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Mattinglys Bringing New Midnight Express Beauty To Key West

A well-known couple in Kentucky’s Lake Cumberland go-fast community and beyond, Chris and Shelby Mattingly—the founder and owner of the Boat Babe Official apparel line—are devout V-bottom fans. In late August, they bought a pre-owned Outerlimits Offshore Powerboats SV 50 and sold off their 46 Legacy from the Bristol, R.I., boat builder. When they purchased the 50-footer, they originally planned to use it in next week’s Florida Powerboat Club Key West Poker Run. A new Midnight Express 43 Solstice center console they ordered this February wasn’t supposed to be ready until next February. And they were just fine with that.

Heading for Key West next Wednesday, Chris and Shelby Mattingly’s Midnight Express 43 Solstice is an absolute stunner. Photos courtesy/copyright Midnight Express

Plans change, of course, especially when a boat-builder beats its own deadline. Yesterday in Miami, the Mattinglys took delivery of their wickedly beautiful 43-footer powered by five Mercury Racing 450R outboard engines.

“Harris (Glaser) at Midnight Express called me in September and told me, ‘The build is coming along really good, I think it will be done by early November,’” Chris Mattingly said. “He was spot on.”

A gracious couple with no shortage of friends to take for boat rides, the Mattinglys wanted something that could handle more than six people in comfort for a full day on the water. That led them on a search for a high-performance—because nothing less is remotely acceptable to them—center console. Eventually, they narrowed their choices to a couple of brands, and Miami-based Midnight Express got the nod.

“It was a tight race, but I liked everything about the Midnight—except for all the solid colors,” Chris Mattingly said. “Midnight had never done one with stripes down the side. Harris was so easy to work with and he said, ‘We can do that for you, no problem.’ So I said let’s do it. They had Doug Harrell do the paintwork.”

“Wait a minute,” Shelby Mattingly added, then laughed. “That stripe thing was my idea. I didn’t want it to look like a darn fishing boat. It needed to look like a performance boat.”

Yesterday, the Mattinglys ran their new beauty for four hours. They’re shooting to get six more running hours on their 2,250-hp worth of supercharged V-8 outboards so Midnight Express can handle their prescribed 10-hour service before the couple departs for Key West next Wednesday.

So far, Chris Mattingly has been pleased with boat’s performance, which is high praise given his penchant for big high-performance V-bottoms, which he simply calls “powerboats.”

“I like it a whole lot,” he said. “It’s definitely different than what I’ve owned before, but I like. I have no complaints.

“But I’m not going to get rid of my Outerlimits, though,” he added, then chuckled. “I am always going to own a powerboat.”

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Check out the slideshow above for more images of the Mattingly family’s new 43 Solstice.

After the Florida event, the Mattinglys will store their center console at a facility near their second home in Clearwater, Fla., and use it there this winter. They’ll likely bring it back to Kentucky for the summer and, of course, run it on Lake Cumberland with friends. In the meantime, the Florida Powerboat Club Key West Poker Run awaits and Shelby Mattingly is over the moon with their new Midnight Express creation.

“Oh my god, I am so happy—it’s the most beautiful thing I have ever seen,” she said. “I love it. We rain it through a rainstorm yesterday and first I was a little scared. But we drove right through it and the ride was really good. I’m in love.”

The Kentucky couple’s new 43-footer likely will spend next summer on Lake Cumberland.

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