With his first 29 Savage closed deckboat sportboat model in the paint booth, a new website that went live yesterday and a photo shoot for the virtual tour of his 33 Evolution sportboat happening today, you’d think Patrick Haughey of Active Thunder Powerboats in Pompano Beach, Fla., would have enough on his plate. But Haughery is only happy when he’s busy to overloaded, so today he’ll also spend time pushing forward on another new model called the 29 Defiant. And this one is something of a departure for Active Thunder—a bowrider.
As he does for all Active Thunder models, Chris Dilling of Grafik EFX is designing the graphics for the 29 Defiant.
“So I have always said that ‘hell would freeze over’ before I built a center console,” Haughey said, then laughed. “But through my son, Casey, we have discovered that ‘Global Warming’ is starting to melt the ice. Since I brought him into the picture I have had constant conversations—meaning arguments—with him about building center consoles. He’s pointed out boating is changing, and the future boaters of the world don’t just want to go from Boca Raton to South Beach for lunch in less than an hour anymore. There is more interaction both on the water and at the docks. So slowly things have warmed up around Active Thunder, and the ice began to melt.”
That’s not to say the ice thawed completely for Haughey—he’s still not building a center console. But in the 29 Defiant—named in part as a tribute to his son—he’s creating a “crossover model of sorts,” and one he can live with as a dedicated go-fast powerboat builder and enthusiast. So comfortable with the idea of the new open-bow 29-footer is Haughey that he is creating its own hull tooling separate from that of the 29 Savage, which can be ordered with outboard or stern-drive engines. The 29 Defiant will only be offered with twin outboards.
To see the new Active Thunder 29 Defiant under construction, check out the slideshow above.
As a diehard sportboat man, Haughey spent considerable time coming up with the boat’s seating arrangements.
“Every 29 will have two front bolsters, forward seating and wraparound lounges in the back,” he said. “But the one thing that kept sticking in my mind when looking at center console during poker runs was the lack of security for the passengers. The answer in my mind was a second row of bolsters for safety when running. However, that second row eats up precious cockpit space and people want room to hang out.
“It came to me while I was shaving one morning—a leaning post on the forward side of the aft seating, just enough room for a passenger to ‘lock-in’ and safely ride at 70 mph,” he continued. “With a footrest and two grab handles, the second row of passengers can be as secure as the front passengers in the bolsters. And for idling or cruising, the aft seating will have a cushion on top for sitting. We also are incorporating speakers and drink holders in the combing pads for the second row.”
As a social platform, the 29 Defiant will be loaded with amenities including a forward sunpad and plenty of grab handles and drink holders in the bow area and throughout the interior. The boat’s nose will house an anchor locker with a Fortress FX-11 anchor. Remote controls for the stereo system will be located in the bow as well as in the cockpit.
Far from a fan of mid-cabins that force passengers to stoop as they move between the cockpit and the open bow, Haughey said he opted for a clean, wide walk-through with plenty of shoulder room. The area under the portside dash will feature an enclosed head locker with a Porta Potti. Under the starboard dash will be outfitted with a built-in cooler, a wet bar and a built-in waste receptacle.
Haughey said he hopes to have the first 29 Defiant finished in the next three months.
“Yeah, I just invented a non-center console, center console,” he said. “That would be ‘off center’, right? It’s a people mover/party boat with more seating than the consoles, and is much more secure for passengers when the boat is underway. A couple of the West Coast builders seem to be doing well with them in smaller cats. Let’s see how it works in a V-bottom that you can run in the ocean.”
Haughey paused, then chuckled. “Next up—fish on Saturday, family on Sunday. What’s this next generation all about anyway? I really liked it better when we would go from Boca Raton to South Beach for lunch in under an hour.”