Let The M33R Demos Begin

For those who pay any kind of attention to my stories on OffshoreOnly.com and here on speedonthewater.com, the name Tony Chiaramonte probably doesn’t need a whole lot of explaining. His name comes up in pretty much every DCB Performance Boats new delivery article as he handles a bulk of the hands-on customer service for the El Cajon, Calif., company in which he is part owner.

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Look for Tony Chiaramonte and the new DCB M33R at an event near you this summer. Photo courtesy DCB Performance Boats

Read more: Let The M33R Demos Begin

Pulling Back The Curtain On Boat Shows

As anyone who regularly reads this column knows, I have a love-hate relationship with the Miami International Boat Show. I came to loathe the event when it was at the decrepit Miami Convention Center and Sea Isle Marina. Even the raw energy of South Beach wasn’t enough to make the event compelling. Even Cigarette Racing Team’s ever-amazing displays weren’t enough to overcome the convention center’s death-pallor lighting.


Is it time to reevaluate the format of boat shows? It couldn’t hurt. Photo courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.

After almost 20 years of covering the Miami show at its former home, the best thing I could say about it was that it was walking distance to the casual lunch spots on Lincoln Road, meaning that if you were willing to abandon the show for an hour or two (or three) you could find edible food without getting gouged for it. When the best thing you can say about an event involves lunch off site, the event and its venue have issues.

So for me, the show’s move to Miami Marine Stadium on Virginia Key—and people need to remember the event had to relocate as it was booted from the convention center after 2015—was a breath of fresh air. No doubt, getting to and from the new venue remains a nightmare, and if the organizers don’t figure it out soon they’ll lose their audience. But it puts boats in the water within a short walk of engine and accessory displays.

Read More: Pulling Back The Curtain On Boat Shows

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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.

Read More: Commentary—High-Performance Powerboating Isn’t Dead

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Snap Shots From Fountain

As the sole reporter covering Fountain Powerboatsunsuccessful V-bottom kilo record attempts Feb. 27-28 in Washington, N.C., I had a lot of unsupervised time on my hands. The Fountain team was working hard to get their Sterling Engine-powered 40-footer to run correctly and had no time to entertain an out-of-town guest. In town for more than a week, the American Power Boat Association and Offshore Powerboat Association officials were doing whatever they could to avoid going stir crazy in a very small town, so they were scarce.


Even at 77 years old, Reggie Fountain, Jr., is royalty at the company that bears his name.

And the media folks there the weekend prior for Fountain’s wind-scrubbed record attempt? They were long gone.

During the 41 hours I spent in Washington, I saw the kilo boat make four unimpressive runs. Of course, I was disappointed for the people at Fountain and equally disappointed that I didn’t get to report on scene about the setting of a new kilo record. As a reporter, those are the kinds of stories you live for. In 2014, I was lucky to have had that opportunity when Outerlimits—on the same measured kilometer of Pamlico River—pulled it off. This time around, it wasn’t to be.

But you already know that.

Read More: Snap Shots From Fountain

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All Eyes on Desert Storm’s Street Party

In just two weeks, many of the coolest boats in the country will converge on Lake Havasu City, Ariz., for the annual Desert Storm Poker Run. Starting on Wednesday, April 18, with the Krusin’ for Kids charity rides and welcome party, the fun jumps to Thursday’s Street Party, Friday’s Poker Run and Saturday’s Shootout. And while the entire five-day event is pretty remarkable for both participants and spectators alike, the show within the show is most definitely the Street Party, which is open from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m.

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Just like last year, Mike Smith plans to have his stunning 43-foot Nordic Boats catamaran at the Desert Storm Poker Run Street Party. Photo by Erick Bryner/Fast Loud Photography (click image to enlarge).

Read more: All Eyes on Desert Storm’s Street Party