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Private Preview 2003: Fast and Furious Go-Fasts

Eric Colby

One of the most popular and successful names in performance boating and racing has been discontinued, at least temporarily. Wellcraft Marine recently announced an indefinite halt to its Scarab high-performance boat production, but the company will continue to build Scarab center-console fishing boats at its Sarasota, Fla., factory.

Wellcraft may have grounded its go-fasts, but other boatmakers continue to churn out faster, more powerful performance models. While most speedboats compromise comfort for speed, many of next year’s models feature larger areas for lounging and sunbathing. Aboard any of these high-powered boats, you’ll need some space to catch your breath.

A Hush-Hush Concept
Cigarette Racing Team will unveil a 46-foot concept boat in early November at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, but the legendary speedboat builder will not release specifications or performance numbers on the new machine.

While the 46-footer remains shrouded in secrecy, Cigarette has announced that its 42 Tiger XP, which also will debut at Fort Lauderdale, has a pair of Sterling Performance 1,050-hp engines. (The company’s popular 42 Tiger TS is still available.) The XP edition features an altered bottom, making the boat perform better when fitted with high-performance racing drives, such as Mercury’s surface-piercing Number Sixes. Cigarette also has redesigned its 46 Rough Rider with a longer cockpit, stretching the boat by nearly two feet to provide more space.

Biggest Skater Yet
Douglas Marine, which designs and builds Skater high performance catamarans, is expanding its lineup with the Skater 53, its biggest boat ever. Sterling Performance is reportedly working on a pair of 1,500-hp bullets that should push this big cat to a top speed of nearly 150 mph. In addition to a cockpit that offers six high-backed bucket seats, the 53 has more amenities than previous Skaters, including sleeping accommodations for two and a separate lounge area. Air-conditioning is standard.

Douglas Marine, which has designed one-off racing monohulls for other builders, also will unveil its first V-bottom Skater, the 399, in 2003. The first model of the 399 is a race version, with a pleasure model scheduled to follow soon after.

Going Retro
More than 20 years ago, the Executioner series helped Fountain Powerboats begin its ascent to dominance in the go-fast world. The new 35 Executioner rekindles memories of those early days. It features classic design elements such as a smoked Plexiglas windscreen, an old-school engine hatch, and Executioner-themed embroidery and graphics. Belowdecks, the V-berth sleeps two.

In keeping with the retro theme, the 35 Executioner rides on a single-step bottom design rather than Fountain’s current twin-step Super Ventilated design. With a pair of MerCruiser 496 MAG HOs, the boat will run in the high 70-mph range. Also repackaged for 2003, the Fountain 32 Fever will be sold with small-block MerCruiser 350 MAG MPI Bravo Ones.

Wild Cat
On the heels of its popular 50 Super Cat, Nor-Tech Hi-Performance Boats has unveiled the 36 Super Cat, a 36-foot catamaran with a beam that is nearly 11 feet. The boat is available in race and pleasure configurations. The first raceboat is expected to debut in November at the American Power Boat Association (APBA) World Championships in Key West, Fla.

The pleasure version includes high-tech features such as a carbon-fiber dash panel equipped with Gaffrig high-performance gauges and engine controls. Behind the acrylic windshield are twin bolsters up front and a four-person aft bench seat. The cabin features a queen-size berth.

Of course, no performance cat would be complete without lots of power. With a pair of 520-hp engines, the boat should run in the 100- to 110-mph range, and several owners have placed orders for Super Cats with twin 1,000-hp engines and Mercury Racing Number Six drives. Those models could approach 150 mph.

Pushing the Limits
After introducing the 42 FTX in 2002, Outerlimits Offshore Powerboats is thinking bigger with the 47 GTX. The new low-profile 47-footer rides on Outerlimits’ stepped-bottom design, and the most popular packages include 2,000-hp engines combined with Mercury Racing’s Number Six drives. Top speed is estimated to exceed 120 mph.

When you’re running those speeds, you’ll be glad that you’re wrapped in bolsters that hug you tight. The boat can be set up with throttles between the two front seats so that one person can throttle and another can drive. Or you can order the controls in the more traditional starboard location. The aft buckets provide seating for three guests, who will have to hold on tight.

Kids’ Stuff
You may already own your big go-fast, but what about the kids? Baja Marine’s new 20 Outlaw could be the perfect toy for young boaters. The sporty hot rod has a Miata-like feel but can haul three more passengers than the miniature Mazda can carry. Under the foredeck, there is plenty of room for skis, boards, and other toys. A single 260-hp MerCruiser 5.0 MPI engine gives the 20-footer a top speed of 60 mph, and the Outlaw’s True V-bottom provides a stiff, predictable ride, even in tight turns.

Baja Marine Corp., 419.562.5377, www.bajamarine.com
Cigarette Racing Team, 305.931.4564, www.cigaretteracing.com
Douglas Marine, 616.857.4308, www.skaterpowerboats.com
Fountain Powerboats, 252.975.2000, www.fountainpowerboats.com
Nor-Tech Hi-Performance Boats, 239.567.5030, www.nor-techboats.com
Outerlimits Offshore Powerboats, 401.253.7300, www.outerlimitspowerboats.com

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