An Illinois couple who moved to Cape Coral, Fla., two-and-a-half years ago, Jeff and Sherry Rowlett had never owned a powerboat until they took delivery of a new Sunsation 32 CCX center console last Thursday. The 32-footer, which is powered by twin Mercury Marine Verado 400 outboard engines and sports a custom Mitcher T paintjob, arrived just in time for their 16-year-old daughter Danica’s spring break. That means the family will spend most of next week exploring the waters near their Southwest Florida home in their beauty.
For Southwest Florida transplants Jeff and Sherry Rowlett, this Sunsation 32 CCX is the perfect first boat.
“I am still pinching myself,” said Jeff Rowlett. “We moved here to here to chase this lifestyle—warm weather, no snow—with every intention of having a boat on the canal behind our home. But I still can’t believe we got it.
“We haven’t taken a family vacation in years,” he added. “Next week, we’re going to.”
Rowlett grew up boating with his father on small lakes in Illinois, but the Sunsation is the first boat he’s ever owned. After the family moved to Southwest Florida and he realized that “just about everyone had an outboard powerboat,” they joined a local boat club and took to the water. Through that club, they enjoyed a range of small, single-engine powerboats.
They also talked to boat-owning friends—a Sunsation 32 CCX owner among them—and visited boat shows. And Rowlett logged hours of online research time before making his decision.
During the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show last fall, he spied a 32-footer in the Performance Boat Center display. By the time he departed the event, he had ordered one.
“I actually got to know Jeff through email before the Fort Lauderdale show,” said Michael Hall, who has worked in the Osage Beach, Mo.-headquartered dealership’s sales department for almost a year-and-a-half. “He didn’t even get on the 32 CCX demo boat we had there. All we needed to figure out was which build slot he was taking.
“He wanted the boat in time for his daughter’s spring break,” he continued. “To be able to meet that deadline, the boat was shipped directly to him from the Sunsation factory in Michigan.”
Enjoy more images of the new 32-footer in the slideshow above.
Last month, Performance Boat Center ran that same Verado 400 outboard-powered demo model in the Florida Powerboat Club Miami Boat Sow Poker Run and Exhibit in Key Largo. Rowlett spent an entire day on the boat with Hall, as well as Performance Boat Center co-owner Brett Manire.
The day included a lunch run in the Upper Keys—and plenty of seat time for the new Sunsation owner.
“I couldn’t believe how accommodating they were,” said Rowlett. “They rolled out the red carpet for us. The Performance Boat Center people make you feel like family.”
Added Hall, “It was a great opportunity to introduce them to the kind of boating they’ll be doing.”
The Rowlett’s boat lift will be completed and installed by June. Until then, they’ll keep the 32-footer at a nearby marina. They also plan to join Fort Myers Offshore for its 2022-2023 season. As it happens, Tim Hill, the president of the Southwest Florida-based nonprofit scholarship fund-raising organization, is a fellow Sunsation 32 CCX owner.
“Until about a year-and-a-half ago, I didn’t even know what a poker run was,” Rowlett said, then laughed. “We plan to do a lot of events here.”
A longtime sportscar owner and enthusiasts, Rowlett is dazzled so far by the center console’s performance.
“I never had experience with a twin-engine boat before so I was nervous about that,” he said. “But it was fine. The thing that strikes me most is how fun it is to drive this boat and how comfortable I am already. It has so much power, but it handles so well it gives you confidence. I am not going to get cocky or overconfident, but I thought getting comfortable would be a longer process. I am shocked at how fun it is to drive.
“The fit and finish is incredible,” he added. “The interior is unbelievable. The whole process has been incredible.”
The name of the boat? Conference Call.
“That way, when anyone asks what I’m doing I can say I’m on a conference call,” he said.
Jeff Rowlett: “The Performance Boat Center people really make you feel like family.“