott Schatz of S&S Performance and Marine (Chino, CA), who rebuilt the motor and got everything dialed in. Now the Sanger has a strong top end, although Kelley says there’s not a lot out of the hole, and that the boat doesn’t like the waves very much. But Kelley likes the boat just fine.

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CHANGE

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Heavenly

HOWARD

When Speedboat reached out to Troy Mcintosh about photographing his boat on Lake Elsinore, he didn’t have far to travel.

photography by

Ray Lee and Brett Bayne

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T

roy Mcintosh was happy to bring his boat to Lake Elsinore for our

photo shoot—he lives at the Lake’s Weekend Paradise neighborhood. Mcintosh is the owner of this 1982 18' Howard T-Deck Runner Bottom, which he reports having a top speed of 105 mph. At the time of our photo shoot, it was powered by a

blown 427 engine that had never been dynoed, but probably put out between 800 and 850 hp. (“It’s a nice, balanced motor, and it could probably take a bit more horsepower,” he told Speedboat.) Since our shoot, the motor has been replaced with a fresh, never-run blown 526 Dart motor with 1071 blower. Mcintosh has officially put the boat up for sale. speedboat.com

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RETURN OF THE

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Speedboat co-publisher Ray Lee (left) gets the “money shot” of Dionna posing on the deck of the Howard at our Lake Elsinore photo shoot (top).

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photography by

Mark McLaughlin

MODIFIED ELIMINATOR Rich Saindon took the win in the class, outdueling the other six boats in the field.

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Showdown PRO ELIMINATOR Stan Tweedy ended up in the #3 position in qualifying after 2 rounds Saturday and went one round on Sunday eliminations. He was ousted by the eventual winner in the class on the first round attempt.

The Arizona Drag Boat Association kicks off the drag-boat season in style with an incident-free bout on the Colorado River in Parker. speedboat.com

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T

he 2018 Arizona Drag Boat Association season kickoff event in Parker drew upwards of 65 boats on a cold but sunny weekend of racing.

Happily, it was an incident-free event— the ambulance crew got to sit and enjoy the race for the duration. On Sunday, wind became an issue, so the quickest boats ran first and got finished early. But by the end of the weekend, the wind never really became an issue. With a four-boat field, Quick Eliminator featured the fastest boats of the weekend. Mike Schiller showed up late and only got one qualifying pass in on Saturday. With no testing and a limited time to get his boat ready for eliminations, he went out to the track and did what nobody expected. He not only took out the #1 qualifier, Duane Thornton, but won the race in the finals against Larry Flores. Pro Comp Flat was the newest ADBA class. Seven boats showed up, and put on quite a show, with some exciting side-by-side racing, even in qualifying. Tom Fulkerson had new motor issues on test and tune day; they were ready to pack up and go home until engine guru Lew Larson (with his own motor in the boat) refused to fold. They fixed the problem, qualified #4 and went on to win the class. River Racer was the largest class, with 12 entries. Newcomer Mason Cagle performed driving duties for Keith and Kaylyn Funk’s jetboat, qualifying #10. He proceeded to mow down the field and take the trophy for the class by the end of the day. A pair of dueling sisters highlighted Stock Eliminator; this final round of eliminations was what everyone wanted to see. The #2 qualifier, Tara Scribner, was up against #6 qualifier, her older sister, Tanya Scribner. Tara was victorious over her older sister, but they both cheer for each other at every event. Double victory for the Scribner team!

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SHOWDOWN

PRO ELIMINATOR Above: #2 qualifier Jim Howard (with Linda Howard, inset) eventually took out #1 qualifier Tom Wedic in the finals for the win. SUPER ELIMINATOR Right: Justin Perkins was spot on for the victory in the class. STOCK ELIMINATOR featured a duel of sisters going into the final round. #2 qualifier Tara Scribner (red hydro, below right) battled #6 qualifier Tanya Scribner (far lane). Tara triumphed over her older sister, but they both cheer for each other at every event.

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TOP ELIMINATOR Jake Yeager and his crew were tops in the class.

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QUICK ELIMINATOR winner Mike Schiller (above and left) accepts his trophy with crew chief Terry Kain.

PRO COMP FLAT In the newest ADBA class, Tom Fulkerson (left) had new engine issues, but motor guru Lew Larson fixed the problem and Tom went on to win the class. Congrats to all!

RIVER RACER was the largest class this weekend, with 12 entries. Newcomer Mason Cagle jumped in the driving duties for Keith and Kaylyn Funk’s jetboat and qualified in the 10th position. He proceeded to mow down the field and take the trophy. speedboat.com

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SHOWDOWN The lone capsule boat of the weekend. Chris and Candace Irick’s Pro Outlaw, The Final Outlaw, made some test and tune laps, at times going for the Top Alcohol Hydro class entry. Irick got up to 189 miles an hour during the weekend and drove the boat all the way down to the outramp.

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OBSERVER’S SEAT | Ray Lee [continued from page 8]

type—shaving some significant weight from the hull and achieve better overall performance–from handling, stability of the ride and even top speed, thus improving on the second boat and even better with the third. The fourth and fifth offerings were on the way at press time, with more on order. Skater Powerboats still hasn’t fallen into the highly competitive world of the center console, and it’s unlikely that they will. Company principal Peter Hledin knows where their name was built and still only builds high-performance, highly refined catamarans. This year, they brought two of their most popular models—the 368 (with twin Mercury Racing 1100s) and the 388 (with twin Merc 1100s)—which was widen 13 inches to accommodate a roomier cockpit and seating for eight. Hledin is currently tooling a 55' catamaran to be released when he feels it’s ready to be released. That’s simply how he works. Iconic Marine Group has become an industry powerhouse, in short order. Driven by the passion of owner Fred Ross, the company represents the “iconic” brands of Fountain Powerboats, Donzi Marine and Baja Marine. They raised eyebrows last year when the quintessential vee-bottom builder (Fountain) came out with their first catamaran and has since continued to take new orders on them. This year, the raised eyebrows were due to the all-new, all-carbon fiber Donzi Icon 44, equipped with quad Mercury 400Rs. A hybrid of a brute performance catamaran crossbred with the lounging comforts of the center console life–this boat definitely attracted the crowds for second, third and fourth looks. As did the slightly smaller, yet no less attractive, Donzi 41GT. Outerlimits Powerboats arrived to this year’s Miami International Boat Show with

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a palpable renewed energy and swagger. It’s no secret that the company has had more than their fair share of bad luck but the builder from Bristol, RI, seems to back on top of their game. Longtime investor Brian McLaughlin recently claimed sole ownership of the company that the late innovator Mike Fiore founded in 1993, thus giving Outerlimits the stability and direction it had been needing. With two masterpieces in the water to represent their refocused path—the SC46 canopied catamaran with twin Mercury Racing 1350/1100s dubbed Jet (named after Mike’s son, Jet) and the SV43 canopied vee-bottom with twin Merc 1550/1350s

known as Crypto, both exquisitely painted by Stephen Miles Design—it was clear that Outerlimits Powerboats was indeed back, and damned proud to be. There were so many other builders and companies that we visited that I regretfully can’t report on them all here. But rest assured that it is going to be a strong year for the marine industry and especially for the performance market. The crowds at this year’s show were greater than I remember in year’s past and sales were being made in every booth. Soon, it’ll be time to go out and use them all. See you on the water!

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Profile for Brett Bayne

Speedboat April 2019  

Speedboat April 2019