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Commentary: Cigarette Break


After back-to-back trips—we’re talking 48-hour turnarounds—to Lake Havasu City, Ariz., for Desert Storm and Washington, N.C., for the Outerlimits Kilo Records I have to admit that I wasn’t exactly digging the idea of flying from my home near San Francisco to Florida last week to interview Skip Braver, the owner of Cigarette Racing Team in Opa-Locka for a story in the upcoming May/June issue of Speed On The Water digital magazine. But there are some stories you can do by phone and some you can’t, and the in-depth interview with Braver fell into the latter category. So there I was last Wednesday morning, winging my way to South Florida for Thursday’s visit to what is undeniably the most upscale production facility in the high-performance powerboat world.

It was not my first trip to the Cigarette plant. Nor was it my first interview session with Braver—far from it as I’d done hours of interviews with him for a Powerboat magazine profile a few years after he bought the company in 2002. Plus, I’d interviewed him a few dozen more times during the past 12 years for various feature and news stories. And I’d toured the new plant shortly after it opened. And yet somehow I still managed to be completely blown away by the Cigarette facility.

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Photo courtesy Cigarette Racing Team