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36Less is MoreThis 2009 32-footer is the first Skater to get Mercury Racing’s new Verado 400R engines.


From the EditorsGet the 2015 collector’s edition print magazine

Hot SheetLatest headlines from the world of go-fast boats

Teague’s TakeBob Teague answers some propeller questions

On SceneHighlights from Emerald Coast, Lake Cumberland

GearA closer look at the latest and greatest products

Product SpotlightG&M Hobbies radio control raceboats

61Super ShootoutThe Lake of the Ozarks Shootout raised the bar again—and we have 10 reasons to prove it.

77 Hurricane ForceNew Jersery detailer Joe Wnek is one cool customer, both on and off the racecourse.

81Bahamas BoundTwo Louisiana couples organized a fun trip to the Bahamas in their sweet center consoles.



on the cover

July/august 2015 | volume 3 | issue 14 | speedonthewater.com

Powered by twin 700-hp Mercury Racing engines, Vinnie Diorio ran his Outerlimits SL 41 V-bottom at several events this summer, including the 24th annual Buffalo Poker Run in New York in August.


er p










87 Outerlimits SL 41 Profile: Fond FarewellWith its owner moving into a more powerful Outerlimits, this stunning SL 41 featuring twin Mercury Racing 700SCi engines is for sale.

42 Summer Event Extravaganza (click event to read story)Check out the highlights from the Old Hickory Fun Run, the Buffalo Poker Run, the Big Cat Poker Run and the Lake Powell Challenge.

5speed on the water





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one major poker run—the Florida Powerboat Club’s annual jaunt to Key West, Fla.—remains in 2015.

We’d say that’s “hard to believe,” but it’s really not. Through speedonthewater.com, our daily website, we provided coverage of every major event this year. That meant not just more weekend and late-night telephone calls and emails and text messages than you can imagine, it meant working with a gaggle of consistently excellent contributors. It also meant that we were lucky enough to attend—for coverage and participation are necessarily different tasks—several events ourselves.

Three of the happenings we were able to attend, the Buffalo Poker Run, the Old Hickory Fun Run and the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout, are included in this “Summer Event Extravaganza” issue. Daily, real-time news reporting gives you the who, what, when and where, the stuff that’s enough for most of the people who weren’t there (and the people who “weren’t there” are the audience for that kind of reporting). But in magazine feature treatment, the stories expand to provide some flavor of the event for those who couldn’t make it, as well as celebrate those who did.

In short, different editorial formats such as news and feature stories require entirely different approaches. You don’t “break news” in a feature story about an event that happened weeks ago, and you don’t take a leisurely, feature-style approach when you report news. The cool thing about having a daily website and a bi-monthly

seismic events

publishers Matt Trulio, Jason Johnsoneditor Matt Trulioexecutive editor Jason Johnsontechnical editor Bob Teaguenational sales director Ryan Johnson

contributors Jimmy Biro, Tony Espositophotographers Yvonne Aleman, Pete Boden, Erick Bryner, George Denny, Brad Glidewell, Jay Nichols, Tim Sharkey, Jim Winters

advertising inquiriesemail [emailprotected] (612) 248-4355


From the editors

digital magazine is we can do both in their appropriate places. Augmented by a weekly newsletter, the site—with its own app available through iTunes and Google Play—supports the D-pub, and vice versa.

Still, we’ve always felt there was one product missing from our editorial offerings. And with our first special collector’s edition 2015 Year in Review print magazine coming in December, that void will be filled. (You can order it online through speedonthewater.com by clicking here.)

Primarily through images captured by the best photographers in the business, we’ll tell the tale of the go-fast powerboat world this year. We realize it’s a story worth telling in the most visual manner possible, and we’re sure you’ll keep that dazzling oversized issue in a place of prominence throughout 2016.

Jason Johnson and Matt TrulioEditors/Publishers, Speedonthewater.com and

Speed On The Water magazine

7speed on the water


hot sheetheadlinersQuick hits from the

go-fast world

Photo Desk stunner

Bragging rights—and $10,000—are on the line between the Alex and Ani and Envy teams at the upcoming SBI National Championships in Clearwater. Fla.

happenings | hardware | heroics


On hold until a solid buyer stepped up, production has resumed on the much-anticipated 438 catamaran from Skater Powerboats.

Beached boats generally mean trouble, but in this case the dunes of the popular recreation area in Glamis, Calif., presented no problem for transportation man Doug Parks, who set up this shot featuring a DCB M31 Widebody.

DCB Hits tHe Dunes



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With go-fast powerboat rides for veterans and fundraising efforts for Operation Gratitude, the SCOPE club dialed up another memorable poker run in San Diego.

Since we published our first bi-monthly digital magazine almost three years ago, we’ve been asked just about every day when we’re going to produce a print magazine, something you can hold in your hands and place on your coffee table or some other “place of honor.” (And yes, a bathroom is a place of honor.) Well, you can stop asking now as our first oversize, perfect-bound 2015 Speed On The Water Year in Review collector’s edition magazine will be printed in December and shipped immediately. The issue will celebrate this amazing year in the powerboat world through the images—and, OK, a little of our own text—of the best photographers in the business. Order yours now by clicking here.

On sale nOw!SPEEd On THE WaTErCOLLECTiBLE PrinT MaGazinE COMinGOversized and photo-rich, our firstprint issue celebrates the best of 2015.



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hot sheet

Fans of Win Farnsworth were rightly concerned when the Denver, Colo.-based performance boat enthusiast listed Silver Lining, his DCB M41 catamaran for sale. The concern rose when Farnsworth put Low Altitude, his turbine-powered 50-foot Mystic Powerboats cat, on the block. Don’t worry he isn’t abandoning the go-fast scene in favor of the new Mystic M3900 center console he has on order. Expect to see him in something seriously fast—and perhaps even a little unusual—in 2016.

The problem with almost every canopy you see on a high-performance catamaran is this: It’s a full-time thing. Buy a cat with a canopy and you’re committed to running with a roof over your head. That’s not a bad thing, but in certain situations, it can be a bit confining—like days when you crave fresh air or want the wind in your hair. The latest 52-footer from Marine Technology Inc., solves the problem with what sales manager Tim Gallagher calls an “environmental top.” That translates to a removable lid for the latest creation from MTI.

win still in mti 52-Footer goes convertible




, Bra

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d c b p e r f o r m a n c e b o a t s . c o m

p r o u d l y pa r t n e r e d w i t h

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hot sheet

Delivered to an owner in Wyoming, a new M29 catamaran from DCB Performance Boats arrived with some hefty power in the form of twin 825-hp engines from Teague Custom Marine under the hatch. The cat features several firsts for a DCB M29. Not only is it the first 29-footer with TCM power, it’s the first with IMCO Marine SCX4 drives and the first with an open bow configuration.

No racing circuit currently enjoys more success and popularity than the XCAT World Series, which features healthy fleets of canopied catamarans powered by twin outboard engines. The folks at the World Professional Powerboat Association—the promoter for the XCAT circuit—know they need a tour stop in the United States. And that’s exactly what they’ll be looking for between now and 2017.

dcb goes big with new m29

Xcat wants a u.s. home

Top speed reached by driver Debbie Bull and throttleman Randy Scism in her husband’s 52-foot MTI catamaran during the 2015 Lake of the Ozarks Shootout. (See the complete feature in this issue.)180 MPH


ty Im


, DC


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A ttending the 27th annual Lake of the Ozarks Shootout and being a part of the broadcast team again, reminded me why

that event—and really top-speed shootouts in general—is so awesome. Obviously because of everything the Central Missouri lake has to offer, plus the weeklong events associated with the Shootout, there’s nothing like it in the country.

The only negative part about the event is that it’s impossible to do everything and be everywhere.

I’ve participated in the Shootout a couple of times—once a few years ago with my friend , Roger Neighbors, who happens to be a Teague Custom Marine customer, in his 42-foot Fountain, and another time with my former offshore racing teammate, Lizardo Benitez of Peru, when the event was held at the old location—Shooters 21.

Shootouts are fun, no doubt, but when you compete professionally on an offshore racecourse on a regular basis, they are not the most exciting thing. That being said, the coolest aspect of the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout is that you don’t have to take part in the weekend’s top-speed runs to have a good time at the event, which features activities all around the lake throughout the week.

Whether it’s rafting up as a spectator over the weekend, taking part in the poker run, walking the

teague’s taKe

Shootout on the Strip, attending the Hall of Fame awards dinner, giving rides to special needs children, hitting Super Cat Fest at Camden on the Lake or just visiting the massive amount of destinations along the lake, there is so much to do. And it all happens because of the Shootout.

From Captain Ron’s owner and Lake of the Ozarks Shootout frontman Ron Duggan on down, the organizers deserve special recognition for the efforts put forth to bring people to town and raise money for the community.

Yet beyond all the showmanship and the hype from stereo shootouts and silent auctions to best paint jobs and Top Gun champions, the thing I most appreciate about the Shootout is that it gives people a controlled environment to run high speeds in the safest possible way.

It’s one boat at a time, with safety crews in place and the ability to control traffic on the waterway around the course. Of course things can still go wrong—we witnessed a worst-case scenario in 2014—but the format, when orchestrated correctly, provides an opportunity for boats of different sizes with various power packages to run for top speed in the safest environment possible.

THERE ARE loT oF things running through your mind when you’re preparing to drive your boat in a top-speed shootout. The last thing you want to be worried about is your

knowledge of the course. I recommend using your first run as a trial attempt to get a feel for the course. Throttle back a little and get yourself comfortable so on your

next attempt you won’t be caught off guard at any point along the liquid mile.

teague’s tip

SHooTouT SuPREMEThe best way to run safely at high speeds is in a shootout.

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teague’s taKe

The format also helps curtail excessive speeds when it comes to other parts of the event, such as Friday’s poker run. You want to prove that your boat runs 100, 150 or 180 mph? Show us on the course.

That’s the main reason the Shootout was started at the Desert Storm Poker Run several years ago. A poker run just isn’t the place to be doing speed exhibitions. Poker runs are family and social gatherings with people who share similar interests. They also provide opportunities for boaters to showcase their toys and for people in the business to tout their abilities and their products.

Performance and horsepower come with the territory—I get that—but in a poker run with participating and non-participating boats

heading in various directions, running excessive speeds is frowned upon for obvious reasons.

Because of its sheer size and the spotlight it has upon it, it’s hard to compare the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout with any others like it. However there are a some notable ones across the country, including Desert Storm and the Texas Outlaw Challenge, which provide appropriate environments to showcase speed.

It was nice to see a new event pop up as well —the Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees Performance Boat Challenge Shootout in

Would you like boating advice from technical editor Bob Teague? Send your questions or comments to him at [emailprotected].

asK the expert

Also on display at Camden on the Lake Resort for Super Cat Fest, these M35 Widebody catamarans from DCB were put to the test in a safe environment along the one-mile Lake of the Ozarks Shootout course.

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teague’s taKe

Oklahoma. What was even nicer to see was the organizers of the first-year event reaching out to the folks in Lake of the Ozarks to utilize their services and expertise to host a safe and organized event. The organizers of the GLOC Performance Boat Challenge Shootout have already announced dates for 2016 (July 7-10).

I’m guessing we may see more of these pop up at various events in the near future. They are great non-professional opportunities for people to find out what their boats are capable of. I don’t want to downplay anyone’s boating experience who runs at Lake of the Ozarks or any other top-speed shootout, but these are amateur events.

At the professional level we race under a sanctioning body and a rulebook, and if you want to see how fast your boat runs, there are sanctioned kilo runs in which your boat has to meet the essential race-trim requirements.

