Speedboat march 2018

Page 1



RIDE LIKE THE John Woodruff’s Kick-Ass 48’ MTI

FAST5 Five LOTO Owners Tell Their Stories Cigarette • Sunsation Skater • Motion • MTI MARCH 2018

MARCH 2018


85973_SpeedBoatMar18_001.indd 1

2/7/18 1:25 PM

85973_SpeedBoatMar18 _002,003,013,015,033,037,041,045,047,053,084.indd 2

2/6/18 4:25 PM

85973_SpeedBoatMar18 _002,003,013,015,033,037,041,045,047,053,084.indd 3

2/6/18 4:25 PM


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

Your next boat purchase is an investment in both your family and yourself. Make the right choice.


50 years of serving the custom boat industry.

The 28SS with twin 300s... The fastest way to get to 100mph! LAKE HAVASU CITY, ARIZONA • 800.279.5398 • E-MAIL: sales@NordicBoatsUSA.com

NORDIC_spread_0615.indd 4

5/6/15 12:41 AM

NORDIC_spread_0615.indd 5

5/6/15 12:41 AM

Table of Contents MARCH 2018 ®

COLUMNS 8 10 12 62



42 RIDE LIKE THE WIND If John Woodruff isn’t behind the throttles of his 48' MTI, you’ll probably find him behind the throttles of his Bell Long Ranger helicopter.

48 BY GEORGE! Meet George Argyros, who has a Donzi vee hull, an MTI cat, a center console and a vintage Rogers river jetboat.



As the L.A. Boat Show hits the Pomona Fairplex, Speedboat checks in with the muscleboat builders on the “left coast.”

Members of the Florida Powerboat Club set course for the Southernmost city.



Straight from the Lake of the Ozarks, the drivers of five awesome musclecraft (Cigarette, Sunsation, Skater, Motion, MTI) tell their stories.

A fast, freewheeling New Year’s weekend brings together funrunners without pesky registrations or entry fees.


S P E E D B O A T | March 2018

85973_SpeedBoatMar18_006-007.indd 6


2/5/18 10:51 PM

Speedboat.com Published by DCO Enterprises, LLC Publishers

Ray Lee ray@speedboat.com

Chris Davidson chris@speedboat.com


Brett Bayne brett@speedboat.com

Senior Tech Editors Jim Wilkes jim@speedboat.com

Alexi Sahagian alexi@speedboat.com

Tech Editors

National Sales Director Art Director

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

Gail Hada-Insley

Helicopter Services Fred Young fyoung@live.com

Photographers Cover photo by Todd Taylor Table of Contents photo by Stu Jones / Florida Powerboat Club

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

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




Marty Russo of Hesperia, CA, shows off his 21' Tom Papp Phantom cat. Web Design


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

68 WEEKEND IN PARADISE Lake Elsinore, CA, rings in the new year with its annual go-fast celebration.

Craig Lathrop

Editorial Offices

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

The SoCalJetBoats group reconvenes at the Avi Resort in Laughlin, NV. 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.

S P E E D B O A T | March 2018

85973_SpeedBoatMar18_006-007.indd 7


2/5/18 10:51 PM

OBSERVER’S SEAT RAY LEE The winter weather forecasts do not seem to be playing nicely with the boating community lately. Each report seems to be a replay of the days and weeks before. As a large part of the nation lies under a frigid layer of ice and snow, I can only imagine the frustrations of having your “pride and joy” socked away for the winter.

The infamous Copper Canyon in its heyday.

Then vs. Now Daydreaming

A view of the Colorado River’s beautiful Topock Gorge. Living in Southern California, similar to Arizona and Florida, our boating seasons tend to be longer than most other areas of the country. That’s one of the good things about living on the West Coast. We think that “winterizing the boat,” means bringing a jacket or blanket onboard. But wherever your geography has you, we have one thing in common. We are all daydreaming about the time that we can go boating again. When the sun is warm, the cooler is packed and the boat is cherry. One of my favorite boating daydreams takes me back to my adolescent youth. More specifically, in high school when my childhood friend Brandon Proctor’s parents would astonishingly allow our group of rowdy 17-year-olds to not only travel unchaperoned to Lake Havasu City, AZ, to use their lake house, but also to run their 18' Bayliner while we were out there!


S P E E D B O A T | March 2018

85973_SpeedBoatMar18 _008.indd 8

Looking back, this thought is insanity to me now. But Mr. and Mrs. Proctor trusted us and we tried not to violate their trust. Admittedly, we didn’t try very hard—but we tried, nonetheless. These were the days that sculpted my passion for performance boats. Seeing the shined-up river flatties and the “pickle forks” and the massive, nearly 30' boats had me longing for the day that I would own my own. We would spend the weekend running the boat up, down and around the lake, cresting 42 blistering miles per hour and taking turns driving. We’d go fishing, tubing, water-skiing and, thanks to MTV’s annual Spring Break coverage, visit the wildly popular hot spot of Copper Canyon on the California side. This was a small cove with a large rock in the center of it. Boats upon boats would cram in there, until you could

hardly see the water anymore and you’d have to walk across the decks of other boats to get anywhere. There was another pair of large rocks onshore where the brave (and/or drunk) thrill seekers would climb up and then jump off, to the enthusiastic roars and cheers of the Copper crowd. Other times, we would make a run up through the famous and picturesque Topock Gorge of the Colorado River. To me, this was (and still is) a soul-cleansing experience. Its path has clear, emeraldgreen waters lined with large, beautiful brown and red rocks, looming like nature’s skyscrapers. Going 40 mph with the Mötley Crüe cassette tape blaring through the Kraco speakers was everything to us back then. But my favorite times were always the rides back down river. Usually we would hang out all day and try and get back to the launch ramp before the sun would fall. I can still remember sitting in the open-bow section of that Bayliner— feeling the warm Arizona wind in my face, the soothing hiss of the boat cruising across the water and the faint tunes of something mellow. Usually a classic rock mixtape. I often still try to recreate those times when I’m out on Lake Havasu and running through the Topock Gorge. Even down to timing the sunset run. I’m usually with some of the same friends from way back then and with my best girl, Julie Stepnick, by my side. But now it’s with a classic-rock iPod playlist instead. And considerably faster than 40. speedboat.com

2/3/18 11:41 PM

71327_SpeedBoatMarch_002,003,009,013,015,017,047,049,053,055,81,084_newADS.indd 2

2/3/17 4:33 PM

ON THE DYNO Alexi Sahagian

Personally, I replace my front pump at rebuild every time, no matter what.

Trans No Go!

oil level is up to snuff. At times they are sensitive to level. One basic thing that people tend to forget is that you need to balance the boat height to simulate how it sits in the water. The motors are at downhill angles and the levels can often read funky. Once that is checked, make sure the oil is blood red and not dark. Burnt clutches discolor the oil pretty fast in those. Take a turkey baster, pull a small oil sample and look for glitter. If it has a little bit, that’s fine—the filter is doing its job. But a lot of it indicates that there’s a problem that is pump or planetary related. After doing all of these checks, verify the line pressure. If the line pressure is low or if the pump is having an issue, the pressure will not engage much in the trans. Usually the front pumps take a beating and lower the line pressure in these boats. Personally, I replace my front pump at rebuild every time, no matter what. It is just a refurbished original GM part most of the time. I use a billet custom one, but as you do 2-3 shifts, it pushes the coupler shaft/ spline drive into the pump—at times opening the clearance and eventually not allowing enough line pressure. In my opinion, it is more reliable to have a converter shop build you a locked-out converter than having a sloppy spline adapter for big-hp units. It is fixed and can’t move once the setting is applied. Finally, don’t forget to change your filter and flush the oil cooler out—or replace it, depending on your findings.

Dear Alexi: I have a Schiada V-drive. After storing my boat for two years, I put it in the water. The engine fired up and ran well. My problem is that when I go to shift it, there’s a delay and sometimes does it not engage until I rev the engine up. It seems OK once under way, but it does not get better or worse. Please advise. James Vanderhault Parker, AZ

Carb Issues

V-drive boats like your Schiada are typically outfitted with a Turbo 400 auto trans with a manual reverse valve body conversion for marine use. If your transmission sits for a long period of time, you may want to first be sure that your


S P E E D B O A T | March 2018

85973_SpeedBoatMar18 _010.indd 10

Dear Alexi: I have a 500-hp naturally aspirated big block 502 in my boat. It has a Demon carburetor on it. The shop that works on my boat damaged a fuel bowl, so they ordered a Holley 850 the same size as my old Demon. It runs well, but it loads up at idle and taking off. Running along, it seems to be fine. I thought all 850s were all the same! Please help, as it is really

annoying and the folks at my shop are at their wits’ end! Ken Miller Eastvail, CA

Usually if your engine has run well with a certain part number carb, you want to do everything you can to stick with the carburetor part number and jets, etc., as the original. If you get stuck buying a new carb, rest assured they are never the same metering from brand to brand—even with newer versions of the same part number. It should be calibrated and verified, or major engine damage may occur. We recommend at least reviewing the old part number and trying to match basics, such as whether or not it contains power valves, metering block part numbers and idle air bleed numbers. An air fuel meter on the boat would verify this, so you don’t need to pull the engine and put it on the dyno. With all that being said, no two carbs are the same, and usually even the manuals will suggest a professional verification and tune to be safe. Most out-of-the-box carbs are close for the street, but not for marine. Unfortunately, not every marine carb is best for your application, which forces you to use an auto version with some mods. Make sure you stay safe and have it reviewed. speedboat.com

1/31/18 8:44 PM

83892_SpeedboatJ18_003,010,015,021,027,031,035,039,041,045,081,083,084.indd 10

12/7/17 11:26 AM


Fountain 32’ Cat to debut in Miami Fountain Powerboats will introduce a 32' Performance Cat at the Miami Boat Show. This boat marks the first performance catamaran offering in the Fountain brand. The Fountain 32' will be offered with Mercury 400R outboards. The Fountain Cat evolves from an existing outboard racing hull that has tremendous responsiveness, track and ride. The other aspect that has always been a Fountain quality is excellent hull efficiency resulting in extraordinary range and speed. Ed Champion of Big Thunder Marine, who campaigned the prototype in the Key West Poker Run said, “The boat doesn’t know it’s a 32. It

has big-water capability with amazing quickness. When we decided to enter the cat market, we wanted a boat that could be the basis for additional models.” “This hull had the various attributes that fit the Fountain DNA and we also feel that it will be a solid platform for further development of outboard cats,” said Joe Curran of Iconic Marine Group. “We feel the Fountain branding of the cat is the right decision for the market and the client. The Fountain brand and its storied history works for this next generation.” When testing was completed and some revisions were made, the boat

entered production in November 2017. An initial production run of five units will be completed this spring. Big Thunder Marine is presently the exclusive dealer for Fountain Performance, but Iconic plans to offer the boats for sale through other dealers as the market is realized.

