A lifelong resident of Key West, Fla., 51-year-old Jose F. Rodriguez, Jr., got to know Stephen Miles when Miles was still panting radio-control boats. Rodriguez, a former offshore racer who was into the RC-boat world at the time, met Miles in 2010, long before he founded his thriving powerboat graphics business in Owensboro, Ky. They’ve been good friends ever since.
Though the final design may change, the Stephen Miles Design graphics are sure to be superb on the new 30 Phantom being built for Jose F. Rodriguez of Key West, Fla.
Now Rodriguez and Miles have a bigger project to share, a new 30-foot Phantom that will be powered by twin Mercury Racing 300R outboard engines and painted by Stephen Miles Design. Rodriguez ordered the boat through another Key West-based friend and former offshore racer, Lee Murray of Murray Marine.
The 30-footer currently is in lamination.
“The boat has its skin-coat and has been cored, and the bulkheading and fuel tanks will be installed soon,” said Rodriguez. “The engines should be here in a month. Lee already had them ordered with 20-inch lowers and Heavy Duty mid-sections for another project but he said they were mine if I wanted them.”
Rodriguez previously owned at 24-foot Pilini center console powered by a Mercury Marine Verado 350 outboard with an extra “flashed” electronic control module that ups the out-of-warranty engine’s output to 425 hp. The sale of the 24-footer enabled Rodriguez and his wife, Jessica, to purchase their new 30-footer.
A sea-trail in another 30 Phantom powered by a Mercury Racing 400R with Will Smith, the founder and owner of the Southwest Florida-based V-bottom company, plus his involvement with the Keys Island Runners group enticed Rodriguez to buy a twin-300-hp outboard one of his own.
Said Miles of his friend and client, ““He definitely knew what he wanted and was very good at describing what he wanted.”
“I have always loved high-performance boats but my tastes were above my means,” said Rodriguez, who works Key West’s primary water supplier. “We did a few runs in my 24-foot center console with the Keys Island Runners—I’ve seen 78 mph in that—and realized it really wasn’t the best boat for those runs. My wife loves to go fast on the water. She used to race jet-skis when she was younger
“ Our enthusiasm was greater than the boat we had,” he added, then laughed. “But we found a buyer for our center console at a great price and we were able to make it all work for the Phantom.
If current production schedules hold, Rodriguez’s boat should be at Stephen Miles Design in a month or so. Miles, who describes his friend as “an awesome bro, one of my favorite human beings, and funny as hell, too,” worked closely with his Key West friend on the graphics package.
“Jose had a lot of input,” said Miles “He definitely knew what he wanted and was very good at describing what he wanted. What we have now probably isn’t the final design, but it will be very similar to it.”
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