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S PEEDBO AT M A G A ZINE

INSIDE: L.A. BOAT SHOW BEAUTIES

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for

Fighting

OUR 2019 WEST COAST EVALUATIONS

speedboat.com

ELIMINATOR CELEBRATES

ANNIVERSARY

SKATER BOATS FACTORY TOUR

M A R CH 20 19

MARCH 2019

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DCB’S INCREDIBLE M35

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TABLE OF contents

MARCH 2019

COLUMNS 6 8 10 12

RAY LEE TEAGUE ON TECH JET TECH INDUSTRY NEWS

FEATURES 15 LOS ANGELES BOAT SHOW

In the dead of winter, L.A. teases boaters with a preview of what lies ahead when the season starts: Red hot unrelenting power.

28 FIVE FOR FIGHTING

Welcome to our 2019 Performance Evaluations, where five West Coast machines are put to our ultimate test.

50 50 YEARS OF ELIMINATOR BOATS

Now under new ownership, the legendary Southern California builder marks half a century of innovation—with much, much more to come.

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

Speedboat.com Published by DCO Enterprises, LLC Publishers

Ray Lee

ray@speedboat.com

Chris Davidson

chris@speedboat.com

Editor Senior Tech Editors

Brett Bayne

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Bob Teague

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Jim Wilkes

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Tech Editors National Sales Director Art Director Helicopter Services Photographers

Greg Shoemaker Valerie Collins Ray Lee ray@speedboat.com

Gail Hada-Insley Fred Young

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Todd Taylor, Kenny Dunlop, Mark McLaughlin, Paul Kemiel, Jeff Gerardi, Daren Van Ryte

Operations Manager Michele Plummer and Subscriptions michele@speedboat.com

BRETT’S COVE 68 NERVES OF STEELE

You’ve got mail! Bobby Steele’s 18'6" Sanger Bubbledeck is tricked out with a scoop that’s a real mailbox.

72 ONE PERCENT

This 2007 Biesemeyer isn’t just responsible for bringing joy to its owner. He credits the mean machine for saving his life.

74 NJBA WORLD FINALS

The National Jet Boat Association season came to a climax at the Roger Roadstrom Memorial Finals. Postmaster: Send address changes to Speedboat Magazine, 9216 Bally Court, Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730.

speedboat.com

Editorial: Speedboat Magazine assumes no responsibility for unsolicited material. All manuscripts, materials, photographs and artwork submitted are at mailer’s risk and must include self-addressed envelope with proper postage if requested to be returned. All letters sent to Speedboat will be treated as unconditionally assigned for publication and copyright purposes, and are subject to Speedboat's right to edit and comment editorially. All rights reserved. Reprinting in whole or part is expressly forbidden, except by written permission of the publisher.

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SPEEDBOAT MAGAZINE (ISSN#1941-9473) is published 8 times plus a bonus issue this year by DCO Enterprises LLC. SUBSCRIPTIONS: Domestic $34.00 for 8 times plus a bonus issue, Canada $66.00 for 8 times plus a bonus issue, International $77.00 for 8 times plus a bonus issue. All prices are for one year and in U.S. funds. For subscription info: call (702) 313-1400. PRINTED IN USA These rates represent Speedboat’s standard subscription rate and should not be confused with any special rates or premiums otherwise advertised or offered.

S P E E D B O A T | March 2019

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Observer’S SEAT RAY LEE

As the Publisher of Speedboat Magazine,

I am fortunate enough to see and do some pretty cool things. Even though there are some very long and unglamorous hours, days and weeks that come along with this job, I am very well aware of how blessed I am to be in this position. Especially since I started in this industry as a superfan–in awe of all the muscleboats and sheer performance across the world. I was invited to come out to Florida in late January 2019, along with a select few others from the media to visit and experience the mysterious, highly secretive and über-exclusive testing facility of Mercury Marine/Mercury Racing’s Lake X. I had heard a lot about the covert venue over the years and its mystique had grown to epic proportions, in my mind. As a superfan, this was a “Bucket List” item for me that I wasn’t sure I’d be able to check off. So when the invitation came late last year, there was no way that I was going to miss this opportunity. Nestled in a remote area of central Florida, Lake X was acquired in 1957 by Mercury innovator and founder, Carl Kiekhaefer. The 1400-acre lake served as a secluded testing ground for Mercury’s product development, endurance runs and other publicity events for years… and mainly to be out of the view of their overly curious competitors. It is surrounded by 10,000 acres of forest and swamplands, with built-in security by way of an indigenous army of alligators and snakes, ever on-duty. We boarded a bus early that Florida morning and made our way to the classified compound. After about a 45-minute ride, we arrived (and was stopped) at a small guard shack, beyond a fenced gate–further propelling the enigma that is Lake X. We soon received clearance and continued down a tree-lined road until we approached a rather rundown building on the left with a Mercury “M” logo in the upper right corner, large steel doors and hazy, round, bubbled windows–reminiscent of the portholes on a

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X MARKS THE SPOT

submarine. Just around the corner of the building lies a narrow, man-made channel where the boats leave the facility, out to the open water. On that day, the boats that we were being introduced to, were already lining the concrete seawall– awaiting our arrival. And just off in the distance, at the end of that channel, stood the iconic Observation Tower of Lake X. I had seen it a few times in old articles and online but there it was, in all of its embattled glory. It was like seeing the “Hollywood” sign or the Disneyland castle for the first time. It was showing obvious signs of age and neglect but it stood proud, nonetheless. Thankfully, Mercury is planning on restoring the entire facility for future R&D and events. Being only two weeks prior to the Miami International Boat Show, we were graced with a sneak preview into what Mercury was planning to unveil to the masses in South Florida: • New 4.6L, 32-valve dual overhead cam, V-8 300R outboard engine (with a standard 3-year warranty with the option to purchase up to an additional five years) • The C-Zone digital control and monitoring system • New autonomous docking system in collaboration with Raymarine • 5hp propane-powered, FourStroke outboards • The 400 Verado outboard, which is intended to be a milder, less “race” version of the 400R (which was embargoed until the first morning of the Miami Boat Show).

There were several center consoles, a couple pontoons, a daycruiser and a bass boat on-hand. Everyone was welcome and encouraged to board each boat for inspections and to go out for test rides, to fully experience each setup. The majority of the products there were not really “performance” oriented, so the main focus for Speedboat was on the MTI 340X, powered by a pair of the new Mercury Racing 300R’s. We have been in and tested a number of these boats with the 400R engines, so this was going to be our initial experience with the smaller power package. MTI reps Tim Gallagher and Taylor Scism were there to help answer questions that anyone might have. Gallagher handled all of the driving duties and although he initially felt that he wouldn’t be giving very many demo rides that day (mostly due to apprehension and nervousness of the riders), the 340X was rarely on the docks and most certainly the busiest boat of the fleet. We fortunately got our ride early in the morning. Most noticeable about the MTI setup was the rumble of the 300R’s. It was throaty and masculine. Even while at idle on the wall, it purred aggressively. Sometimes the silent 400R’s supercharged six-cylinders can be difficult to know if they’re even running. That’s not the case here. It turned heads with each pass it made across the six-mile lake. We learned that the team at Mercury, along with all of the other factors that make their products so desirable– also deliberately engineers each of the sounds that their packages make. Nothing happens by chance from the Fond du Lac, WI builder.

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TEAGUE ON TECH BOB TEAGUE Can’t Test With 8 People

Dear Bob: I just picked up an HTM SR24 with a 8-71 blown 489, a Max Machine Works Bravo One drive, and 30 pitch Bravo One four-blade propeller. I’ve had it out once, loaded with eight people, and it took forever to get on plane. Would an aerator help with getting the boat on plane with this application? Do you guys have plans to design one for Bravos/XRs? How about adding a tunnel tab? Any help would be appreciated. Corey Gurley Riverside, CA

A Mercury Racing lab-finished Bravo One is the best high-speed propeller for an HTM. First of all, you cannot do a valid evaluation of your HTM or any smaller single-engine catamaran with eight people onboard. In order to figure out the setup on the boat, I would start with two people that weigh about the same amount and with the fuel tanks about one-half full. Generally speaking, it will take a little time to get the boat on plane. Being that your boat has a supercharged motor, I doubt that the problem is being caused by the prop not spinning up. On the other hand, I think it is slipping quite a bit as it comes over on plane. Adding an aerator would make the problem worse causing the propeller to cavitate even more. Aerators are effective on surface drive applications. We manufacture them for Mercury Racing IV and V-drives. We also manufacture them for SSM Six (now M-6) and M-8 drives. We also make custom aerators for shaft drive applications.

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Surface drive applications are designed so that approximately one-half or less of the propeller is in contact with the clean water while underway at higher speeds. Because most performance marine applications only have one speed, when the propeller is buried when not on plane, the aerator creates propeller slip while the boat is coming on plane to allow the engine RPM to increase into the power band. When operating a boat with aerators, the propellers slip when coming on plane, and after it is on plane the propellers “hook up” and stop slipping. It almost feels like there is a two speed transmission. Once the boat is on plane, the aerators are no longer effective. This is true except in rough water conditions especially associated with offshore racing where the aerator helps get the engine RPM back into the power band when landing hard after launching off a wave. The HTM hull has a unique bottom with somewhat of a vee between the sponsons, instead of a flat tunnel or a center pod. Typically, an HTM seems to bow steer a little until it gets up to about 60 or 70 mph. After that, it starts to pack air and acts more like a traditional catamaran. If you had eight people onboard, it is unlikely that you would experience the true handling characteristics of the boat. The HTMs are surprisingly good at higher speeds, especially for a 24-footer. I have actually driven one during a test in a controlled environment well above 140 mph. Tunnel tabs are used on twin engine catamarans. I don’t know how you would add one to your boat. Trim tabs or K-planes might be an option but I would probably not do that either, unless you want to try to use the boat for wake-boarding or something else that it is really not designed for. Instead, you might consider having two propellers. I think that a Mercury Racing Lab Finished Bravo One is the best high speed propeller for an HTM. I have tried many other propellers on these boats and none are as forgiving, handling wise, as the 4-blade. Stock Bravo One propellers will get on plane a little better and have a little better mid-range efficiency. The Mercury Racing Lab Finished Propeller will give you the best top end speed. As a second propel-

ler choice, especially if you intend to take eight people with you every time you go out, I would select a Mercury Racing Max-5 in a 29 pitch. The time to reach plane will improve and the mid-range efficiency will be significantly better.

In or Out?

