Back in the heyday of APBA Offshore, LLC—call it the early 2000s—no Super Cat-class raceboat was more popular with offshore racing fans than Tommy Bahama, a 44-foot MTI catamaran built in 2001, throttled by Mark Nemschoff, its owner, and driven by his son, Paul. The team’s dry pits always teamed with folks eager to get a look at the raceboat dressed in the relaxed tones of a lifestyle clothing brand in the midst of its own meteoric rise. Whether you were talking about the boat or the clothes, Tommy Bahama was simply cool. People dug both.
And then it was gone. The father-and-son duo exited the sport in the mid-2000s and the four-seat 44-footer was converted to pleasure use with the removal of its canopy at MTI headquarters in Wentzville, Mo. The Nemschoff’s interests went in other directions and the boat eventually ended up in a Virginia Beach, Va., storage facility owned by Douglas Hahn, the team’s former crew chief.
Through their mutual love of vintage sportscars, Mark Nemschoff, who made his fortune through a Wisconsin-based office furniture company he founded, and Tom Mischke, the owner of Classic Performance Restorations in Gilbert, Ariz., became friends. Mischke owns and operates a complete concierge business—from restoration and maintenance to storage and delivery of exotic automobiles—for a handful of clients, and has for the past 15 years. After more than a few discussions with Nemschoff, he acquired the former Tommy Bahama raceboat in mid-December 2018.
Mischke’s love affair with fast, motorized things goes back to his childhood. And as a lifelong gearhead, he found the famed MTI catamaran irresistible.
“When I was 14 years old I got my first 1967 GTO,” he said. “It didn’t run but my dad let me bring it home and play with it in garage.”
“Boats are in Mark’s rearview mirror now,” he said. “He and I became friends and we talked about getting it back on the water and he said, ‘Tom, I want you to have it.’ I have four other boats already, including a Fountain, but I ended up buying it.”
Although the 44-footer is in immaculate condition thanks to Hahn’s storage efforts, its original Sterling Performance engines were long gone. (At one point, Nemschoff replaced them with diesel mills). But its original Trimax drives remained. So Nemschoff reached out to Sterling’s Mike D’Anniballe to order Mischke a new pair of naturally aspirated and carbureted, 650-cubic-inch replacement engines.
The first engine currently is at Hahn’s facility and the second engine is slated to arrive next week. Hahn will handle the engine installation and re-rigging as well as replace a few gauges at the catamaran’s helm station. Nemschoff is overseeing the process, according to Mischke, but that’s about all the work that needs to be done before the boat makes its planned debut during the Desert Storm Poker Run (April 24-28) in Lake Havasu, Ariz.
“When we went to look at the boat at Doug’s shop and pulled the covers off it, we couldn’t believe what great shape it was in,” said Mischke, who—if the current plan holds—will watch the engine installation happen next week. “I respect Mark so much and he is really loving playing with the boat again after so many years.”
Editor’s note: Look for a follow-up story on offshoreonly.com when the repowered former Tommy Bahama raceboat makes its public debut.