The effort to prevent the spread of quag- ventional-shaped anchors. “As a Lake Havasu City based busiga mussels throughout freshwater lakes and rivers in the western United States has been ongoing since 2007, when the harmful mollusks were initially discovered in Lake Mead and specific portions of the Colorado River including Lake Havasu. Although numerous containment strategies have been employed by various local, state and federal agencies during the past ten years, quaggas have proven to be a stubborn and virtually unstoppable adversary, infecting a grow-

ness focused on the boating industry, I’ve been aware of the growing problem presented by the spread of quagga mussels,” says Ryan Dvorak, founder and president of Slide Anchor. “Because they multiple so quickly once introduced into a water body, quagga mussels soon dominate an ecosystem, causing potential havoc for all living organisms. And just as critical is the costly damage that quagga mussels do to vital infrastructure

Quagga Mussels Targeted ing number of lakes and rivers across western states. Now, private industry has joined the fight and taken up the challenge. Slide Anchor, manufacturer of its patented and popular Box Anchor, has committed itself to the aquatic invasive species fight. Dvorak coined the original term Box Anchor more than two decades ago to describe the unique rectangular configuration of his anchor which makes it different and more effective than con-


S P E E D B O A T | March 2018

85973_SpeedBoatMar18_012,80,81.indd 12

like water treatment plants, dams, aqueducts, marinas and irrigation systems by clogging intakes and drains.” It wasn’t until early spring of 2017 that anchors became a central issue in preventing quagga mussels from unknowingly being transported by trailer boaters to other fresh water bodies via anchor contamination. In data prepared by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, it was learned that an overwhelming percentage of quagga mus-

Above left: Lake Havasu Marine Association President Jim Salscheider with Slide Anchor’s Box Anchor. Above: The dreaded quagga mussels. sel intercepts discovered at California Border Protection Stations cited anchors as the source of contamination during routine inspections. The Lake Havasu Marine Association, which has been involved in educating over 31,000 recreational boaters about aquatic invasive species prevention methods since 2013 with a grant from U.S. Fish and Wildlife, immediately saw the need for additional emphasis of the

[Continues on page 80] speedboat.com

2/6/18 4:35 PM

85973_SpeedBoatMar18 _002,003,013,015,033,037,041,045,047,053,084.indd 13

2/6/18 4:25 PM

West World As the L.A. Boat Show hits the Pomona Fairplex, Speedboat checks in with the muscleboat builders on the “left coast.”


or the second consecutive year,

the Los Angeles Boat Show—once considered a permanent fixture of the Convention Center in downtown L.A.—drew potential customers to the Fairplex in Pomona, CA, located 31 miles west of the City of Angels. Although not every speedboat builder took the opportunity to display their wares at the show, the ones that did (Adrenaline, DCB, Eliminator, Hallett, Howard, Interceptor, Nordic, RPM and Shockwave) appeared to be doing brisk business and encountering better-than-expected foot traffic in the show’s sophomore outing in Pomona. We talked to the major West Coast players at the show, as well as few who weren’t there (Advantage, Cobra, Domn8er, Lavey Craft, Caliber 1) and asked them what they had going on for 2018 and beyond.


S P E E D B O A T | March 2018

85973_SpeedBoatMar18 _014,16-19.indd 14

by Brett

Bayne photography by Ray Lee

DCB Performance Boats DCB Performance Boats of El Cajon, CA, reports that it already has five boats slated for production of its newest model, the M33R. It’s an outboard-only sports catamaran with a 9'7" beam designed to accept twin or triple Mercury Racing Verado 400s. “It’s a size that customers have been asking for,” says DCB President Jeff Johnston of the model’s popularity. “This outboard regime is really taking off in a new direction, and I don’t think it’s going to slow down anytime soon.” The M33R is basically a modified version of DCB’s M35 with the bustle cut down. “You can get into it for $400K instead of $700K with 1100s or 1350s,” Johnston explains. “It obviously doesn’t go as fast, but some people don’t care as much, as long as it goes 110 mph. It’s probably half the insurance costs, and the maintenance is a fourth of what it is on the big turbine motors. And, of course, the fuel consumption is great.” (Continued on Page 15) speedboat.com

2/5/18 8:44 PM

85973_SpeedBoatMar18 _002,003,013,015,033,037,041,045,047,053,084.indd 15

2/6/18 4:25 PM

West World The 33’s place in the DCB stable has given the company a truly impressive overall lineup. “It seems to be filling every void, and we’re really stoked about this new 33. We think it’s going to be a really good price point boat,” Johnston says. Speaking about the big picture at DCB, Johnston said the company has enough orders on hand to keep the crew busy until early 2019. “We’re blessed to be as busy as we are. We’ve got two 28s in the queue, one 29, four 31s, five 33s, two 35s, a 41 and a 44. It’s every end of the scale.”

Some views of DCB’s new 33 being tooled and laid up. The company currently has five orders for this model.

Nordic Boats Thane Tiemer, general manager of Nordic Boats, recently hinted that two new models are in the works: a 33’ twin-outboard cat, as well as the long-awaited center-console model that would serve as the West Coast’s first such entry into that rapidly growing market. Tiemer said that both boats are on the way from Nordic. Meanwhile, the factory has been working overtime producing its first batch of Hallett models (see page 17), as well as the following orders for Nordic: two 29 deckboats, a third 29 deckboat with twin 400s, a 28' SS with twin 400s, a 34 deckboat with 600s (freshly out of the mold), and finally Randy Davis’s personal boat, a 43' with 1550s that was being rigged at press time. Tiemer said Nordic was in the process of discussing the possibility of a regatta later this year. Check the company’s Facebook page and official website (nordicboatsusa.com) for updated information.


S P E E D B O A T | March 2018

85973_SpeedBoatMar18 _014,16-19.indd 16

Nordic displayed several models from its expansive lineup, including its popular 28SS and 29 Deck Boat.


2/5/18 8:44 PM

Eliminator Boats Company President Bob Leach and his crew started off the new year with a bang with seven new boats to build, a clear demonstration that the economy is back on track. Orders are dominated by the 27' Speedster, powered by twin 400 Verados. “It’s mid-January and the phone has not stopped ringing,” Leach says. Eliminator is also building a new 22' Daytona with a single 400 Verado that’s sure to be a real crowd pleaser. Also in-process are a 23' Eagle Jet, 26' Eagle and a 27' Daytona

Above: Eliminator’s 28 Fundeck is on display, accompanied by a blowup of Speedboat Magazine’s March 2016 review of the boat. Left: The 27' Speedster, powered by twin Mercury Racing 400 outboards, continues to be one of the company’s bestselling models. Below: Eliminator’s 28 Fundeck.

Standard Deck. “It’s nice to see interest in the smaller boats,” Leach says. This year’s Eliminator Regatta will be at the London Bridge Resort the weekend of April 28. Look for Eliminator to make a strong showing at Desert Storm; the builder also has plans to hold some regional gatherings in the Pacific Northwest and Oklahoma City, and it plans to end the year at Lake Cumberland. No new tooling is in the works at this time, although there are some early developmental top-secret plans in the works. We can’t wait to hear what’s in store for Eliminator down the road!

Hallett Boats After Hallett was acquired by Nordic Boats in late 2017, the plan was to try to get some Halletts into the Los Angeles Boat Show. The timing didn’t quite work out; however, the Lake Havasu Boat Show (April 6-8) is a good bet to see some new product. At press time, Nordic was laying up its first 285 Hallett deck boat. “It’s getting sprayed today,” says Nordic GM Thane Tiemer, “and we’re doing a 40' Hallett with 600s as well.” Each new Hallett is going to be completely built at Nordic’s facility in Lake Havasu. “In the past, Hallett would have to go out and sub-out their windshields, interiors and all those kinds of things,” Tiemer says. Nordic will now build and CNC machine all of Hallett’s own windows, tanks, etc. Meanwhile, all of the Nordic and Hallett models are being built under one roof, and on display in Nordic’s showroom. “The only difference with the Halletts—and I get this question all the time—is ‘What are you going to change with the Hallett?’ All that is changing is that the boat is going to be 100% composite. There will be no more wood in it. You can either get a fiberglass line floor or you can still get the teak and holly flooring. We’ll be bending all our own windshields, making all our own stainless steel. It will all be in-house.” No new Hallett models are currently being planned, but customers have been “coming out of the woodwork” for service, Tiemer says. “We’ve been taking care of them, and it’s been great meeting so many nice, new people. Hallett people are a class act.” Above: Versatile Hallett is equally adept at crafting vees and

tunnels, including its popular 285 deck boat (top). speedboat.com

85973_SpeedBoatMar18 _014,16-19.indd 17

S P E E D B O A T | March 2018


2/5/18 8:44 PM

West World Above: Lavey Craft’s popular 2750 model.

Team Woody, Lavey’s race boat.

Lavey Craft In 2017, sales at Corona, CA-based Lavey began to spike: over the summer, orders started to come in fairly steadily, including one for a 2750 with twin outboards. Meanwhile, their 24' NuEra continues to be one of the best bangs for your speedboating buck. “It’s been a great product for us for a while, so we’ve been trying to pinpoint exactly what the boat costs us to make so we can determine how to best market it at a great price point,” says owner Chris Camire. “It’s the most popular boat in our lineup, because it runs great in rough water. We have one on the floor, one in construction and another order behind it.” Lavey once dominated in the outboard market, so it’s no surprise that

Camire is eager to take advantage of the current outboard sales boom. “In addition to the twin-outboard 2750, we’ve got some stuff on the drawing board, which is very exciting. The West Coast cat market is hot, and we want to chime in with some of our existing Lavey tooling and modify it to the twin outboard application. We’re hoping to do a 32’ or 34’ cat in the near future.” In addition to taking new orders, Lavey’s original canopy race boat (now called Team Woody) was back on the course last season, and will be racing in 2018 as well. “The guys on the team are young, excited, eager to learn,” Camire says. “They did really well.” In fact, the team’s crew chief recently placed an order for a brand new race boat from Lavey as well. “We’ll be doing a full carbon kevlar laminate on it. We’re very excited to be having another race boat out there.”

Caliber 1 Custom Boats Lake Havasu City, AZ-based Caliber 1—builder of open-bow performance vees 21' to 28', as well as a 26’ Deck Boat—was building a Silver Bullet deck boat for a customer in Oklahoma as of this writing. Powered by a 565, it’s practically identical to the shop’s demo boat, with only a few exceptions: it’s got a slightly different color fade, a bigger stereo, and it won’t feature a full cap (only front and rear). “The original demo boat was laid up really heavy, because we were planning on doing a 1,300-hp engine,” explains company co-owner Robert Hoffman of Coast Motor Group, “but this one will be normal weight and a little faster.” In addition, Caliber 1 is just finishing work on a 2450 Phantom for stock; at press time, it was just waiting for power. As for a new model, there are long-range plans to build a 28 deckboat when time allows. “We’re going to stretch the bottom of the 265, and it will be the traditional style rather than the 265, which has the stairs,” Hoffman says of the Silver Bullet’s smartly sculpted rear-entry access. Caliber 1 is planning to bring at least four models to the Lake Havasu Boat Show.

Above: Caliber One’s 265 Silver Bullet deck boat features a unique rear-entry stair access.

Shockwave Boats

Above: Shockwave’s 22 Deck Boat.


