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Chilling With Trond

Early Thursday evening during the 2020 Miami International Boat Show, Nor-Tech Hi-Performance Boats hosted a happy hour for customers, dealers, suppliers and a few other lucky guests. It was the perfect end to a fine opening day at the show, and Jason Johnson—my fellow offshoreonly.com columnist and speedonthewater.com publisher—and I looked forward to it all day.

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Led by Trond Schou and Nils Johnson, no pure high-performance catamaran and V-bottom sportboat builder has done a better job reinventing itself with performance-oriented center consoles than Nor-Tech (click image to enlarge). Photos courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.

What we didn’t expect was to find ourselves sitting in the open bow of a Nor-Tech 390 Sport center console, cold beers in hand, with Nor-Tech president and co-founder Trond Schou and Geoff Tomlinson, the Fort Myers, Fla., high-performance center console, catamaran and V-bottom sportboat company’s dealer manager. What had been planned as a quick meeting to discuss future editorial and advertising plans stretched into about 30 minutes of simply kicking back with the most influential Norwegian high-performance powerboat builder in United States history.

As most folks in the industry know, getting a half hour to just hang out with Schou isn’t easy, especially for media types who he tends to eye suspiciously. Like Nor-Tech’s brilliant designer and co-founder Nils Johnsen, the guy is seriously busy. He doesn’t have time for small talk, much less the inclination for it. That doesn’t mean Schou is opposed to having a good time—far from it—but during the Miami event in particular he tends to be all business.

Rightly so, Schou believes that much of his company’s achievements during the past 30 years have been under-reported. He understands the attention that’s been placed on the Don Aronows and Reggie Fountains of the world, but he feels that the Nor-Tech brand has made a signficant impact industry during the last three decades.

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(Clockwise from left) During Nor-Tech’s invitational happy hour at the end of opening day during the 2020 Miami International Boat Show, Nor-Tech Trond Schou discussed his company’s path to success with speedonthewater.com publishers Matt Trulio and Jason Johnson, as well as Nor-Tech dealer manager Geoff Tomlinson (click image to enlarge).

“You know, 15 years ago when all these pleasure boat owners were trying to hit 200 mph to see who had the fastest catamaran, Xtreme Xhibit, a quad-engine 50-footer we built, went over 200 mph, and we hardly got any publicity,” he said, his thick Norwegian accent still fully intact. “That boat was a poker run monster. It even was ‘King of the Hudson’ one year.

“No one really wrote about it back then,” he added, then laughed.

I reminded Schou that in 1996 I was part of the Powerboat magazine test team that evaluated his company’s first 38-foot V-bottom sportboat called the 3800 SuperFast, which soon aftre was renamed the 3800 Supervee. (The company’s first V-bottom actually was a 50-footer, as was Nor-Tech’s first catamaran model.) The 38-footer had two rows of old-school, offshore racing-style, three-person, stand-up bolsters that passengers simply dropped into. They were snug, to say the least. And there was no sit-down option.

“I felt like a cork in a champagne bottle,” I told him. Schou laughed again.

“Yeah, but they held you in place didn’t they?” he asked with another chuckle.

A trip down Nor-Tech memory lane, the slideshow above showcases the Perfect Storm Supercat 3600 owned by Bob Christie, a 2019 477 V-bottom owned by Ron Meyering, Nor-Tech’s 2019 Cape Coral expansion opening, a Supercat 3600 cat with outboards by Double R Performance last year, a 2019 Nor-Tech 450 Sport Center Console and Trond Schou and Nils Johnsen in front of scale model of their first 80-foot sport yacht more than a decade ago

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