Are there professionals who run in the Shootout? Of course. This year alone, John Cosker, Randy Scism, Randy Sweers and Neil Wobbe took part. Some people even hire pros to run their boats for them as they know their limitations. Again, it’s all about safety.

–Technical editor and offshore racing world champion Bob Teague is the owner of Teague Custom Marine in Valencia, Calif.

Bob Teague (left) was an integral part of the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout broadcast team again this year.

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with more than 150 boats registered for the Emerald Coast Poker Run in Destin, Fla., and another 60 to 80 non-registered boats

running around the waterways during the mid-August event (this according to Stu Jones of the Florida Powerboat Club, which produces the event with the Emerald Coast Foundation), the destination poker run lived up to the hype and also raised more than $150,000 for local charities supported by the Emerald Coast Foundation. From the plush Emerald Grande at HarborWalk Village—the defacto host location—to Crab Island and Juana’s Pagoda at Navarre Beach, there were plenty of high points during the 24th annual poker run. “We had a good event,” said Jones, who has been involved with the run since 1999. “We had a strong law enforcement presence, as well as five or six fire departments on paid active duty for safety.”

1) Thanks to great waterways, beautiful beaches and several cool stops, the annual Emerald Coast Poker Run in and around Florida’s Destin and Fort Walton Beach communities always attracts some cool boats, including this M35 Widebody from DCB Performance Boats and this unique Fountain Powerboats V-bottom. 2) Brian Manning of South Carolina ran his 42-foot Outerlimits in the event this year. 3) A mainstay at the Emerald Coast Poker Run, Richie Prince of Louisiana brought his stunning MTI catamaran over to the Florida Panhandle and had a great time.

on scene








at C


emerald coastpoker rundestin, fla.

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on scene

4) Texas performance boater Don Lightfoot showed up in Destin with his outrageous 5200 Roadster catamaran from Nor-Tech, which is powered by a pair of Mercury Racing 1350 engines. 5) Whether you own a Baja, a Cigarette, a Fountain or a boat that doesn’t even compare to the boats rafted off in this picture, boats of all types are welcome to join the fun at the Emerald Coast Poker Run. 6) Thanks to the beaching and raft-up potential, not to mention the good food and drinks, one of the most popular stops on the poker run is the accomodating Juana’s Pagoda at Navarre Beach. 7) A pair of catamarans from Outerlimits —Buddy Thomas’ SC 46 and Gold Digger, the 50-footer owned by David and Jenny Landsman—cruise together in the poker run.

4 5



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even though the weather wasn’t as nice as it has been in past years, the Lake Cumberland Poker Run at State Dock in Jamestown, Ky.,

went off smoothly and the turnout was solid. In its second year since doing away with its “shotgun” start , the “new” poker run format was embraced by most everyone, including two notable companies —Statement Marine from Florida and Sunsation Boats from Michigan. The team at Statement has been doing the poker run since the company was founded about a decade ago and believes the event keeps getting better and better. The crew at Sunsation Boats feels the same way, which is why there were more than a dozen Sunsation customers in town for the event and why the company is going to try to get twice as many boats to attend next year. While the safety-first, non-start format left some folks disappointed, the majority had a great time.

1) A good variety of performance boats, including Fountains, Outerlimits, Sunsations and more, settled in at Lake Cumberland State Dock during the Kentucky lake’s annual poker run. 2) The Statement Marine crew attended the poker run in its latest 380 SUV with triple Mercury Racing Verado 400R engines. 3) Between the festive gathering at party cove at Harmon Creek to the lovely scenery at 76 Falls, the Lake Cumberland Poker Run is one of a kind.

on scene





p M


lake cumberland poker runJamestown, Ky.

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on scene

4) Michigan’s Adam Carpenter enjoyed his trip to Lake Cumberland in Discrete, his all-black 34 CCX from Sunsation Boats powered by triple Mercury Racing Verado 400R engines. 5) Carlton Bass of Oklahoma brought Cat’s Ass, his DCB Performance Boats M35 Widebody with twin 1,100-hp Mercury Racing engines, over to the poker run in Kentucky. 6) Between cruisers, houseboats, runabouts, center consoles and performance boats, the event draws an insane amount of boats to the lake each year.7) While rafting up during the poker run, well-known boater Ron Szolack (left), who resides in Michigan, posed for a photo with his friend, Sam Shehadeh.

4 5



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SUnsation 34 ccxSPECIAL OPS Edition

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4With new Aqualuma color-changing LED strip lighting, you can set the mood on board wherever you want a spatter of light and the option of remotely changing the color as you see fit. The rugged, low-maintenance, eco-friendly, waterproof lighting is sold in 5-meter rolls with 60 LEDs per meter that can be cut to a desired length. The light strips, which are roughly half an inch wide and less than a quarter inch thick, are available in warm white, cool white and RGB. According to a press release from Aqualuma, the warm or cool white strips are great for lighting areas where you want a linear light source for effect.www.aqualuma.com

4 Tired of jamming your toes on the cover fasteners on the deck of your boat? Apex Manufacturing and Design in Joplin, Mo., has the solution. The company’s stainless-steel and aluminum retractable cover turn locks. The flush-mounted locks deploy easily with a push and feature twist studs that secure your cover tightlyeach time you use it.www.apex-mfg.com



4 Featuring several noticeable improvements, Nautical Designs Lab is re-releasing its Fender Suspenders (inset) and Fender Extender system. Offered in both 1” and 1.5” widths still, the Fender Extender, which attaches to any secure point on any boat and adjusts easily and quickly to get fender placement just right, is coming soon in a 2” version. Along with sourcing more robust synthetic hardware and improving the fender line quality to a nylon double-braid with a fully spliced eye to enhance the performance of the product, more than 15,000 possible color combinations are offered to make matching a one-of-a-kind paint job easier.www.fendersuspenders.com

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2015 Nor-tech 390 Sport - Balance of Merc ext. warranty Quad Verado 400R

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4 The all-new Infinity by Harman PRV350 receiver incorporates a bright 3.5-inch color screen with the extravagance of the company’s established luxury automobile entertainment systems. Now that it is offered by Prospec Electronics, you can pick up the INFPRV350 for your boat. Offering AM/FM radio, Bluetooth audio streaming with ID tagging, and U.S. and European tuning, the 4- x 50-watt receiver, which is wired and wireless remote ready, provides three pairs of pre-outs including a separate subwoofer output.www.prospecelectronics.com

gearCOLOrFUL rECEivEr $289

BEzEL COnTrOL $130

4 Only available for its 5-inch Vantage View master tachometer (for now), Livorsi Marine’s new Vantage View Bezel Pod offers an alternative to the current control pod and toggle switch assembly. The new bezel pod mounts as a normal bezel would, installed between the dash and the gauge, and controls the one master tach, which requires the controls to navigate through its LCD screen. The pod uses waterproof momentary buttons and is available in 12 colors. Livorsi also has new low-profile rims for its Vantage View gauges.www.livorsi.com

A D V E R T I S I N G | G RA P H I C D E S I G N | P H O T O G RA P H Y | P R O D U C T I O N S U P P O R T


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4 Keeping space-conscious boaters in mind, Prospec Electronics’ new Infinity Basslink SM amplified subwoofer gives users plenty of lows without sacrificing space. The overall size of the subwoofer is 10.125” x 13.5625” x 2.8125”, which lends itself to installation inside some fairly small storage compartments. An 8” driver is powered by an internal 100W Class D amplifier and the housing is molded ABS. An optional remote bass level control is sold separately.www.prospecelectronics.com

4 Simple to use, Shurhold Industries’ Flexible Rope and Cord Brush is a great way to clean 1/2” to 1” diameter rope. The hand tool is ideal for dock lines and other tubular items, such as hoses, power cables and railings. The flexible brush is easy to clean and it floats if dropped in water. For best results, face the bristles toward the rope, hold the brush firmly to ensure complete contact and scrub lengthwise.www.shurhold.com

SPaCE SavEr $299CLEaninG TOOL $13

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America’s Most Popular Performance Boat!


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could small radio-controlled raceboats go big with go-fast powerboat lovers? with his new g&m hobbies venture, veteran offshore racer micheal stancombe is banking on it.

really good time. (No one ever accused Stancombe of being unable to enjoy himself.)

Disenchanted with the offshore racing scene, Stancombe had—like several others in the sport—hoped for a fresh start with the Offshore Powerboat Grand Prix “series” this year. He was game enough to race overseas in the fledgling outfit’s first sanctioning effort, the Qatar Cup in Doha, the country’s capital city, in February. Despite the OPGP’s slow but steady ride into the sunset, he competed in the organization’s second and only

race of 2015, the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix in Florida. When Stancombe dives in, he does so head first and not always with regard to the depth of the water.

For now at least, the nightclub and restaurant owner is sitting on offshore racing’s sidelines, waiting to see what the 2016 season brings. But that doesn’t mean the 48-year-old is done with boat racing—far from it. In fact, he’s never more excited about the sport. It’s just that the boats he’s into are, well, a lot smaller than they’ve ever been.

“I got into RC (radio control) raceboats about two years ago when AquaCraft released its 30-inch version of our Lucas Oil 36-foot Skater,” Stancombe said. “That was the boat Stan Ware and I raced. I’ve become eaten up by this stuff! I race mine in the P-Limited class. I bought one for my son, Dom. I put together a ‘Frankenstein’ RC boat for Cassie Kerns, my girlfriend, and she got into it and started winning races.”

Stancombe’s passion for RC boats led him to start G&M Hobbies, which specializes in assembling and customizing RC models from original equipment manufacturers such as Aqua Craft and Pro-Boat. Juiced by 20 to 30 battery- powered motors capable of

spotlight: g&M hobbies

words Matt Trulio

Business Model

WiTH a vOiCE LikE sandpaper on gravel and a heart of solid gold, Micheal Stancombe is one of offshore racing’s largest personalities and most loveable characters. Stancombe, who hails from Indianapolis, started racing in 1989 with father, George—a former drag racer—and in one fashion or another has been involved with the sport ever since. Along the way, he earned a couple of world championships, set a few speed records, butted heads with any number of powers-that-be in the sport and had a

Inspired by this replica of a Skater he used to race, Micheal Stancombe has himself a new hobby and a business.

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turning a ludicrous speed of 33,000 rpm, the 30-inch performers can top 50 mph out of the box and are 1/10 to 1/12 the size of their real-world counterparts. (Scale up the speed just for fun and you’d be looking at 500-plus-mph for the “real things.” And there are larger RC boats such as those that ran in “Mini Shootout” during the recent top speed event in Central Missouri that actually top 100 mph.)

Now Stancombe is—literally and figuratively—thinking bigger. About a year ago, he designed his own 32-inch-long, 12-inch-wide radio control catamaran and found a manufacturer in China to produce it. If the current production schedule holds, he should have 500 of the boats, which are built with hand-laid fiberglass and resin, at his office in Indianapolis by December.

“I did everything I could to have them built in the United States,” Stancombe said. “I reached out in every direction I could, but I had no choice. They cannot be made in the United States and priced competitively. But I researched for over six months to find a company over there that hadn’t been involved in any shady deals, and I finally found one.”

Stancombe made certain his design complied for the specifications for the P-Limited class of radio control boat racing. The sport has two

primary sanctioning bodies, the North American Model Boat Association and the International Model Power Boat Association. Once he has his boat in hand, he’ll have to get it and the motor powering it approved by each organization before he can sell models as race-ready and approved for competition in the class.

