While Arneson Industries Surface Drives do find their way on the transoms of new high-performance catamarans and V-bottoms, repower projects continue to drive the San Rafael, Calif., company's high-performance powerboat business in the United States. Rik Wimp, president of Arneson, says that consumers are "getting the message that the Arneson Surface Drives deliver more performance, require far less maintenance and offer greater value than a typical I/O." Without a doubt, Wimp and company played a big role in some of the most spectacular projects this year. And there are even more to come next year.
Highs: With 2013 ending, for better or worse, overall things have been good at Arneson with strong sales throughout the year, and that's a good thing businesswise. The highlight for performance boating has to be Louie Marchese with his 163-mph run at the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout in his Skater 338 Fat Boy. That was an amazing feat given that it was his first run in the boat on a one- mile straight-line course. Louie told me that he boats on the twisty Kankakee River, which made simulating the run at LOTO difficult. It really shows the talents of Louie and the boat combination.
Lows: Well, it goes without saying that the loss of Jeff Asbell and Brad Smith is the low of this year and many recent years that I can think of. Two great men were lost in one tragic accident and they are and will be missed in the boating community, as well as by their families. Let's hope that 2014 doesn't bring any such tragedies.