As custom high-performance powerboat builders go, Outerlimits of Bristol, R.I., is about as East Coast as they come. An unmistakable product — by accent and no-nonsense attitude alone — of the Northeast, charismatic company founder Mike Fiore took his inspiration from brawny V-bottoms such as Cigarette and Apache that were born and bred for rough Atlantic Ocean water. And if you happen to chat with company principal Joe Sgro and representative Dan Kleitz, you won’t have to work hard to notice — again by accent and no-nonsense attitude — that has nothing has changed in the company’s culture or the boats it builds.
And yet this week, approximately 634 linear feet of Outerlimits product will descend on the Desert Storm Poker Run and its associated events in Lake Havasu City, Ariz.
Coming to this 2017 Desert Storm extravaganza are — in no particular order — Vinnie Diorio and Joe Sgro with their SV 43 models powered by Mercury Racing 1350 engines, Jason Moe with his SV 50 powered by Mercury Racing 1550/1350 engines, Michael “Doc” Janssen with his recently repowered (read the story) SV 52 with Mercury Racing 1550/1350 engines, Canada’s Joel Begin with his SV 50 powered by Mercury Racing 1350 engines, Daniel Haffid with his SL 52 powered by Mercury Racing 1350 engines, Adam Seraphine with his SV 40 powered by Ilmor Marine 725 engines, Burton Kirsten with his 45-foot catamaran powered by Mercury Racing 1100 engines, Jamie Lewis with his 42 Legacy powered by Sterling Performance 825 engines, Bob Nixon with his SV 43 powered by Teague Custom Marine 1200 engines, Tim McComac with his 47 GTX powered by 1200 Cobra engines, Steve Wallace with his 37 Stiletto, John Young with his 48-foot catamaran and Bill Steiner with his 42 Legacy with MRD 900 engines.
For those who don’t feel like doing the math, that’s 11 Outerlimits boats from 37 to 52 feet long. And those are just boats Kleitz knows are coming. “There could be a few more,” he said.
Of course, there will be larger fleets of West Coast custom boat brands at the event. DCB Performance Boats, which is based in El Cajon, Calif., will float its typically massive and breathtaking contingent on Lake Havasu. While Eliminator Boats of Mira Loma, Calif., isn’t cranking them out at the 200- to 300-boats-per-year pace it once did, the builder is sure to be well-represented at Desert Storm this week, as will Nordic, Advantage and other custom builders out west. And Skater Powerboats of Douglas, Mich., is sure to have a healthy catamaran presence.
But when it comes to big V-bottoms (and, OK, a couple of big cats) Outerlimits will take Desert Storm by storm.
As it happens, fellow offshoreonly.com columnist Jason Johnson and I will ride in either Sgro’s SV 43 or an SL 52 during Friday’s poker run. On Saturday afternoon, we’ll head out with our longtime colleague and friend Bob Teague and Jason Moe in Moe’s SV 50 for a future digital magazine profile of the boat. (Yeah, sometimes this job is pretty good.)
So we’ll get to see a couple of the East Coast builder’s creations up close and personal. But for those without that privilege during Desert Storm, we can say this.
Outerlimits will be hard to miss out West this week.
Matt Trulio is an award-winning journalist who has covered the high-performance powerboat world since 1995. He wrote for Powerboat magazine for 17 years and was the magazine’s editor at large until it ceased publication in 2011. Trulio is the founder, editor-in-chief and publisher of speedonthewater.com, a daily news site that covers the high-performance powerboat realm. He’s also the former editor of Sportboat magazine.