S P E E D B O A T | March 2018

85973_SpeedBoatMar18 _014,16-19.indd 18

“We’re building boats,” grins Bob Anderson, president of Corona, CA-based Shockwave, builder of performance vees, cats and deckboats ranging in size from 22' to 35'. Anderson says its 22' Deck has been tweaked to accommodate outboard power and now features a larger floor area. “We moved the seat back and now it has a ton of room in it,” he says. At press time, the Mercury 350 engine was backordered, so Shockwave wasn’t able to bring the revamped 22' Deck to the L.A. Boat Show, but it will likely be available by the time this issue hits newsstands. Speeds should be in the 70-75 mph neighborhood. speedboat.com

2/5/18 8:44 PM

“The last couple years, our sales have been steady across the board,” Anderson reports. “It seems as if we almost always have a big deck boat being rigged. Our 22’ boats have been popular, and the 26 Cats have been popular again as well, so that’s kept us going.”

Above: Shockwave’s 25' Tremor (left) and 28 Deck (right).

Cobra Performance Boats

Above and right: An artist’s rendering of the new Cobra 280 Venom, and some shots of the boat being tooled. Cobra plans to debut the finished version at the Lake Havasu Boat Show.

Montclair, CA-based Cobra is getting ready to unveil a brandnew model, the 280 Venom, in a couple of months. “We are tooling the plug right now so we can create a mold next month and build our first boat,” says Cobra general manager Hernando Rodriguez. The 280, the big sister to the 260 Venom, is expected to debut at the Lake Havasu Boat Show. “We’re going to build a mold for the I/O version, then we’ll make some changes to that and make a mold for an outboard version,” Rodriguez tells Speedboat. “That’s the highlight of what we’re doing right this minute.” Cobra had recently built a 28’ Python deck boat, as well as a 230 Razor at the time of this writing.

Left: Adrenaline’s 28' Savage features 100% infused vinylester, nowood construction. Below: Interceptor’s 28' Kool Kat. The company unveiled its little sister, the 26' Kool Kat, at this year’s L.A. Boat Show.

Above: Howard Boats’ 255 VTX Sport Deck. This new model was designed to compete with the tournament boats. speedboat.com

85973_SpeedBoatMar18 _014,16-19.indd 19

S P E E D B O A T | March 2018


2/5/18 8:44 PM



S P E E D B O A T | March 2018

85973_SpeedBoatMar18 _020-24.indd 20




1/31/18 8:53 PM


fast Straight from the Lake of the Ozarks, the drivers of five awesome musclecraft tell their stories. speedboat.com

85973_SpeedBoatMar18 _020-24.indd 21





Todd Taylor • Pete Boden


vents like the annual poker run and shootout at the Lake of the Ozarks afford us the luxury of hand-picking which of these beautiful machines

should grace the pages of our magazine—very often, including our covers. Such was the case at the 2017 LOTO event: we selected five of the wickedest boats on the water to show off in this March issue. This time around, we invited the drivers and owners to tell their own stories—how they got into our sport, and what drove them to select the boats they trailered to LOTO. We’d like to introduce you to these unique individuals. Meet Mike Sayers, owner of a Cigarette 39 Top Gun; William Wilbanks, owner of a Sunsation F-4; Scott Lyons, who drives the 388 Skater for “Jimmy John” Liautaud; Tony Dewaal, owner of a 35 XP Motion; and Steve Stodnick, owner of a 42' MTI. Although these five warriors arrived at their current rides from different directions and have wildly varied backstories, their passion for speedboating is identical. We think you’ll agree that their tales are worth telling here. See you at the 30th Anniversary of the LOTO Poker Run and Shootout Aug. 24-26! S P E E D B O A T | March 2018


1/31/18 8:53 PM

39 Top Gun



ike Sayers, a corn and because there’s a list of people who want soybean farmer from to get it.’ We were lucky to get first shot at it. “The boat runs great. It’s got staggered Illinois, tells us about his Cigarette 39' Top Gun: 525s and it runs right at 90 mph. We’re

“My first boat was a 16’ Baja with a 140-horse Evinrude. It was a really fun ride. After that, I owned a 225 Crownline, a family-type boat. I traded that for an open-bow 25' Baja Islander, then a 25' Baja Outlaw, then a 33' Outlaw. I kept wanting something even faster and nicer. Eventually, I traded the 33' for a 38' Donzi ZR. I really liked that boat. We had been looking for a Cigarette but just couldn’t find one. Then Brett Manire at Performance Boat Center told me about a 2005 39' Top Gun Unlimited for sale. He said, ‘If you want it, you better take it,


S P E E D B O A T | March 2018

85973_SpeedBoatMar18_020-24.indd 22

extremely happy with it. It’s the best-riding, best-handling boat we’ve had on the lake. If you’re familiar with Lake of the Ozarks, you know how rough it gets. The Cigarette is head and shoulders above any boat that we’ve had. It’s a great deal of fun. “Acceleration and the ride at top end are outstanding. We’ve propped it with 31" five-blade Herings. It seems to have the perfect prop on it right now for the lake. The staggered 525s help it turn exceptionally well, and the handling is truly phenomenal. Granted, it’s just a little trickier backing it into some slips. But I really love

the way it handles and turns. “I don’t think we’ve ever gone anyplace on the lake where we haven’t been stopped and asked about the boat. We know a couple of the photographers down there, and they talk about how easy it is to photograph it. It really pops, and the yellow interior also gets a lot of attention, and adds to the pop. We really like it, but of course my fiancée, Jessica, and I are kind of biased! “Every off-season since we’ve had it, the boat goes back to Performance Boat Center for some TLC. It’s had a few scratches, but we’ve gotten rid of all the imperfections that were in it. Last winter, we redid the ignition modules. I would always like to go faster; at some point, we may see about putting some more horsepower in it.” speedboat.com

2/7/18 1:29 PM

Cigarette 39' Top Gun Unlimited Length: 39' Beam: 8' Engines on boat: 2 Mercury Racing 525s Drive: Bravo XR Standard features: Cigarette gelcoat, 8" high-definition touchscreen Garmin 7608 with depth finder, CNC machined billet bolsters, premium JL Audio sound system, bluetooth with Garmin interface, carbon fiber gauge cluster, etc. Propeller size: 31" Hering five-blades Top speed: 90 mph Cigarette Racing 4355 NW 128th St. Opa-Locka, FL 33054 (305) 769-4355 cigaretteracing.com speedboat.com

85973_SpeedBoatMar18 _020-24.indd 23

S P E E D B O A T | March 2018


1/31/18 8:53 PM

Cigarette 39 Top Gun

The yellow interior of Sayers’ Cigarette (above) is one of its most eye-catching features. Unflitered is powered by staggered 525s and features an array of gauges by Livorsi Marine. The dash also sports a digital GPSMAP 741 by Garmin, which integrates a touch-screen display, bluetooth and wireless connectivity.

“I don’t think we’ve ever gone anyplace on the lake where we haven’t been stopped and asked about the boat. It really pops! We really like it, but of course, we’re kind of biased! ”—Mike Sayers 24

S P E E D B O A T | March 2018

85973_SpeedBoatMar18_020-24.indd 24


2/7/18 1:29 PM

80679_SpeedBoatNov17_002,003,009,011,017,025,027,033,081,083.indd 83

10/9/17 6:06 PM




ansas City, MO-based William Wilbanks is a regular boater on the Lake of the Ozarks. We asked him to tell the story of his Sunsation F-4.

“I once dated a lady who had an old Fountain once. That was my introduction to powerboating. I’ve always grown up on the water, and fell in love with the atmosphere down at the Lake of the Ozarks. “We had a 42' Fountain before the Sunsation and loved it. But we wanted a boat with more amenities—generator, heat, A/C, swim deck, etc. The Sunsation offered us a lot of things that we liked in the Fountain, plus it had more power and


S P E E D B O A T | March 2018

85973_SpeedBoatMar18 _026-28.indd 26

it was newer than the one we had. They build a beautiful boat that handles well at high speeds. The way the waves are at Lake of the Ozarks, a hull design will reveal itself pretty quickly. “Mark Boos down in Louisiana built the motors, which are factory 700s with the Stage 3 Whipple upgrades. The boat accelerates very well—once that nose starts dropping down and those props start biting, you can get up to 75 before you get the trim tabs up. The midrange ride is just phenomenal. That 40-80 mph acceleration is very steady and a total thrill. Our top speed so far has been 106 mph. At a recent poker run, a friend rode along with us and said, ‘That was one of the smoothest 100

mph runs I’ve ever had, and I’ve ridden in a lot of boats.’ “Our F-4 was built in 2009, and we’ve had it two and a half years. We love it. It’s got the Mitcher T paint job on it and it just looks so beautiful on the water. It’ll be a tough one to replace, but you know how it is with boats—you never know when that next one is going to catch your eye. “The boat is loaded with amenities—it’s got the luxurious Alcantara interior, Shore Power generator, A/C, heat, microwave, TV, full Livorsi gauges on the dash, Fusion stereo system, and even a real porcelain toilet. As my wife says, ‘I love it! All the cares of the week go flying out the back of the boat when we are in it.’ I agree.” speedboat.com

1/31/18 8:55 PM

Sunsation F-4 Length: 43’5� Beam: 8'11" Engines on boat: Mercury Racing 700 SCis w/Whipple upgrade Drives on boat: NXTs Props on boat: 32" Mercury Standard features and upgrades: Livorsi gauges, Vessel View navigation, Fusion stereo system, generator and Shore Power, A/C and heat, microwave, TV, porcelain toilet, full freshwater water tank, etc. Top speed: 106 mph @ 5,600 rpm Sunsation Powerboats 9666 Kretz Drive Algonac, MI 48001 (810) 794-4888 sunsationboats.com speedboat.com

85973_SpeedBoatMar18 _026-28.indd 27

S P E E D B O A T | March 2018


1/31/18 8:55 PM

Sunsation F-4

The dash of the F-4 features full Livorsi instruments and a Garmin GPS unit. The boat is loaded with amenities—it’s got Shore Power generator, A/C, heat, microwave, TV, Fusion stereo system, and even a real porcelain toilet in the cuddy. The interior also boasts the ultra-luxurious Alcantara fabric.

“The boat accelerates very well—you can get up to 75 before you get the trim tabs up. The midrange ride is phenomenal. That 40-80 acceleration is very steady and a total thrill.” —William Wilbanks 28

S P E E D B O A T | March 2018

85973_SpeedBoatMar18 _026-28.indd 28


1/31/18 8:55 PM

85973_SpeedBoatMar18 _002,003,013,015,029,037,041,045,047,053,084.indd 29

2/7/18 12:35 PM




he Jimmy John’s sandwich franchise is indisputably one of the most famous—and most successful—of its kind in the country. Founded by Jimmy John

Liautaud in 1983, Jimmy John’s has more than 2,500 locations in the United States. Scott Lyons, owner of Central Power and Rigging (Kaiser, MO), drives Liautaud’s Skater 388 Race/Pleasure at many of the poker runs and shootouts across the U.S., including last year’s LOTO event. We invited Lyons to tell us about piloting the Skater.


