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Inside SOTW Mag: Adding Power & Reliability

I don’t remember the exact year, but in the 1970s my dad took me to the Boston Boat Show and the Michelob Light offshore race boat was on display. As I recall, it was a 38-foot Scarab and it was amazing. Other than an airplane, that boat was the largest piece of motorized machinery I’d ever seen. Although I grew up boating in and around Massachusetts—we had runabouts early on and then my mom purchased several Formulas over the years on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire—it wasn’t until I was in my 40s that I had the opportunity to purchase my first performance boat.

sotwmag biro

Living in Southern California, I knew I wanted a boat that was flexible for what I wanted to do—run in the Pacific Ocean to Catalina Island for some camping, yet also be trailerable to the Colorado River, mainly Lake Havasu. I was thinking a single-engine deep-V in the 30-foot-or-less range. My only problem was that many of the 27- to 30-footers on the West Coast are designed for lakes or rivers not ocean boating.

Fortunately a friend of mine, Dave Sampson (aka Uncle Dave), showed me a used Lavey Craft Performance Boats 29 NuEra that the company took on trade. My wife and I drove to Corona and saw the super-clean 12-year-old boat. The only deal breaker was the graphics—the 1990s water drop/splash theme just wouldn’t cut it. Since the boat was older than most models I had been researching, it was under budget. So we asked Lavey Craft to re-gelcoat the boat and fill in the dated-looking portholes and the deal was done.

For five years we had a turnkey boat. Other than changing the engine oil, outdrive oil and sea pump impellers, we had zero issues. Well, l did break a couple of Bravo outdrives before I learned not to drive it so hard. The boat had a Mercury 575SCi engine with 290 hours when we purchased it, and heading into the 2015 boating season we were just about 400 hours. The plan was to nurse the engine along for another summer and refresh the engine in the winter. Luckily, I’m a gearhead and I do most of the mechanical work on my toys myself. The things I don’t know I research online or reach out to people with the experience.

To enjoy Jimmy Biro’s entire feature on the extensive project, download the latest issue of Speed On The Water digital magazine now at no charge by clicking here.

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