Cigarette Racing Team, a truly legendary brand in the custom high-performance powerboat world, has been sold to a pair of owners in Miami. Lionheart Capital chief executive officer Ophir Sternberg has partnered with billionaire entrepreneur John H. Ruiz to purchase the Opa-locka, Fla., brand from Skip Braver, who has owned Cigarette Racing team for two decades.
The news was announced in a press release from Lionheart Capital this morning.
Among Cigarette’s vaunted offerings is the 59 Tirranna, which blends the best of the sport yacht and super-console worlds into a high-performance stunner. Photos courtesy/copyright Cigarette Racing Team.
“After 20 years of building the Cigarette product line and brand, I look forward to seeing Ophir and John’s vision for the company become a reality,” said Braver in the release. “Lionheart Capital and John H. Ruiz share my commitment to quality and performance, as well as my passion for Cigarette’s brand. I’m confident in their ability to take the company to even greater heights based on their own successful ventures, resources and business knowledge.”
Cigarette was founded in 1969. The company currently has several luxury high-performance center consoles and sportboats in its lineup.
“I am thrilled about our acquisition of Cigarette Racing and believe that Cigarette Racing’s brand is daring, defiant and pushes barriers,” said Sternberg, who co-owns the company with Ruiz. “With that, my partner John H. Ruiz and I, look forward to taking the company into its next chapter where we build upon the legacy of the brand and create significant value in the future through powerful partnerships and unique collaborations, production amplification and increased distribution channels.”
In 2017, Cigarette released its groundbreaking 59 Tirranna powered by six Mercury Racing outboard engines. The breathtaking 59-footer was created in collaboration with award-winning Italian architect and designer Giorgio Cassetta, according to the release.
In Ruiz, the company doesn’t just have a new co-owner. It has a brand devotee. Ruiz has been a high-performance powerboat fan since he was 15 years old. He purchased his first Cigarette—a 38 Top Gun in the early 2000s. Since then, he owned has owned many Cigarette offerings from four 46 Rough Riders to a 59 Tirranna.
“Ophir and I both are excited about Cigarette Racing and what we can contribute to the company,” Ruiz said. “I have been an avid fan for decades. I personally own numerous Cigarette hand-crafted powerboats and believe that the brand is on the verge of a new wave of acceleration.
“Cigarette Racing is such an iconic American name in the world of boating,” he continued. “It is truly an honor to be a part of the continuation of its legacy that’s been going strong for more than 50 years, and I look forward to taking it into unchartered waters. It’s not just a business. It’s a passion.”
For more than 50 years, Cigarette Racing Team has been the high-performance boating world’s most iconic brand.