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24' Cigarette Fire Fox vs 24' Banana Boat

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Old 09-18-2003, 10:08 PM
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Old 09-18-2003, 10:08 PM
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Old 09-22-2003, 10:29 AM
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Old 04-14-2004, 10:50 AM
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Greetings to all Banana Boat fans out there...

I am new to the board (this is my first post) but I think I can help to clear up this matter of what exactly a Banana Boat is and where it came from.

My father is Charlie McCarthy - the founder of Banana Boat Co., APBA Offshore Modified Champ. in 1977, and APBA Open class Rookie of the Year in 1979. He also raced in IMSA Endrance Car racing in the late 80's and even raced in the last Cannonball cross country race in 1979 (check out Brock Yates's book for more).

He bought two molds from Don Aronow in 1975. One 24' hull mold and the corresponding 24' flat deck mold. It is true, these molds are the old 70's 24' Cigarrette with the old flat deck (some decks even had teak covering) and the straight windshield. A later variation of this boat by Cigarette became the 24' Firefox.

My dad popped the first hull and deck out in 1975 and that became his first race boat "Top Banana". It had twin 350s with TRS drives and did approximatley 80MPH - very scary boat. He won the championship in '77 with that boat before selling it to a guy named Chuck Fogarty who raced it as "Gone Bananas". Chuck raced it for about a year or two before it caught fire and burned - about 1980 or so.

Also sometime in '75, my dad designed a new deck which somewhat resembled the 28' Cigarette deck. This is the present deck that went into production. They also produced a second hull mold with slightly different lower strake according to the terms of the agreement with Don Arronow. The original molds are still in storage over in Tampa these past 25 years.

About 1982 or so, my dad sold the company to Dirk Patriarca. He got the name "Banana Boat" (although he had to change it to "Banana Boat Ltd." as my dad retained the name "Banana Boat Co.") and the two newer molds - the redesigned hull and deck molds. As far as I know, they don't make them anymore. It's a shame as these are really great rough water boats. I keep trying to get my dad to drag those old original molds out and do something with them but he says they probably need too much work...

Also in 1978, my dad struck up a partnership with Jean Claude Simone who designed the Cobra hull that Joel Halpern raced (Beep Beep). Jean Claude designed a new 38" hull. He was to market the boat under his name - Coyote and my dad was to market the boat under his name - Banana - with a slightly different deck. The first boat that came out was again another one of my dad's race boats - Top Banana. This is the boat that won the '79 Bushmills race in Newport Beach CA - it led from start to finish. The boat also came in 3rd at the Bacardi Trophy race in Miami the same year. The following year, my dad was sponsored by "Rums of Puerto Rico". I think his best finish that year was second place in the Bahamas race. Long story short, their partnership didn't work out and Jean Claude eventually sold the molds to Sonic. So what you see today as a Sonic really started it's life off as a Banana Boat/Coyote - strange but true! My dad also sold this first race boat to Dirk Patriarca as well and I believe he still has it at his marina in RI - Port Edgewood. They also made two 34' versions of this boat and again Chuck Fogarty bought one and raced it as "Gone Bananas".

I hope this helps to clear up the confusion. My dad still has boat #6 made in 1976 with a single 350 and TRS. I have one too - a 1988 version (I think it must be #27 or so??). I put an Armstrong bracket on mine and have a single 225 Yamaha OB, long K-planes, etc. - it runs great. Love the boat and glad to hear that others out there enjoy it as well.

Last edited by Chatim Racing; 09-14-2004 at 10:50 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 04-14-2004, 10:58 AM
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Would your dad be interested in selling those old molds?
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Old 04-14-2004, 11:08 AM
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Magnum 27:

I don't think so. I'm trying to get him to do something with them again. Of course they would have to be changed slightly in some way per the terms of the agreement with Don Aronow...but then again a lot of time has passed - almost 30 years. Thanks for asking though.
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Old 04-14-2004, 03:02 PM
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Chatim,
Welcome to the board. During the 1982 or 83 Key West Worlds, the 38' "Top Banana" was raced by a guy with two female crew mates. During the race the boat lost power and the two women sat on the bow to help keep the boat on plain. They continued to "race" while the Coast Guard, and patrol boats attempted to "black flagged" them. Do you or your dad remember this incident? It sure was funny seeing them run thru Mallory Square this way.
This was NOT your dad, but someone he sold the boat to.

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Old 04-14-2004, 03:26 PM
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Thanks for the welcome! Good story - I had heard it before. You are correct - that was NOT my dad - it was Dirk Patriarca (same guy who still owns Banana Boat now as well as my dad's old race boat). If you recall, he changed the number from #60, which was my dad's, to #666...
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Old 04-14-2004, 03:27 PM
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Banana boats are the mack daddy!! There is yellow/green in Newport Ri near Christies restautant. Get a Banana!
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Old 04-14-2004, 03:30 PM
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Is "Beep Beep" red and up on Lake Winnipesaukee?
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