S P E E D B O A T | March 2018

85973_SpeedBoatMar18 _030-32,63.indd 30

“Central Power and Rigging is a Mercury Racing high-performance dealer and rigger. We’ve been in business for 17 years at the Lake of the Ozarks. We mainly work on high-end boats, such as Slug Hefner’s Dirty Duck. We store them, keep them and maintain them. We do Outerlimits’ and MTI’s warranty work. We’ve dealt with Randy Scism for many, many years. “Jimmy and [Skater owner] Peter Hledin have done boats on and off through the years. He’s bought quite a few boats from him, and he’s got several

other Skaters as well. Jimmy bought this 388 new from Skater in 2014, when it had 1350s in it. We set it up for Jimmy; we maintain it, rig it, store it, drive it— whatever he needs. We’ve known him for nearly 12 years. “We changed the paint because he didn’t like the paint job on it. So it was out of commission for about ten months while it was getting repainted by Mark Morris at Visual Imagination in Missouri to how it looks now. (He’s worked on pretty much all of Jimmy’s boats.) Jimmy

[continues on page 63] speedboat.com

1/31/18 9:01 PM

Skater 388 Length: 38’ Beam: 11’ Engines: Twin Mercury Racing 1350s Fuel Capacity: 280 gallons Weight: 4,300 lbs. Deadrise: 19° Construction: Vacuum-bagged S-glass / carbon / epoxy laminate Skater Powerboats 6780 Enterprise Drive Douglas, MI 49406 (269) 857-4308 skaterpowerboats.com speedboat.com

85973_SpeedBoatMar18 _030-32,63.indd 31

S P E E D B O A T | March 2018


1/31/18 9:01 PM


After purchasing the 388 new from Skater, Jimmy John completely changed the interior, rebuilt the engines and had the boat repainted by Visual Imagination. As a result, Freaky Fast is unrecognizable from its original configuration. Central Power and Rigging does an outstanding job maintaining the Skater.

“A lot of guys want to get the biggest numbers out of their boat. But Jimmy is not that guy. Like all of the boats he owns, he wants it to ride like it’s on rails.” —Scott Lyons 32

S P E E D B O A T | March 2018

85973_SpeedBoatMar18 _030-32,63.indd 32


1/31/18 9:01 PM

Subscribe & Save! It’s the fastest way to get your

go-fast fix! 1 year, 9 issues for $34 delivered to your door.

o t o spe speedboat.com sp


*Current subscribers please call (702) 313-1400 to renew. *Curr


Use Credit Card security through



For orders by mail, send check or money order to: 5840 W. Craig Rd Suite 120, #386, Las Vegas, NV 89130-2730


Attn: Subscriptions


Call us direct at: (702) 313-1400


Med-XL $14.95


XXL $16.95


3XL-4XL $17.95 Shipping and handling to be calculated at time of purchase.



and subscribe today!







1-year $34.00 – 9 issues Canadian rate: $66.00, International rate $77.00 (U.S. Funds)

80679_SpeedBoatNov17_057.indd 57

10/10/17 8:33 PM


Hailing from Kalamazoo, Tony cruiser, and then a 34' Wellcraft Scarab Dewaal is the owner of 2-Tone powered by 350 inboards. This was quite a Auto Body (Mattawan, MI), few years ago!

where you’ll find him hard at work servicing virtually any kind of vehicle. “We work on all cars,” he says. “If it pays money, I want to work on it,” he grins. Off hours, you’ll more apt to find him in a boat; he’s currently in a 40’ Skater, while Performance Boat Center of the Lake of the Ozarks is brokering his 2003 35 XP Motion. After he ran the Motion at the 2017 LOTO poker run, we asked Dewaal to tell us about his experiences in speedboating. “I got started in boating when I was 16 years old. I had a bass boat and did a little fishing. As I got older, I got into a 22' Sea Ray Pachanga, followed by a 32' Baja


S P E E D B O A T | March 2018

85973_SpeedBoatMar18 _034-36,82.indd 34

“I’ve had smaller boats for inland lakes, like a Gambler with a 2.5 on it. They’re fast little fishing boats. That was actually one of my first larger speedboats that I ran. But for 30 years, I always wanted a big cat. Actually, I’ve always dreamed of having a Skater. Finally I turned 50—and you know how mid-life crises kicks in—and I said, ‘I’m gonna buy this cat.’ So I bought a 35 Motion XP from a seller in Buffalo, NY. The previous owner ran it only in freshwater. I don’t think it’s ever been in saltwater. “I’ve only been running the boat for two years. The only upgrade I’ve done is having it painted (by T&D Custom Painting in

Zealand, MI). I spent a ton of money just painting it—it cost me around $22,000. It had a wrap on it when I bought it, and I hated that wrap, so I took it all off and had it painted. It was an older wrap, so the boat was starting to have some spots that were bad in it—I couldn’t wait to get it all off! “For power, it has three 300 three-liter EFIs that are the same year as the boat, 2003. It drives very well. It comes out of the water great and planes fast. I’ve had it a little over the 105-mph range. “Going from a vee to a cat was amazing. It’s so much better in a cat. You’re so much freer in the water. With a vee hull, you’re hitting every wave you see, whereas with a cat, it’s like you’re always going over

[continues on page 82] speedboat.com

2/6/18 2:02 PM



Motion 35XP Length: 35' Beam: 9'3" Engines on test boat: Three Mercury Racing 300 outboards Weight: 3,200 lbs. Fuel capacity: 200 gallons Standard features: Custom racing bucket seats with rear bench seat seat with combing pads, stainless-steel pop-up cleats (4), stainless-steel lifting eyes, bow and stern, stainlesssteel fuel fills, white color gelcoat, hull and deck bonded around entire perimeter, bi-tri axial directional fiberglass construction using vacuum bag techniques, vinylester resin. Top speed: 105+ mph Performance Boat Center (Brokerage) 1650 Yacht Club Dr. Osage Beach, MO 65065 (573) 873-2300 performanceboatcenter.com speedboat.com

85973_SpeedBoatMar18 _034-36,82.indd 35

S P E E D B O A T | March 2018


2/6/18 2:02 PM

Motion 35XP

When auto-body shop owner Tony Dewaal bought the Motion, it featured a wrap, which he ultimately stripped off. The boat was then painted by T&D Custom Painting of Zealand, MI. The boat features quarter canopies, port-side steering, and Garmin touchscreen GPS. Dewaal modified an old ambulance (below left) to be his tow vehicle.

“The Motion drives very well. It comes out of the water great and planes fast. I’ve had it a little over the 105-mph range.” —Tony Dewaal 36

S P E E D B O A T | March 2018

85973_SpeedBoatMar18 _034-36,82.indd 36


2/6/18 2:02 PM

85973_SpeedBoatMar18 _002,003,013,015,033,037,041,045,047,053,084.indd 37

2/6/18 4:25 PM



42 RP

teve Stodnick’s dad got him in St. Louis. It’s kind of a man-cave con- see the MTI on the Florida Intracoastal. into boating at a young age, so cept—luxury garage condos for guys who The owner lived in a house right on

he’s been involved in the sport his whole life. The St. Louis, MO, native has spent a lot of hours on the Lake of the Ozarks, most recently with his 42’ MTI. We asked him to tell us about his life in speedboating. “I’m general manager of a fire and water restoration company, but I’m also into some development. I’ve got a few buildings, including a car/condominium project that a colleague and I built back


S P E E D B O A T | March 2018

85973_SpeedBoatMar18 _038-40,64.indd 38

have more toys than space. “My first boats included a Sea Ray, a Formula 400 SS and a 43' Nor-Tech purchased from Randy Sweers that had 1150 motors by Ron Potter in it. Then I owned a 46' Cigarette Rough Rider called American Muscle 2, powered by 1075s. “The 2006 42' RP (Race/Pleasure) was originally owned by someone of Fort Lauderdale. Oddly enough, when I would go down to Lip-Ship Marine, I would

the Intracoastal outside of TNT Custom Marine—it always sat out on the point on the left-hand side. And I always admired that boat. Eventually, it made its way to Lake of the Ozarks, where someone there owned it for a couple years before I bought it from him. I knew the gentleman who owned it before me, and saw that he had it up for sale. I took delivery of the boat two years ago.

[continues on page 64] speedboat.com

1/31/18 9:05 PM

MTI 42' RP Length: 41'8" Beam: 10'2" Engines on test boat: 2 Mercury Racing 1075 SCis Hull weight: 10,300 lbs. Fuel Capacity: 270 gallons Standard features: Garmin dash, ventilation vents, SeaDek flooring, etc. Marine Technology Inc. 165 Enterprise Drive Wentzville, MO 63385 (636) 639-1166 marinetechnologyinc.com


85973_SpeedBoatMar18 _038-40,64.indd 39

S P E E D B O A T | March 2018


1/31/18 9:05 PM

MTI 42

The first thing anybody will notice about Steve Stodnick’s 42' MTI is the eye-popping paint job by Visual Imagination. The dash arrangement (above) gives the driver and passenger plenty to look at...especially the passenger. There’s seating for five in the cockpit, which is itself a work of art.

“I’d compare the 42 RP to a sports car. It rides like it’s on rails. Most guys say this about cats. It’s a very fast boat, and the midrange acceleration is truly outstanding.” —Steve Stodnick 40

S P E E D B O A T | March 2018

85973_SpeedBoatMar18 _038-40,64.indd 40


1/31/18 9:05 PM

85973_SpeedBoatMar18 _002,003,013,015,033,037,041,045,047,053,084.indd 41

2/6/18 4:25 PM

RIDE If John Woodruff isn’t behind the throttles of Windship, his 48' MTI, you’ll probably find him holding the collective of Windship, his Bell 206L-4 LongRanger helicopter.

Interview by Brett

Bayne photography by Todd Taylor, Pete Boden & Matt Keller

Left: John Woodruff pilots his 48' MTI Windship with his daughter Ally riding shotgun. Top left: The boat sits alongside Woodruff’s other beloved vehicle, the Windship helicopter.

photography by 42

Todd Taylor

S P E E D B O A T | March 2018

85973_SpeedBoatMar18 _042-44,46.indd 42


2/5/18 9:03 PM


erhaps you’ve seen John Woodruff at one of the many poker runs he has attended.

down with Woodruff to ask him about his passions.

If not, you’ve probably seen his 48' MTI Windship in the pages of this magazine. One thing is for certain: You’ve probably treated yourself to a Coca-Cola at least once in your life. Woodruff, who hails from the soft drink’s founding family, is a serious boater, helicopter pilot and philanthropist. Along with Windship, he is the owner of the similarly named and painted Bell 206L-4 LongRanger helicopter that quite often finds its way to the poker runs he attends. We sat

Speedboat: Your MTI has been around for a few years, hasn’t it? John Woodruff: It’s a 2011 model. When the 1350 Mercury engines first came out, I had already ordered it. I was at the Miami Boat Show that year and saw the debut of the 1350s. Well, I just had to have them in my boat, so I changed the order. It put my delivery date off seven months to wait on the 1350 engines. I had the third pair out of the factory. Originally, I was going to put 1200s in it. I’m so glad I didn’t.


