Growing up in Elmira, N.Y., Jack Gladke fell in love with the Donzi Marine sportboat brand. Now 40 years old and living on the shores of Keuka Lake in the Finger Lakes region of the Empire State, Gladke can’t recall exactly what drew him to the brand. But when the then-Sarasota, Fla.-based sportboat and center console builder introduced its 38 ZRC sit-down V-bottom in the early 2000s, he knew he had to have one someday.
Formerly owned by a Donzi lover in Canada, this 38-footer has a new home with Jack Gladke in Upstate New York.
Exactly one week ago, “someday” arrived when Gladke took delivery of 2008-built Donzi 38 ZRC powered by twin Mercury Racing 700 SCi engines with 200 operating hours from its owner in Quebec, Canada.
“It’s in mint condition,” he said. “There’s not a ding in the paint. The interior is like brand-new. It’s hard to believe the boat has 200 hours on it.”
Though the boat is his first 38 ZRC, it is not Gladke’s first Donzi. He recently sold his 27 ZR and still owns an open-bow 22-footer, which currently is getting upgrade work at Performance Marine, the home of Saris Racing Engines, in Bolton Landing, N.Y.
Last Saturday, Gladke and a friend ran the boat for the first time. They took it to 102 mph with more left in the throttles. A broken propeller shaft ended their day early.
“I was just trying to get a feel for it before we sheared the shaft clean off,” Gladke said. “It wasn’t rough. We weren’t hitting it that hard. We were cruising at about 80 mph when it just let go.
“It was a little bit of a bummer for Cara (Wormuth), my girlfriend, because she was working and really excited to go out in the boat that afternoon,” he continued. “But it’s getting fixed now.”
Though he has no immediate upgrade plans for the 38-footer, Gladke is working with BBLADES Professional Propeller Services in Princeton, Wis., on his new propeller program, much as he did with his 28- and 22-footers. For insurance, he turned to John O’Hail at Southern California-based Wozencraft Insurance Agency, which specializes in high-performance powerboat coverage.
As soon as the boat’s prop shaft is repaired, Gladke will be back on the water—most likely with Wormuth in the copilot’s seat.
Check out the slideshow above to enjoy more images of Gladke’s Donzi 38 ZRC.
“Right now, I just really want to get a feel for it and get comfortable with the boat,” he said. “I don’t have any immediate big upgrade plans. I love the red paint exterior and it’s perfect. The interior is perfect. I’ll look at new boats and see what catches my eye, and how I could incorporate some of that into my boat. Right now, I’m really happy.”