When Chris Mills of the Michigan-based Boat Customs told me about one of his latest projects a few months back, there was an extra enthusiastic inflection in his voice. Every so often a boat that comes through his company’s shop piques his interest a little more than most—and this was one of those times.
The funny thing is, once I heard what the project was—a new paint job plus updates to the rigging and interior a 2009 Statement Marine 42 Ultimate owned by Michigan performance boater Travis McDougall—Mills could probably hear a more enthusiastic tone in my voice as I have some personal history with the first model ever produced by the St. Petersburg, Fla.-based Statement Marine.
Thanks to the efforts of Statement owners Nick Buis and Todd Werner, in early 2009 the Powerboat Test Team got its hands on the luxurious offshore V-bottom that was equipped with an innovative air-suspension cockpit and powered by twin Mercury Racing 1075SCi engines. Getting to take notes while riding in the luxuriously appointed boat with Bob Teague and John Tomlinson was quite memorable, as were the pictures photographer Robert Brown captured of the V-bottom and its bold paint job from The Art of Design in Indiana.
Fast-forward eight years, and besides the nod to some of the boat’s original lines and its off-white, orange, black and burgundy color scheme, the 42-footer looks completely new. That’s what happens when you let Mills and company go to work on a boat they were drooling over from the get-go.
“I felt like this boat, because of the publicity it received throughout the years, would be a fun, unique project, and it definitely met my expectations,” said Mills, who is done with the painting and is in the process of re-rigging the boat, updating the information displays in the dash and working with Appearance Products Inc. on the new upholstery. “Because of all the intricate aspects of the boat like the custom dashes and the air-cushioned cockpit, I was surprised at how well everything held together over the years. We stripped it down and didn’t find a single stress crack, and we’re not talking about a boat that was never used—Statement took this thing everywhere.”
McDougall, who uses the boat primarily with his wife, Marie, and son, Alex, saw the boat for the first time last Friday and was blown away with the progress.
“What Chris and his team have accomplished is crazy—I mean these guys are doing next-level stuff that is so different than anything else out there,” said McDougall, who purchased the Statement last summer and put about 15 hours on it before turning it over to Boat Customs. “Because this boat was so well known, heck Statement only built four of these 42s, I started off not wanting to change anything and just putting some stickers on it. But I decided to call Chris and see what he thought. He’d never worked on any of my boats before but I knew who he was and thought his work looked different than anyone else’s stuff.
“We probably went through a dozen concepts and the paint job is better than I could have imagined,” he continued. “From the airbrushing and shadowing, it really is amazing. It looks 3D down the sides, I don’t know how they do it.”
McDougall, who owned a 36-foot Nor-Tech catamaran and a couple of Outerlimits V-bottoms before the Statement, said he was glad Mills found time to get the project finished for the boating season. While there’s still work to be done, McDougall expects to have the boat, which he believes will be a real showstopper, in time to run it in the mid-July Boyne Thunder Poker Run in Boyne City, Mich.
Before that, I’ll try to bring you an update on the finished project as I can’t wait to see it for myself.
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.