Dear Bob: I’ve heard varying opinions on this, but I figured I’d go straight to the professional. Is it best for outdrives/props to spin inwards or outwards on twin engine applications and why? What are the differences? Ramon Ruiz Miami, FL

Catamarans with center pods usually run with the propellers turning in to create more air pack in the tunnels and minimize mid-range porpoising. This is a subject that we could spend a whole day discussing because there are so many variables. So, my answer is going to be based on general assumptions. First of all, one of the factors that influence the desired rotation is the propeller shaft height in relation to the bottom running surface. Other factors include the bottom design and on veebottoms, whether or not the engine installation is side-by-side or staggered. On catamarans, in addition to propeller shaft height compared to the last running surface of the bottom, another factor that influences the effect of the propeller rotation is how close to the tunnel the drives are located. If the propeller rotation is “seeing” some clean water coming from inside the sponsons, it will modify the influence of the propeller rotation. Then, you also have to consider propeller design, propeller diameter, and propeller blade [continues on page 65] speedboat.com

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JET TECH GREG SHOEMAKER New Spectra Wanted

Dear Jet Tech: Do you have any idea how I could go about getting a new 19' Spectra built? I have no idea who owns the molds. Any ideas? Craig Cross Brea, CA The 19 Spectra molds were being made by Eliminator Boats and we called it the 19 Formula. As far as I know, these molds went to Mexico and the glass was being made there. Times got tough, and Eliminator moved out of the glass shop and left the molds there, never to be seen again.

Jet Intake

Dear Jet Tech: My intake is leaking. How hard is it to take out and reset? Any tips or insight would be very much appreciated. Thank you! Victor O’Brien Cleveland, OH Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but you have no choice but to pull the engine, pull the pump, and pull the intake. Clean and prep the intake and repeat the process. If you are running stock power, then a rideplate and shoe modification is not necessary, but if more power is in your future, now would be the time to make that upgrade!

Hawaiian Project Boat

Dear Jet Tech: I recently picked up a 1978 19' Hawaiian Molokai jetboat with a through-hull exhaust design. I am desperate for any information you might know about this boat—pros, cons, tech tips, etc. What is this boat capable of on the hotrod side of things? What kind of performance should I expect to get? Apparently it used to have a 460 engine that locked up.

It then sat in a shop for the last 28 years. I have all the original interior, logs, et al. It’s a full stringer boat and in fairly good shape. The pump is a Berkeley JC with a Place Diverter. I really appreciate any info you can share. Harold Slattery San Diego, CA The Hawaiian Molokai 19 was a entrylevel boat that was well accepted as good all-around ski boat. With the right modification to the pump and hull, this boat will make a good all-around family boat. One thing I would check is to make sure the bottom has not developed a hook. Looking at the pictures, it seems as if the floorboard has been replaced, as well as some stringer replacement. If this has been done, be sure and check the bottom for straightness. [Continues on page 66]

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INDUSTRY News

P

MERCURY Unveils New 400 Outboard rior to the Miami International Boat Show—which was just getting

started as this issue went to press—Fond du Lac, WI-based Mercury Marine hosted about 50 marine journalists from around the country (including Speedboat Magazine) in Orlando, FL, providing them with a sneak preview of its 2019 product introductions and strategies. On the Mercury Racing side was the announcement that it would be unveiling a new version of its wildly popular outboard series, The new outboard will bridge a gap between the 300R and 400R motors: the new 400 (no “R,” which stands for Racing) is described as an extension of the 2.6 liter supercharged engines, but with a different calibration—and maximum 6,800 rpm—that reportedly yields “blistering” holeshot capabilities, according to Mercury. More on this, and the entire Miami Boat Show, in the April 2019 issue.

OPA Racing President Ed “Smitty” Smith, Powerboat P1 CEO Azam Rangoonwala and Rick Wright, the Race Director of the Michigan City Great Lakes Grand Prix.

P1, OPA Join Forces for Indiana Race A new partnership has been established

with OPA Racing (Offshore Powerboat Association) and Powerboat P1 joining together to create the APBA (American Power Boat Association) Offshore Championship at the 11th Annual Great Lakes Grand Prix race scheduled for August 1-4, 2019 at the Washington Park lakefront in Michigan City, IN. On Jan. 17, an introduction meeting and dinner was held at the Blue Chip Casino in Michigan City. Jack Arnett, Executive Director of the LaPorte County Convention & Visitors Bureau, along with Rick Wright, Race

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Director of the Great Lakes Grand Prix, made the announcement. In attendance to share details were Ed “Smitty” Smith, President of OPA Racing and Azam Rangoonwala, CEO of Powerboat P1. The Grand Prix weekend will include powerboats and first time personal watercraft AquaX racing. The AquaX USA Pro series attracts top riders across the United States and Canada as well as South America and Europe. The series will head to Michigan City for the third round of a five venue championship.—Paul Kemiel

DCB Announces 42 Center-Console Model for 2020

Ever since the center-console muscleboat market exploded on the East Coast, many have won-

dered which West Coast builder would throw its hat into the ring, and take a bite out of this ever-expanding market segment. Now, after years of strategizing, the first major Southern California-based builder appears to have staked its claim: DCB Performance Boats of El Cajon, CA, has announced that it will tool a 42-foot center console, which it hopes to have ready by spring of 2020. According to company owner Jeff Johnston, the 42CC has been “a long time coming—we’ve been asked to build one for the last two seasons, and the time finally came to design and tool one. We’re very excited about it.” Johnston said that the concept is basically done, with the engineering phase to follow; artist’s renderings of the boat have been released and depict an impressive quad-outboard concept sure to compete well with center-console offerings from the East Coast. DCB already has two orders for the 42 and is currently fielding commitments for hulls 3-5. The design of the boat—branded as “V42CC,” although Johnston said that nomenclature might change—is a collaboration with SFG Yacht Design. The boat will be equipped with three, four or five Mercury Racing 400R outboards.

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INDUSTRY News

SBI Announces New Orleans Race Super Boat International (SBI) has announced

that its first official race of the 2019 season will take place June 21-23 in New Orleans, LA. The city of Kenner—a nearby New Orleans suburb—will welcome race teams and fans to the three-day race launching from the shores of Lake Pontchartrain. This is the first official 2019 race confirmed by Super Boat International, the premier national and international sanctioning body of offshore powerboat racing around the world. The Kenner Super Boat Grand Prix has been in the works since last September, and the Super Boat team has expressed enthusiasm at finally returning to the New Orleans area to offer an exciting event that can be

enjoyed by everyone. “My last race in New Orleans was in 2002 when I raced in the world championships,” recalls John Carbonell, president of SBI and a former professional powerboat racer. “I am really looking forward to seeing a lot of the old friends I raced with there—I have fond memories not just of racing, but also of those races I produced. There are so many reasons Kenner and New Orleans are special. It will be great to be back to start this year’s race.” The Kenner Super Boat Grand Prix will open on Friday night with a welcome parade starring the race teams and their boats. Spectators will also have the chance to eye some classic automobiles

that will take part in the parade and will remain available for viewing at the dry pits throughout the three-day event. Super Boat remains very popular with fans around the world, and their social media presence exceeds that of any other racing organization. Something the organization is proud of. “We’ve always had the best fans in the business and they are the reason we have achieved so much success,” says Carbonell. “They are anticipating a lot, and we have no plans on letting them down.” Super Boat reports that it is currently working on three major races to add to the 2019 roster and will make the announcements for their dates and cities once they are finalized.

FPC Wraps Winter Poker Run to Hawks Cay Resort

Led by Stu Jones, the Florida Powerboat Club (FPC) just wrapped up its 2019 Winter

Poker Run. The group returned to a popular destination from the past: Hawks Cay Resort & Marina in Duck Key, near Marathon. This resort had been closed for over a year, after sustaining heavy damage in September 2017’s Hurricane Irma, but recently re-opened its doors. The group of 22 boats assembled Friday morning at Haulover Marine Center in North Miami with a nice mix of cats, performance vees and nine center console models, including two Deep Impact, two Mystics, two Nor-Techs, a Concept 44 and a Blackwater—all featuring Mercury Verado power. Performance cats made a big showing,

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especially the twin outboard cats powered by Mercury Racing 400Rs. These were represented by a brand-new Mystic 38 cat, the C3800, two Wright Performance 360s, and an MTI 340X. All of these boats soon became the front runners when the boats took to the open ocean from North Miami. Poker cards were handed out at Haulover Marine Center, Grove Harbour Marina and Gilbert’s Resort of Key Largo. The January weather was fantastic, with warm temperatures and light winds—more like spring weather to many of us—and delightful weather for the many northerners who had come down to Florida to escape the winter chill. New to the poker run fleet was Jones’ newly completed Project 1080 38'

Cigarette, which was a partnership with Mercury Racing. It’s powered by a new set of Mercury Racing 540 stern drives. According to Jones, the boat ran extremely well, and received many compliments from the FPC members, many of whom have been following the project on social media. Everyone was delighted to see the boat finally performing its duties as an official paceboat for FPC. Friday night, the group all got together for a nice meal at the waterfront restaurant, Angler & Ale, located on the Hawks Cay Resort property. On Saturday, it was time get out an explore the local waters. A helicopter joined in as the boats headed south from Duck Key towards Marathon, and the choppy seas slowed many of the boats down to a 35 mph pace, while others braved the rough chop and powered through the seas to the Seven-Mile Bridge. With the chopper in hot pursuit, the fleet gathered up for the money shot, as each boat passed under the spans of the bridge. The group turned north on the more protected bay waters on the Gulf side, and settled in for lunch at an area hotspot: The Island Fish Company in Marathon.

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H

ow close to L.A. is the Los Angeles Boat Show? You’d hate to walk from the previous venue (the L.A. Convention Center) to the current locale in Pomona, CA. Depending on your route and the miserable L.A. traffic, the 35-mile trek could take you 45 minutes to drive there. But by all accounts, the

show seems to have rebounded appreciably in the three years since they’ve moved the digs to the east. As usual, DCB Performance Boats of El Cajon, CA, was the undisputed star of the 2019 exhibit—at least in terms of sheer bling and outrageous muscle. It was the first time DCB showed off this brand-new M44, a yellow, options-drenched showstopper built for repeat customers Dave and Buffie Magoo, who dubbed it Bananas XL (a reference to their previous DCB, the M35 called Bananas). The boat, which had not yet seen water at the time of the show, is powered by twin Mercury Racing 1550/1350 dual-calibration engines capable of reaching speeds of 180+ mph in 1550 mode. The DCB team also wowed the crowd with an M31 with twin Mercury Racing 1100 engines (built for a Canadian customer who will take delivery at this year’s Desert Storm) and an M28R with twin Mercury Racing 400R outboard engines.

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Above: Dave and Buffie Magoo’s M44 Bananas XL (top), a red M31 (middle) and an M28R (above). Right: DCB’s Tony Chiaramonte and Jeff Johnston work the show.

In the dead of winter, L.A. teases boaters with a preview of what lies ahead when the season starts: Red hot unrelenting power. story by Brett

Bayne photos by Ray Lee speedboat.com

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LOS ANGELES BOAT SHOW

Above: Nordic’s outboard-powered 28SS (top), their new 35SS (above) and one of their 34 Deck Boats (right).

