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Mercury Racing 565 to Power Active Thunder’s First Open-Cockpit Sportboat

Much to the surprise of Active Thunder’s Patrick Haughey, the first 29 Defiant open-cockpit sportboat has been ordered with a Mercury Racing 565 engine. Haughey, who owns the Pompano Beach, Fla., performance-boat company said he expected the first open-cockpit 29-footer, to be ordered with twin outboard engines. What’s more, the first 29 Savage—the closed-deck cousin of the 29 Defiant—is getting rigged with a pair of 300-hp Mercury OptiMax outboard engines.


Taking shape at Active Thunder—the first 29 Defiant will be powered by a 565-hp engine from Mercury Racing. Photo courtesy Patrick Haughey.

“It’s totally backward of what I thought people would order,” Haughey said, then laughed. “I would have thought they would order the open-deck boat with outboards, and the closed-deck boat with a stern drive.”

And that’s initially what happened with the upcoming 565-powered, stepped-hull sportboat—originally it was ordered as a closed-deck model, according to Haughey. But once the customer visited the Active Thunder plant and got a peek at the 29 Defiant in development, he opted to go with the open-cockpit version with the same power.

“We went down to the lamination department where we’re tooling up the 29 Defiant,” Haughey said. “He came down with a friend, and they go outside and talk. He comes back and in and asks, ‘Can I change the order on my boat?’

“So we are building him a 29 open-cockpit with a 565 engine, a sunpad and rear lounge in the back, two bolsters in the cockpit and a wraparound lounge up front,” he added. “He told me the basic reason he changed the order was so he can put more girls in the boat.”

Haughey expects the outboard-powered 29 Savage to be finished by mid-July. The stern-drive-powered 29 Defiant will be finished later this summer.

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Rendering courtesy/copyright Chris Dilling/Grafik EFX (click image to enlarge).

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