The Miami International Boat Show docked at the historic Miami Marine Stadium Park and Basin and displayed a mix of dynamic machines, incredible power packages and must-have accessories for the performance enthusiast that continues to drive the industry forward.
Today’s new breed of fast-paced designs showcases impressive catamaran, vee bottom and center console models from the industry’s high performance stables and scored a win-win for MTI, Predator and Skater.
As I headed for the MTI booth, I remembered Tim Gallagher’s comments when we talked last fall in Fort Lauderdale. His “stay tuned for the MTI-V 57 in February” proved the ultimate teaser not only for the company’s next-on-the-drawing-board model slated to launch in Miami, but for every aficionado as MTI unveiled its best and biggest: the all-new 57’center console that boasted a sold sign before the luxury vee bottom even arrived at the show.
“It’s a cool piece,” Larry Goldman, Xtreme Powerboats at Haulover Marine Center, explained. “Its larger beam, extra length and expanded entertainment area easily carries up to 25 people on board.” Dressed in striking silver/black graphics with a quad Seven Marine 627 outboard power package, this big brother of the MTI-V 42 is set to run in the 70 mph zone.
MTI also featured a new 340X catamaran (owned by multi-titled offshore competitor, Bob Bull) that sported a clean white hull with black/orange graphics and powered with the latest outboard from Mercury Racing – twin 400R Carbon Edition Verado engines.
The Predator 447-R made its official debut via champion racer and marine consultant Ben Robertson. “The craftsmanship is impressive. I haven’t felt this good about a boat line since Reggie (Fountain) closed down.” The 46’ quad stepped vee bottom outfitted with twin staggered Mercury Racing 1350’s represents his latest venture with Predator Luxury Performance Boats selling the line throughout the Americas under the Predator Boats U.S. by Ben Robertson banner.
Skater Powerboats spotlighted a 388 Skater equipped with twin Sterling 1100 hp engines designed by owner Mike D’Anniballe (of Sterling Performance Engine fame). Although he’s had several Skaters, Mike was ecstatic with the early-on performance generated by his unique design of parts from Sterling’s discontinued Union Internationale Motonautique Class 1 engine program. “It’s the best one I have ever had…this one blows ‘em all way.” His wife, Connie, explained the throwback touch to the cat’s sleek interior design, “This is Pete’s (Peter Hledin) original logo emblazoned on the seats and reminded me of earlier Skater days.”
Mercury Racing generated a powerful punch with its debut pair of performance driven engines: the 400R Carbon Edition and QC4v 1750. An exotic high performance Verado outboard, the 400R Carbon Edition features contemporary layered surfacing sculpted out of lightweight carbon fiber composite and delivers 153 horsepower per liter to earn it impressive stats as Mercury’s most powerful consumer outboard, while the new QC4v 1750 is geared for the offshore racing arena with “massive torque for unmatched acceleration and top-end speeds.” Designed, developed and produced in-house, it features exclusive aluminum four-valve cylinder heads and dual overhead camshaft valve train.
Livorsi Marine’s new patent-pending Multi-Stepped (Aerated) 1150 Trim Tabs introduce air via a number of different grooves, channels and steps, reducing stickiness and making the tab faster and more efficient. The tabs accommodate boats from 20’ to 60’ and interchangeable (750, 850, 950, 1050 and 1150) for fast determination of the “Right” running plate in four stepped running plate styles (Pointed, Fish Tail, Rounded, Square) easily retrofitted onto Livorsi 12” wide transom plates or standard Mercury 14”wide transom plates.
While browsing the accessory tent, an innovative product caught my attention. Life Cell from Life Cell Marine Safety, is a self-contained, buoyant device (its flotation is built-in) that holds user-supplied safety and survival equipment for up to eight adults depending upon the model. Easily accessible, it can be thrown in the water or if your boat sinks, it will float up and off of its included mounting bracket.
I wrapped up my two-day assignment and opted to cruise north, docking at the old Shooter’s North Miami Beach venue (a favorite watering hole for the late 1980’s high performance crowd) now transitioned into today’s spot for boaters – Duffy’s Sports Grill. Revisiting memories from offshore’s glory days in South Florida, while sampling a wonderful burger and watching the boats cruise along South Florida’s Intracoastal reminded me that it’s always great to work in Miami!