Nordic

Hallett

General Manager Thane Tiemer commandeered Nordic’s booth, educating the showgoers about the dozen or so models representing Sharing the stage with Nordic turns out to be a natural fit for the comboth the Nordic and Hallett lines. Nordic’s most popular pany Randy Davis purchased in 2017. Nordic is building the Hallett models, Tiemer said, are definitely its 26' and 29' Deck Boats. “We have at least one of those being delivered every week,” he told Speeeboat. In addition to displaying the deckers, Nordic showed off its brand-new 35SS, a carbon kevlar layup that’s a true tunnel, powered by twin Mercury Racing 400R outboards. Tiemer said this boat was recently tested at 117 mph; a shortened version of it will be released in the foreseeable future, he said. Also on display was the 28SS that Speedboat recently tested; see Page 42 of this issue for more on that boat.

line in Lake Havasu, and doing a phenomenal job of marketing them. In 2017, the Halletts in Havasu event launched its third annual weekend event on Arizona’s most famous lake, and it has proved to be the perfect way to keep Hallett owners happy and informed on the direction of the company. This year, Hallett displayed a super-cool new 275 open-bow walkthrough model, as well as a 285 Party Cruiser deckboat. Both models offer plenty of space for families who value roominess and performance.

Above: Hallett’s brand-new 275 open-boat walkthrough model (left) and the 285 Party Cruiser deckboat (right). The team at Nordic Boats has made sure that the Hallett line continues to offer the very finest in craftsmanship.

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LOS ANGELES BOAT SHOW

Eliminator

Now celebrating 50 years in the boating industry (see Page 50—where else?), Eliminator came to the L.A. show armed with plenty of muscle-minded machinery. The show featured a silver/grey/black 28 Speedster that contained embroidered logos commemorating the anniversary (top). Also on hand were a 28' Fundeck (above right), a 27' Speedster with an 825 Teague engine (right) and a 27 Speedster with twin 400R outboards (above). Currently in development: a new 25' Speedster.

Cobra

Montclair, CA-based Cobra debuted its newest model, the 280 Venom, in a red metallic version powered by a Mercury

Racing 860 engine and loaded up with lots of digital goodies. It’s Cobra’s response to customers asking for a closedbow version of the company’s popular 270 Python deckboat (which is really 28 feet overall). Cobra also showed off a gorgeous blue 270 Python, and General Manager Hernando Rodriguez revealed that the company will soon tool a version of the 280 Venom to accept twin outboards.

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Above: Cobra’s handsome 270 Python deckboat. Below: The company’s first-ever 280 Venom, powered by a Mercury Racing 860 engine.

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

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

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LOS ANGELES BOAT SHOW Left: Lavey Craft’s ultra-roomy 29 NuEra midcabin cuddy, powered by a Mercury Racing 600 SCi / XR drive. Left: A 24' NuEra. Bottom: A 21 XT Ski walkthrough open-bow.

Lavey Craft Headed up by longtime power guru Chris Camire, Lavey Craft seemed poised to conquer the deep-vee market in L.A. He was

delighted to show off a white and red 29' NuEra midcabin cuddy (which happens to be tested on Page 38 of this issue). Also on display: a green and white 24' NuEra, which Camire says is the leading model in the Lavey line (thanks in part to its spacious interior), a 21 XT Ski walkthrough open bow, and even one of Lavey’s custom off-road Polaris RZR vehicles.

Shockwave

Yet another boat evaluated by the Speedboat test team in this issue is Shockwave’s 26' Cat, powered by a Mercury Racing 600 SCi / XR drive, seen in the photo below. The Corona, CA-based builder had both I/O and outboard-powered boats in both tunnel and vee configurations. Two versions of the builder’s 28 Deck took center stage; it’s the same hull that appeared on the cover of this magazine’s March 2017 issue. Shockwave displayed a stern-drive configuration, as well as one with a single Mercury Racing 400R outboard.

Above: Two versions of Shockwave’s 28 Deck: an I/O (top) and an outboard (bottom). Right: The 26' Cat, powered by a Mercury Racing 600 SCi.

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LOS ANGELES BOAT SHOW Left: Though from the waterline, the X-Flight may appear to be an air-entrapment hull design, it isn’t. The aerodynamically engineered bow blends into an advanced steppedvee bottom aft.

Advantage Lake Havasu-based Advantage launched its unique 29' X-Flight a dozen years ago, and it’s still going strong. Since its introduction, the inno-

vative model—a vee that resembles a catamaran—has become the company’s biggest seller, and its success spawned a 27' and a 34' version. Advantage brought a version powered by a 565 engine.

Barron Boats

Former Hallett chief Jerry Barron recently launched this new company,

and brought two different 290S hulls. It’s a walk-through twin ventilated step cat that Speedboat recently tested. “It does everything spectacular,” says Barron. “It rides, performs, handles…We hit a home run. In rough water, it really shines. It just does everything above and beyond what I anticipated. And in smooth water, it’s like driving Mom’s Above: The 290 Sport from Barron Boats. Oldsmobile.” Left: Howard’s “crossover” 255 VTX Sport Deck, which combines elements of a vee bottom and a tunnel boat. Below: The 288 Sport Deck.

Howard Boats Valencia, CA-based Howard Boats displayed its 255 VTX Sport Deck, a crossover hull designed to combine the best attributes of a tunnel and a vee-bottom; it’s constructed using a 100% wood-free composite. Also on display was Howard’s 288 Sport Deck, powered by a Mercury Racing 565 stern-drive engine.

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Eddie Marine Eddie Marine of Rancho Cucamonga, CA, has become virtually synonymous with aftermarket performance boat products.Ed Borges and his crew displayed hundreds of goodies, including EMI Thunder Exhaust systems (above left), billet seat pedestals (above middle) and helm controls (above right).

Aqua Lily Pad

The Ohio-based manufacturer of durable and comfortable floating foam pads displayed its full line of products, which tend to sell out by the conclusion of the L.A. Show. Schooling showgoers on the benefits and sheer fun of the wildly popular and super-fun “floating islands” was Ron Almada, who’s a genius at racking up sales of this unique water accessory. What else lets you rest, kick-back, tan and enjoy the water like the Aqua Lily Pad? No engine required! Look for the Aqua Lily Pad display at the upcoming Lake Havasu Boat Show, April 5-7.

Left: Livorsi’s 1050 Performance trim tabs are now available with a powdercoat finish, custom logos, and LED lights. Wiring is routed through the tab transom plate for a clean installation.

Livorsi Marine Livorsi Marine displayed its full line of gauges, instruments, wheels LED indicators and numerous accessories, spotlighting its hydraulic

trim tabs. They’re CNC-machined from billet aluminum and feature mil-spec hard-coat anodization to resist corrosion. Owners can choose between Livorsi’s LED electronic position indicators or mechanical indicators that use 33C cables. speedboat.com

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LOS ANGELES BOAT SHOW

CP Performance CP Performance, the national online marine dealership and mail-order superstore, brought several boatloads of its thousands of boat parts, hardware and accessories, including fuel and electrical systems, trim tabs, exhaust systems, sea strainers, steering wheels, gauges and Berekely jet-drive rebuild kits. This included the usual impressive display of Hardin Marine products as well.

Above: Virtually every kind of aftermarket accessory you can dream of was on display at the CP Performance / Hardin Marine booth. Left: It all comes together in this custom 572-cid supercharged engine.

AO Coolers After 30 years of offering the highest-quality soft-side coolers on the market, AO Coolers showed off its entire line of products, which are

Soft-sided coolers in various shapes, colors and sizes were part of the excellent AO Coolers display. In addition to the coolers, the company offered special boat-show deals on insulated canteens, mugs and tumblers.

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guaranteed never to leak or sweat. The coolers will preserve ice for 24 hours in 120-degree heat. The company also sold insulated canteens, mugs and wine tumblers (above).

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DCB

LAVEY CRAFT

TEXT BY Brett

Bayne PHOTOGRAPHY BY Todd Taylor, Kenny Dunlop and Daren Van Ryte

for

Welcome to our 2019 Performance Evaluations, where five West Coast machines are put to our ultimate test.

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I

t was a fascinating amalgam of West Coast custom lake-rodding as some of the most famous speedboat builders this side of the Mississippi brought the best of what they had to offer to our

2019 performance trials, held last fall in Lake Havasu. Aside from originating from a 300-mile radius encompassing Lake Havasu and Southern California, virtually nothing unifies these five muscle machines: it’s a mix of power types (two with outboards, three I/Os), singles and twins, vees and tunnels, closed and open bows—and, inevitably, five- and six-figure price tags. But for one unforgettable week, we got to drive and evaluate these bad boys, and all of them delivered their own peculiar thrills and personality traits. In the reviews that follow, you’ll encounter DCB’s extraordinary M35, a luxurious, tricked-out cat built for a customer who essentially gave the company a blank check to guarantee maximum luxury and blindingly fast speeds; Domn8er’s 22-foot Deck Boat, a small but roomy model for the entry-level buyer; Lavey Craft’s always delightful 29' NuEra, which was our one deep-vee and only midcabin offering; Nordic’s smokin’ fast, twin-outboard 28SS catamaran; and Shockwave’s 26' Cat, a walk-through open bow that more than anything resembles a deckboat. We had a genuine blast testing each of these rockets.

DOMN8ER NORDIC

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SHOCKWAVE

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M35

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t’s a bit difficult to fathom, but DCB is already celebrating the 10th anniversary of its legendary M35 Widebody this year.

Back in our November 2008 issue, we devoted a two-page spread to an artists’ rendering of the model to break the news of its imminent debut at the 2009 Los Angeles Boat Show. The M35—which is every bit as state-of-the-art today as it was back then—became the largest cat in the builder’s line, an achievement rendered obsolete with the emergence of the M44 just a couple of years ago. For our annual Performance Evaluations, the crew arranged for us to test an M35 called Top Secret, which belongs to DCB addict Shawn Gibson, previously the owner of several boats

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by his favorite builder. Gibson is a member of DCB’s select clientele who essentially give the Southern California company a blank check and let the boys create a quintessential work of art. “Over the top” is putting it mildly when describing what DCB built for Gibson: “He pretty much checked every box when it came to building the boat,” says DCB’s Tony Chiaramonte, “from the trailer to the lights to the custom dash, he got more than we even had listed on the price sheet.” The Package: The M35 is tricked out with custom solid gelcoated hatches. DCB has integrated two custom one-off billet grills above each turbo to get air flow to the turbos. Those motors happen to be twin Mercury Racing 1550/1350

dual-calibration muscle machines, so this boat came to our test ready to rock and roll. This is the first DCB to be outfitted with four gas tanks—two 30-gallon tanks for the 112-octane race fuel in 1550 mode, and two 85-gallon tanks for the 91-octane fuel when it’s in 1350 mode. “We installed a fuel selector with electric switching valves, so all you do is touch the screen and flip the toggle to go from 91 octane fuel to the 112 octane fuel,” Chiaramonte explains. “Your 1550 key fob changes the program on the engine so you can run your shootouts in 1550 mode on the fly instead of having to worry about pumping gas out or putting gas in. Sometimes it can be a huge undertaking to do that.” Then there’s the luxurious custom speedboat.com

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DCB M35 Length: 35' Beam: 9'7" Engines on test boat: 2 Mercury Racing 1550/1350 / M8 drives Options on test boat: Engine upgrades ($356,543), Upgraded carbon-fiber and carbon-kevlar lamination with foam coring ($37,500), Garmin 7612 upgrade ($5,899), SIMRAD NSS12 Evo3 upgrade x2 ($5,899 x2), upgraded Adrenaline trailer ($51,250), etc. Top speed: 178 mph @ 6,500 rpm DCB PERFORMANCE BOATS 1468 N. Magnolia Ave. El Cajon, CA 92020 (619) 442-0300 dcbperformanceboats.com

performance evaluations

Brute force, luxury, comfort, styling and 178+ mph speed—these guys didn’t leave anything out.

