Not only did veteran boat builder Jay Pilini recently deliver the first 34-foot catamaran from Pilini Marine to customer Ralph Munyan, who participated in last weekend’s Fort Myers Offshore Burnt Store Fun Run with his son, Daniel, the owner of Pilini Marine in Clearwater, Fla., plans to deliver the company’s second 34-footer tomorrow.
“It’s been a long time coming but the new cat has arrived and we’re extremely proud of it,” Pilini said. “The first customer seems very pleased with his and we have a lot more on order. We’re delivering the second 34 XCS to a customer in South Carolina this week and we have two more in paint and three others in various production stages.”
Related: Pilini’s Next Melody
For Munyan — the owner of the gorgeous 34 XCS powered by twin Mercury Racing Verado 400R engines and adorned with “inferno orange” paint just like his Chevrolet Camaro — the wait was well worth it.
“All I can say is this new boat is probably the best one I’ve ever owned,” said Munyan, who had a great time running the boat with his son, Daniel, in the FMO event. “I’ve owned a lot of catamarans — I’ve been a cat guy since 1999 — and this is the easiest, smoothest, best-handling boat I’ve ever driven. Even docking the boat is easy.”
Munyan gave a lot of credit to Grant Bruggemann and the team at Grant’s Signature Racing for dialing in the boat, which features STR X-ACT outboard brackets and 33” x 15 1/4” Mercury propellers, and for spending half a day teaching his son how to handle the boat safely.
“Grant got it right — dead on,” Munyan said. “The boat handles unbelievably well at all speeds. It seems perfectly balanced. At the run last weekend we were cruising around 100 to 110 mph all day long. My son was throttling and I was driving, and we had a great time.
“Every boat seems to have a bad habit or two and this one has zero bad habits,” he continued. “It carries itself well no matter what rpm range and it stays on plane at 16 mph while idling. The fuel efficiency is a major plus compared to an inboard boat.”
At 34 feet, Bruggemann said, the boat definitely fits the sweet spot for the 400-hp Verados.
“Ralph and I spent a couple of days with the boat, testing different propellers, drive heights, rotations and things like that to find its sweet spot,” Bruggemann said. “We reached a top speed of 114 mph with two people, full gear and half a tank of gas. The boat is set up conservatively for pleasure use and all-around performance or it could be even faster. It gets on plane easily, cruises well at all speeds and is a happy boat overall. At its price point, it is absolutely a contender in the outboard-powered sport cat market.”
Munyan said working with Pilini on another boat was a great experience once again.
“It’s been impressive to watch Jay come back after being a victim of a poor economy and other things,” said Munyan, who lives near Pilini and has purchased several boats from him over the years, including 32- and 36-foot cats. “I’ve seen him tool this boat by hand and build everything for it from scratch. Throughout the process, I was able to lend some input in terms of dash layout and other stuff on the boat.
“The color choice was all me,” he added. “It is ‘inferno orange’ to match my Camaro and it came out great. Depending on the angle of the sun and the direction you’re looking at it from, the boat can be three different colors. Overall, everything about the boat is wonderful. Premier Performance Interiors did a fantastic job on the interior and Mark Maus of OceanGrip Marine Products took care of us with the floor and the electronics — we have a 16-inch Simrad display in the center of the dash and two Mercury VesselView screens on each side. We were fortunate to have a lot of great people involved with this build.”
Munyan said he plans to use his boat often, as he’s done with all of his boats. In his case, 90-plus-mile lunch runs on a Saturday are a regular occurrence so he’ll definitely enjoy the improved fuel efficiency his new hot rod is going to offer.
Former Powerboat editor Jason Johnson was an integral part of the magazine staff from 2005 through 2011, utilizing journalistic integrity and experience in and around performance boats to report on all aspects of the go-fast lifestyle. The award-winning writer resides in Southern California and is the executive editor and co-publisher of speedonthewater.com.