85973_SpeedBoatMar18 _042-44,46.indd 43

SB: Are you still running those original engines today? JW: Yes, I have the same set of engines in it. I refreshed them at 190 hours and they were running fine, because I was afraid something might break. I’m back at 175 hours again right now, and everything is still running great. I’m perfectly happy with it. I’m going to try to be the first one to go to 300 hours. SB: What else can you tell us about how the powerplant is set up? JW: The drives are M8s, and they’re spinning 17½”x39” Mercury props. I like those 39s. I’ve also got a set of 41s S P E E D B O A T | March 2018


2/5/18 9:03 PM

RIDE Like the Wind

Above: A glimpse of the MTI’s dash, which Woodruff had overhauled two years ago. Right: One of the boat’s original 1350 engines.

that I carry in the boat just in case I need them. With the 41s, your top end will be 7 or 8 mph higher while you’re running on a long, stretched-out, flat place. But the best props for acceleration are the 39s—they get to 150 much quicker, and they get on plane easier. I tell most people that speed is just a number on the dashboard—nothing good happens after 150 mph. My favorite speed in the boat is 75 mph to 110 mph. The real fun is riding with like-minded people. I love it when we all ride together. SB: Where are the best places to take the boat? JW: For six years, I ran the Pirates of Lanier Poker Run, which I retired from in 2016. Of course, that was my favorite one. It was the home lake here at Lake Lanier in Georgia. But since I quit doing that one, I’ve spread my love around to a whole bunch of other poker runs. And that’s helped those, by the way, over the past few years. It’s increased their attendance when I go. I also contribute some money to each one of them that I go to. I might have put the bulk of the money in


S P E E D B O A T | March 2018

85973_SpeedBoatMar18 _042-44,46.indd 44

my own run for the charity previously. So it’s been fun to do that. One of the coolest things about poker runs is that each one has its own person-

ality. You start to see the personalities of each one, and then you choose which ones are your favorites—along with your other boating friends—and you pretty speedboat.com

2/5/18 9:03 PM

85973_SpeedBoatMar18 _002,003,013,015,033,037,041,045,047,053,084.indd 45

2/6/18 4:25 PM

RIDE Like the Wind

Left: A stuffed bear wearing a Coca-Cola scarf clutches a throttle. It’s a tribute to Woodruff’s family business. Far left: Woodruff with daughter Ally. JW: At my poker run at Lake Lanier, we raised over $2.5 million for the three charities we chose for that poker run. Since then, I’ve given away between $30,000 to $40,000 a year, spreading it around to my friends’ poker runs. It’s not a jarring amount, but it helps, and it also helps all our other friends. If they see me give money, they say, “This must be worthwhile.” And I make sure that the charities I do support are worthwhile. They are 501(c)(3) charities that benefit something specific. For example, I selected a charity like Camp Twin Lakes here in Georgia, and Junior Diabetes, when I attended the Lake Powell run. When you give them anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000, it really makes a difference for them. I try to affect locally because it makes a dramatic difference for the smaller charities trying to raise money for great causes for people.

much all agree: ‘Oh yeah, we’re all going back for this one. And maybe we’ll try this one next year.’ And you change it up a little bit. My two favorite places to go now are the Lake of the Ozarks and Key West. One thing I like about being up at LOTO is that everybody stays up there at the hotel. We’re a close-knit group, and even though attendees from these events don’t regularly see each other except at boating events, we’ve all become good friends regardless of the distance, thanks to boating. Last year, we put together a bikini contest by the pool. I rented a 12'x12' screen, not only to play my own personal videos, but so I could play the fight that was on that Saturday night. I’m not a big fight fan, but apparently there were a lot of people who were. I bet we had a thousand people there.


S P E E D B O A T | March 2018

85973_SpeedBoatMar18 _042-44,46.indd 46

When I go to LOTO, I’ll take along the helicopter with a cameraman. But when I take it down to Key West, my good friend from Bell Helicopter—he’s a test pilot out there—he comes along and flies for free for me, because it’s so much fun and he doesn’t get to do that kind of flying when he’s at work. Now, when I go up to LOTO, I’m the boat guy and the helicopter guy. You’ll never see the helicopter and the boat running at the same time at LOTO. SB: Were helicopters ever part of your professional career? JW: I’ve been flying for 38 years, and the helicopter’s been my “car” my entire life. I’m not in the helicopter business; it’s just been my mode of transportation since 1977 or 1978. SB: Approximately how much money have you raised for charity?

SB: How many more years of pleasure do you think this boat will bring to you? JW: A lot of people ask me, ‘When are you going to build yourself a new boat?’ Some people out there, who have way more money than I do, build a new boat every few years. They enjoy the building of the boat even more than running it. But I’ve got a really good hull in this 48. Why would I build a new boat? I would just redo this one. Two years ago, I actually did overhaul the entire boat. I took it back to MTI, and even though the engines remain the same, I took everything out of the interior—the entire dashboard, the cabin with its queen-sized bed and A/C and heat, and redid all of the surfaces everywhere. It was a $150,000 upgrade, so I renamed the boat Windship 2.0. SB: You’re recently single. Who accompanies you to the events now? JW: I guess my partner in life is my daughter, Ally. Everybody in the boating world knows Ally. She’s 26 and she shares my passion for boating and flying in helicopters. She practically grew up in helicopters. She and her brother John both. speedboat.com

2/5/18 9:03 PM

85973_SpeedBoatMar18 _002,003,013,015,033,037,041,045,047,053,084.indd 47

2/6/18 4:25 PM

G GEORGE! George Argyros is a man with a mission. Actually, four missions. He’s got a Donzi vee hull, an MTI cat, a center console and a vintage Rogers river jetboat.

interview by

Brett Bayne

photography by

Todd Taylor


n our second of two interviews with Argyros and questioned him about his that were at the car auction, so we went philanthropic speedboaters, we now life with his wife, Shannon, and his vari- out to look at a new Eliminator hull that we were thinking about powering. Then pay tribute to George Argyros, pres- ous missions.

ident and CEO of Elite Financial Group, the Newport Beach, CA-based company he founded in 2003. Argyros owns several different boats— each one for a different “mission,” as he says. He’s the owner of the famous 43' Donzi Donzilla vee hull, an classic 1970s Rogers hull and a 39' Cigarette center console—with one MTI cat freshly sold and another one being built at the factory. When Argyros decides to go to a poker run, he’s likely to just fly himself there in his Citation jet. We sat down with


S P E E D B O A T | March 2018

85973_SpeedBoatMar18 _048-52.indd 48

Speedboat: What are your earliest memories of boating? George Argyros: We started out with two WaveRunners that we used in Laughlin. Then, about 25 years ago, I bought my mid-1970s Rogers, and we ran that boat in Laughlin for 11 years. Eventually, we decided that we wanted to move to Havasu, and bought a singleengine 28' Tall Deck Eliminator. By 2010, I decided that I wanted to buy a bigger boat. Eliminator had a bunch of boats

someone I was with said, “Why are you buying that boat? Craig Barrie of Donzi Marine is my best friend. Let me call him and see what he’s got.” So as we were standing there in front of the boat I wanted to bid on—and the auctioneer was only two boats away—we got Craig on the phone. He said, “Funny you should call! There’s a great Donzi that was built two years ago. It’s gone through four or five different dealers, and it’s a great boat, George.” He sent me some photos, and I bought it right there, speedboat.com

2/6/18 3:22 PM

Above: The 44' MTI Mayhem. Left: Argyros sits in the custom-built “header chair� he purchased after being donated by Barrett Custom Marine of Lake Havasu City. The chair was auctioned to raise money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation at the 2017 Lake Powell Challenge.


85973_SpeedBoatMar18 _048-52.indd 49

S P E E D B O A T | March 2018


2/6/18 3:22 PM

By George!

Above: Donzilla, Argyros’ 43' Donzi, is powered by twin Mercury Racing 700SCi engines.

sight unseen. What Craig forgot to tell me was that it didn’t have a trailer! He called Myco and they built one built for me lickety-split. The boat was trailered from the Florida Panhandle clear to Lake Powell, and it got there just in time for our houseboat trip. That’s the boat I still own: the 43' Donzi Donzilla. SB: Where did you run Donzilla? GA: We ran it at Powell and Havasu that summer. A bunch of our other friends were powerboaters and owned Donzis as well. Then, in September, I got a call from Tommy Gaut [of Strut Marine]. He said, “We’re all taking our boats to the Miami to Key West poker run.” We met Stu and Jackie Jones, who talked us through the process. And we had the most spectacular experience of anything that we had ever done. We left the boat there all winter long. We did the Miami Boat Show poker run, and the run to Islamorada. Stu and Jackie have always taken really good care of us, and we participated in some of their philanthropic causes they have at some of these poker runs. We’ve


S P E E D B O A T | March 2018

85973_SpeedBoatMar18 _048-52.indd 50

done almost every poker run there is. SB: How did you get into Mayhem, your 44' MTI? GA: We moved to Sarasota, and by then I really wanted to go a little faster and a little bigger. The Donzi doesn’t run real fast, but she sure runs smooth. So

we started looking for another boat. After looking at a bunch of them, a friend of ours named Tom Healy, who was kind of our boat guy, called one afternoon and he said, “Where are you?” “I’m in Sarasota.” “Can you get to Miami in the next three days?” speedboat.com

2/6/18 3:22 PM

Left: Shannon Argyros soaks up the sun on Donzilla’s engine hatch. Right: Interior views (from top) of the Donzi and Cigarette, and the engine of the Rogers. “Why?” I said. “Because your next boat is parked right in front of me right now and you need to come see it.” “I’ll be there in an hour.” I went to the airport, got in the plane, flew across the state, looked at the boat. It was Mayhem, the 44' MTI. We had looked at some other MTIs, but this boat was everything we wanted. So I said, “Let’s put it in the water tomorrow for a test drive.” So I flew home and Shannon and I got in my plane and flew to Miami. Tim Gallagher from MTI met us, and took us out from TNT Marine. We just fell in love with the boat. We bought it right there. We did all of the poker runs with that boat. Then, when we moved back to Newport Beach, CA, we had done just about every poker run in every condition you could ever want to do. Eventually we decided that we were done with doing anything in saltwater for a while. We speedboat.com

85973_SpeedBoatMar18 _048-52.indd 51

didn’t want to go out and get beat up anymore. We have a young child. Now all we do is Lake Havasu and Lake Powell. SB: You have since sold Mayhem and have placed an order for a new MTI. GA: We placed the order on a 48' MTI, and apparently the hull’s out of the mold now, and it’ll be at Lake Havasu on April 15. We’re doing 1350s. Because we boat so much at Lake Havasu, where it’s 120 degrees, we’re going with a white boat. And then we’re going to do some graphic stickers for the trim pieces, but the majority of the boat will be white. The hull is pearl white with blue, gray, and yellow light striping. And the seats in the interior are blue, gray, and yellow. Over time, we’ve had the luxury to continue to bump up and change boat types based on what the mission is. The original mission was to get off of the river, then we bought an Eliminator Cat. The next mission was to get something S P E E D B O A T | March 2018


2/6/18 3:22 PM

By George! Below: Argyros’ Cigarette center console is powered by quad Mercury Racing 300 outboards. Bottom: His vintage 1970s-era Rogers jetboat.

million a year to charity. For example, we’ve donated to the Elephant Cooperation; we gave $350,000 to Child Help; I spent $200,000 at Lake Powell Challenge. So this year’s going to be a little more, and we plan on increasing our charitable donations.

that went fast and was bigger and had a little bit of a statement. The Donzi was perfect. I still own the damn Donzi! Part of the problem is, I don’t really like to sell things. The Donzi has played such an emotional role in our lives that we’re just going to keep the Donzilla around. So we used that MTI for poker runs, or when I want to go out and get my hair messy. We use the Donzi for the everyday stuff at Lake Powell. This new MTI is just pure ego. SB: Tell us a little about your Cigarette center console.