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DCB

DCB repeat customer Shawn Gibson essentially checked every box when giving DCB carte blanche to build a truly “over the top” machine. The boat has been tricked out with clear polycarbonate engine bonnets with the Top Secret logo, four gas tanks and a fuel selector with electric switching valves.

“This thing is, in a word, magnificent. The gelcoat on this boat is as good as it gets. The paint job is gorgeous—lots of pearls and fades. It’s a 10-plus.” —Bob Teague 32

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Left: DCB installed these Garmin units into the backs of the driver’s and passenger’s seats.

DCB customer Gibson owns a trucking company, and customized this enclosed box trailer to match Top Secret.

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dash, which sports three 12-inch screens (another DCB first), along with screens on the back of the headrests for viewing by passengers in the rear seats. And speaking of seats, this M35 is the latest to boast the luxurious Alcantara fabric throughout the interior. Carlos Lafarga at DCB is a master when it comes to seat construction, creating the best upholstery we’ve ever seen, hands down. From the engine installation and wiring to the custom-built carpet that matches the color of the boat, every minute detail of the M35 is nothing short of dazzling. “This thing is, in a word, magnificent,” sums up Bob Teague. “The gelcoat on this boat is as good as it gets. That paint job is gorgeous, lots of pearls and fades. It’s a 10-plus. The boat is capped from front to rear, and the mold work is exceptional.” All you need to do is look at the photos we took. There’s no secret about this Top Secret: It’s a stunner. Performance: Because of the Mercury Racing dualcalibration engines, it was necessary to test the DCB more than one way. We were curious to see how it ran in 1350 mode, of course, but we were also eager to experience the performance with the 1550 settings. One of the things we discovered was that the boat’s acceleration test was remarkably different, depending on the setting. In 1350 mode, we were able to go from sitting dead in the water to 90 mph in 20 seconds. But in 1550 mode, after 20 seconds we were going 110 mph. Moreover, we achieved 60 to 100 mph in 10.2 seconds in 1350 mode, but only 7.2 seconds in 1550 mode. Did we mention that this boat is blisteringly fast? We took Top Secret to 178 mph at 6,500 rpm in less than ideal conditions; owner Gibson reported seeing 185 in optimum conditions. As it was propped, low speeds were definitely not our favorite area for the boat, especially in the slaloms; once you get it up to 50-60 mph, it becomes much easier to turn, and between 70-100 mph, it turns exceptionally well. “There’s no deceleration reaction whatsoever,” Teague reports. “Also, the boat’s not light, so it goes over the bumpy water pretty well. The boat is not affected by side wind whatsoever. Tracking is excellent in all of the speed ranges.” The drives were coupled to 15-degree rake props, so the DCB required a bit more trim than it would have with 18-degree rake props. Overall, the performance of this boat was exceptional. The Bottom Line: The typical M35 customer is likely someone who has owned another DCB and has traded up, like Gibson. Not everybody is going to go crazy and pull out all the stops—this boat costs a little more than twice what the standard version does—but if you can afford it, the “wow” factor is worth it. This is a very high quality piece of equipment indeed. S P E E D B O A T | March 2019

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22’ DECK BOAT

O

f the eight or so models built by Lake Havasu, AZ-based Domn8er Power Boats, half of them

are deckboats in the 22' to 28’ range. Introduced in 2011, the smallest of these—the 22' Deck Boat— delivers affordable package with more cockpit room than you’d expect and a nice, speedy ride. Company owner Dory Sarafin has enjoyed robust success targeting this model to families in the entrylevel market. Our first encounter with this diminutive decker was the very year it was released. Our inaugural tester was powered by a 496 Mag HO stern-drive engine with Bravo 1X drive for a top speed of 73

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mph on GPS. Four years later, we were brought a version powered by another stern-drive: Mercury’s 502 Mag HO and Bravo 1X (top speed: 66 mph). The 22s we’ve seen have all been generally well built and stylishly dressed and finished. Domn8er takes advantage of every inch to create a deckboat that’s about as roomy as anything this size could possibly be. The Package: With outboard power currently all the rage, it’s no surprise that this is the first 22' we’ve been brought without an I/O. This time, Domn8er has opted for a single 350 Verado with a promise of 74-mph speeds. (That turned out to be optimistic, but only slightly— read on for details.)

“We designed this boat with very aggressive bottom,” Sarafin says. “The sponsors are really wide and very deep. We took our center pod and ran it all the way to the front for stability reasons. It’s a very wide boat, and I don’t think anybody else on the West Coast has a deckboat quite like it.” Entrance to the bow is made extremely simple with a wide, open platform; there’s a step down into the front section with two comfortable facing sofa seats that accommodate three per side (or two loungers) in the contours of ergo-friendly recliner benches. Step down again and you’ll find two thick, shapely cockpit bolsters mounted to sturdy billet bases. At the rear of the cockpit, there’s a speedboat.com

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DOMN8ER 22’ Deck Boat Length: 22' Beam: 102" Engine on test boat: Mercury Racing 350 Verado outboard Options on test boat: 350 Verado upgrade ($12,170), custom paint and interior ($5,000), custom powdercoated trailer ($1,500), electric jackplate ($2,000), dual batteries ($350), hydraulic steering ($2,200). Top speed: 70 mph @ 6,100 rpm DOMN8ER POWER BOATS 1790 Industrial Blvd. Lake Havasu City, AZ 86403 (928) 505-4078 domn8er.com

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DOMN8ER

One of the cool things about the Domn8er is the rear-entry staircase, which makes passenger access a breeze. Driver and passenger bolster seats, which sit on billet bases, were comfortable. The dash sported an array of Livorsi gauges that were easy for the driver to see.

“You gotta give the 350 Verado credit—it pushes this boat right along. It ran pretty good—it felt fairly solid and went through some of the sloppy stuff well.” —Myrick Coil 36

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Left: Even without a stern-drive engine, the outboard-powered Domn8er still retains the standard I/O engine compartment.

shortened bench with three molded seat backs with a small staircase on the starboard side to make rear-entry a breeze. Driver and passenger bolster seats, which sit on billet bases, were comfortable. The dash sported an array of Livorsi gauges that were easy for the driver to see. Unfortunately, it’s hard to put a totally positive spin on the overall workmanship of this particular Domn8er. Previous models we’ve evaluated showed better attention to detail. Suffice it to say that our dry-land inspection team was left largely unimpressed by much of fit and finish of this boat. The gelcoat appeared to have numerous flaws and repairs, particularly on the outside. The mold work was wavy and dull. The rubrail installation was as poor as any we’ve ever seen on boat. The hatch that would normally house the I/O had hinges that were practically falling off. The Domn8er also failed in a host of other ways; our team griped about everything from the wiring, battery location, seat stitching and construction. Referring to the boat’s $87,000 price tag, Bob Teague said, “It’s about $50,000 too much.” We know Domn8er is capable of higher-quality workmanship—we’ve seen them. Test driver Myrick Coil concurred: After driving the boat, he made a point to remark that workmanship on the Domn8er was “pretty much a negative,” saying that the boat “needed some love.” Performance: Coil, who headed up the on-thewater part of our test, had more positive things to say about the 22' Deck Boat. He started his report by saying that the 22' “ran pretty good—I didn’t think it would run as good as it did. It felt fairly solid and went through some of the sloppy stuff well.” Another aspect of the ride he liked was the deceleration reaction. “I went from wide open to no throttle at all, and it did just great,” he says. Overall, we admired the way the this little decker handled with the 350 Verado. “You gotta give it credit—it pushes this boat right along,” Coil says. He gave above-average grades to the boat’s tracking abilities through all of the speed ranges, throttle response, turning, overall maneuverability and visibility coming on plane. We noticed that the boat was not particularly sensitive to trim, which would probably be a positive for the novice boater. Overall, we couldn’t find a lot about the boat’s performance to complain about. It did what we wanted to do and we were generally impressed with the ride. We wound up with 70 mph at 6,100 rpm. The Bottom Line: As we say, the fit and finish is our main concern about this particular 22’, while the performance aspects were surprisingly positive. The boat handles chop well and gets on plane pretty quickly. If Domn8er can step up the workmanship, this would be a great little entry-level boat. speedboat.com

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29’ NuEra

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he Lavey Craft 29 NuEra is hardly a newcomer to the world of high-performance boating. A version of the hull

has been around since 1998, and the midcabin edition we tested for this evaluation emerged some 18 years ago. Time and again, it has made its mark, racking up positive reviews and carving out a reputation as a big, deep, solidly built cruiser. The 29’ was a collaboration with the late Eddie Morenz of Great American Concepts, who helped come up with a revolutionary bottom design that transitions smoothly and reacts like a conventional vee to consistently deliver impressive top-end speed. The boat literally brought Lavey Craft into a “new era” of performance boat-

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ing. Almost as soon as it was released, it began to receive awards (for outstanding workmanship, best single-engine offshore boat) and win competitions on the race circuit. The Package: Lavey’s models are offered in virtually any configuration you could want—closed bow, open bow, single I/O, twin I/O, and even twin outboards. Company owner Chris Camire brought us a midcabin cuddy version of the 29’ to put through our usual series of tests. As usual, Lavey’s gelcoat and paint work were impeccable: “The molds are still exceptional for this 29-foot boat,” raved test driver Bob Teague, who was impressed by the gelcoat’s classic colors and the pearls that were incorporated into the rig’s finish. We also love

that there’s plenty of freeboard on the NuEra, which sports a highly detailed fiberglass liner. The bottom of the boat has a narrowed chine at the back, along with two steps in the hull. Things haven’t changed radically with the design for several years, presumably drawing on the adage that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. As Teague explains, “for a 29-footer, it’s a good rough-water boat.” At the transom, our tester’s Integrated Transom System (ITS) controlled the 600 SCi drive coupled to a Mercury Racing XR drive. Lavey had also installed 280S K-Planes, stainless exhaust tips, twofold-down ladders and Shadow Caster LED underwater lights. Lavey’s continues to use the best-quality hardware and materials. Gorgeous speedboat.com

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LAVEY CRAFT 29’ NuERA Length: 28'10" Beam: 102" Engine on test boat: Mercury Racing 600 SCi / XR drive Options on test boat: Mercury Racing 600 SCi upgrade ($18,000), Garmin GPSmap X5, Merc Gateway ($1,300), carbon fiber dash overlay ($1,400), Rockford Fosgate sound system ($3,000), SeaDek flooring ($2,500), dual Odyssey 2150 batteries ($1,200), etc.. Top speed: 80.8 mph @ 5,150 rpm LAVEY CRAFT MOTORSPORTS 175 Vander St. Corona, CA 92880 (951) 273-9690 laveycraft.com

performance evaluations

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lavey craft

This 29' NuEra is called FN Smoooth, which was inspired by a night owner Kevin Adler was out drinking tequila with some friends. “One of my guys said, ‘Man, that’s f—g smooth.’ That’s how the boat got its name.” Chris Camire worked hard to customize the NuEra for Adler, who is disabled.

