The relocation of Donzi Marine production and development from Fountain Powerboats headquarters in Washington, N.C., to Caldwell Marine Designs, a nearby 50,000-square-foot facility also in Washington, is a full-circle change. In addition to working alongside Reggie Fountain, Jr., with step placement on Fountain models, Jim Caldwell designed the original running surface for the Donzi 38 ZRC—a game-changing sit-down V-bottom sportboat—in the early 2000s. Caldwell’s son, Pete, has carried on his father’s legacy at Caldwell Marine Designs and he has long been steeped in the Donzi brand and lineage.
The Donzi brand is moving into the future with its production facility—and new models in development. Photo by Mark Spencer copyright Donzi Marine.
“I can’t even describe how happy I am to be involved,” Pete Caldwell said. “I remember my dad being involved with the ZRC project. Donzi is such a great brand.”
In addition to producing newly refined Donzi models, Caldwell and company will work closely with Craig Barrie developing completely new Donzi offerings. As previously reported on speedonthewater.com, Fred Ross, the owner of the Donzi, Fountain and Baja Marine brands, hired Barrie in May to revitalize the brand and shepherd it into the future.
“Pete will be Craig’s right-hand man,” Ross said. “He has been building boats forever—he was building catamarans for Fountain—and he loves Donzi. Now we have three Donzi enthusiasts involved—Craig, Pete and me—and we are really excited about it. Pete is laying up the first boat right now and it will in the convention center at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show in November.”
Two primary factors drove Donzi’s move to Caldwell Marine Designs, Ross explained.
“There’s just not enough space at Fountain with all the center consoles we’re building,” he said. “But honestly, it’s just better for each brand to have its own focus and attention in its own facility.
“The people who live and breathe Donzi have their own plant now,” he added. “And Craig and Pete are very, very excited to build this brand back.”
Caldwell Marine Designs will handle Donzi Marine production.
“Craig is great for me,” Caldwell said. “He worked with my dad back in the Donzi days and I have already learned so much from him. Billy Moore also works here, and his father, Bobby, had a relationship with Donzi. So there’s a lot of heritage here.”
As for what model the Donzi team will display in Fort Lauderdale in November—and what new Donzi models may be on the drawing board—Ross declined to elaborate.
“We’ll talk about that in another few weeks,” he said.