Despite the severe downturn in the production-built high-performance powerboat market that used to provide a steady flow of hydraulic steering business for Latham Marine in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., the company remains busy with special projects such as hydraulic steering development for Seven Marine’s 557-hp outboard engines. According to company founder and principal Bob Latham, his business is booked with specialty projects through the end of the year.
“We’re working on several things,” said Latham. “One of them is a hydraulic drive system for a 50-foot catamaran from a European builder.”
Among Latham’s more recent and high-profile projects is the rudder system for the SilverHook V-bottom race boat built by Mystic Powerboats for competion overseas. Latham designed and built the rudder system for the 48-footer, which was designed by Ted and Ocke Mannerfeldt.
“With all the those steps and air underneath it, that boat runs really high,” said Latham. “There was a lot of early concern on how to control it, but what we did with the rudder really calmed the boat down and gave them more control than they thought they would have.”