“Lavey has done a very nice job with this boat. Even without a ton of horsepower, it goes pretty fast. And if you look at the numbers, it’s got very good acceleration as well.” —Bob Teague 40

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Left: The boat’s power is a single Mercury Racing 600 SCi, coupled to an XR drive. This powertrain pushed the boat to 80.8 mph.

tooling sets the tone for this full-size, full-volume performance cruiser, which boasts the builder’s trademark fit and finish and superlative rigging savvy to maximum advantage. Vibrant color work, rich and comfortable interior seating and the standard features you’d expect from Lavey contribute to the high-end feel. Lavey has given a lot of attention to the most minute details in the construction and rigging on the 29: “It tells me that Chris Camire really cares,” says Teague. This version of the 29 features a midcabin, so there’s great seating in the bowrider section, as well as a place to get out of the sun in the cuddy area in the midsection. You can see how finely crafted the design is in our photos. The owner of this boat, Lavey customer Kevin Adler, competes in the Baja 500 with his prerunner. Two years ago, a mechanical failure caused his car to flip over onto his arm, leaving him severely injured. With limited use of his appendage, Lavey Craft worked with him to not only customize a special foot throttle to make acceleration easier, but performed a few other modifications for enhanced accessibility. “He just went above and beyond at every turn,” Adler says of Camire. “Were it not for Chris and everybody at Lavey Craft, I would not be able to live the lifestyle that I enjoy living.” Performance: We always spend ample time turning our test boats to see how well they slalom. One of the first things we noticed about the 29 was how impressively the hull turns. It stays on track well and leans well into the turns without ever feeling uneasy— and that’s through all of the speed ranges. Feeding throttle to the Lavey with this particular setup, you need to be patient to get every last mph, but we achieved 80.8 at 5,150 by putting both trim tabs up all the way. With the tabs up, we noticed that the Lavey seemed to lean a little bit to the left. However, this was easily cured by dropping the left tab just a bit. The NuEra does not really want any trim until you’re going at least 45-50 miles an hour. Its efficiency is optimal with the trim tabs all the way down until you start to go faster—then it’s time to start trimming up. We noticed zero steering-wheel torque, minimal bowrise, and super overall maneuverability—that actually earned a “10” from Teague. Acceleration in the boat was very good; we were going 42 mph after 10 seconds and 55 mph at 15 seconds. We were on plane at 5.45 seconds. The Bottom Line: The 29 is arguably the most exciting model in the Lavey lineup. Over the years, our test team has been consistently impressed by this classy, full-scale hot yacht. speedboat.com

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28SS

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ake Havasu-based Nordic Boats USA was among the first custom builders to introduce go-fast fanatics to the joys of supersized muscle-

boating. The builder’s original incarnation of a 28-foot family custom cruiser was the 28’ Heat, a deep-vee powerhouse that our staff tested consistently from 1996 to the mid 2000s. Nordic launched a 28’ cat, the 28CC, in the last decade; one of the earliest tooled was Buck Stracener’s 150-mph tunnel. Indications of a resurgence in outboard-powered West Coast hot rods can be traced back to 2003, when Nordic started receiving a spike in requests from customers wanting a clamp-on custom. The company responded quickly with its progressively designed 28 SuperSport (SS) outfitted with a pair of Mercury Racing 300s. “It’s the same model boat as the I/Os,” says Nordic General Manager Thane Tiemer said at the time. “We simply changed the back to accommodate the outboards and put a pair of 300s on

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it with jackplates from Bob’s Machine Shop.” The area previously housing the I/Os had become a large storage area for anything from coolers to lawn chairs. The performance of the 28SS with outboards was estimable. “You can ask anybody’s who’s been in it—it’s simply incredible,” Tiemer said. “The boat handles flawlessly. You would not believe it. You can have a conversation with the person sitting next to you at 70 mph.” For our latest round of evaluations, Nordic let us put a new 28SS to the test— with twin 400R Verados replacing the 300s. The outboards featured 32"-pitch Mercury props and promised a ride that was fast and furious. The Package: Nordic was one of the first custom builders to actually incorporate gelcoat into their paint jobs, which started a revolution on the West Coast. Judging by our 28SS, they’re still doing a bang-up job with their gelcoat. A closeup inspection by our dry-land test team drew praise for the metallic fades, pearls and overall color scheme.

Our 28SS was built with a cool, crystalclear 3/4" acrylic wraparound windshield with a great weather strip in between. That impressed our dry-land team, as did the boat’s stainless rubrail and installation (the boat is capped on the front and rear). On the transom, we found Bob’s Machine Shop jackplates working with the 400Rs. In front of the engines, and under the hatch, is a compartment that’s perfectly detailed, finished and gelcoated—a very tidy area with stainless-steel Adel clamps holding things together, three Odyssey batteries, IMCO powersteering pump, LED nav lights, bumpers and lifejackets, etc. Workmanship in this area won raves from the test team. Another nice touch: Nordic has employed braces for the motor mounts (in an L angles) that tie the stringers and the transom together for extra strength, instead of simply relying on the fiberglass. These are polished aluminum, and Nordic has taken the trouble to polish the heads on the stainless steel Allen screws that hold them in. “It’s that kind speedboat.com

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NORDIC 28SS Length: 28' Beam: 101" Engines on test boat: Twin Mercury Racing 400R outboards Options on test boat: Carbon/kevlar layup ($25,000), trim tabs ($2,500), Max S props ($2,500), SeaDek flooring ($3,000), etc.. Top speed: 113 mph @ 7,000 rpm NORDIC BOATS USA 770 North Lake Havasu Ave. Lake Havasu City, AZ 86403 (928) 855-7420 nordicboatsusa.com

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Our 28SS featured a crystal-clear 3/4 acrylic wraparound windshield with a great weather strip in between. On the transom, we found Bob’s Machine Shop jackplates working with the 400Rs. Workmanship and attention to detail mightily impressed our dry-land inspection team.

“It’s a very nimble boat. When we were at high speeds and coming around some corners— even in the wind—I was able to put the boat where I wanted it. That was nice.” —Myrick Coil 44

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Left: Under the hatch is a compartment that’s perfectly detailed, finished and gelcoated—a very tidy area.

of attention to detail that I like to see,” says Bob Teague. Adds Myrick Coil: “Any wiring that goes out to the engine and the bilge is in a loom, so you actually don’t see any wires except for on the batteries and on the trim-tab pumps.” Seating in the 28SS consists of two bucket seats in the front and four individually sculpted buckets in the rear, rather than a bench. All of the upholstery is done in house, and it’s exceptionally well done. “It’s a beautiful boat,” says test driver Ray Lee. “It’s got a very speedboat.com

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wide beam and a super-roomy cockpit, with a lot of space between the two front seats and the rear seats.” That’s because without the I/O, Nordic was able to push the rear seating area back about 18 inches. The SeaDek flooring, always a welcome component of any boat, was an attractive gray with yellow stripes. At the dash, the boat sports a carbon-fiber silver Isotta steering wheel, a pair of Livorsi tachometers (one for each motor), trim-tab indicator, stereo system, Mercury Vessel View 7 and Digital Throttle & Shift (DTS) controls and rocker switches in a nicely designed panel. Sitting in the pilot’s bucket, we took note of the adjustable foot rests for extra security, and in front of both the driver and passenger, there’s a small backwards-facing lounge-type seat under the deck that would be suitable for a child who wants to escape the sunlight. Overall, our team gave high marks to the layout, workmanship and comfort of the 28. Performance: Given our test teams’ previous experiences with Nordic’s products, it’s hardly surprising that they came back from their rides with a copius amount of positive feedback. The 28SS is an exciting boat to drive, pure and simple. We were on the rev limiter at 7,000 rpm, with a top speed of 113, but in optimal conditions—and a prop with a little more pitch—it’s probably capable of more. “It’s a very nimble boat,” test driver Myrick Coil says. “When we were at high speeds and coming around some corners—even in the wind—I was able to put the boat where I wanted it. That was nice.” The teams were also enthusiastic about how well the 28SS turns in all of the speed ranges. The boat is comparatively light, so it can’t tackle the bigger wakes quite as well as some of the heavier boats are able to, but we just tried to avoid the choppy stuff as best as we could. On the other hand, the boat’s ability to handle weight shift was excellent—we ran into some pretty gusty winds, and the boat tracks straight and true all of the time. “I’d rate the Nordic a 10 on low speed and mid speed, and a 9 on top speed,” says Teague. “It’ll take you a while to get that last 5-10 mph, but sensitivity to trim is perfect. There’s no steering wheel torque, and maneuverability in all of the speed ranges is great.” The Bottom Line: With the twin 400Rs, the Nordic is a great value for those who are looking for comfort, speed and reliability. As Thane Tiemer at Nordic says, “The biggest selling points on the boat are that it’s a 120-mph boat with five-year warranties on the motors, and you don’t have to service the motors for 100 hours. It’s a no-brainer.” Adds Myrick Coil: “It was one of the fastest boats I’ve driven today, and it costs $248,000. This is for the guy who wants to go fast and do so economically, and that big warranty is hard to beat. Plus, it’s got an unbelievable ride.” S P E E D B O A T | March 2019

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A

relatively recent addition to the stable of Shockwave Custom Boats (Corona, CA) is its 26’ Cat, which

our staff first tested four years ago. That boat was a walk-through bowrider that impressed our team with its docile ride, smart interior, plentiful storage space and flawless handling. The 26’ represents part of the middle ground in a lineup that starts with a 20-foot tunnel and ends with the 35’ Magnatude, one of its deep-vee lake rods. Since its release in 2008, Shockwave has dutifully exhibited this family tunnel at the annual Los Angeles Boat Show, which has helped boost the model’s recognition factor. Shockwave owner Bob Anderson recently brought us another to 26’ Cat to evaluate, and as with our previous tester, it was a walk-through bowrider. The company also offers it in a closed-bow and midcabin cuddy configuration, but the walk-through—which is roomy enough to qualify as a deckboat— seems to be the most popular version.