More challenging for Stancombe moving forward, however, will be getting permission to use corporate names and logos for outfitting his model boats with graphics of current offshore raceboats. He acknowledges that he’ll

have to work with each team and its corporate sponsor’s marketing department, but he won’t dress any of his boats in proprietary graphics without securing proper permission.

“I’d never do that,” he said.But for buyers who don’t

want their RC boat dressed as Miss GEICO or STIHL or any of the other better-known boats on the offshore racing circuit, the sky is the limit when it comes to graphics. To that end, Stancombe plans to tap into the talents of Kerns, a trained and talented artist with her own gallery called Cassinova Studios.

s p o t l i g h t : g & M h o b b i e s

Along with customizing RC models from original equipment manufacturers to make them look like current and former raceboats (above), G&M Hobbies will soon offer its own designs, including 32-, 61- and 71-inch catamarans.

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s p o t l i g h t : g & M h o b b i e s

Micheal Stancombe has quite the collection of RC boats at his disposal.

While he’s starting with RC model catamarans—he even has a twin-outboard design based on raceboats in the XCAT World Series—he also plans to build his own V-bottoms. In addition, he plans to offer the cats with pleasure co*ckpits, modern single-canopy configurations and old-school twin canopies such as those on Kenny Mungle’s popular 32-foot Skater, Gone Again.

“The test hull is on its way here right now as we speak and I am hoping to have my first 500 in my hands by Christmas,” Stancombe said. “In addition to the 32-inch model, I have 61- and 71-inch versions in development now. They are going to be high-end, hobby-shop grade, not the kind

you buy at Wal-Mart or Target.“In the past year, I have

become immersed in this but I’m so new to it,” he added.

“I feel like Peter Hledin (of Skater Powerboats) must have felt in 1977, but everything is a lot, well, smaller.”

G&M Hobbies, 317-679-7223, www.realfastrchobbies.com

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By converting a 32-foot Skater catamaran from triple outboard engines to twins, Grant’s Signature Racing made it a simple and more manageable boat—without compromising performance.words Matt Trulio photos Pete Boden

Grant Bruggemann isn’t a fan of what he calls “grumpy” boats.” By that the founder and namesake of Grant’s Signature

Racing simply means any recreational go-fast catamaran and V-bottom that is a hassle to operate or mechanically temperamental. And in a flat-deck Skater 328 catamaran with triple Mercury Marine 300X outboard engines that arrived at his Bradenton, Fla., shop several months

ago, Bruggemann found exactly that. Built in 2009, the 32-footer owned by former offshore powerboat racer Matt Rice had, well, issues.

“A third engine means extra fuel pumps and an extra fuel catch/return tank,” Bruggemann

Matt Rice’s Skater built in 2009 ran 103 mph—the same speed it achieved with triple 300-hp outboards—in early test sessions with twin Mercury Verados 400R engines.

less is mOre

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Skater 328 Repower

explained. “It was a chore to start it up and go for a ride. Of course, with triple engines the dash was littered with gauges. Without a center pod in the hull, the third engine was getting slammed by the water at anything but low or high

on Siesta Key,” he continued. “When he comes into town he wants to enjoy himself—he doesn’t want to mess around with a grumpy boat that doesn’t start or shift. He wanted something simple, and it wasn’t going to happen with

speed. Its manners around the docks were a little jumpy. Even though it wasn’t built as raceboat, its overall manners were very race oriented. That doesn’t make for a good pleasure boat.

“Matt has a second home

A study in performance courtesy of Grant’s Signature Racing, the Skater 328 hit the shop with 900 hp worth of triple outboards and left with two state-of-the-art engines pumping out 800 hp (top). Of course, the transom had to be transformed to accommodate two outboards instead of three (middle), which was no problem for Grant Bruggemann and his crew. Cleaning up the dash (bottom) was important, which meant removing a sea of analog instruments and replacing them with a GPS unit, a Mercury VesselView monitor and a second helm receiver.

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a triple-engine boat. So we decided to go with a twin-engine application and make it a lot more user friendly. He wanted to keep it simple, jump in and turn the keys and go. And that’s what we did for him.”

With Rice’s blessing, Bruggemann and his crew replaced the trio of 300-hp direct-injection two-stroke engines with a pair of four-stroke, 400-hp Verado outboards from Mercury

31-foot Skater catamaran with twin Verado 400R engines was headed for dial-in and setup in Fond du Lac in mid-September, the 32-footer repowered by Bruggemann was the first Skater cat to hit the water with 400s. (The first installation of the outboards on a cat happened on 29-footer from DCB Performance Boats earlier this year.)

As rigging jobs go, the conversion was fairly simple, according to Bruggemann. They removed the triple 300-hp engines and their brackets. They also removed the boat’s trim tabs—yes it had trim tabs—and filled in all the holes left by the boat’s prior hardware. Thanks to the consistent beating it took, the middle outboard engine created cracks in the center of the cat’s transom. Those, too, had to be repaired before the brackets for the new engines and the Verados themselves could be installed. The crew also removed all the wiring, cables and plumbing for the triple-engine setup and replaced it with the required rigging—including a new steering system and tie bar—for the more-sophisticated twin outboards.

Simplicity was the watchword for the project, and it carried into the six-seat Skater’s dash. Gone is the clutter of analog gauges,

Racing. Released at the Miami International Boat Show earlier this year, the 400R engines aren’t just the most potent engines in the Verado series, they’re the hottest. In fact, they’re so hot that the Fond du Lac, Wis., company has struggled to keep up with demand—almost all Verado 400Rs have gone to quad- and triple-engine performance center consoles.

Although a brand-new

Rice hopes his repowered cat will eventually run between 108 and 115 mph, which means there’s still some significant dialing in yet to be done by Bruggemann and company.

Skater 328 Repower

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replaced with a Garmin GPS unit and a Mercury VesselView screen in carbon-fiber panels. For dual-person operation, Bruggemann equipped the catamaran with a second helm station.

“I am hoping to get my wife to drive it with me,” Rice said, then laughed. “But I don’t think she’s too excited about it.”

Bruggemann is blown away by today’s technology and all of the plug-and-play accessories.

“You can ‘NMEA 2000-in’ everything,” Bruggemann said. “Now the boat has a nice, clean dash. And the engines are so quiet. You can cruise at 70 or 80 mph and hear each other in the co*ckpit. When you’re standing at the dock, you have to check to see if the engines are running.

removed, with twins yielded another benefit in the form a 345-pound weight loss. That’s no small matter in an already heavy 6,500-pound 32-footer. In its first on-water test, the cat topped out at 103 mph, which is the same top speed Bruggemann had been able to achieve when the boat had triple engines producing an additional 100 hp.

“We were on the rev limiters early with 32-inch-pitch modified Bravo One propellers,” Bruggemann said. “I think we need a pair of 36s. But the boat will run all day long at 100 mph. Right now, the boat is at an acceptable level but it can go faster. It’s just a matter of how fast you want to go and what you want to spend. I think it will end up somewhere between 108 and 115 mph with the way the boat is set up.”

For Rice, who’ll head to Florida from his primary home in Pennsylvania in either late September or earlier October to drive his repowered Skater cat, that top speed range will be just fine. Between now and then, Bruggemann will continue to dial in the catamaran.

“If it runs 108 to 110 mph in the real world with six people on board and three-quarters of a tank of fuel, I’ll be happy,” said Rice. “Brock and Blake Gratton, who are friends of mine, live down there and have a triple-engine 30-foot Spectre cat that runs about that speed. It’d be nice to be able to go out and play with them. But I’m happy with the results so far right out of the box.”

“Technology is just screaming ahead right now,” he continued. “Mercury Racing makes all these engines—the Verado 400R, the 565, the 1350 and so on—that make a decent amount of power, and

all you have to do is make sure they have water, oil and fuel, and they’ll run all day long. And if it doesn’t have one of those, ‘Mr. Guardian’ is going to let you know about it.”

Replacing the triple outboards, which had close to 130 operating hours on them when they were

Next up for the cat is more propeller testing, as its twin outboard engines were “on the rev limiters early.”

Skater 328 Repower

“Even though it wasn’t built as raceboat, its overall manners were very race oriented. That doesn’t make for a good pleasure boat.”—grant Bruggemann

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Nor-Tech High Performance Boats 7941 Mercantile Street, North Fort Myers, FL 33917 - Tel. (877) 772-5507


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W hat they don’t tell you about the Volunteer State is that—after you spend a few days with the people

there—you’ll volunteer to return in a heartbeat. That becomes especially clear when it’s time to leave, even when leaving means making a 7 a.m. Sunday flight out of Nashville to San Francisco. Tennessee takes what you think you know about Southern hospitality and ramps it up to an almost surreal level.

From the sweet old lady who sells you a pair of sunglasses at the airport, while addressing you as “Sugar” and seeming to mean it throughout the transaction, to Chad Collier, the ever-gracious organizer of the Old Hickory Fun Run about 30 minutes outside of Nashville, everyone you meet seems like some kind of spokesperson from Tennessee’s tourism bureau. Except they’re not paid shills—they’re authentic, and they’re genuinely delighted to be your hosts.

words Matt Trulio • photos Devin Williams

Southern hoSpitalityWith a record-setting fleet and fundraising effort for the Wounded Warrior Project, the old hickory fun run set its oWn neW standard.

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Present at every turn, that gracious Tennessee vibe could be the reason the Old Hickory Fun Run has grown steadily since it started, and why with 107 boats and more than $60,000 raised for the Wounded Warrior Project the event enjoyed its best year so far this summer.

“That was all thanks to the generous hearts of such a great group I can call friends,” said Collier, who owns a 50-foot Mystic Powerboats catamaran called Habitual. “I asked around and got a rousing ‘Yes!’ to us donating 30 percent of the money we raised this weekend to a fund that benefits the families of the five brave men who had their lives stolen from them so needlessly in Chattanooga a couple weeks ago. We are the Tennessee Powerboat Club, and we all feel like we should do something for this tragedy that happened so close to home for many of our members.”

The good times started rolling with a fun run and raft up on Friday followed by a party at the Rock Bottom Brewery in downtown Nashville, complete with high-profile go-fast boats on the street in front of the venue. Despite the debris in the water caused by heavy rainfall this summer, the poker run went off without incident—the only casualties being a few slices of the 100-plus pizzas delivered by Jet Pizza to the fleet for lunch—and was followed by another raft-up. With live music and a silent auction, the party that night at Sam’s Sports Bar in Blue Turtle Bay Marina capped it all off in fine fashion.

Collier said that approximately 20 boats in

The Old Hickory Fun Run kicked off with a raucous raft-on Friday (previous page) that included an array of top-shelf hardware. Among the boats that made Friday’s scene was Vinnie Foglia’s new 44-foot Mystic Powerboats catamaran (right) powered by twin 1,100-hp Mercury Racing engines and Chad Collier’s 50-foot Mystic with Mercury 1350 engines.

Old Hickory Fun Run

Flanked by her parents, Charlie and Ann McConnell, Heather Collier (top) supported her husband, Chad (bottom in red shirt at the drivers’ meeting), during the long hours it took to organize the record-setting event.

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The event attracted local participants such as the group in this 28-foot Advantage (top) and a pair of Cigarettes owned by Mark and Mike Maasen of Missouri-based Poly-Lift Boat Lifts. Friday night’s Street Party (below) delivered world-class boats to downtown Nashville.

the event came from Tennessee. The rest were from out of state.

“We had some come from as far as New York,” he said. “We also had a lot from Kentucky.”

