For the fourth straight year, Matt Trulio and I have put together our lists of the year’s top 10 stories, and for the fourth straight year, it’s been a pretty fun column to research and write. Of course, compiling the list isn’t easy—it never is when you have several hundred stories to pull from between our weekly OffshoreOnly.com columns and our speedonthewater.com stories—but it’s always enjoyable to reflect back on the year.
As Trulio wrote in his column yesterday, 2015 has been a positive year for the industry. I think the five stories below reflect that, and I believe that come next year, we’ll be writing about even more positive news.
While Marine Technology Inc., in Wentzville, Mo., has had some great years since its first model was released in 2001, none have been better than 2015. Orders for the company’s catamarans and center consoles have production busier than ever, but in all honesty MTI’s success on the racecourse is what has made the year so memorable for Randy Scism and the crew at MTI. With Mercury Racing in Fond du Lac, Wis., providing all of the power, MTI catamarans secured the Super Boat International National Championship, the Union Internationale Motonautique Class 1 World Championship—the first non-Victory Team boat to win in more than a decade—and the SBI Superboat Extreme class title at the 35th annual Key West Offshore World Championships.
Thanks to a steady demand for its center console models—the company is currently producing its 100th 390 Sport since introducing the 39-footer at the end of 2009 and its 80th 34-footer since 2011—Nor-Tech Hi-Performance Boats hasn’t needed to focus too much energy on its offshore catamaran and V-bottom offerings. Still, that didn’t stop the North Fort Myers, Fla., company from rolling out a new high-performance catamaran this year and a few V-bottom models, including its first 527 V-bottom complete with a pair of Mercury Racing 1350 engines at the Miami International Boat Show in February. And boy was the 527 a beauty. Owned by Mark and Eileen Fischer of BoatsDirectUSA.com and OffleaseOnly.com, the 50-footer features center-position steering and helm seats like Nor-Tech’s 427 and 477 siblings, not to mention unparalleled fit and finish work.
Due to the popularity of the El Cajon, Calif., company’s M-Series line of catamarans, which ranges from 29 feet to 41 feet, DCB Performance Boats has been booked solid in the production department for a couple of years with no signs of slowing down. One of the most attention-getting models of the year for DCB was the first sport cat powered by twin Mercury Racing Verado 400R engines, a stunning silver, black and red M29. Yet from a wow factor perspective, nothing was more impressive than the M35 Widebody painted by Visual Imagination—JP O’Donoghue’s Lickity Split. Well at least until Brad Macaulay’s latest M35 Widebody was delivered in the middle of December. Because, in typical DCB fashion, the next boat is often the best boat.
On top of the fact that Denver-based performance boat enthusiast Win Farnsworth won and set shootout records at the Desert Storm Poker Run, the GLOC Performance Boat Challenge and the Texas Outlaw Challenge with throttleman Chris Kissinger by his side, Farnsworth’s loftiest accomplishment of 2015 was the money he helped raise at an event near and dear to him—the 11th annual Casper Boat Club “Super Heroes” Poker Run on Wyoming’s Alcova Reservoir. At the late-July event, Farnsworth gave rides in both of his cats—the Shootout-winning Low Altitude Mystic Powerboats catamaran and Silver Lining, his M41 Widebody from DCB—leading to more than $80,000 for Jason’s Friends Foundation.
While we failed to meet our self-imposed December release deadline, based on the amount of work that went into the magazine and the fact that it’s a look back on 2015, our 10th story of the year is the first Speed On The Water Year in Review print issue coming in mid-January. Not only is the 132-page large-format magazine a first for the industry, it’s an amazing collection of the year’s best photographs of people, boats, races, poker runs and more packed into a single collector’s edition issue. If you’d like to order your copy of the magazine today, click here.
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, and writes for Sportboat and Powerboating in Paradise magazines.