All but gone from the mainstream go-fast powerboat world, Bullet Boats V-bottoms from 13 to 22 feet long—well known in the Northeast in the 1980s and 1990s—remain near and dear to speedonthewater.com contributing photographer’s Tim Sharkey’s heart. The New Jersey-based shooter’s experience with the company goes back to its humble beginnings, and a 13-foot Bullet was his first boat. Sharkey’s cousin, Patrick Conaghan, worked with Bullet Boats, Inc., designer and founder Thomas DeAngelis of Seaside Park. Sharkey eventually joined them and would become even more involved in the years that followed.
Bullet 130 Shootout participant Richard Schuler of Delaware owns two 13-footers. Photos by Tim Sharkey copyright Sharkey Images.
From 1983 to 1987 the boats were built by the original Bullet Boats, Inc. Sharkey Boats, Inc., took over production from 1988 to 1991.
Most Bullet builds saw racing duty. Others became pleasure boats. And then—as often happens with regional powerboat brands—they were mostly gone.
“Most of Sharkey Bullet 130 builds were raced,” said Sharkey. “I sold my molds to a fiberglass manufacturer called DIAB in Texas that is still currently using them to teach people how to infuse fiberglass. I provided a boat to a company in North Carolina so that they could put them back into production. That company ended up selling the Bullet Molds to people in New Hampshire whom built them and have not done anything with them in the last 10 years. After some serious investigation I found them in the backwoods of New Hampshire and bought the molds to bring back home.
“My old Bullet 130 boat got me hooked on offshore racing,” he added.
The first Bullet 130 Shootout in New Jersey delivered a solid-turnout of passionate owners and their beloved rides.
To celebrate his ongoing build and what he hopes will be a resurgence of the brand, last weekend Sharkey organized the inaugural Bullet 130 Shootout in the Jersey Shore town where the boats were born.
“I managed to get 10 Bullet boats together—with one even traveling from Delaware—for a photo shoot,” he said. “Of those, nine were able to run and one owner brought his on a trailer just be part of it and meet everyone. Unfortunately Stan Miszczenski’s 22-foot Bullet lost a starter at the dock right as we were ready to leave.”
Participants included Richard Schuler Jim McPherson, Christopher Renkin, Sean Wall, Harry Peckman, Tom Tallman, Dan Marvin, Peter Reils, Ken Bird, John Sevell and Stan Misczcenski.
Last weekend’s Bullet owners gathering got Sharkey buzzing, so he reached out to his longtime friend Brit Lilly of Lilly Sport Boats in Arnold, Md. A veteran offshore racer, Lilly—who is working on an Extreme V-bottom build-project of his own—already knew about the Bullet brand. And now he wants to build them.
“Tim and I have been friends for a long time and I have been wanting to build small boats,” said Lilly. “These Bullets are bad-ass little boats, and I think Tim and I will come up with awesome ideas that can be executed by Lily Sport Boats.”
Between Tim Sharkey and Brit Lilly, the Bullet Boats brand could be on its way to making a comeback.