Among the folks who traveled to the run were Mike and Mark Maasen, the brothers who own the Poly-Lift Boat Lifts company in Osage Beach, Mo. Poly-Lift was one of the event’s sponsors, and the Maasens departed Tennessee with every intention of their family-founded-and-owned company supporting the Old Hickory Fun Run again in 2016. The event delivered everything they expected—and more—as sponsors and participants.

“We’re looking forward to doing it again next year,” said Mike Maasen, who trailered his 42-foot Cigarette to the run. (His brother brought his 38-foot Cigarette.) “We got to talk to so many people during the street party. It was excellent. In fact, if an event doesn’t have some kind of street party I don’t think we’ll be investing in it as a sponsor.

“The day before the (Saturday) run we all ran together just to have lunch,” he added. “I couldn’t believe how many people showed up for that. The people were nice—from the restaurants to

Old Hickory Fun Run

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the hotel I didn’t have a single bad experience with anyone I met—and the event was great.”

Fellow sponsor Scott Sjogren of Shogren Performance Marine in Gurnee, Ill., agreed.

“Everyone there is so, so nice and the Old Hickory Fun Run is exactly what I look for in an event I’m sponsoring,” he said. “I don’t care about having my company name on a T-shirt. My customers don’t wear T-shirts. I look for opportunities to spend time with the participants, and from the street party on Friday night to the event party on Saturday night, the Old Hickory Fun Run delivers that.”

The Maasens and Sjogren weren’t the only well-known out-of-town guests at the event this year. Poker run impresario Stu Jones of the Florida Powerboat Club came with his wife, Jackie, to support the run. John Woodruff brought Windship, his famed 48-foot Marine Technology Inc., catamaran, and the big cat saw duty on the water and on the street in front

of the Rock Bottom Brewery for Friday night’s bash. Asked during Friday’s raft-up why he didn’t have his matching Jet Ranger helicopter on hand, Woodruff laughed and quipped, “I can’t operate them both at the same time.”

Chicago-based performance-boat owner Vinnie Foglia brought a pair of Mystics—a C4400 catamaran and an M3900 center console—“just to have options.” At the silent auction Saturday evening, Foglia walked away with a Dolly Parton-signed guitar—and promptly gave it to a local musician he had hosted on his 39-footer during the run that day.

Apparently the Southern hospitality and the graciousness are contagious.

“You work so hard for so long to get something like this organized,” Collier said. “All you can hope for is that everyone shows up and has a good time, that we raise some money for a good cause and that everyone stays safe. I think we succeeded this weekend.”

Old Hickory Fun Run

Nashville-area locals R.B. and Fran Hixson (top left) ran Frantastic, their 42-foot Fountain with twin 1,075-hp Mercury Racing engines in the run, which raised more than $60,000 for the Wounded Warrior Project and attracted 107 boats.

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area of Buffalo complemented with Lake Erie and the Niagara River—yes the one that leads to the incredible falls (you can see the mist from Niagara Falls during the most northern part of the run)—makes for an amazing place to boat. And yet while the sights to see and places to go on the water were better than expected, Buffalo is still no Florida Keys.

A fleet of 100-plus boats is respectable, especially one that includes a stunning quad-engine Nor-Tech catamaran and the world’s fastest V-bottom, but it’s not all about the numbers or the showmanship when you talk with the owners of the single- and twin-engine decade-old Donzis, Formulas, Fountains, Scarabs and Warlocks or those with the



Despite the answer being “no” to the following three questions, the Buffalo Poker Run organized by the Western

New York Offshore Powerboat Association just may be one of the coolest poker runs in the country.

Is Western New York the best area in the United States to go boating? Does the event have the largest fleet of jaw-dropping hardware? And does it raise more money than any other poker run in the country?

Of course, those aren’t really fair questions to ask of any event, but when you’re considering it in a discussion as one of the best poker runs in the country, they’re worth asking.

Here’s the deal. The emerging waterfront

words Jason Johnson | photos Tim Sharkey

Full blownin buFFalo

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Along with a group in the Pantera (above, right), Matt Cevasco drove his striking 38-foot Formula in the poker run.Barry Humphrey ran his Outerlimits 39 Quattro (below, top) alongside Chris Jardine’s impressive Outerlimits SV 53.

outboard-powered cats and center consoles.So what makes Buffalo an event that

Outerlimits owner Vinnie Diorio said he is going to return to next year and probably the year after that? First and foremost the passionate group pushing the 24th annual event forward makes everyone attending the poker run feel like they’ve known them for years.

There’s also something to be said for everyone receiving the same treatment—and that definitely comes from the deeply rooted WYNOPA. It’s an “attitude-free zone,” as Steve Mckie likes to call it.

Mckie, the president of WYNOPA who owns a nicely restored 1991 32-foot Black Thunder, said it had been that way long before he took the reigns a few years ago.

“Lately we’ve drawn some bigger high- performance boats, but because of our history

as a local club we cater to the people with 24-foot Bajas,” said Mckie, who also credited the area’s beautiful waterways and Buffalo’s recent waterfront resurgence for boosting the poker run’s popularity. “There are boats

here that cost $15,000 and some that cost $500,000. We respect and care for the guys in the $15,000 boat just as much as the guy in the half-a-million-dollar one. A captain is a captain.

“We’re not looking for any huge egos to come in here and show off,” he continued. “We want this to be a family friendly event and have everyone respect one another. It’s amazing

how many friendships have been made here.”Bob Funk, a local boater who owns a

cruiser and a small fishing boat to complement his Ilmor Marine-powered 32-foot Spectre Powerboats catamaran he used in the run, said the event’s organization is top notch.

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“I think this runs gets better and better every year,” said Funk, who lives on Grand Island. “The organizers behind it do such a great job. We have a dinner Friday night, then breakfast, lunch and dinner on Saturday. The lunch stop at the hockey facility was a nice touch this year. Between the harbor and Templeton Landing, it’s all so easy and comfortable.”

Diorio, who brought his 41-foot Outerlimits with twin 700-hp engines to the run from Wisconsin, said he was glad he signed up.

“The attendance was great, the water was nice and the venue was good with plenty of things to do in downtown Buffalo at night,” Diorio said. “I felt like everyone here went above and beyond to cater to us. Our whole crew had a great time.”

Fortunately for Diorio and everyone else, the weather was pretty ideal for the event, which is supported by major sponsors Double R Performance and Industrial Fabricating Company.

“The weather was great this year and so was the water—we all had a fun day, that’s for sure,” said local boater David Texido who owns a Formula Boats 382 FAS3Tech. “From the docks to the service to the food, everything was perfect. We have a short summertime, a very short window that we get to enjoy, so I’ve been boating 37 out of 42 days this summer.”

Myron Kocan, the owner of Industrial Fabricating Company in Syracuse, N.Y., brought his Sonic Boats 38-foot Hypersonic with twin Mercury Racing 700SCi engines to the run and had a great time.

Buffalo Poker Run

From top: The Buffalo Poker Run definitely attracts some oldies but goodies. This year’s fleet included a 29-foot Warlock V-bottom owned by David Craiglow, a Chris Craft catamaran owned by Sonny Hawkins and a Cigarette 36 Cafe Racer center console owned by Mike Wright, who serves as the WYNOPA secretary.

Ray Nucherino brought several of his friends with him in his 42-foot Fountain Multiple What?

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“This venue is just fantastic, there are not a lot of places like it,” said Kocan, who received more attention in the Sonic he purchased last fall than he was used to in the 38-foot Fountain Express Cruiser he owned. “They do such a nice job with this run. We’ll be back next year.”

Joe Sgro returned to the Buffalo Poker Run in the “World’s Fastest Vee Bottom,” his Outerlimits

SV 43 that set a kilo record mark of 180.47 mph in April 2014, and enjoyed the event once again.

“There are some awesome boats here,” said Sgro, adding that he came to the run to keep Mike Fiore’s legacy alive—the 2014 event was the Outerlimits founder’s last poker run before he died following an accident a few weeks later at the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout. “The water was a little choppy but it wasn’t too bad. The boat ran a little better than last year. The good news is that we can pretty much run it as fast as we want in any condition—we just might get a little beat up.”

Fiore was recognized with a moment of silence during Saturday night’s dinner and awards party. During the event several awards were handed out and donations were made for $10,000 to the Excalibur Leisure Skills Center and $1,200 to the Wounded Warriors Foundation courtesy of a few “class-used” life vests donated by Performance Boat School’s Tres Martin, who spoke in Saturday’s drivers meeting.

Longtime WYNOPA member and owner of Multiple What?, a Fountain Powerboats 42 Lightning, Ray Nucherino took a few of his friends on the run for the first time.

Above: After participating in the poker run for the first time in 2014, Joe Sgro returned to the event with his “World’s Fastest Vee Bottom” SV43 from Outerlimits.Below: Myron and Cherie Kocan enjoyed the Friday night welcome party and the views from Templeton Landing.

Buffalo Poker Run

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Clockwise from top left: Shawn Laraba drove The Chief, his 41-foot Apache Powerboats V-bottom that was recently painted by Mitcher T Custom Painting. Andy and Amparo Imhoff ran with Andy and Wanda Strobert in the Stroberts’ 36-foot Skater catamaran maintained by Imhoff at Maryland Offshore Performance. The sunset at Templeton Landing was quite impressive. Steve Mckie, president of WYNOPA, had a great time in his 32-foot Black Thunder V-bottom.

“Being first-time guests at the poker run, we really took everything in and had a super experience,” said Faith Burgard, who joined Nucherino and Maureen Schmitt in their boat with her husband, George. “From the moment we arrived at Templeton Landing you could feel the electricity in the air. Safety was stressed at the Saturday morning meeting and the scenery

“From the docks to the service to the food, everything was perfect.”–David Texido

from the water was such a rush. It’s fun to see the poker run from land, but now my husband can cross another thing off his bucket list.”

Thinking about checking the Buffalo Poker Run off your bucket list, too? Take it from Burgard and everyone else at the event, it’s worth every penny.

Buffalo Poker Run

From the Buffalo skyline to the North Grand Island Bridge near Niagara Falls, the poker run offered great scenery.

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From boat registrations to money raised for charity, there are plenty of numbers you can

use to measure the “success” of any given poker run. And by those numbers, the annual Big Cat Poker Run, which benefits the Lion’s Club of Discovery Bay, Calif., was above average. This year, the event attracted a

words Matt Trulio photos Jay Nichols

61-boat fleet and raised more than $35,000 for the Lion’s Club, which funds programs for visually impaired children. When measured against the numbers of the nation’s largest poker runs, those figures aren’t terribly impressive, but they are solid.

And yet the Big Cat Poker Run, which runs on the Sacramento River Delta and

has enjoyed title sponsorship from Teague Custom Marine and Colledgewood for many years, never fails to impress and draw rave reviews from everyone who attends. Locals, visitors and sponsors, they all sing its praises every year—and tend to return the next.

The 15th running of the mid- August event was no exception.

Sean Moore brought Lick This, his 46-foot canopied Skater to this year’s Big Cat Poker Run.

Inside the Big Cat Poker RunWhat made the Big Cat Poker Run a winner for everyone involved? Here are three perspectives.

Golden State VISIonS

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Big Cat Poker Run

Despite temperatures that surpassed the century mark, the Big Cat Poker Run reportedly delivered a good time for all. How does a go-fast boating event based out of a prosperous but relatively obscure community in California’s Central Valley manage to succeed every year? To find out, we asked three different participants from three very different places to give us their take.

