About ten years ago, I wrote a Powerboat magazine profile of Mike Fiore, the founder and owner of Outerlimits Offshore…More...
Though it’s more than a month away, the Super Boat Suncoast Grand Prix Festival—the fourth race in the 2013 Super…More...
Rumors of Checkmate Powerboats’ struggle to keep the doors open have been swirling for months. Six weeks ago, those rumors became reality when the Bucyrus, Ohio, V-bottom sportboat builder laid off its staff. Though I’ve been unable to confirm it through anyone at Checkmate—the company’s phone lines appear to be either out of order or shut down—the builder reportedly is in receivership.
Dark times, it seems, have come to Bucyrus. Again. Last time, it was Baja Marine that turned out the lights.
So what happened? After all, the company appeared to be on a hot streak with a reported ten sales of its new 260 Convincor in the six months after its introduction in late 2012. Baja, the company’s only real competition, was—and still is—cautiously restarting production. There appeared to be a void in the new single-engine sportboat market, and Checkmate looked perfectly positioned to fill it.
Paul Robinson, the primary organizer behind the Texas Outlaw Challenge coming up next month (June 20-23), has one rule for everyone coming to the Houston area for the sixth annual event: Bring the horsepower—all of it.
Once again, Robinson and company are adding a new feature to the event, which already includes the two-day Gunslinger Poker Run with a $20,000 first prize, the GPS Outlaw Shootout, the Stampede Street Party, the Miss Outlaw Bikini Contest and last year’s new addition—the Outlaw Corral, a boat buying and selling stockyard that had more than $1 million in deals in 2012. Joining the listing of activities this year is the new Steel Horse Stampede, a custom bike show contest at Endeavour Marina in Seabrook on Saturday afternoon.
“The custom bikes have taken off and half the guys who come to our event have those toys already so we figured why not make them part of the show,” said Robinson, adding that the event is way ahead of last year’s registration numbers, which saw a jump from 80 to 125 registered teams. “On Saturday, when we’re on the water with the boats, the vendor village is usually unpopulated. So this year we’re encouraging people to show off their motorcycles and compete for the $5,000 prize for the finest ‘Outlaw HP.’ ”
Sportboat builder Checkmate Powerboats in Bucyrus, Ohio, has halted production of its once-popular line of outboard- and stern drive-powered V- bottoms from 18 to 30 feet.
"The business just stopped—we haven't had enough orders to stay open full time,” said Doug Smith, the owner of the company, during a recent telephone interview. “We are waiting until we get enough orders to resume production."
In a telephone interview today, Checkmate’s former general manager Dean Reynolds confirmed that he, along with the rest of the company staff, was laid off six weeks ago.
Announced at a press reception in Cocoa Beach, Fla., during this weekend’s Super Boat International (SBI) race, the Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF) and SBI reached an agreement to bring the offshore racing show to Qatar early next year.
Mystic Powerboats that is set to debut at the next SBI race in Orange Beach, Ala. “Two of the key factors in the decision-making process were the strength in depth of SBI and the solid calendar that is in place for the 2013 racing season. This is just another example of the increased cooperation between Qatar and the USA in the powerboat-racing world. We have discussed the format of the Qatar Cup that we will run in Qatar in January and we will host boats racing in several of the top classes.”“I am delighted to announce that we have reached this exciting new cooperation between the QMSF and SBI,” said Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani, QMSF president and driver of the new turbine-powered Spirit of Qatar catamaran from
Discussions regarding the specifics of the new event are ongoing, but Sheikh Hassan confirmed that prize money spread across the respective categories is set to be in the region of $400,000.
“We believe this is a great opportunity for SBI to showcase the strength of its international sanctioning power along with giving teams access to lucrative purses,” said John Carbonell, SBI founder and president. “Various Superboat classes will each have a $100,000 purse and teams will benefit from the QMSF shipping the race boats to Qatar after Key West.
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