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26’ CAT “It really runs really well,” he says. “It’s really stable and handles rough water extremely well. It’s got a full fiberglass liner inside of it.” The boat’s owner, Christian Aguayo— who runs Prestige Paint and Decorative (Riverside, CA)—says he’s passionate about his ride because of the way Shockwave customized it to his precise specifications. “It’s not just a boat—it’s something more personal. It has more meaning. I love how we were able to tell them our ideas and create something that we watched come to life. What I like most about the boat that it’s personalized.” Aguayo, a first-time Shockwave customer, wanted a single Mercury Racing 600 SCi with Bravo drive, and had Shockwave install a “ridiculous” JL Audio stereo—one of the biggest such stereos that Shockwave has ever rigged, according to Anderson. “I was actually thinking about getting a deckboat, and this is probably the closest we got to it without going with the full on deck,” Aguayo says. “We wanted

the boat to have a little more performance along with the comfort. I gotta say, the Shockwave is a super solid boat. It doesn’t feel light; it feels like a heavy, solid boat. I love the speed as it gets out of the hole—I’m already at 50, 60 miles per hour a few seconds after putting the throttle down.” The Package: Beginning at the transom, we observed two separate fiberglass platforms, the port side sports a throughbolted retractable Aqua Performance boarding step, which is handy for helping swimmers reboard. The Bravo XR drive works with Imco dual-ram full hydraulic steering and is coupled to a Mercury 30”pitch lab-finished four-blade prop. The engine compartment is covered by a hatch carpeted on the inside and upholstered on the outside. Engine installation was executed with style and talent; the 600 SCi was billet mounted and nicely painted to match the boat. Also inside the hatch were a TCM Sea Strainer and three Interstate batteries on the starboard side, and stereo amps speedboat.com

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SHOCKWAVE 26’ CAT Length: 26' Beam: 102" Engine on test boat: Mercury Racing 600SCi / XR drive Options on test boat: Mercury Racing 600SCi upgrade, full hydraulic steering, Interliner with Gator step, billet seat bases, billet hatch hinges, JL Audio stereo system, upgraded interior, etc.. Top speed: 86 mph @ 5,400 rpm SHOCKWAVE CUSTOM BOATS 1800 Capital St. Corona, CA 92880 (951) 898-9360

Released in 2008, this family walk-through tunnel is frequently seen at the Los Angeles Boat Show. But it’s even better viewed in its natural environment—hauling ass.

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shockwave

The 26’ Cat features a large storage locker in the floor, and more storage under the seats. Our dash had an Isotta wheel and a full complement of Livorsi gauges; rocker switches were found on the port side of the helm. Our team admired the excellent job Shockwave did on wiring under the dash.

“Shockwave has been doing this for a long time, and they pride themselves in making a good-quality boat for the money. I think they’re achieving that goal pretty well.” —Bob Teague 48

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Left: On either side of the Mercury Racing 600 SCi engine are two vertical carpeted pieces that help keep things secure.

on the port side. Our dry-land inspection team took note of the Imco fuel selector valve switch, a top-of-the-line item. Also, on either side of the engine are two vertical carpeted pieces that are screwed into place to keep things secure and prevent anything from falling into the center of the engine well. “It’s an aboveaverage installation,” says Bob Teague. “Shockwave has been around and has been doing this for a long time, and they pride themselves in making a good-quality boat for the money. I think they’re achieving that goal pretty well.” He rated access to services very highly: “It’s about as good as it gets.” The main cockpit consists of two bucket seats on billet bases and a rear bench with matching upholstery colors. The rear bench is probably wide enough for four adults, but has been molded with headrests for three; this 26' Cat has a spacious 102" beam, so it feels very roomy. The seats were well built and very comfortable. speedboat.com

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There’s a large storage locker in the floor, and more storage under the seats, as well as an ice chest with drainage. The dash on this boat features an Isotta wheel and a full complement of Livorsi gauges, including speedo, tach, water volts, fuel levels (one for each tank) and oil pressure. Rocker switches were found on the port side of the helm. Our team admired the great job Shockwave did on wiring under the dash. Cupholders have been placed everywhere, including on top of the bulkheads—two each for driver and passenger. Test driver Myrick Coil admired the placement of the gauges, overall workmanship and the comfort of the seats. In front of both the driver and co-pilot—just beyond a step down—are small cushioned areas under the bulkheads where small-fry can get out of the sun. Moving forward— and taking one small step down—there’s a square-shaped bowrider area for 4-6 passengers—or for two passengers who want to take advantage of the forward-facing seat backs and stretch out. There’s nothing radically different about the layout of this 26' Cat than the one we tested a few years back, but chalk that up to the fact that the boat is irresistible to families who like to go fast together while enjoying a roomy cockpit with plenty of amenities—and on a budget. Altering that would be foolhardy. While the color scheme of this 26' Cat wasn’t exactly our team’s #1 favorite that Shockwave has done, the builder gave their customer precisely what he asked for (those are his company’s official colors). The actual execution of the gelcoat was first-rate, as usual. Performance: The Shockwave gets on plane quickly without a lot of bowrise to cause the pilot to lose visibility of the horizon. “The boat likes a little trim,” notes test driver Myrick Coil. “As soon as you get on plane, just grab the trim button for three or four seconds—then it really takes off. It’s a fun boat to drive. It really goes. It feels nimble, and we went across some pretty decent waves and the boat handled them without any problem.” Test driver Bob Teague was also quite impressed by the boat’s overall handling and drivability. “It actually feels bigger than a 26," he says, “and it’s very well mannered, and it turns fantastic in the slaloms—lefts, rights, cruising, high speeds… it never skips. It’s crisp. No deceleration issues. We went over some waves out there and the boat is really forgiving.” Both of our test teams agreed that the 26' Cat tracked perfectly all the time. “It’s so predictable it’s ridiculous,” Teague adds. “We had great throttle response—of all the boats we tested, it was actually one of the fastest to come on plane.” Our top speed was 86 mph at 5,400 rpm. The Bottom Line: For a boat that offers a sensible layout, high-octane comfort, great attitude and a lot of speed, the 26' Cat is a natural choice for family torn between a standard open-bow and a full-blown deckboat. It offers plenty of bang for your buck. S P E E D B O A T | March 2019

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50

YEARS OF

Under the new leadership of Jake Fraleigh, the legendary Southern California builder marks half a century of innovation—with much, much more to come.

Top: “Before” and “after” views of the Eliminator facility. Above: Eliminators grace the covers of magazines, past and present. Left: A vintage ad marketing the 18' Spider flatbottom, back when Eliminator was based in Anaheim, CA. Opposite: The current crew poses for a group shot (top); a view of the builder’s 2019 display at the L.A. Boat Show (below left) and Jake Fraleigh and Bob Leach show off the 50th Anniversary logo (below right).

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Fifty years ago, a

Kellogg’s Corn Flakes salesman decided that breakfast cereal wasn’t going to be his life’s work and he embarked on an entirely new path— which has now culminated into a 50-year milestone. Like many entrepreneurs in the late 1960s, and a relatively new arrival to Southern California, Bob Leach quickly became enamored with watersports, espespeedboat.com

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cially boat related things happening in and around the lower Colorado River. He started by building a few boats for friends, and soon his “hobby” inspired orders from up and down the Colorado River—humble beginnings for the most influential company in the custom segment. Before long, Eliminator Boats put its sign up on a small commercial building in Huntington Park, CA, its first factory facility manufacturing fiberglass inboard flatbottom ski boats. The first Eliminators were 18' flatbottoms, with vee-bottoms immediately following. Leach was never one to rest on his

laurels: he was always contemplating new, innovative ideas. While other industry CEOs were hampered with engine mounts, etc., only being made for certain motors, Leach custom-made all of his own motor plates and other hardware pieces to allow customers to have whatever they wanted in the way of a motor. By 1969, an all-new family jet model had arrived, and the jet phase lasted for years. With Bob’s passion for speed, the mid-’70s race courses saw Eliminator’s K-boat running competitively in blown-alcohol circle [Text continues on Page 56] S P E E D B O A T | March 2019

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50 YEARS OF Eliminator BOATS

Left: A view of a recent Eliminator regatta. Above: The logo of the builder’s firstever regatta, April 1985. Below: A view of an Eliminator 24' Mojave.

Above and right: Behind Eliminator’s shop is a swimming pool where the company frequently displays a boat “on the water” (top speed in this particular pool is unknown). The boat on display can be seen from California’s Route 60 freeway. Tunnels from the past and present can be seen in these photos, but the pool has floated its share of vee-bottoms as well.

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photography by

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In commemoration of its 50th year, Eliminator decorated this 25' Daytona with numerous anniversary logos. The 25' used to be a traditional closed deck, but this open-bow walk-through model opened up the deck for several more passengers.

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50 YEARS OF Eliminator BOATS racing. Eliminator’s colors and upholstery were always show quality—it was a thrill to view the latest creations at boat shows. In 1975, Leach commissioned bottomdesigner Ron Ehde to develop new ideas, and together they formed a working relationship that would last decades and result in numerous national and world records. The Daytona series tunnels had arrived. The Eliminator mystique continues to capture the imagination of performance boaters. The Daytonas are among the bestselling hull series in speedboating history, and Eliminator’s line of full-sized, openwater step-vees and tunnels are on the short list of the most formidable pleasure craft of all time. Eliminator is properly credited with developing any number of custom industry platforms and existing trends, and innovation continues to fuel this company’s stupendous success. Eliminator has showed the way on so many fronts: styling performance and customer treatment, to name a few. Eliminator innovated custom interior, gelcoat, hardware and setup, and suddenly put the lake-boat buyer in charge—catalyzing the appeal of our industry. The builder remains as much of an innovator as ever, as one of the leading proponents of recreational sport boating. Fifty years later, and with thousands of successful builds under its belt, Eliminator continues to be one of the most recognizable and sought-after custom boat brands in the country. And now, as Eliminator crosses the halfcentury mark, it is now under new ownership. RevLine LLC, an investment group formed by Eliminator general manager Jake Fraleigh and his business partner Todd Mobraten. They purchased Eliminator’s business operations, intellectual property, and certain tangible assets for $1.5 million. Fraleigh, who is now Eliminator’s new president, says that Eliminator will stay in its current Mira Loma building and retain “all the same key employees.” “I’m dedicated to the industry as well as the Eliminator brand,” he said “It’s an honor to take over such a legendary company and continue to work with the existing staff in building a better, stronger product.” To commemorate the company’s 50-year anniversary, Eliminator is plan-

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Above: A 28' Speedster (powered by a pair of Mercury Racing 400Rs) and an older 27' Daytona ICC are being serviced at the Eliminator shop.