CARL ZANGER: THE LONGTIME LOCALUnlike most folks in Discovery Bay, Carl Zanger, who has enjoyed a successful career in real estate, and his wife, Betty, don’t live there full-time. The Zangers split their time between Discovery Bay and a small community called Los Gatos on the San Francisco peninsula.

Built in 2002, their 38-foot Cigarette Top Gun V-bottom

course for the bigger boats and a shorter course for the smaller one, as a “carbon copy” of other Big Cat Poker Runs. And that’s a good thing, he said.

“Everyone leaves Discovery Bay on their own, which is really good,” said Zanger. “It’s not a race in any way. It’s a very low-key event with a lot of nice people, and all of the proceeds go to the Lion’s Club.

“At the end of the run, Tony, who sold his boat recently, said

called Scandalous is on a lift in front of their Discovery Bay home. The boat is powered by twin Mercury Racing 700SCi engines with No. 6 drives. On board with the Zangers for this year’s Big Cat Poker Run were Allen Bellinghausen and Tony Adams, two of the event’s primary organizers in its formative years who are, as it happens, currently boat-less.

Zanger described the 2015 event, which had a longer

After visiting Discovery Bay, the spectacular Northern California waterfront community, it is easy to see the appeal of attending the Big Cat Poker Run.

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Devin Wozencraft of Wozencraft Insurance Agency in Tustin, Calif., hauled his E-Ticket 29-foot deckboat with a pair of 710-hp Ilmor Marine engines to Discovery Bay to participate in the poker run that his company sponsors. Wozencraft (below, right, with Steve Nozet and Gary Colledge) said the event is so great because of the people involved with it.

it was more fun riding in a boat like ours than driving his,” he added. “So he had fun. It’s just a mellow event. We had the band and dinner in the evening, which was as good as it always is. Lunch was at Nina’s restaurant and they set up big tents with chairs and tables inside because the restaurant alone couldn’t handle the group. Everyone side-tied their boats, just like at last year’s lunch stop in Stockton. It worked out really well.”

DEVIN WOZENCRAFT: THE OUT-OF-TOWNERFor the second year in a row, Devin Wozencraft of Wozencraft Insurance based in Southern

“It was fantastic again,” Wozencraft said. “What makes it work are the people who run it and the people who participate. There’s no drama. Everybody goes there to have a good time. Every-thing happens on time. The out-of-towners fit right in and are welcomed

by the locals.“What also makes it work is

that Discovery Bay is a close-knit community,” he continued. “The core group that puts on the event is local—they know each other and are friends. That can be a double-edged sword sometimes in that it can create cliques, but that’s not the case here. These people are

California signed on as the Silver-level sponsor for the Big Cat Poker Run and ran his 29-foot E-Ticket deckboat in the event. And for the second year in a row, he had nothing but good things to say about it. Chances are better than good—as in a lock—that he’ll be back as an event participant and sponsor in 2016.

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welcoming and hospitable. Milt and Jan Baehr invited us over to see what they’d done to their house, and it turned into, ‘Let’s have some drinks and why don’t we use the pool?’ We were there for three hours.”

In addition to being a sponsor of Big Cat, Wozencraft is a longtime supporter of photographer Jay Nichols, who shot this year’s event. Wozencraft also praised the organizers for their treatment of him as a Big Cat sponsor.

“The whole vibe is friendly and appreciative,” he said. “I get more recognition from being a sponsor at the Big Cat Poker Run than any other event I support. Those guys gave me this big, framed plaque with their logo, my logo and

Big Cat Poker Run

After a fun run along the Sacramento River Delta, the Big Cat Poker Run’s first stop was at the welcoming Pittsburg Yacht Club. Spectators gathered at the Windmill Cove in Stockton to catch the poker run boats driving past.

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The seemingly endless Delta winds through an abundance of agricultural fields (above) in California’s Central Valley. Several catamarans, including this Skater and Nor-Tech (below), participated in the 15th annual poker run.

a big ‘Thank You.’ The Thursday night dinner for the sponsors and VIPs was more than great food—it was great fellowship.”

JAY NICHOLS: THE EYE IN THE SKYPhotographing the Big Cat Poker Run for the first time, Sarasota, Fla.-based Jay Nichols expected something different from most go-fast boating events he shoots. He’d seen images from the event, and before he headed west to capture it he did a little research. Still, he wasn’t prepared for the maze of sloughs and channels that the event course takes to wind through thousands of acres of rich Central Valley farmland. And the aquatic and agricul-tural setting delighted and challenged the veteran lensman.

“It was unique,” he said. “We had to fly to Stockton to fuel the helicopter and we went away from the river. I was amazed at the agriculture. I had heard about it, but from the air I could see miles and miles of nut trees and tomato plants—an almost overwhelming amount.

“Because that place was so unique I made extra effort to get panoramic shots,” he continued. “The waterways out there are

so different—when people are running in open water during most events I shoot, you don’t get to see them making those kinds of turns they do on the Delta. The country out there is like nothing else. I say that about the Colorado River every year when I shoot Desert Storm, and it also holds true for the Delta.”

Nichols, who photographed a number of events this year, praised the event’s organizers and volunteers for its smooth operation and relaxed, inviting atmosphere. He said the Big Cat Poker Run ran as well as any event he shot in 2015.

“It was wonderful for a couple of reasons, I think,” he said. “One of those reasons is Bob Teague—he’s been around so long and has done so much for high-performance boating. With his guidance, and of course the guidance and work of all of the organizers, it went like clockwork and there weren’t any glitches. That was my feeling, anyway, from being there and being around everyone.

“The other thing was the group of volunteers from the Lion’s Club,” he added. “They were so good and on top of everything that you didn’t even notice them. People tend to only notice stuff when it goes bad, but when things go good nobody notices. The volunteers made it all look easy. Everything I saw just rolled along, smooth as silk.”

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Another super shootout

The majority of the news stories we produce don’t create “controversy”—and that’s never our

intent—but our coverage of Debbie Bull running 180 mph in her husband Bob Bull’s 52-foot MTI at this year’s Lake of the Ozarks Shootout in Sunrise Beach, Mo., seemed to do just that. Within moments of the story going live on speedonthewater.com, high-performance powerboating message boards and Facebook pages around the country lit up with discussion on the merit of her achievement. But the

The 27th annual Lake of the Ozarks Shootout in Missouri continued to improve upon its status as a can’t miss event.

fact remains that Debbie Bull became the fastest woman to run a boat in the 27-year history of the Central Missouri event.

And that did absolutely nothing to diminish the astounding solo effort by Summer London who ran 147 mph in her 2,000-plus-hp DCB F32 catamaran to shatter the previous solo female driver top speed of 80 mph established in 2014 by Tristan Collins. The best part of it all? This year’s Shootout brought a ton of attention to the female speed enthusiasts in the performance boat community.

In fact, despite impressive speeds across the board, the women stole the show. Veteran Shootout participants Carrie Sixkiller and Carolyn Dorris showed up and won their classes with top speeds of 66 mph and 64 mph, respectively. Longtime Shootout spectators and first-time participants, Nikki and Ricky Amos teamed up in the Early Detection Racing

Bob Bull and Randy Scism completed an exhibition drag race in Bull’s 52 MTI against a stunt plane that wowed the crowd with aerial feats during breaks in the action each day at the Shootout.

American Ethanol, a 51-foot Mystic catamaran owned by Don Onken, took home the overall Top Gun honors with a 208-mph top speed.

words Jason Johnson photos Pete Boden

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bat boat and ran 81 mph. Another husband-and-wife team, Andy and Lacey Miller of Wichita, Kan., drove its 32-foot Aerotek raceboat American Outlaw to a 70-mph top speed.

Whether it’s a woman in complete control, at the wheel or handling navigator duties along the one-mile course, it is all remarkable considering this sport is dominated by men.

“Whenever I see a woman driving a boat, whether it’s with her boyfriend, husband or by herself, I think it’s so awesome,” said Richardson, who hails from Southern California and hopes her runs at both the Lake of the Ozarks and the Desert Storm Poker Run shootouts inspire other women to be more than just passengers on a boat. “Obviously I grew up around the sport and have been running boats for a while, but you don’t need a lot of experience to give this a shot. It’s about as safe as it gets.”

Beyond the “girl power,” the 27th annual event had an incredible amount of stories and highlights. From a writer’s perspective there just wasn’t enough time to cover, let alone even see, everyone I had intended—my apologizes to Michael Pierce and the XXX Outerlimits crew and Michael Areces of the Ruffled Feathers Skater (although I did spend a few minutes talking with his father, Frank Areces).

You can imagine the challenge of squeezing everything into a single magazine feature, which is I’m choosing a journalist’s go-to—a Top 10 list of what I’ll remember from the 2015 Lake of the Ozarks Shootout.

1. MYSTIC TOP GUN DOMINANCEIn the 13 times Mystic Powerboats Inc. or John Cosker has competed at the annual Lake of the Ozarks Shootout, the Top Gun trophy has been taken 11 times by a Mystic model. The

Lake of the Ozarks Shootout

From top: Summer London of Southern California, drove her32-foot catamaran from DCB to a record-setting solo driver top speed of 147 mph. Taking part in the Shootout for the first time, husband and wife Ricky and Nikki Amos drove the Early Detection Racing Reindl Powerboats One Design V24 up to 81 mph.Michael Holford and Keith Holmes recorded a 176-mph speed on their last pass of the weekend in the Cat Can Do Skater from CK Motorsports.Debbie Bull, who is married to offshore racer Bob Bull, drove the CMS 52-foot catamaran from MTI to a 180-mph top speed with MTI owner Randy Scism handling the throttles.Ja







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Shootout roll started in 2003 when Cosker and Dave Callan piloted a 48-foot Tencara cat to victory after being defeated the previous year by the Miss Budweiser hydroplane. Cosker throttled or drove Mystic cats to Top Gun fame in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2011 and this year, where he reached 208 mph with Myrick Coil in American Ethanol, a 51-foot Mystic cat owned by Don Onken and powered by four 1,700-hp engines.

But that is, quite literally, just half the story. Driver/owner Dave Scott and throttleman John Tomlinson piloted Nauti Marine, a 50-foot Mystic to Lake of the Ozarks Shootout Top Gun prominence in 2008, 2009 and 2010. In 2013 driver Bill Tomlinson and throttleman Ken Kehoe pushed Tomlinson’s turbine-powered 50-footer called My Way to a sensational 224 mph—a mark most longtime Shootout observers thought would never be eclipsed until driver/owner Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani and Steve Curtis raised the bar to

145-mph mark in their 42-foot Black Thunder V-bottom with twin 1,675-hp engines. On Saturday the Parveys reached top speeds of 139 and 143 mph then followed that up on Sunday with runs of 144 and 145 mph.

“We were a little nervous for our first runs because of the crosswinds so we kept the drives and tabs all the way down and hit 139 mph,” said the younger Parvey. “After the first run, we felt more comfortable so we lifted the tabs and drives a little more—and we’d burned a little fuel—and went to 143 mph. That was the fastest we’ve gone

244 mph in another turbine-powered 50-footer dubbed Al Adaa’am 96 the following year.

We have no idea what speed next year’s Top Gun winners will achieve on the liquid-mile course on Central Missouri’s famed waterway. But based on what’s happened so far, the odds are good it will happen in a Mystic.

2. A PARVEY CONqUESTIn impressive fashion, the father-and-son team of Dennis and Jason Parvey rattled off the fastest V-bottom top speed at this year’s Shootout—a

Longtime Lake of the Ozarks Shootout participant, Dennis Parvey ran his 42-foot Black Thunder (above), which is powered by twin 1,675-hp engines, to a remarkable 145-mph top speed with his son, Jason (below, right), by his side.

