When most kid his age were singing songs in pre-school about itsy-bitsy spiders, cows jumping over moons and such, four-year-old Cole Leibel was watching Skater Powerboats founder Peter Hledin create works of catamaran performance-art for his famous offshore racing uncle, Lorne, with his father, Corey. Since as long as Cole can remember, high-performance boats have been the passion for the Toronto, Canada-based Leibel family.
This new Nor-Tech 340 center console is now paired with Leibel’s Skater 388 in his boathouse on the shores of Lake Simcoe.
“I have always been a Skater guy,” said Cole, now 30 years old and a custom home builder who lives on the shores of Lake Simcoe. “I have owned five or six Skaters—I own a 388 with (Mercury Racing) 1350s now. My dad is building a new 388 now, and my uncle still has a really fast Skater 46.”
While the chances of Leibel getting rid of his 38-footer anytime soon are remote—given the go-fast boat tastes of his father and uncle he makes a compelling case for the existence of the “speed gene”—the realities of having a young family sparked his interest in owning a center console. Leibel and his wife, Kristy, have a son, 3-1/2-year-old Brody, and a daughter, 1-1/2-half-year old Finley.
“I wanted something I could jump in with the family after work, something we could take to lunch, cruise around and listen to music in,” he said.
That led Leibel to order a Nor-Tech Hi-Performance Boats 340 center console through Toronto area-based Double R Performance, about 20 minutes from his home, last summer. Though he originally ordered the 34-footer with a pair of Mercury Marine Verado 350 outboard engines from the North Fort Myers, Fla., company, he upped the power to Mercury Racing Verado 400Rs thanks to teasing from his father and brother.
In fact, Leibel’s boat was the first Nor-Tech 340 to be equipped with the twin 400-hp supercharged outboards.
“We went down to the Nor-Tech factory before the (Super Boat International) Key West Worlds last year,” said Leibel. “And my father and brother made fun of me for ordering 350s the entire time. So I changed my order to the 400s.”
Leibel laughed. “Yeah, it looks cooler and it will go 75 mph,” he said. “But the most I’ve got it up to is 25 or 30 mph with kids on board. My son absolutely loves it.
“OK, after Key West we did run it up to Miami and took it up to 65 mph,” he continued. “It runs phenomenally. And visiting so many different boat factories, I have never seen one as professionally run as Nor-Tech.”
Delivered to his home in Canada last week—after the run to Miami the boat went back to factory for installation of its SeaDek flooring and a couple of other tweaks—the Nor-Tech 340 is Leibel’s first center console and he has it in his boathouse right next to his Skater 388. Now, all that remains is for the weather to warm up—spring has been painfully slow to arrive in the area—so he and his family can enjoy the 34-footer. (Of course, the Skater 388 will still satisfy his more-than-occasional need for speed.)
For a closer look at Leibel’s new center console, check out the slideshow above.
“I like everything about it,” he said. “Peter and Raymond Roberts of Double R, they were just awesome throughout the entire build process. I think Peter sent me pictures of the boat at Nor-Tech every week.”