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Commentary: High-Performance Powerboating Isn’t Dead

Tell me that the high-performance powerboat industry is smaller than it once was and you’ll get no argument. Heck, when I started with Powerboat magazine in 1994 the likes of Baja, Fountain and Donzi were building hundreds of boats each year. Independent marine engine builders were everywhere. More than a few companies made tidy profits selling aftermarket parts. Yes, those days are gone and never coming back.


In an impressive achievement, this Skater 438 catamaran recently ran 180 mph on the Lake of the Ozarks in Central Missouri. Photo by Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.

But none of this is a news flash. It could even be a script for Captain Obvious in one of those mind-numbing Hotels.com commercials.

In fact, the story of this industry’s severe contraction since the mid 2000s is so old and tired that anyone still telling it—for whatever reason—needs to find a new story. Because that negative and pointless tale isn’t getting any fresher.

Of course, for professional, economic and personal reasons I’ve come to love the high-performance powerboating world. I’m blessed to count many people on the industry and consumer sides as friends, some of them dear. Whether they’re building boats or buying them—new or used—I root for their success. You could even say I’m invested in it, which is why despite that my speedonthewater.com/offshoreonly.com colleague Jason Johnson and I occasionally have to report the negative we focus on the positive. Guilty as charged.

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