Lake of the Ozarks ShootoutJa







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at the Shootout until, of course, we came out and upped that speed on Sunday. My dad has been on his game. I have to give him a lot of credit.”

3. PERFORMANCE BOAT CENTER DIGS INBetween stepping up as the event’s title sponsor and hosting an over-the-top Shootout welcome party on Thursday evening, Performance Boat Center is a major reason the status of the event has elevated over the last couple of years. Mark Waddington and Brett Manire—the owners of Performance Boat Center, which opened its new facility in 2013 in Osage Beach along with the Redhead Yacht Club and the accompanying Redhead Lakeside Grill that opened this summer—put a ton of energy into supporting the Shootout as well as the boaters who came into town from as

had the auction there this year and raised three times as much as past years. It’s easy to see why Performance Boat Center has become the go-to place for powerboaters in the area and for those coming in from out of town. We’re glad to have them involved and hope to work with them again next year.”

Although the accolades didn’t fall directly on the title sponsor because the Top Gun-winning Mystic is owned by Onken, Performance Boat Center played a huge role in getting American Ethanol across the finish line to tie the 208-mph piston-powered record ran by Nauti Marine. Coil, the Top Gun-winning driver in American Ethanol, joined Performance Boat Center in the merger with Scott’s Nauti Marine shop and is integral to its service facility and its upcoming offshore racing program. Other Performance Boat Center crewmembers assisted on Onken’s team, too.

far away as California, Florida and New York.

“We’re thrilled to have Performance Boat Center involved with the Shootout,” said Ron Duggan, the main organizer behind the event and the owner of Captain Ron’s, which has hosted the Shootout for the last eight years. “They’re helping us take the event to the next level. The meet-and-greet over there on Thursday night was unbelievable. We

Performance Boat Center’s Rusty Williams made a 139-mph pass in the company’s 52-foot Outerlimits (left).Randy Kent in his MTI (bottom, far left) and Kenny Mungle in his Skater ran an exhibition drag race on Sunday.Ja







From left: Mark Waddington, Brett Manire, Myrick Coil, Don Onken and John Cosker posed with the Top Gun trophy won by Coil and Cosker in Onken’s Mystic.

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4. PREDATORS ATTACKCaravanning across country with his good friend Vern Gilbert of West Coast Drives, who recently lost his wife after a lengthy battle with cancer, Gary Smith of Tucson, Ariz., estab-lished a personal best at the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout in Predator, his stunning 40-foot Skater Powerboats catamaran, by running 184 mph with twin Brummett Marine engines under the hatch.

Not to be outdone by Smith, Gilbert posted a respectable top speed on 167 mph in Predator 1, his 1991 40-foot Skater also powered by Brummett Marine engines.

“Overall it was a good event with a great showing from the West Coast,” Smith said. “I can’t say enough about the guys who made sure the boat was ready to go. AJ Barrett and Carson Brummett were so helpful.”

400R engines from Nor-Tech Hi-Performance Boats. That speed was plenty good to claim the new center console class Top Gun award besting class-winner Adam Carpenter, who ran a very respectable 86 mph in his 34-foot Sunsation with triple Mercury Verado 400R engines.

McClay—who moved into the 39-footer from a pair of Nor-Techs, a 34-foot center console and a 40-foot catamaran—said he’s reached 96 mph in the 39-footer, but that it’s more about the enjoyment of running the boat with a group and a cooler full of drinks than it is about trying to hit some big number.

“This event and this place is absolutely incredible—I’ll definitely be coming back here again,” said McClay, who lives in Southwest Ontario and has put 160 hours on the center console since taking delivery in March. “I’ve never done anything like this in my life so it was quite an experience.”

5. NOR-TECH CENTER CONSOLE TOPS 90 MPHIn the newly formed center console class, Canadian performance boater Ryan McClay posted a memorable 93-mph pass in his 39-foot center console with quad Mercury Racing Verado

Lake of the Ozarks Shootout

The two Predator Skater catamarans took to the Shootout course this year.

Canada’s Ryan McClay reached 93 mph in his 39-foot Nor-Tech center console.

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904-334-9950 [emailprotected]

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Photography & Video Productions

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Featuring twin Teague Custom Marine 1,025-hp engines, George Ogden’s 29 Luxury Cat from E-Ticket got up to 146 mph along the one-mile course.

6. MUNGLE SHOWS OFF AGAIN IN GONE AGAINWhile they might have wanted a bigger number, no one can deny that Kenny Mungle and Lee Lockwood didn’t give it their all for several days during the Shootout. Mungle, a fan favorite from Texas, posted six runs in Gone Again, his 32-foot Skater, and finished with the second fastest speed of the weekend—188 mph.

He also participated in the crowd-pleasing exhibition drag race with Randy Kent in his Performance Boat Center- sponsored Speed Racer-themed MTI, which clocked a top speed of 165 mph after three runs in the Shootout.

Mungle made the final pass of the weekend and closed the event with a couple of back-and-forth passes on the course to show his appreciation for the crowd that cheered him all weekend. Of course it cost him a ticket from water patrol, but what did he care? It was a send off for the old girl as he has a new 368 Skater coming called Gone that he’ll be focused on for 2016 events.

7. OUTERLIMITS REPRESENTS IN FIORE’S HONOROf course the organizers of the Shootout did the right thing by honoring Mike Fiore and inducting the Outerlimits Offshore Powerboats founder into the Hall of Fame a year

after he died following an accident at the top-speed event. Yet it was the support from various Outerlimits customers that caught our eye.

Between Vinnie Diorio’s 41-foot V-bottom (read about it on page 87) and Burton Kirsten’s jaw-dropping canopied 39-foot catamaran—neither of which ran in the Shootout but instead did the poker run and other events throughout the week—were two of the many Outerlimits standouts in town to honor Fiore and have a great time on and off the water.

“We are keeping Mike’s legacy alive and keeping his company going—it’s what Mike would do, he would never give up,” said Dan Kleitz, the Bristol, R.I., company’s production manager, adding that Outerlimits V-bottoms took top honors in five classes, a feat that would have made Fiore proud. “Overall it was a nice showing. They handed out black ribbon pins to all the participants in the Shootout, and the event T-shirts had ‘In Memory of Mike Fiore’ printed on them. Those were nice gestures. They showed that the performance-boat community is a tight-knit family.”

8. WEST COAST SPEED DEMONSAlong with the efforts of Summer London and Gary Smith, the West Coast was well represented at this year’s Shootout thanks to several others, including DCB’s Tony Chiaramonte, who ran Lickity Split, JP O’Donoghue’s M35 Widebody with twin Mercury Racing 1350 engines, to an impressive top speed of 165 mph. Chiaramonte was on hand to support a sizable fleet of DCB catamarans that came into town for the Shootout and Super Cat Fest.

Two other DCB owners—John Chilton of Arizona and Carlton Bass of Oklahoma—ran their 35-foot cats with twin 1,350-hp and 1,100-hp engines up to 160 mph and 150 mph, respectively. Another Californian, Lawrence Coehlo of Tulare, laid down a 125-mph top speed in his DCB F29 to win his class.

Once again Ivan “Buck” Stracener of Southern California trailered his 28-foot catamaran from Nordic Boats to the Shootout, but the talk among the West Coast contingent was about the top speed ran by Lake Havasu’s George Ogden in his

Full CoVERAGECliCk here for a Complete list of 2015 lake of the ozarks stories.

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E-Ticket Performance Boats 29 Luxury Cat. In the 29-foot deck boat, which is powered by twin 1,025-hp Teague Custom Marine engines, Ogden ran impressive 146-mph pass.

9. SHOOTOUT ON THE STRIP GOES OFFWith the idea to move the Party in the Park from Laurie Fairgrounds back to the Bagnell Dam Strip, the Wednesday evening public display of boats became the Shootout on the Strip and gained immediate interest thanks to the efforts of Justin Wagner of Waves and Wheels, Jeff Carroll of Old Kinderhook and Mark and Tiffany Madsen of Poly Lift Boat Lifts.

Wagner stepped up to sponsor the Shootout on the Strip and ran with the idea of bringing the party to the street. He rallied a few jaw-dropping MTIs with Waves and Wheels installations to connect their audio systems together with a DJ spinning the tunes from the deck of his 46-foot

Skater project boat, which he announced that evening will feature a Transformers theme and be named Optimus Prime.

All said and done, nearly 100 boats crowded the Bagnell Dam Strip and the weather turned out great, which led to thousands of spectators frequenting the historic hot spot that seems to be enjoying a bit of a resurgence.

10. HEAVY-HITTING HARDWAREEach year, thanks to new activities and associated events such as Super Cat Fest, the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout has become a premier place to showcase some of the newest and coolest high-performance boats in the country. Between the removable canopy 52-foot MTI with twin Mercury 1350 engines that was delivered the week of the Shootout to the stunning new 50-foot Mystic catamaran also powered by 1350s, there were plenty of showstoppers running around the lake.

There were also new boats from the likes of Cigarette Racing, DCB, Skater, Statement, Sunsation and more. What’s cool about the Shootout week is at one of the docks, whether it’s Dog Days, Coconuts or Camden of the Lake (the host location for Super Cat Fest), you can get an up-close-and-personal look at most any of the boats. And chances are if you were interested in a new ride for next year’s Shootout, you could find a representative from the company and have your questions answered on site.

If you’re planning to go to the Shootout next year, we highly recommend attending Super Cat Fest for the Saturday evening showcase—dollar for dollar, the event could rival the Key West Poker Run in terms of serious hardware on display at the docks.

Speaking of next year, we’re already working on ideas for how to enhance our 2016 coverage immediately. If next year’s event is anything like this year’s, we’re going to need it.

Lake of the Ozarks Shootout

Rusty Rahm of Wake Effects in Osage Beach, Mo., took delivery of his new 52-foot MTI catamaran just in time for the Shootout and ran it 146 mph.

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words and photos Jimmy Biro

tHe pleasureOf lake pOwell

Service, scenery and some guy named George have turned the Lake Powell Challenge into a one-of-a-kind event.

When Jason Johnson called me a couple of months ago asking if I would be interested in representing

speedonthewater.com at the upcoming Lake Powell Challenge, accepting the assignment was a no-brainer. I’ve always wanted to explore Lake Powell, the magnificent Colorado River waterway that borders Arizona and Utah, by boat.

Thanks to some leeway with a new job I started earlier this year, and the opportunity to fly to Lake Powell rather than make the long drive from my home in Southern California to Page, Ariz., I was all in for an adventure with some guy named George Argyros, whom I had never met nor had any idea how to pronounce

his name. Johnson, who knows Argyros well, told me how, but it’s not a name that rolls off the tongue easily.

Back to Argyros in a minute. Leading up to the trip I was both excited and anxious. I don’t know about you, but I can be a little uncomfortable meeting new people let alone spending a few days with a group of individuals I didn’t know in a close-quarters houseboat. But my passion for performance trumped whatever social anxiety I may have, so I said yes. And I am so glad I did or I may have missed out on the trip of a lifetime.

I have a newfound respect for Johnson and speedonthewater.com founder Matt Trulio. While writing this article and reflecting on the past few days, I found it hard to stay on track. I wanted to focus on the poker run itself and all of the beautiful powerboats that came out to support the charitable efforts led by the more-than-capable team at Antelope Point Marina, the host location for the Lake Powell Challenge.