Above: Work on a special new project involves a 4-foot bustle being added to a 36’ Speedster plug to create a mold for a new 40’ Speedster. Right: Eliminator gelcoat specialist Larry Sherwood tapes up a 27' Daytona mold. Right: Here’s the new “118” project boat, a 30' Speedster with a massive 118” beam. Below right: One of Eliminator’s newest projects is this 25' Speedster; it features the triedand-true 25 Daytona bottom with the Speedster deck. speedboat.com

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50 YEARS OF Eliminator BOATS Below: In 2007, to commemorate the historic 50th running of the Daytona 500, Eliminator constructed a one-of-a-kind custom Daytona. Left: Kasey Kahne’s 27 Daytona #9 Budweiser. Below left: Eliminator’s fast and roomy 28' Fundeck. Bottom: Dave Bowles’ 1981 19' Eliminator Daytona, featured in our November 2014 issue.

ning a celebration on Saturday, May 18, at Pirate Cove Resort and Marina in Needles, CA. The celebration is open to all Eliminator owners and friends, no pre-registration necessary, just show up between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. and enjoy the camaraderie of Eliminator ownership…the more Eliminators the better, old and new. A special presentation is planned for shortly after lunch. The Eliminator crew will also have several new models on display. For more details about the 50th Anniversary Celebration, please check the Eliminator website (eliminatorboat.com) or call the factory headquarters at (951) 332-4300.

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photography by

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Skater F

or Speedboat’s latest factory tour, we sent our editors to Douglas, MI, to witness the creation of several Skater

catamarans—and to meet the company’s founder and president, Peter Hledin. This creative mastermind has remained the driving force behind Skater since the very beginning, famously integrating intelligent engineering and exacting standards into the artful production of performance boating’s celebrated airtrappers in both pleasure and race boating. A transplanted Canadian, Hledin has nurtured and guided Douglas Marine into a modern-day institution that is practically peerless in the extreme-level performance ranks. His vision and uncompromising production standards continue to raise the bar at the most demanding level of the sport. Hledin and his brother built their first wooden hydro while still in high school, near Montreal. A succession of hand-carved tunnels followed, after the budding woodworkers were inspired by a magazine photograph of a Molinari, in 1966. Powered by an inline 6, their interpretation ran in excess of 60 mph. “It took all winter to build a boat, and we’d test it in the summer,” Hledin recalls. Left: Skater’s founder and president, Peter Hledin. Opposite: Various boats under construction include a 46' to be powered by 1550s (top); a 46’ getting the bottom blueprinted (center left); a 40SS (bottom left) and a 368 in the paint shop (bottom right).

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As Skater enters its 40th year in business, Speedboat tours the legendary factory, a modern-day high-performance institution.

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Skater FACTORY TOUR

Top: Skater’s lamination shop. Above: The plug for Skater’s new 55'. Above right: A diesel-powered 50' owned by Tyson Garvin of Joplin, MO. In Hledin’s final year at college, he partnered up with an industrial designer to form a boatbuilding company. They grew, adapted to the transition to fiberglass with a 17-foot runabout and became relatively successful. Hledin developed the 24-foot Skater in 1984, and the stable platform struck a chord with a power-hungry sport boater. Another milestone was the creation of a 32-footer. This hull was Skater’s first bid in offshore racing, and it was an instant smash. Records and championships followed: the 40-footer was tooled, then the 46-footer, followed by a 36-footer. “I have a soft spot in my heart for every one of them,” says Hledin. So what makes a Skater different? “It starts with a master plug,” Hledin says. “You make it as absolutely perfect as you can make a piece. lt’s about finish and accuracy, and you do what it takes to get there. Our crew builds quality into the part—they don’t rush it.” Contrary to Skater’s image, they don’t promote top speed. “We try to design our boats

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Above: A bustle for a 40SS under construction. Right: Jake Schulte paints a 368. He’s the son of longtime Skater painter Steve Schulte. speedboat.com

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Above: A pair of Skater’s trailers that travel to various offshore races.

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with a very comfortable high-speed cruise speed,” Hledin says. “Our owners know they can’t be built any better.” Nevertheless, Skater continues to dominate in Super Boat International’s Superboat class, with such offshore heroes as WHM Motorsports, M-CON and AMH Motorsports grabbing the spotlight year after year. Skater’s current lineup starts at a 28' and ends at a 50’, but that’s about to change: Skater has a new 55' under construction. Skater hasn’t changed the way it builds boats in quite a few years. They began using the vacuum bagging process in 1988, moving from vinylester to epoxies. “Now everyone’s touting the resin infusion process,” Hledin says. “We did try it—we conducted quite a few experiments, and found that it was still 20 percent heavier, so we never adapted it. We still do the vacuum bagging process, and we’re still using the same epoxy formulation that we used back then.” One event Hledin doesn’t miss these days is Skaterfest, the annual opportunity for

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Skater FACTORY TOUR Here’s a vintage 18' Skater, powered by a 200-hp outboard.

The 180-mph 438 Skater, Rockette.

Skater owners to meet up outside of Detroit to flex their collective muscle during the summer. The event is organized by longtime Skater customer Ron Szolack. “Obviously, it’s a lot of fun,” Hledin says. “It’s great to see new people come in, and to see the activity grow. And I hope it continues to grow and that more people can participate. It’s a great location, because it’s close by, and it’s fun.” With so many different power packages available to his customers, we asked Hledin what he thought about the current crop of choices. “Obviously, Mercury’s got a very, very good package, and they cover a broad spectrum,” he says. “There was kind of a hole in the midrange inboard market, which I think they’re filling right now with the revised 860. The 1,100 and 1,350 engines work great. We haven’t built very many boats with the 1,550, because we don’t need them. We can run 180 mph with a 1,350. Other manufacturers are using a lot more 1,550s, because they need the power to get going, which just proves that our hulls are lighter, stronger and better.” Speedboat thanks Peter Hledin and the entire crew at Skater for giving us the tour!

Above: The World Champion WHM Motorsports cat runs in SBI’s Superboat class.

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TEAGUE TECH [continued from page 8] rake. Generally speaking, cleaver style propellers create stern lift and round ear propellers help to lift the bow. Surfacing propellers have less leverage influence on boat attitude compared to propellers that are running deeper. Assuming that vee hulls and catamaran sponsons have bottoms that are on an angle (deadrise), this is what creates the propeller rotation influence. It is the “clean” water that is hitting the propeller blades that influences hull attitude. If the propeller is rotating out, the downsweep of the propeller blades “sees” more clean water that the upsweep. This causes stern lift. On the other hand, when the propeller is rotating inward (starboard: left, port: right), the upsweep of the blades “see” more clean water which pulls the stern down and results in bow lift. Are you confused yet? Let me provide some common scenarios. With conventional (non-stepped) veebottoms, most were originally built with the drives running pretty deep with the propellers turning out. Most of these boats are side-by-side installations with the drives about 36 inches apart. This configuration helps the boat to get on plane by lifting the stern and results in predictable maneuvering around the docks. A typical boat with this application would be like a Baja Outlaw, an older Formula or Scarab. In some cases, changing the propeller rotation on these boats results in better top-end performance, especially if shorter drives are also installed. Stepped bottom vee hulls traditionally have the drives installed higher and the boats are designed to run with a flatter attitude. Included would be boats built by Fountain (later models), Outerlimits, Nordic, Nor-Tech, Formula FasTech, some Cigarette models, to mention a few. Most of the hulls work better and are faster with the propellers turning in for optimum performance and handling. This is partially because the propellers are lifting the entire hull and the aerated bottoms are reducing the wetted surface. Catamarans are a whole different set of circumstances. But the fact remains that in most cases, propellers spinning in will create bow lift and propellers spinning out will create stern lift. Propeller rotation can also influence turning attitude. For speedboat.com

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example, most SuperCat race boats turn the propellers outward for maximum top speed and better turning in racing conditions. Catamarans without center pods such as Skater, MTI, Mystic, and others work well with either rotation depending on the intended use and depending on the propeller blade rake. Catamarans with center pods usually run with the propellers turning in to create more air pack in the tunnels and minimize midrange porpoising.

So, what is rake? Propeller blade rake is essentially the angle that the blades are swept back in relation to the propeller hub. Most “Bravo” style propellers are only available in the rake associated with the particular propeller model. Racing cleaver propellers are available in standard rakes from 15 to 21 degrees. In general, the higher the rake, the more lift a propeller creates. If the propellers are turning in, it will be bow lift, and if they are turning out, it will be stern lift.

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September 2016

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JET TECH GREG SHOEMAKER [continued from page 10] Bubbledeck Rides Wet

Dear Jet Tech: I own a 1978 Eliminator Bubbledeck (shoe type with delta pad). I got the boat back in the water on New Year’s Day after doing a cam swap and impeller change. I must say, I am impressed so far without having to tune the carbs. I am spinning a B-cut Heritage bronze impeller at 6,000 rpm. The dilemma: I noticed that my Bubbledeck rides very wet! I am running a 2-degree flat cut shoe/ rideplate (4.7 degrees). The boat is powered by a 496 BBC and has a Berkeley split-bowl with Berkeley droop and an MPD open-center loader. I have not

checked the loader in relation to the keel yet. I feel it might be due to the shoe type. Do you have any tips on how to resolve this dilemma? Thank you very much. Vincent DiFruscio Phoenix, AZ The Eliminator Bubbledeck with the delta bottom is a very good lake boat, and can be very competitive also on the race track. The problem is this boat is hardwared differently than your rounded keel bottoms. The 2-degree taper shoe is a good choice for this boat. Shoe depth is going to be a 1/4 to 3/8 of an inch below the keel. Your rideplate angle will be 4 degrees off the bottom

and your loader grate ramps will have to be about a 1/2" behind the loader pad where the grate bolts into the intake. Because the boat is a delta bottom, we have to utilize more of the keel and the intake so the water can make the turn into the pump. Cutting the ramps back should solve your problem.

Losing Oil Pressure

Dear Jet Tech: I hate to rehash the old Jet-Away question, but here goes. My brother-in-law has a 21' Silhouette deck with a 454, a mild-build pump gas motor. It seemed as though he was losing oil pressure, as it came up to operating temp. At cruising speed around 3,500 rpm, he would get approximately 10-20 psi of oil pressure, which is pretty low. When at idle, the pressure would come up to around 30, so we pulled the motor and the pan. What we found had me scratching my head. The face of the oil pickup had formed a noticeable circle at the bottom of the pan. Now the pickup is welded, which makes me wonder if this is just too close to allow any oil to the pickup. We measured around an 1/8" between the pickup and the pan. Plus, the pump is a Melling HV, which would make matters worse if the void space for oil to collect before pickup was too small to begin with. We did not build this motor, so I have no idea how the tube would rotate or get closer to the pan bottom. Have you ever encountered this before? What should be the proper clearance between pan and pickup? Thank you. Lawrence Utset Denver, CO When installing an oil pan, the standard throughout the industry is a 1/2" from the pickup to the bottom of the pan. If you have only an 1/8" this will certainly cause an oil pressure problem. I have seen this before and in some cases, it will actually cause the oil pan to crack. If you have been running the boat like this for awhile, I would advise checking the bottom end of the engine for any oil related problems with the mains and rod bearings.

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Brett’s NERVES of

1973 Sanger

Featuring NJBA World Finals

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photography by

Ray Lee

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B

obby Steele was only 6 when his family started making trips to the Colorado River, so the speed bug hit him young.