S P E E D B O A T | March 2018

85973_SpeedBoatMar18 _048-52.indd 52

GA: We had a chance to buy Bill Robbins’ center console. We thought it would be nice to use at Lake Powell when we’re out on the houseboat. Quite frankly, we like the center console a whole bunch. SB: You’ve donated a fortune. How much have you given, and how you choose your charities? GA: We kind of focus on children, the elderly, animals and education. Shannon, myself and the Argyros Family Foundation are responsible for giving somewhere between $500,000 and $1

SB: Flying is another pastime of yours. What kind of planes do you fly? How did you acquire that passion? I’ve been flying since I was 16. The first time I went up in the airplane, I was addicted. I have thousands of hours of pilot time. I currently fly a Citation jet, a float plane, and a biplane. SB: Does your son share your love of boating? GA: Absolutely. Our 8-year-old son, G3, has probably been on 50 poker runs. There’s a lot of great camaraderie at all of the poker runs, but the Lake Powell Challenge is truly a family poker run. We would love to have more people come to the Lake Powell Challenge, and they can bring their families and have a hoot. speedboat.com

2/6/18 3:22 PM

85973_SpeedBoatMar18 _002,003,013,015,033,037,041,045,047,053,084.indd 53

2/6/18 4:25 PM

Members of the Florida Powerboat Club set course for the Southernmost city.


he Florida Powerboat Club recently marked the traversing the continent to come to Florida to do this event. We also host some of the best people in the nation. People 25th anniversary of our annual Key West Poker Run.

Somewhere around 2002—before the event was even 10 years old—we were up to 150 boats, and it’s never let up. But what’s even more significant than the number of registrations is the fact that this is a 400-mile poker run, the longest course of any poker run. Most of the boats will start in Ft. Lauderdale or Miami and run 170+ miles. Then they’ll do some running around while they’re there. Then they’ll go back. By the time it’s all said and done, we will have clocked over 400 miles on this poker run. Multiply that by the number of boats that attend every year, and the numbers become pretty staggering in terms of how much participation we’ve had. Every year, at least 25% to 35% of participation are newcomers. That’s simply because it’s what I like to call a “bucket list” poker run. Regardless of how far people have to travel, this event is on their list. They trailer in from as far away as California or Washington or even Canada—people are literally


S P E E D B O A T | March 2018

85973_SpeedBoatMar18 _054-57.indd 54

like Mark Fisher (who is one of our sponsors), owns Deep Impact Boats. Naturally, he’s here to represent his brand. But long, long before he owned—or thought he would own—boat companies, he was an avid participant doing the run in 2000. He’s never missed it since the year 2000. We had a winner of a fantastic prize this year. The prize was donated, as it is every year, by a company called OffLease Only. For 10 years in a row they’ve donated or given us a vehicle; typically it’s a Mustang convertible. If you don’t want the Mustang, you can take a voucher that’s worth $20,000. This year, Hal and Missy Johnson of Michigan, who attended in their 39 Nor-Tech center console, won the grand prize with the best poker hand. They won a silver metallic Mustang—representative of 25th anniversary of the event. Stu Jones is president of the Florida Powerboat Club. speedboat.com

2/5/18 9:20 PM


Stu Jones • Florida Powerboat Club

Poker Run

Above: Departing Grove Harbour Marina after the first poker card, and preparing for the start on Biscayne Bay. Warm temperatures in the 80s with light winds made for superb boating conditions. Right: Florida Powerboat Girls (top row, from left) Kayla, Rachelle, Shay and (center) Whitney.


85973_SpeedBoatMar18 _054-57.indd 55

S P E E D B O A T | March 2018


2/5/18 9:20 PM

Key West Poker Run

Above left: Jim Schultz drives the Team Factory Billet 51 Outerlimits in Jewfish Creek, Key Largo. Above: Mark and Eileen Fischer in Where’s Eileen Now, a 527 Nor-Tech with twin Merc Racing 1350s. Left: David and Lori Postill of Michigan in their new Deep Impact 399 center console, powered by quad Merc 400Rs.


S P E E D B O A T | March 2018

85973_SpeedBoatMar18 _054-57.indd 56


2/5/18 9:20 PM

Above: Ed Champion of Big Thunder Marine in their 2018 Fountain 32 Cat, powered by twin 400Rs. Right: Hall & Missy Johnson of Michigan attended in their Nor-Tech 39 center console Something’s Brewing and won the grand prize: a $20,000 gift voucher for an OffleaseOnly car purchase—or a 2017 Silver Mustang Convertible from OffLease. They took the car, whose silver color represented FPC’s 25th anniversary celebration for the event.

Below: David and Jenny Landsman of Maryland drive their 43' Midnight Express, My Way, with five Mercury Racing 400Rs clamped to the transom.


85973_SpeedBoatMar18 _054-57.indd 57

S P E E D B O A T | March 2018


2/5/18 9:20 PM

A fast, freewheeling New Year’s weekend brings together fun-runners without pesky registrations or entry fees. photography by Pete


Above: On New Years Eve, participating boats head out into the Gulf of Mexico through Big Pass in between Siesta Key and Lido Key. Below left: Arik Hancock of Cincinnati, OH, in his 29’ Conquest, Nasty N Tensions. Below right: Mike Nelson of Nokomis, FL, in his 30’ Motion.


S P E E D B O A T | March 2018

85973_SpeedBoatMar18 _058-60.indd 58


1/31/18 9:14 PM

Joey Gratton Memorial

Fun E

asily one of the most unique “fun runs” in the country happens every New Year’s Day off Florida’s West Coast. It began some 15 years ago as an

informal gathering of friends, including offshore racers Ryan Beckley and Joey Gratton. Following Gratton’s passing in 2011, the Sarasota-based event was known as the Joey Gratton Memorial New Year’s Day Fun Run beginning in 2012, with Beckley as the heart and soul of the event. (He owns and operates Kinetic Animation, a sign and graphics business that provides wraps for boats.) “The event started off as a joke,” Beckley explains. Someone would say, ‘What are you doing on New Year’s Day?’ ‘Well, we’re going boating, and we have a dozen boats going with us!’ Now it’s just snowballed into what it is today, with 75 to 100 boats at a run who show up.” There’s no registration and no entry fee— just show up and have fun. The event draws participants from the Northeast, Michigan, New York and even as far away from California—folks who just come to hang out with the crew and attend the big party at Beckley’s shop on New Year’s Eve. This year, the gang went boating on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, but bad weather prevented any on-water activity on Monday—New Year’s Day. Undaunted, Beckley says the event will continue “indefinitely.”

Above left: Innovation Marine’s 40’ Fountain The Kraken with single diesel power is driven by Rick and Jake LaMore of Sarasota, FL. Above right: Steve and Kim Kildahl of Bradenton, FL, in the 21’ Superboat. speedboat.com

85973_SpeedBoatMar18 _058-60.indd 59

S P E E D B O A T | March 2018


1/31/18 9:14 PM

Joey Gratton Fun Run

Above: Don and Amanda Gardner of Fort Myers, FL, in their 32’ Doug Wright. Below: Ed Lauman of Solomons Island, MD, in his 42’ Cigarette Tiger.

Above: Chris Ryder of Long Island, NY, drives his 368 Skater, Crisis Management. Below: Ron Levy & Cintia Pombo of Fort Lauderdale, FL, in their 32' Concept. Below right: Debbie, Connor and Ryan Beckley in their 24’ Skater, with Chris Economides driving.


S P E E D B O A T | March 2018

85973_SpeedBoatMar18 _058-60.indd 60


1/31/18 9:14 PM

READER RIDES The Talleys are the owners of this 19’ Eliminator Daytona, one of 13 ever built in Kevlar, according to Keith. Before rigging, the hull weighed 425 lbs. Keith got his start in boating with an old ski boat. “A friend took me for a ride in his Sunkisst Tunnel jetboat at 90 mph, and since then I’ve been hooked,” he says. His first boat was a Bahner, which he kept for one season before moving up to an Earl Smith Gullwing jetboat and started lake racing.

19’ Eliminator Keith & Tina Talley Marshall, TX “I started racing with a group of friends in the early 1990s,” he recalls. “They were going by the name Outlaw Boat Racers. We now have several Outlaw racing events a year, where we hang out and compete.” In addition to the Eliminator, Keith has owned and restored an 18' Youngblood that was voted “Hottest Jetboat” by Hot Boat Magazine in 2006. The rig has a wing to help keep the nose down at high speeds, Miersch low-profile intake and popoff valve on the pump, and high-tech ratchet. “The boat is a rocket, yet the engine is mildmannered enough to beach hop and ride around in,” Keith attests. “At 14:1 compression, it requires race gas—but there’s an important rule: ‘Ya gotta pay to play.’ Top speed is 111 mph on the


85973_SpeedBoatMar18_061.indd 61

bare motor, and I use a 350-hp NOS system just in case.” Keith and Tina take the boat to the lake every weekend during boating season, and hit several of the Outlaw lake races. The Eliminator’s engine (as shown in our images) is 582 c.i. big-block Chevy dynoed at 951 hp at 6,500 rpm. It features a Dart 9.8, 4.600 bore Billet main cap block, Brodix 2 oval port heads with T&D shaft rockers, 4340 crankshaft 4 3/8 stroke, 4340 H-beam rods, Comp belt drive, Moroso vacuum pump, Profiler intake, 1050 Dominator carb, NOS Big Shot system and 775 lift solid-roller cam. Keith is now building a new allaluminum 500 c.i. engine that will have 88-mm turbos and a CSU Dominator blow-through system. He’s looking to achieve 140 on the 1/8 mile course.

S P E E D B O A T | March 2018


2/6/18 7:29 PM


Twin Turbo Engine

Alexi Sahagian of Boostpower Marine (Newbury Park, CA) has announced the start of the build of its latest 800-c.i. twin-turbo marine engine. With plenty of marine engine expertise and master tuning dedicated to exotic high-powered marine engines, pro builder Alexi Sahagian seeks turbos that can feed his huge-breathing 800-cube 5.4-bore spaced platform along with the 5.3-bore spaces 727-c.i. family and the standard traditional big-block platforms. The first person that came to mind was his longtime buddy, Tom Nelson.


S P E E D B O A T | May 2017

85973_SpeedBoatMar18 _062.indd 62

“Tom is my high school buddy, and he studies this stuff as much as I do!” Sahagian says. “After high school, he went right to the cars and I went right to the boats.” Nelson designed a mirrorimage turbo for his street engines—a turbo that spins the opposite direction and gives these engines the best options for fitment. “He built us a pair of 88mm turbos that are the size of a fully grown man’s head!” Sahagian says. “We chose the 88mm because it’s a good match to our constant demand for 1,800 to 2,000 ft./lbs. of torque. Although these turbos have the ability to make over 3,500 hp, our goal is to sustain the big power output for one-hour stretches at a time, similar to our other marine competitors’ engine products that we build and test.” For more information, call Boostpower Marine at (805) 376-6077, or visit boostpower.com.