But two things kept jumping out at me. The first and most obvious was the gorgeous backdrop of Lake Powell and its surrounding landscape. The second was George Argyros. And for some reason, despite Lake Powell

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From left: Elite Marine’s Robbie Willis joined George and Shannon Argyros and the owner of the Panty Dropper MTI, Brett Baur, and his friend, Justin Dearden, at the Lake Powell Challenge in Page, Ariz.Argyros, bottom right, is the owner of Mayhem, a 44-foot MTI with twin Mercury Racing 1100 engines, and is one of the primary supporters of the event, which raises money for JDRF.

offering some of the most stunning scenery in the country between its deep clear blue water, stark red sandstone rock and cliffs that tower hundreds of feet above the water, it’s the image of Argyros and his gigantic smile that I can’t seem to get out of my head.

Thanks to Argyros, there was a shuttle waiting for me once the nine-passenger, twin-engine plane I caught after switching planes in Phoenix landed at the airport in Page. I arrived at Antelope Point Marina in search of Equinox, which would be my resting place for the event. An out-of-body experience is the best way I can explain what happened when I spotted Equinox, a 75-foot Bravada houseyacht.

Yes I said a houseyacht, not a houseboat. This was far from an oversized RV on the water, which is what I’d liken past experiences with houseboats to. It’s clear that Bravada does not spare any expense when building these types of luxury vessels. See for yourself on Bravada’s website and you’ll be blown away.

A couple of days before my trip I spoke with

Argyros, a very busy guy who lives in Florida and owns a home in Lake Havasu City, Ariz., and he told me that when I arrived at the event he and his wife, Shannon, would be out on the water enjoying a late-morning ride. Argyros asked me to go ahead and choose a room and make myself at home until they returned.

There I was taking a self-guided tour of this three-story treasure feeling like I owned it. I mean who invites some guy they’ve never to their home for the first time and gives him full reign and privileges without reservation? Argyros, that’s who. I found my five-star bedroom with its own private bathroom and shower, and proceeded to settle in.

Not even an hour later I heard the smooth rumble from a beautiful 44-foot MTI powered by twin Mercury Racing 1100 engines arriving in the marina. Several people lent a helping hand as Argyros gracefully docked the masterpiece he calls Mayhem and proceeded to Equinox with Shannon.

As anyone who knows Argyros can attest,

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From top: The NUTTZ jet boat club hosted a party at Lone Rock Beach during the Lake Powell Challenge. The Antelope Point Marina facilities were as top notch as they come for a poker run. Chris Hamlin of Prestige Marine in Lake Havasu brought his Scarab to the event.

he is not an ordinary individual. He walked straight up to me and said, “Hey, are you Jimmy?” I nodded. “Good, let’s go meet some new friends,” he said.

We walked into the restaurant and were treated with first-class service. As I later learned, this type of treatment is given to anyone who stays at Antelope Point Marina. For the next 10 minutes, he and I talked and got to know each other. Based on the people he interacted with on the docks and the staff at Antelope Point Marina, I felt like I was face to face with a celebrity. I don’t get star stuck when I see celebrities but I felt privileged to be a guest of this individual known by so many at the Lake Powell Challenge.

From this point I was introduced to many welcoming people, some very active individuals in the performance boat industry and others who just come to the event because it takes place at their favorite destination and because of its charitable contributions. I was truly in my element. I didn’t feel shy, intimated or anxious meeting many of these successful business people because we all have a common desire—performance boating.

This year Argyros brought his MTI along with his Donzi 38 ZR dubbed Donzilla. Fortunately for Brett Baur, Argyros’ friend and fellow MTI owner, Argyros had Donzilla on hand. It came in handy since Baur’s Panty Dropper MTI broke a gear ring and was unavailable for the event.

The high jinks ensued (it’s a long story and is best explained by Argyros and/or Baur anyway), but basically Argyros taunted Baur about bringing a broken boat to the run—I’m told the razzing goes back to a time when Argyros broke down and Baur poked fun at Argyros for requiring his assistance—and for having to be driven around by Robbie Willis of Elite Marine in the Donzi. Luckily Baur was a good sport about it all…even the toilet paper.

Willis was one of several go-to industry guys who came to the event to support customers. Between hanging out with him, Chris Hamlin from Prestige Marine and Adrian “AJ” Barrett from Barrett Custom Marine, I appreciate the mechanics and boat haulers who support these

poker run “teams” even more than I did before.The term “team” shouldn’t be taken loosely

because in order to own some of these boats, you really do need a team. I can get away with my wife and I in our single-engine LaveyCraft, but that’s a different story.

It also was cool to see Bob Teague on hand to support his customers and participate in one of the fastest-growing poker runs in the country with his family, including his 1-year-old grandson.

Lake Powell Challenge

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Between houseboats, runabouts, cruisers and performance boats, there were plenty of ways to get around on the water during the seventh annual Lake Powell Challenge. If it wasn’t bad enough that Brett Baur couldn’t run his MTI, his “friends” had a little fun and toilet papered his catamaran during Saturday’s fireworks show. Surely payback plans are in the works.

Lake Powell Challenge

Perfect Pairing

Like many events in the country, the primary goal of the Lake Powell Challenge was to raise money for a great cause. In this case, the money raised goes to JDRF, a cause Argyros supports and works hard to promote. The event began seven years ago and raised a few thousand dollars. In mid-September, 67 boats registered and more than $200,000 was raised. Anyone who had a part in this event should be proud of that contribution.

I’ll tell you what—if it weren’t for many of these large contributors, guys like Argyros who are willing to raise huge amounts of money to fight diseases, support local services or help wounded service men and women, our poker run community wouldn’t be what it is today.

Riding with George and Shannon, who deserves special recognition for going out of her way to make me feel welcome, the poker run itself went by quickly. When you’re a passenger in a 44 MTI with 2,200 hp averaging about 110 mph, a 40-mile cruise doesn’t last long.

Of course there were participants in non-performance boats with much less horsepower who were probably on the water for several hours hitting the different checkpoints. I have

to say, if there was one boat company that dominated in numbers, it was DCB Performance Boats. Everywhere I looked there was another beautifully colored DCB. Talk about a tight family and a sizable group that contributed to the fundraising efforts thanks to the registration numbers alone.

And that’s what it’s really all about. Just ask George—and don’t worry about trying to pronounce his last name.

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50 Years ofExcellence!www.DonziMarine.com

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given club or at an event, but that doesn’t mean you want whatever vessel you call your own looking lackluster.

No one knows that better than 42-year-old Joe Wnek, who founded Hurricane Force

There’s nothing glamorous about powerboat cleaning and detailing. The process blends any number of foul-smelling, skin-irritating chemical-based cleaning and finishing products with hours of hard physical labor. In fact, detailing go-fast boats, whether it’s a simple

clean-and-polish job or giving new life to old paint, could be the least glamorous profession in the performance powerboat world. It makes hauling boats from coast to coast look downright sexy.

But it also could be one of the most important jobs in the industry because—come any given organized event or casual weekend during the boating season—no one wants his or her go-fast ride to look anything but its best. And that applies to everything from well-worn, single-engine V-bottoms to brand-new, big-buck catamarans. You might not have the “best” boat in any

Away from work as a police investigator and boat detailer, Wnek competes in the Offshore Powerboat Association’s 600 Class in his 24-foot V-bottom.

Detailing at what was then Typhoon Performance Marine in Tom’s River, N.J., in 2002. While various marine business

have come and gone from the location on the shore of Kettle Creek since then, Wnek has built his solid reputation and customer base—currently with 90 to 100 clients—during the past 13 years on doing good work, regardless of the value of the boat in front of him and his three-man seasonal crew.

“I tell my guys, ‘Treat everyone like family, and treat every boat like it’s your own,’” said Wnek, whose full-time year-round job is investigating fatal traffic accidents as an officer on the Livingston police force. “Most customers I have are awesome, and every customer is a little different.

eye of Thehurr icaneon the beat or on the racecourse, hurricane

force detailing’s Joe Wnek is one cool customer.words Matt Trulio | photos Tim Sharkey

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The biggest challenge for me, with two jobs and my wife, Virginia, and two young kids, Brent and Karina, is making time, being available for everyone and everything.”

As for the difficulty of the work, Wnek can attest to it. And yet his passion remains.

“We do everything—painting bottoms, compounding, cleaning, waxing and even wet-sanding if we have to—for everything from 17-foot Boston Whalers to 52-foot Outer-limits,” he said. “Working a high-speed wheel with compounds and the rest, it’s all physical work in the summer heat. Jobs can go from four hours to many days. The bigger the boat, the more work it involves. But I am the kind of guy who if I don’t like the way the boat looks when it’s done, I don’t charge you—or will charge a lot less. I treat every boat like it’s mine.

“I am basically a happy-go-lucky, down-to-earth guy who enjoys what he does,” he added.

As it happens, Wnek does have a boat of his own, a 24-foot P&D V-bottom built in 1973 and powered by a 700-hp Potter Performance engine that he races on the Offshore Powerboat Association circuit in Class 600. Wnek began

racing the boat, which is aptly named Hurricane Force Detailing, in 2012 and he throttles the 24-footer. His driver this season is Tim Vandeberg.

A New Jersey shore area native, Wnek grew up with offshore racing in his backyard. The walls of his office at Hurricane Force are decorated with images of vintage offshore raceboats and racers from the 1970s and 1980s.

“I’ve always had a passion for offshore racing and now here I am, four years into it and loving it,” he said. “I haven’t been able to do all the OPA races this year, but we’ve finished every race and are having fun. We are going to the do the Nationals in Ocean City (Md.) and if everything goes well the Worlds in Florida.”

Wnek is quick to credit Bob Christie, the former owner of Typhoon Performance Marine, and its former sales manager Frank Civitano for

getting him into the detailing business. He also credits Dave Patnaude, president of New Jersey Performance Powerboat Club, and photographer Tim Sharkey for helping him promote and grow his business. Wnek’s fascination with powerboats reached a fever pitch after Christie invited him on a poker run in 2001. Not long after, Wnek started spending time at Typhoon and began cleaning boats.

Hurricane Force Detailing

The longest-standing business at the Kettle Creek facility, Hurricane Force Detailing (right) has an 80-foot-long, 50-foot-long work bay to accommodate an array of go-fast cats and V-bottoms.

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While Hurricane Force has yet to earn a podium finish this year, Wnek (holding trophy) and Vandeburg (far right) are having fun. The team did take third place in its class during OPA’s Atlantic City race in 2014.

Recognizing his talent and drive, Christie encouraged Wnek to open a detailing business on the property, which is owned by New Jersey-based performance-boat enthusiast Joe Fusco, and Hurricane Force Detailing was born. To buy supplies and equipment for the business, Wnek took out a loan on his peace officer pension.

The company takes its name from Wnek’s fascination with weather. (Before entering law enforcement 20 years ago, he actually considered a career in meteorology.) His current digs include an 80-foot-long, 50-foot-wide space for boat detailing and restoration, and the

business is open nine months a year. While the rest of the facility has seen an array of businesses come and go since Typhoon Performance Marine departed, Hurricane Force Detailing has remained. Wnek, who also serves as the property manager, is hoping that the new tenant, Marine Unlimited headed by Tom Healey, will stay long term.

“For all the changes that have gone on here—we call it ‘Drama Creek’ but it’s really Kettle Creek—I think of it as a peaceful place,” Wnek said. “I like it here.”

In six years, Wnek will retire from his law enforcement career, one that saw him work

search and rescue one day after the September 11, 2001 terrorist destruction of the World Trade Center Towers. Wnek’s memories of searching for life—and finding none—that day are powerful and searing.

