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Don Aronow the man , myth , and legend

Old 12-26-2003, 03:39 PM
john crouse
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As Don Aronow's PR man for many years,covering his many exploits as associate editor of POWERBOAT magazine during the same era and author-publisher of the book SEARACE...I was impressed with some of the OSO posts on Don which I found informative.

As a man, the 6'3", 218 pound Aronow was a bull on shore but more so at sea where he actually appeared to be fearless although he had little real seamanship smarts. He also had a ace in the late Knocky House who was his engine man and riding mechanic for many years.

And although Don got the credit for years, he never designed any of his famous hulls which came from the drawing boards of men like Ken Schoell and the Walt Walters-Jim Wynne team.

Few men could match the big New Yorker's fierce will to win in boats of his own make in every kind of sea known.

As some of the forum contributors brought out, Aronow could be cute in his business dealings but I can not recall, with one exception, anybody ever claiming he actually cheated them.

He was also a master in promoting his own personally tested craft then selling the company, only to form another one with a better product and build it down the street.

This tactic prompted new buyers to insist on a no compete clause in their contracts.

After one buyer put that in in his contract that Aronow could build only a dozen hulls a year, Don called his next company Squadron X11!

Unfortunately, fellow racer, boatbuilder and drug smuggler Ben Kramer thought Aronow had cheated him when he backed out on a deal to buy his USA Racing Team and allegedly didn't return all of his money!

Aronow reneged on the deal when the US Customs said their contract with USA Racing Team would be cancelled if the known drug smuggler bought it.

And for the name of Don's killer being known. It is! He is Robert Young who's plea of no contest probably saved Kramer from the chair.

Without a guilty plea, apparently the law couldn't send Kramer to the chair oin on a murder one rap.

And believe it or not, Young never served a single day or paid a single dollar fine for the hit on Aronow!

Justice al la American style, the presiding judge on the case sentenced Young to 19 years in jail then gave him credit for time served on a previous crime!

Young was released back on the streets! He has reportedly been arrested on a new crime and is back in jail!

John Crouse II
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Old 12-26-2003, 03:44 PM
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Originally posted by john crouse
famous hulls which came from the drawing boards of men like Ken Schoell
Ummmm..... I believe it's Harry Schoell

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Old 12-26-2003, 03:47 PM
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Thanks for posting John.
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Old 12-26-2003, 08:23 PM
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Originally posted by magnum-bankshot
which boat. Saundra had a few. I remember the yellow mastercraft or Ski Nautique simply called the "Rhino". Kenny had a white magnum called the the "monster" before "Lil Rhino"
Sandy had a all pink 36' Cigarette named "Killer" but it burned up in a fire at Emerald City Harbor.
Kenny also had the "Shear Blade" a 48' sport fish and an old wood red Lymann with some BIG engines named "WHOPPER". His last boat was a 32'Cary open also named "Whopper"
Did you used to visit the Tiki Bar in Emerald City back in the day?
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Old 12-26-2003, 08:48 PM
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Ken and Saundra had a place in the keys. thats how i knew them. Havnt seen either in at least 15 years. What was the name of his chris craft roamer?


Knocky house for sure....
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Old 12-26-2003, 11:40 PM
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Dismissing his importance to performance boating just because Don may not have designed the boats, is like dismissing Henry Ford's contributions to automobiles because he didn't invent them.

Just my opinion.
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Old 12-27-2003, 06:25 PM
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Originally posted by cuda
Dismissing his importance to performance boating just because Don may not have designed the boats, is like dismissing Henry Ford's contributions to automobiles because he didn't invent them.

Just my opinion.
I agree!
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Old 12-27-2003, 07:19 PM
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but his next step was always to package and peddle these same "brands" to other unsuspecting folk who bought into his "legend" nonsense. Heck.... it still goes on today.
But now we buy as "Suspecting" Folk and are happy about the product recieved, Thus making it a Legend after all these years.
Cigarette Boats have lasted as both a product and a name that Don built. They are a wanted commodity with a robust history.
Many campare Cig ownership to Harley-Davidson, with a better history behing the name.
I have never heard anyone brag about the roots of a Cig by saying it was built by an honest man of ethical nature. I usually hear words like "Drug Runners, Race Boats, Smuggler, Murder, Unbreakable, and Value" as Cigarette owners talk about the history behind the name. Come to think of it I have yet to hear about layup times and R&D??? So people have Cigarettes for two reasons, The Ride and the History. Don Aronow is behind that. I would call that an accomplishment worth giving credit for.
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Old 12-27-2003, 08:37 PM
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Cigarette still has ome of the same employees that worked for Mr Aronow. I know Orlando is still at Cigarette. He was supposed get off work around 3 o'clock and Mr Aronow was shot right before then. The cops would not let anybody leave the plant until late in the evening. BH
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Old 12-27-2003, 11:30 PM
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Good reading for sure. 1 hour past my bedtime but after 5 days out of town I had a bunch to read on this post.

I tend to agree with the fact he was a big player in the industry vice designer.

As a Donzi owner I have always been interested in the Cig/Magnum line of boats from the past/present.
Never seen a Magnum in person.
I personally think many of the boats discussed in this thread in todays market are over rated and way over priced.

Was on an newer OL which IMHO was just an everyday boat minus power.

Last edited by Bryan Tuvell; 12-27-2003 at 11:33 PM.
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