BDS 471 Billet Supercharger

Just unveiled by Blower Drive Service (Whittier, CA), this second coming of the venerable 4-71 is the first all-new 4-71 billet supercharger to hit the market since the original GM unit. CNC’d from a single block of billet 6061 aircraft quality aluminum, it integrates the same downsized dimensions with contemporary state-of-the-art billet appearance and advances in technology. Unlike those offered by the competition, BDS 4-71 is constructed using 100% all-new parts— no refurbished boneyard parts used here. It’s the perfect choice for V6 and small V8 applications and will replace virtually any 4-71 GM blower. Additionally, the BDS 4-71 features the company’s latest 3-lobe, non-helix, rotor design, which allows the blower to push more and cooler air than that produced by its predecessor. This configuration also offers use of a slower overdrive, which ultimately produces more horsepower at the flywheel. Stock 4-71 bolt pattern is retained and 4-71 to 6-71 manifold adapter plates and complete drive kits are manufactured new and available from BDS. Current retail price is just $2,225. That’s substantially less than others are getting for blowers being built around “cleaned up” parts scrounged from old used blowers. Order your new 4-71 BDS Blower or get additional details by calling (562) 6934302, or visit blowerdriveservice.com. speedboat.com

1/31/18 9:14 PM

Skater [continued from page 32] picked out all the colors and the scheme— they’re all pretty much the standard Jimmy John’s colors. He likes colors that represent the company. They very much match to everything else he has on it. “Then we had Fineline Marine Interiors (Hallandale Beach, FL) install an entirely new interior. At the same time, we redid the dash and added a few other things. “We ran the boat for another season and decided to install new motors. The original 1350s only had around 20 hours on them. Basically, we redid the build and re-rigged everything. Although it is several years old, it’s only got about 30 hours on it total. It’s like brand new. We keep it very nice. The boat has never seen salt water. And that’s the basic history of the Skater. “I’m the one who brings the boats to the poker runs. Jimmy is not a top-end guy; he loves acceleration and he loves handling. And on Lake of the Ozarks, that’s pretty much what you’ve got to do anyway. The boat’s a little lower gear, but the acceleration is insane. At 130 mph, it’ll just pin you back in the seats. It’s extremely quick out of the gate and comes on plane very quickly. It’s very hard accelerating. Turning and cornering is pretty amazing for a pleasure boat. That’s the way Jimmy wanted it, so that’s the way we set it up. A lot of guys want to get the biggest numbers out of them, set up real loose. But he is not that guy. Like all of the boats he owns, he wants it to ride like it’s on rails. That’s a famous Jimmy quote: ‘I want it on rails!’ That’s his deal, so that’s pretty much how that boat is set up. You feel very safe driving at that speed compared to some of the others. “A rather unique feature on the Skater is that the three rear seats have steps between them. Mark actually hand-crafted all that. It’s all fiberglass—he made a mold to fabricate that. The center of the rear seats pulls out for easy access to the battery switches, breakers, etc. Underneath the other two are storage areas. Everything is hidden away—you don’t have to get up on the deck. You can reach everything from the cockpit when you’re docking. speedboat.com

85973_SpeedBoatMar18 _030-32,63.indd 63

“There’s additional storage in the gunnel areas on the sides of the boat. Those were created when we redid the interior. They added hinges to the hatches on the forward side because they had been on the other side. Jimmy wanted more of a ‘race boat’ configuration. After our restoration, it was essentially a brandnew boat. “In addition to this 388 Skater, which is called Freaky Fast, Jimmy had another 388 Skater. He owns a 30’ outboard Skater, and is working on a 318 Skater with Peter as well. He’s a true boater. He loves boats. He doesn’t care if they’re big or small. He loves them all, and so do I.

“On any given day in the summer, I get to take out a great boat to deliver. I’ve always been a cat guy. MTIs and Skaters are phenomenal boats—I really love the styling. “But we tailor the boats to the customers. When Jimmy got his from Skater, it wasn’t really what he wanted, setup wise. So we took care of that for him. And we do that with every customer. Some of them want to go fast, while some just want to take the family out. Others want to do shootout-only stuff. We just have to take our direction from the customer and set it up for them the way they like it.”

S P E E D B O A T | March 2018


1/31/18 9:01 PM

MTI 42 [continued from page 38] “The MTI’s name is Next Chapter, which is a reference to me going from a vee-bottom to a cat. I guess you could say it’s my new chapter in boating. I was always curious about getting into the cats. My Rough Rider was a 118-mph boat, and I wanted to go a little faster. Going from a vee to a cat takes a lot of getting used to. But I’ve had friends who

have owned cats, so I have been lucky enough to be in and have driven many cats over the years. “When I first got the boat, it had been dialed in pretty well. The previous owner had taken very good care of it. It’s one of those open-checkbook cliché boats, but I’m a little more particular than others, so I had the props polished

and have slowly done things over the last two years to get it to where I wanted it. I also had Justin Wagner at Waves and Wheels redo the stereo setup after I bought the boat. They are obviously a well-known brand, and the new sound system really rocks.

“Going from a vee to a cat takes a lot of getting used to. But I’ve had friends who have owned cats, so I have been lucky enough to be in and have driven many cats over the years.” “Performance-wise, I’d compare the boat to a sports car. It probably turns better than I have ever turned it—I’ve probably just never had the confidence to do it. But it rides like it’s on rails. Most guys say this about cats. It’s a very fast boat, and the midrange acceleration is truly outstanding. For a non-turbo 1075 boat, it’s got very good acceleration. The 42' is one of the fastest MTIs they’ve built. That five-man cockpit’s a lot quicker than the six-man. It’s loud and obnoxious, and fits me perfectly! “One of the greatest things about Next Chapter, for me, is obviously the stunning paint job by Visual Imagination. It’s a unique color scheme, and it really makes the boat stand out. So when it’s running down the lake, it’s one of those boats that people look at and go, ‘Hey, there goes Stodnick!’ You know what I mean? It really sticks out like a sore thumb. “I’ve taken the boat to Lake of the Ozarks Poker Run, and I’ve been to Desert Storm, but not in the MTI. I’ve done quite a few poker runs with Florida Powerboat Club, including a run from Miami to the Florida Keys. I use the boat with my wife, Victoria, and our son, Nate (11).”


S P E E D B O A T | March 2018

85973_SpeedBoatMar18 _038-40,64.indd 64


1/31/18 9:06 PM

Brett’s The

Phantom Menace


SoCalJetBoats Avi Gathering


85973_SpeedBoatMar18_065.indd 65

Weekend at Lake Elsinore S P E E D B O A T | March 2018


2/6/18 7:33 PM

Phantom photography by Ray




ailing from Hesperia, CA, Marty Russo is the owner

of a 21’ Tom Papp Phantom cat, purchased from its previous owner, Tony Skagen of Skagen Boats. Russo, who works as a tankerman in the San Francisco Bay, previously owned a Cole TR-2 flatbottom V-drive and a California Performance jetboat. His Phantom is powered by a 632-c.i. engine with Dart heads, a pair of Dominator carbs and a 1471 blower; the setup made 1,250 on the dyno, and Skagen claims to have run it as fast as 134 mph. Russo has not done his own WOT on GPS yet, but he seems pleased by its speed. “The boat rides great,” he says. “It’s a tunnel boat, so it’s quick. I put the whole family in it, and it still runs 120.” Russo and his wife, Kelly, have two young sons, Wyatt and Wade. They enjoy using the boat at the Hidden Beaches River Resort in Blythe, CA, and in Lake Havasu, AZ.

Mary Russo’s 21' Tom Papp Phantom was photographed at Lake Elsinore, CA, and features our gorgeous models Chelsey (top) and Kylie (right).


S P E E D B O A T | March 2018

85973_SpeedBoatMar18 _066-67.indd 66


2/5/18 9:22 PM


85973_SpeedBoatMar18 _066-67.indd 67

S P E E D B O A T | March 2018


2/5/18 9:23 PM



Lake Elsinore, CA, rings in the new

year with its L Lee eeannual

pphotography ph hhot otoggrraapphhy by otog ot by R Ray ay

go-fast celebration.


unny, brisk weather was the body feel welcome with lunch served perfect way to ring in the new during the afternoon. The event keeps getting bigger and year as boaters flocked to Lake Elsinore, CA, to show off their better each year. “We had a big crowd,”

speeds and reunite with friends. Wade Addington, owner of Elsinore’s Weekend Paradise RV Park, has been inviting muscleboat enthusiasts to celebrate New Year’s Day at his venue for seven years—and, as with previous years, it was a problem-free day of fun and horsepower. Addington and his cohort, Dave “Jocko” Giacomino, made every-


S P E E D B O A T | March 2018

85973_SpeedBoatMar18_068-73.indd 68

Addington says. “I got a chuckle when one of my sheriff friends called me and said, ‘What are you doing? What’s going on?’ “I said, ‘What do you mean?’ “He said, ‘There are cars parked a half a mile in both directions outside on the main street, coming into your place!’ “ I said, ‘Oh yeah! Come on down and

have some free hot dogs with us!’ We’ve gone from a few hundred hot dogs to over a thousand, as we treat everybody to a cheap lunch.” Adds Addington: “It really did go smoothly. There simply wasn’t an issue. The water level was up this year, and the clarity of the water was quite a bit better. So that was really great. We had quite a few folks come early. I was letting people camp for free that weekend. So we had a nice that whole night camping atmosphere. It was just great.” speedboat.com

2/6/18 8:34 PM

Michael Stene and his father, Chad, purchased this 1978 Demarco flat from Scott Broviak recently and first time out was this event. The 460 Chevy powered machine took its maiden voyage with Michael at the wheel with friend Ryan Drumm riding along. We might just be seeing Michael at a sanctioned drag boat race event in the near future.

photography by Mark


Above: Donie Ho takes his 1972 Hondo out for a spin. Right: The welcome sign posted near the office as the boaters entered the facility. speedboat.com

85973_SpeedBoatMar18_068-73.indd 69

S P E E D B O A T | March 2018


2/6/18 8:34 PM

Weekend in Paradise

Left and below: The K Boat turnout was impressive, with Bill Spurlock going out first in his Jim Wilkes-sponsored machine. The #43 boat made some laps that showed the underwater hardware more than once.

Below: Steve Faist, owner of the Spooky Cole, decided to take Michael Stene, the newest boat owner, out for a spin in the beautifully painted, blown-powered machine. Steve has owned this ‘86 flatty for 23 years now, and this looks like it just came right out of the mold.

The 1979 Revenge BBC Injected K put on a good show, with owner Dana Bottomley shoeing.


S P E E D B O A T | March 2018

85973_SpeedBoatMar18_068-73.indd 70


2/6/18 8:35 PM

Owner/driver Dwight Ivy, with rider Kenneth Sheppard, have fun on the lake in this 1983 Kurtis, known as Checkered Past. Ivy’s power is a blown 468 Chevy.