“I couldn’t get the smell out of my nose,” he said. “What I saw and dealt with was unbelievable. I still haven’t been able to go back there.”

Wnek doesn’t just want to continue Hurricane Force Detailing when he retires. He plans to build the business. And he’s looking forward to every moment of it.

“I will expand my detailing service and hire a mechanic,” he said. “I’d also like to get a larger boat.”

No doubt, he’ll keep it looking good.

Hurricane Force Detailing

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Prompted by their good friends and fellow Louisiana boaters Stephen and Ashley Guidry, Lala and his girlfriend, Yvonne King, decided to tie in the trip across the Gulfstream with the delivery of their new ride. And they’re glad they did.

“I was confident in the boat after going to the factory several times to see it being built and

Here’s something you don’t read about every day. A customer gets his new 1,400-hp, 42-foot boat one day in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and less than 24 hours later drives it to the Bahamas for an extended trip the with his

girlfriend and four of their closest friends.Sound a little crazy? Or maybe a better word is ambitious? Greg

Lala of Mandeville, La., understands why you might think that, but said his recent adventure to the Abaco Islands in the Bahamas in his new Marine Technology, Inc., V 42 center console with quad Mercury Verado 350 engines went about as well as it could.

Yvonne King shows off the MTI she and boyfriend Greg Lala drove to the Bahamas the day after taking delivery of the 42-footer powered by Mercury Verado 350 engines.

knowing how meticulous the MTI crew is throughout the entire process,” said Lala, who owned a 34-foot Nor-Tech center console and a 40-foot Formula Boats cruiser before opting to buy the MTI. “I figured a trip to the Bahamas was a great way to the give the boat a good shakedown. The best part was that the boat exceeded

my expectations. Everyone on board was comfortable and the ride was so solid.”

King said the six-night trip in early July required a lot of research and planning because both Lala and the Guidrys, who own a Sunsation Boats 34 CCX with triple Mercury Verado 300 engines, are “safety-first boaters.”

“That was definitely an adventure—we’ve never done anything remotely like that before,” King said. “Greg has owned boats since he was 18

A grAndAdventuretwo great center consoles and a dozen greatpeople equal one great trip to the Bahamas. words Jason Johnson

photos Yvonne King

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Stephen and Ashley Guidry ran their Sunsation Boats 34 CCX (top) to the Bahamas with new MTI-V 42 owners Greg Lala and Yvonne King. Joining them were John and Sharen Burt, Garry and Donna Barone, Chris and Kelly Barousse, and Calvin and Nicholle Klein.

A Grand Adventure

years old so he’s extremely experienced, but I don’t think we would have done the trip if it wasn’t for Stephen and Ashley encouraging us. Taking boats like ours over there was pretty neat—we got a lot of attention.

“The whole trip was such a cool experience,” she added. “It was tough to come home that’s for sure.”

For Lala and King, the trip started with a sea trial in Fort Lauderdale and ended with the boat being trailered to Destin, Fla.—Lala’s home away from home—after stops at several uninhabited islands and tourism hot spots such as Bimini, Freeport and Treasure Cay.

“I’d do another trip of that length again, but I don’t think I’d do the same one just because I’d like to see some

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Between swimming with the stingrays, snorkeling to wrecks along the ocean floor and snatching up starfish with his significant other, Yvonne King, Greg Lala had blast touring the Bahamas in his MTI center console.

l a l a i n p a r a d i s e

other places,” said Lala, who ran the silver-and-black 42-footer in this year’s Emerald Coast Poker Run in August. “The boat holds 450 gallons so fuel consumption is not really an issue. At cruising speeds we burn about 50 gallons per hour.

“All I can say is what a piece of equipment,” he added. “Of course I paid a little more for this boat than others out there, but I feel like I got a lot more for the money. It’s truly a custom boat. Yvonne got to work with the designers and picked out everything from the paint style and colors to the interior layout and upholstery. We even have additional speakers in the T-top designed to play music toward the back of the boat.”

Randy Scism, the owner of MTI in Wentzville, Mo., said he loves hearing stories like Lala’s from his customers.

“I think it’s awesome that so many of our owners take these boats and really use them the way they’re supposed to be used,” Scism said. “The feedback we’ve received from the center consoles has been outstanding. We’ve been able

to make improvements to the boats based on what the customers have told us, too. The boats are so reliable and run so well offshore that you can pretty much go anywhere you’d like—and you can take a group of friends with you.”

The Guidrys, who also invited two couples to join them in their 34-foot Sunsation with a similar silver and black paint job, had an amazing time too.

“From checking in with Customs in the Bahamas to feeling welcomed everywhere we went, the entire experience

was great,” said Ashley Guidry, who has been boating in and around the Bahamas twice, once in a friend’s 52-foot Sea Ray and another time in a 42-foot catamaran charter. “It was fun because we’d pull in somewhere and there’d be these gorgeous yachts and sportfish boats and everyone would come down to check out our boats because they don’t see them over there too often.

“That was definitely my favorite trip to the Bahamas because we were able to explore so much more with our

A Grand Adventure

Although the crew wore life vests while crossing the Gulfstream on the trip to and from the Bahamas, when it was time to do a little island hopping it was all about comfort and relaxation aboard the spacious 42-foot center console.

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own boat,” she continued. “A lot of people don’t realize how close the Bahamas are. We would consider going further south to Atlantis and other spots. It really just depends on weather conditions. On this trip we made sure to plan for extra days in case the weather didn’t cooperate. Fortunately we had some ideal days on the water.”

Ashley said it was delightful to be able to pull up to an island and not see anyone else on the beach. She also enjoyed seeing the skyline of Fort Lauderdale fade into the distance as they headed east toward the islands.

“It’s cool when all you see around you is blue and then all of the sudden there are flying fish jumping out of the water all around you,” she said. “Everyone with us had such a great time and our boat performed flawlessly. We have nothing bad to say about the boat or Sunsation. Everyone at

the company is so wonderful.”Both Ashley and Yvonne

admitted there was an added sense of security knowing that there was another boat and crew out on the water with them.

“I really think the trick to a trip like that is having good people on board,” said Lala,

A Grand Adventure

who named his new ride My Total Insanity in a nod to the MTI acronym. “We had three seasoned boating couples so everyone knew what their job was when we arrived at a port. When you’re organized like that it makes the trip much more fun for the captain.”

Thanks to King and Lala, My Total Insanity will live on at Grabbers on Guana Cay.All six of the couples who made the trek to the Bahamas had an amazing time.

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though vinnie diorio is stepping up to a new sv 43 from outerlimits,

he has nothing but praise for his

less-than-one-year-old sl 41.

FOUr BOaTS in four years— and soon to be five boats in five years come early 2016—that’s the book on Vinnie Diorio, a performance-boat lover who lives in Richfield, Wis. Less than 12 months ago, Diorio took delivery of a brand- new Outerlimits SL 41, a full-cabin V-bottom with a stand-up co*ckpit and a low-profile deck. Twin Mercury Racing 700SCi engines with No. 6 drives power the 41-footer, and since receiving the boat in the spring Diorio has logged more than 70 hours of running time, thanks in part to his participation in seven go-fast boating events last summer, in it.

And now, through the Bristol, R.I.-based high-performance boat builder, Diorio’s most recent

ride is for sale for a cool $525,000.What gives? Why is Diorio,

who owned a pair of Outerlimits 39’ Quattros (one powered by Mercury Racing 700s, the other by a couple of the Fond du Lac, Wis., engine builder’s 525s) and a 32-foot Fountain, abandoning his new favorite ride?

“I get bored with stuff fast,” he said in a Speedonthewater.com article in August when he ordered his new Outerlimits SV 43. “I really love the boat I have, but I want to go faster. I want to be able to go 120, 130 mph with ease. I want to cruise at 100.”

Outerlimits production manager Dan Kleitz said he was somewhat surprised by Diorio’s decision.

“I thought he might keep the

p r o F i l e : o u t e r l i M i t s s l 4 1

words Matt Truliophotos Tim Sharkey

Fond Farewell

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SL 41 longer than a year—but I think he is hooked by the need for speed,” Kleitz said. “I guess you could actually say I ‘wrecked him.’ Before he went for a ride in his own boat, I took him for a ride in an SL 50 with 1350s at 130 mph at the (2015) Miami Boat Show. He still remembers that. He was blown away.”

No slouch in the speed department, Diorio’s 41-footer reportedly has topped 116 mph. But what he enjoyed most about his outgoing Outerlimits was its ride quality and forward visibility from the co*ckpit.

“The ride and the handling and how quiet it was in the water, were all so smooth compared to my 39,” said Diorio, who on a “good day” stands 5’6” tall. “And in the 39, I could hardly see over the bow. With

p r o F i l e : o u t e r l i M i t s s l 4 1

events attended by vinnie diorio this summer in his outerlimits, including the

erie poker run, the Four horsem*n poker run/osh kosh, the boyne thunder poker run,

the Four horsem*n poker run/milwaukee, the sturgeon bay rendeZvous, the buFFalo

poker run and the lake oF the oZarks shootout.


Diorio’s 41-foot V-bottom, which made its debut at the 2015 Miami International Boat Show, was painted by Stephen Miles Design.

Outerlimits Offshore Powerboats, 401-253-7300, outerlimitspowerboats.comMercury Racing, 920-921-5330, mercuryracing.com

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the low deck on this boat I can see a lot better.”

Diorio’s boat was, in fact, the first Outerlimits SL 41 built with the company’s low-profile deck and completely new hull. According to Kleitz, three SL 41 models built prior to Diorio’s 41-footer were based off the SV 40 hull and had “rounder” deck lines. The second “modern era” SL 41 currently is under construction, according to Kleitz, as is Diorio’s new SV 43, which will be powered by a pair of Mercury Racing 1350 engines and should be ready in time for display at the 2016 Miami International Boat Show.

But that doesn’t mean Diorio won’t miss his 41-footer—and least until he takes delivery of his new boat. After all, his SL 41 didn’t just perform impressively, it was loaded with features including

a custom Stephen Miles Design paint job, an Alcantara-upholstered co*ckpit and cabin interior, a custom trailer with 20-inch wheels and more.

“The ride was great,” Diorio said. “It felt the same at top speed as it did at 80 mph. It liked to cruise at 80—it didn’t feel like it was working at all. And it felt safe.”

The question is: Will Diorio

still own his new SV 43 in 2017 after—if history repeats itself—he runs the heck out of it next year? Neither Diorio nor Kleitz offered a definitive answer, but Diorio provided a clue in the previous article on speedonthewater.com.

“My wife is pretty much convinced that this is the most addicting habit anyone could have,” he said.

From left: Powered by twin 700-hp supercharged engines from Mercury Racing, the 41-foot Outerlimits has logged more than 70 hours of running time this season. The co*ckpit of the striking 41 SL features an Alcantara-upholstered co*ckpit and cabin as well as dual Garmin displays and a Mercury Racing VesselView monitor in the dash panels.

p r o F i l e : o u t e r l i M i t s s l 4 1

Diorio and his crew enjoyed the Buffalo Poker Run in New York.

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What does perfect 10 mean? ›

In college gymnastics, a 10.00 is the highest score you can get. This score is given to a gymnast who combines a routine with enough difficulty with picture perfect execution. These performances stand out from all other performances, hence why judges give them the "Perfect 10".

Is Perfect 10 magazine still published? ›

The last print edition of the magazine was published in the summer of 2007 (issue 43), after which it switched to a subscription-based website-only presentation.

What is the meaning of the idiom a perfect ten? ›

A person who, on a scale of 0 to 10, has the highest possible score. She's a perfect ten.

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