“I never had a real hot boat, but I always wanted one,” he says. When an opportunity arose to buy a 1976 Sanger Bubbledeck, he jumped at the chance. He owned it for about 10 years before he spotted an even cooler Sanger: a 1973 18'6" version he heard was for sale. When the engine on his original Sanger blew up, an upgrade was in the cards. “It took me about a year to chase the boat down,” he says. “Finally, Jim Wilkes of Wilkes Marine (Santa Ana, CA) told me who had it, so I went and bought the boat and built a new motor for it.” The Sanger is pushed by a 468 big-block

Chevy four-bolt main with square port head, Clay Smith flat tappet camshaft, Offenhauser tunnel ram, Pro Form electronic ignition, a pair of 650 double-pumper carbs, Chevy Powerglide, Bassett headers and polished split-case Casale V-drive. “It’s actually not tuned real well,” he says. “It’s a squirrelly boat. She’ll get your attention real quick!” One of the boat’s coolest features is the scoop, which is an old-fashioned mailbox. Steele got the idea from another boat he’d seen at a Father’s Day event at Irvine Lake. “I think the boat was called Rat Nasty,” Steele recalls. “I just loved the look of that original old flattie, with a mailbox sitting on top of it. I got one for my own boat and had my cousin paint it up. The door opens up, the flag goes up…we’re good to go!”

You’ve got mail! Bobby Steele’s 18'6" Sanger Bubbledeck is tricked out with a scoop that’s a real mailbox.

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MAN OF STEELE

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ONEPERCENT photography by

Ray Lee

C

This 2007 Biesemeyer isn’t just responsible for bringing joy to its owner. He credits the mean machine for saving his life.

hris Schock says he was stopped at a red light when a suicidal cop ran

into his car at full throttle. The policeman succeeded in ending his life, and Schock suffered major brain trauma. He was given only a 1 percent chance of making a full recovery. Key to making that recovery was the 2007 18' Biesemeyer his wife suggested he purchase. “I was pretty messed up,” he recalls. “It was kind of touch and go, and we weren’t sure if I was gonna make it or not. So my wife said, ‘If I got you that boat, would you continue your physical therapy to help you get put

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back together?’ I said, ‘Hell, yeah!’ I just figured I’d leave it in the garage…I never seriously thought I would ever get to drive it. But I used it as my incentive to finish my physical therapy, to get myself back together. He continues: “Usually, if you’re not better after two years, you’re going to stay like that. But for whatever reason, after two years, I started to get better. I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to actually be able to drive it.” Schock says the boat’s original owner never really had time for it, so it just sat in a garage. It was finally sold to another gentleman who also never did anything

with it. “I think maybe it scared him more than anything else,” he says. “So after I came to, my dad showed it to me and told me it was still for sale.” Schock, a roof construction specialist from North Fontana, CA, is proud of the boat’s dazzling Billy B paint job. The Biesemeyer, which runs on alcohol, is powered by a 468 big-block Chevy with Mooneyham blower, Enderle fuel injection, Bassett headers and Casale V-drive (32 gears). Schock uses the boat with wife Rhonda and their two daughters. He is fond of running the boat on the Colorado River near Needles, CA. The boat’s name? You guessed it—One Percent. speedboat.com

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photography by

Mark McLaughlin PRO COMP HYDRO Blake Thurlow, shoeing his newly acquired Dead Man’s Hand, almost does a wheel stand as he launches his hydro off the starting line to the #1 qualifying position in the class. Thurlow would finish in the runner up spot.

PRO COMP FLAT Breaking Bad was one bad flatty all weekend. Michael Torgerson ran down the stout field of Pro Comp Flats en route to the #1 qualifying position and the win for the weekend.

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NJBA

WORLD FINALS

H

The National Jet Boat Association season came to a climax at the Roger Roadstrom Memorial Finals.

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aving the Roger Roadstrom Memorial Finals less than a week before Thanksgiving proved a

controversial issue among boaters because of the possible cold, wet, windy weather. On the contrary—the weather was absolutely beautiful, and the turnout of racers was spectacular. Everyone wanted to get one more chance to win the High Points Championship for the year in their respected classes. Craig Collett and his Twisted machine took home trophies in both the Quick Eliminator and the Pro Comp Hydro classes. His efforts got him all the bling times two—to say nothing of the complimentary CD of action images provided to the winners by photographer Mark McLaughlin. Trophy queen Brooke Baker posed with the winners for their victory close-ups. Winners in the Bracket classes included Charles Calva, Don Blayney, Dennis Capogni, Bryan Gilday, and Craig Collett in the 11 , 10, 9, 8 , and 6 second classes. Jim Shelton took home the Blown Gas Flat trophy, while Mike Torgerson got the win in the Pro Comp Flat class. The newly formed Pro Comp Hydro class was won by Craig Collett, as he doubled down for the weekend with two wins. The winner in Pro Outlaw class was Tim “Harley” Ritson. Meanwhile, in the very popular Super Eliminator class—the money class—was won by Seth Hallberg. Congratulations to all of the winners. The 2019 season starts March 16 at Lake Ming.

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NJBA WORLD FINALS

BLOWN GAS FLAT Jim Shelton’s Smokin Whitie only qualified #3 in a tough field of seven boats, but took home the big check (right) and the trophy. PRO COMP HYDRO Craig Collett (below) and his Twisted machine took home trophies in both the Quick Eliminator and the Pro Comp Hydro classes.

Dennis Capogni’s Becky took home the goods in the 9-second Top Eliminator class and runner-up in the Super Eliminator class.

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For the second time in two races, Pro Comp Flat driver Brian Coin launched his Coin Operated alcohol-burning flatty into the air— and this time, he could not hold on. Instead of getting tossed around in the boat as he did at the September race, Coin went over the driver’s side head over heels into the lake, while the boat shut off and drifted away from him. He was checked out with moderate injuries to his leg. Brian may be considering a capsule now.

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In the first heat of Saturday’s program, Crackerbox driver Eric Sammons, with rider Dino Iacovino, had a spill on turn 1 and landed upside down.

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CRACKER CATASTROPHE

T

The Southern California Speedboat Club put on an electrifying show in Parker, AZ—but not every boat emerged unscathed.

he 72nd Annual Thanksgiving Regatta at the Bluewater Resort &

Casino welcomed 11 classes of boats, from Junior Hydroplanes all the way up to the powerful Grand Nationals. (A pair of K Boats were on their way to Australia, so there weren’t enough Ks to have a race.) In the first heat of Saturday’s program, Crackerbox driver Eric Sammons, with rider Dino Iacovino, had a spill on turn 1 and landed upside down. Both checked out OK, suffering only a few bruises. They did not make it to the final, but still finished third overall for the weekend in the class. Also on Saturday, the Unblown Flats going into turn 2 had to avoid Paul Reid flipping his Can Am 801 flatty and getting tossed away from the boat. Reid, from Amherst, NY, checked out OK and walked back to his pit, drenched from the incident. He would finish third overall in the class with good finishes in the prior heats.

WINNERS INCLUDED: • Maureen Gurth in the Junior Hydroplane. • Wesley Gildart in Sportsman A Hydroplane. • Tim Hoffman in the Sportsman Entry class. • Spencer Love in Formula 1. • R.J. West in Formula Lights. • Cory Ferguson in Unblown Flat. • Eric Sperry in the Grand National class. • Donald Doidge and Justin D’alessandro in CrackerBox. • Corey Ferguson again in GPS. • Vance Lund in the Comp Jet class. • Tyler Louis in the Classic Endurance. photography by

Mark McLaughlin speedboat.com

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CRACKER CATASTROPHE Unblown Flats going into turn 2 had to avoid Paul Reid flipping his Can Am 801 flatty and getting tossed away from the boat. Reid, from Amherst, NY, checked out OK and walked back to his pit, drenched from the incident.

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INDUSTRY News FPC Wraps Winter Poker Run [continued from page 14]

Later that day, teams stopped by the FPC hospitality suite for a happy hour and to play out their poker cards. Congratulations to Barry and Stephanie Henson of Tennessee, who pulled the best poker hand and won FPC prizes along with a customized AO Cooler—in spite of the fact that their NorTech 43 Supercat had an engine failure a day earlier and had to be trailered back to Miami. Sunday saw a turn in the weather as a major cold front pushed through in the early-morning hours, bringing teaming rain and colder temperatures. Some teams did not heed weather forecasts, which predicted rain stoppage by noon, and instead left in the earlier morning hours, only to be showered on much of the way home. For others, including the FPC Project 1080 crew, an 11:30 departure proved to be well-planned, as the sun emerged and it was clear skies for the 100-mile trek home.

[Industry News continues on page 82]

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INDUSTRY NEWS

Wozencraft Deal Targets Hot-Boat Owners

W

ozencraft Insurance, wellknown for providing comprehensive coverage of high-performance craft, is

launching a program to insure classic pre1986 hot boats 17 to 24 feet long. According to owner Devin Wozencraft, the ideal candidates for this new program are seasoned, mature owners whose boats are powered by engines up to 1,300 hp. There’s no cap on the speed limits of these boats, he added. To kick off this promotion, Wozencraft will be underwriting boats owned by residents of California, Arizona and Nevada. “But if we write enough insurance, then we have the ability to start opening up other states,” he explained. “We’re offering liability limits up to $1 million, and we will not depreciate the value that we insure for. So our customers know that in the worst-case scenarios—if their house burns down, or the boat is stolen, or it’s wiped out by a truck while towing it or whatever—they know that they’re going to receive policy limits on their claim, minus any deductible that they choose.” Wozencraft said that depending on the driving record, maturity of the owner-operator and other factors, the company might give special consideration to boats over 1,300 hp. “Last but not least, the premiums we’re offering are very attractive,” Wozencraft said. “The average policy premium is only $800 for the year, which is really good.” For more information about the program, call John Ohail at (888) 4776517, or visit wozencraftinsurance. com.

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OBSERVER’S SEAT | Ray Lee [continued from page 6] The power and torque from the twin 300R’s seemed surprisingly comparable to the 400R’s, as the acceleration put us back in our seats, a bit. Tim was not tentative on the takeoffs (as he usually isn’t) and the pair of outboards efficiently and consistently put us on plane with little-to-no bowrise and brought us up to speed, fast! The water conditions during our ride were mostly calm, aside from other boat wake and we had cool temperatures in the mid-to-high 60’s.

The MTI 340X performed very well with the 600 total horsepower and the conditions never upset the boat. Our top speed for the day was an impressive 113mph before running out of waterway. Before I knew it, it was time to leave. The bus had returned for our trip back to the hotel. I felt like Cinderella having to leave the Ball before I was ready to. But I had finally had my Lake “X”-perience. And I was pleased. “Bucket List” item…checked.

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Profile for Brett Bayne

Speedboat March 2019  

The March 2019 issue of Speedboat Magazine.

Speedboat March 2019  

The March 2019 issue of Speedboat Magazine.