This 1978 Hondo T Deck was driven by both Mike Chadwick, owner, and Mike Lawson. Chadwick’s 496 big-block Chevy powered the Hondo around the track, with the Minion strapped to the passenger seat.

Steven Stuart takes it easy out on the lake, as his ‘81 Howard with a 427 BBC is for sale.


85973_SpeedBoatMar18_068-73.indd 71

S P E E D B O A T | March 2018


2/6/18 8:35 PM

Weekend in Paradise Right: Who else can tear up the water when it’s calm or has huge rollers on the track but Eric Sperry? He drives his Grand National blown machine like there’s no tomorrow— maybe that’s why he is the champ. Left: Heath Culp brought out two K boats, one of which Tony Scarlata got to put a few laps on in this picture. This 2013 Biesemeyer is powered by a blown 468 BBC on alcohol. A beautiful machine, inside and out!

Right: Meet the Orangeman! Bill Montaque is the local on the lake. His orange Biesemeyer is hard not to notice when he’s out on the water—orange shirt, hat, valve covers and jacket.

Left: Jeremy Trotter was seen flying his 1973 Schiada around the track. Jeremy’s big red machine is powered by a 496 BBC.


S P E E D B O A T | March 2018

85973_SpeedBoatMar18_068-73.indd 72


2/6/18 8:35 PM

Above: Steve Rubidoux out for a ride in his 1989 Cole TR2. The Voodoo Child is powered by a Dart 540 c.i. blown injected powerplant.

Left and above: Sierra Garber jumped in Tony Scarlata’s Blown 540 racemode flatty and went for a great ride while Tony was explaining where to hold on and when he plans to step on it. She really looked like she was having a blast! speedboat.com

85973_SpeedBoatMar18_068-73.indd 73

S P E E D B O A T | March 2018


2/6/18 8:35 PM

The SoCalJetBoats group reconvenes at the Avi Resort in Laughlin, NV.


S P E E D B O A T | March 2018

85973_SpeedBoatMar18_074-79.indd 74


2/6/18 8:29 PM



photography by Kenny



ne of the most thrilling events for jetboaters is the annual get-together at the Avi Resort

Above: The Avi Resort’s beach area is the perfect place for SoCalJetBoats members to socialize and show off their bitchin’ rigs. Left: The annual group photo is a great opportunity for participants to show their unbridled enthusiasm. speedboat.com

85973_SpeedBoatMar18_074-79.indd 75

in Laughlin, NV. Banding together on Facebook as the SoCalJetBoats group, these go-fast fanatics aren’t just from Southern California; they come from several states away to reunite for three big events each year. At one recent gathering, 200 people showed up with about 100 boats, traveling from as far as Washington State. “The draw is getting farther and farther,” observes Brad Martin, head of the rapidly growing group. “We encourage them to come from as far away as they can to enjoy this awesome event. There’s nothing else like it.” Clear and sunny skies made for the most accommodating of climates for the gang, who hung around the Avi on Friday before setting course up river to Laughlin Marina’s protected “Back Bay” lagoon area, which features a long, sandy beach perfect for socializing and BBQ. “It was a pretty smooth event,” Martin says. “Everybody had a great time. No drama. We don’t really put up with any of that. It’s all about promoting a good time at the river. It’s all we do.” The SoCalJetBoats group typically stages three events at the Avi: one on Mother’s Day wekeend (May 11-13 this year), one in August known as One Hot August Weekend, and finally a November event called Horsepower Fest. Check out the SoCalJetBoats Facebook page for forthcoming details on the gang’s 2018 activities.

S P E E D B O A T | March 2018


2/6/18 8:29 PM


Above: Terry Vandeman’s 1981 18’ Eliminator Daytona Big Daddy was profiled in the July 2016 issue of Speedboat. Right: Jer Mel’s 1976 21' Biesemeyer daycruiser.


S P E E D B O A T | March 2018

85973_SpeedBoatMar18_074-79.indd 76


2/6/18 8:29 PM

Left: Andrew Garza’ 19' Eliminator Daytona. Below: Kenny Spring’s Hallett V-drive (near lane) drives alongside Roy Collins’ 21’ Liberator, powered by a old-school, large-c.i. Oldsmobile motor.

Above: Michael Vitale drives his 1984 21' Eliminator Daytona. Left: Lee Meyer’s 1969 16’6” Kona is powered by a 472 Oldsmobile.


85973_SpeedBoatMar18_074-79.indd 77

S P E E D B O A T | March 2018


2/6/18 8:29 PM


Top: Group leader Brad Martin mans the SoCalJetBoats booth. Above: Every year, members autograph a photo commemorating the event. Right: Chris Fredrickson’s 18’ Crusader tunnel hull.


S P E E D B O A T | March 2018

85973_SpeedBoatMar18_074-79.indd 78


2/6/18 8:29 PM

Lyle Wiltse’s 1976 19' Miller.

David & Meredith Khambekyan’s 1976 19' Miller.

‘ Johnny Windle’s 1978 18’ Bahner flat deck.

Tim Bennett’s 1983 18’ Advantage speedboat.com

85973_SpeedBoatMar18_074-79.indd 79

S P E E D B O A T | March 2018


2/6/18 8:29 PM

INDUSTRY NEWS [Quagga Mussels continued from page 12] importance of cleaning boat anchors with their successful Sticker a Mussel campaign. Lake Havasu Marine Association president and CEO, Jim Salscheider, contacted Dvorak to see what could be done to help mitigate the problem. Within in matter of days an action plan was devised, and was included in the Marine Association’s annual grant proposal to U.S. Fish and Wildlife for an additional $12,000 to fund the program. The extra funding was used to help defray some of the cost in manufacturing and attaching a prominently displayed engraved metal label affixed to the Box Anchor reminding boaters to “clean, drain and dry” after every use. “Although it sounds like a relatively simple task to attach a metal label to a Box Anchor,” commented Dvorak, “it wasn’t. We needed to investigate what was the optimum material to use, how

85973_SpeedBoatMar18_012,80,81.indd 80

to protect it from corrosion and the best way to permanently attach it.” Once the federal grant was approved, the process moved quickly. The overseas manufacturer of the Box Anchor prepared several prototypes which were reviewed by Slide Anchor and various governmental agencies for appropriate messaging. Meanwhile, the Lake Havasu Marine Association created a new local awareness educational campaign built around anchors. “We designed, produced and installed over twenty new billboards at strategic locations along the lower Colorado River from Parker, AZ to Needles, CA in less than eight weeks,” says Salscheider. “Our goal was to shine a light on anchor awareness and education, featuring “Popeye” as our messaging vehicle. The campaign worked. During this past summer and early fall, quagga mussel contaminated anchor related intercepts at

the California border stations reduced dramatically.” On December 4, 2017, the first shipment of “labeled” Box Anchors were delivered to the Slide Anchor headquarters in Lake Havasu City. “We had our first 1,200 Box Anchor units ready to ship to our many boating retail outlets before the new year,” said Dvorak. “I anticipate about another 7,000 units to arrive in the next 60 days so we’ll be able to fill the retail pipeline for new labeled Box Anchor purchases when the spring boating season begins. I’m confident that this investment in quagga mussel education will contribute to better boating for everyone in the future. If a little label like this is an effective reminder to boaters to do the right thing, I hope other companies will join the ‘clean, drain and dry’ movement and help keep our waterways free of aquatic invasive species.”

2/6/18 4:35 PM

K.Lab Design Works

New Surface Drive

Fred Kiekhaefer, the former president of Mercury Racing and son of Mercury founder Carl Kiekhaefer, has secured a patent for a “Marine Surface Propulsion Device,” described as a surface drive with an infinitely variable pitch propeller. Though it has no official name at this time, Kiekhaefer’s invention is only the latest in a stream of innovations from the industry legend, which include the famous #6 Drive, the 9L quad-cam turbocharged and fuel-injected 1350 engine, K-plane trim tabs and Zero Effort shift and throttle controls. Since retiring from his 22-year stint at Mercury Racing, the power guru has been flexing his creative muscle at K.Lab Design Works, his own engineering thinktank and consulting firm based in Castle Pines, CO. According to Kiekhaefer, the new surface drive is currently being tested on a 39' vee hull rigged with a 550-horsepower Cummins diesel engine. “We’ve cycled all the new systems,” he says. “Next, compression, ignition and lift-off! I’ll conduct rigorous on-water testing with production or productionintent parts.” [Continues on page 82]

85973_SpeedBoatMar18_012,80,81.indd 81

2/6/18 4:35 PM


Motion 35XP

[continued from page 81]

[continued from page 36] the top of them. If you see a hole in the water, you get all ready for it, like in the vee hull….then you blow right over like it was nothing. The ride of a cat at higher speeds is just so much better. “My vees had a cuddy cabin, but there’s nothing like that in the cat. I look at it this way: with the vee, you need a cuddy cabin, because that slower ride will take you a while to get there. But with the cat, you’re going to be there by the time you even open the cooler! “Cats turn a little differently than vees do, too. The best way I can describe it is like you’re on a motorcycle. On a two-wheel motorcycle, you

lean in the curve and go with it. That’s like a vee hull—it leans into the curve and goes. Meanwhile, the cat is more like a tricycle. So when you turn, you feel a little funny turning because you can’t lean into it. So it’s a different feel when you turn. “Now that I’m running a 40' Skater cat with 2,200 hp, I’m selling the Motion. The Skater is a much wider boat—I think it’s 12' wide, while the Motion’s beam is 9'3". The width of the cat can make all the difference in how they run. So I’m used to driving a bigger cat now. But at the time that I first got the Motion, I thought it was the cat’s ass!”

Hustler to Display 39’ in Miami Calverton, NY-based Global Marine Power, the parent company of Hustler Powerboats, thas announced that its 39’ Shotgun will be on display at the 2018 Miami International Boat Show. Currently in the final detailing stages, the 39’ Shotgun is armed with a new cockpit layout to seat 10 people. Along with the expanded cockpit layout, the Shotgun will feature reclining rear seats and a power table that rises from the floor. “We are very pleased with how everything came together on the 39' Shotgun,” said Hustler owner Joe LoGiudice. “I truly believe that people will see that this boat will give people everything that they are looking for on an outboard configuration, and that this is truly a unique boat.” The Hustler 39' Shotgun will be displayed in the Mercury Racing In-Water booth 221. Deposits are currently being taken for building slots. Global Marine Power will also have an in-water booth at slips 391, 393 and 395. Hustler Powerboats, a division of Global Marine Power Inc., manufactures 16 boats in both catamaran and v-hull designs, ranging from 21 feet to 50 feet in length. For more information, call (631) 208-2933 or visit hustlerpowerboats.com.


S P E E D B O A T | March 2018

85973_SpeedBoatMar18_034-36,82.indd 82


2/7/18 1:43 PM

83892_SpeedboatJ18_003,010,015,021,027,031,035,039,041,045,081,083,084.indd 83

12/7/17 1:40 PM

85973_SpeedBoatMar18 _002,003,013,015,033,037,041,045,047,053,084.indd 84

2/6/18 4:25 PM