For positive news stories with even greater implications for the future, 2018 was an epic year. That made choosing the top 10 stories of the year—you probably read Offshoreonly.com’s columnist Jason Johnson’s excellent piece on detailing the first five yesterday—more challenging than usual.
But then, that’s a great problem to have. Johnson handled his part of this annual two-part series. Now, it’s my turn.
Mercury Unveils V-8 Outboard Platform
While there is endless speculation on the offshoreonly.com message boards and beyond, no one outside of Mercury Racing really knows exactly what’s next for the company with Mercury Marine’s V-8 outboard engine platform. At present, Mercury Racing has one naturally aspirated outboard offering—the 300R—based on the 4.6-liter powerhead. Precisely what the Fond du Lac, Wis., high-performance marine engine company will release and when it will release it remains a mystery. Expect the unexpected and you probably won’t be disappointed.
OPA And Powerboat P1 Partnering On Six-Race Series
Let’s be brutally honest: Much of the 2018 offshore powerboat racing season was a hot mess that finished with a whopping 30 boats at the Super Boat International World Championships in Key West, Fla., after a three-race regular season. So the news of the Offshore Powerboat Association partnering with Powerboat P1 on a six-race series next season is welcome and positive. Will Race World Offshore, the new Key West-based race-production launched in late 2017 fade out of the picture? The answer is no according to key RWO figures Larry Bleil and Rodrick Cox. Either way, with four of its five venues secure for 2019 at this year, the OPA/Powerboat P1 series looks promising.
Donzi Releases 41 GT
Whether you love or hate the new Donzi 41 GT, the first new model introduced to the brand by Iconic Marine Group, really isn’t the point. Tastes vary and high-performance sportboat purists may bristle at the 41-footer’s open-cockpit-layout and outboard engine-power. The point is simply this: Iconic has begun reviving a spectacular and coveted powerboat brand. You might not dig the direction of the company’s first effort, but it’s one of several more releases to come. And if you love Donzi, you have to love that.
Outerlimits Unveils Crypto
Arguably the canopied V-bottom build of the year, the Outerlimits SV 43 dubbed Crypto took the high-performance powerboat world’s collective breath away when it was revealed on speedonthewater.com. While at this writing the company is still finalizing its transfer of ownership to one its original investors, Crypto proves that even in the face of an uncertain the Bristol, R.I., company is capable of delivering some of the finest go-fast powerboat hardware in the world.
Cigarette Launches AMG Project ONE 515
As a longtime fan of Cigarette Racing Team’s marketing partnership with Mercedes-AMG, I’ve never seen a more impressive product of that collaboration than the Cigarette-AMG Project ONE 515 sportboat unveiled at the 2018 Miami International Boat Show. Whereas the other stunners in the Cigarette-AMG series have been more about styling and branding, the Project ONE 515 creation spawned a new and larger model based on the 50 Marauder for the Opa-Locka, Fla., high-performance custom sportboat and center console builder.