When Bill Sestak of Bridgeport, N.Y., describes Chad Shutter of Boat Repairs Plus and BRP Marine Custom, he speaks from significant experience. For the winter of 2020 and much of the summer, Shutter had Sestak’s 2009-built MTI 42 Race/Pleasure catamaran at his fiberglass, interior and graphics shop in Denver, N.C., for a total makeover.
Bill Sestak ran his totally renovated 42-foot MTI cat for the first time in August on Oneida Lake in New York.
“Chad is a perfectionist,” said Sestak, who took delivery of his renovated 42-footer powered by refreshed Mercury Racing 1075SCi engines in August. “I couldn’t be happier with the work he did.”
The work required to bring the cat into the modern era was extensive. Originally called Cat Tagious—a name boldly expressed in large script across its deck and engine hatches—the boat had a dated interior and a dash in dire need of modern instrumentation. Sestak gave Shutter the greenlight for extensive changes.
A before-and-after look at Flight Time’s cockpit.
“We completely rebuilt the dash and added a new Garmin GPS unit, Mercury VesselView monitors and new push-button accessory switches,” Shutter said. “We added smaller Garmin GPS screens in the backs of the new and taller headrests for the driver and copilot bucket seats, and we rebuilt and reupholstered all of the seats in Alcantara. Bill allowed me to go the whole way, upgrade the entire stereo system and hide all the speakers at the dash.
“The flip-up speakers in the deck faced forward instead of aft and into the cockpit,” he added. “So we built new speaker boxes and turned them around. I have to give a lot of credit to Eric Anderson, my rigging and wiring guru out of Florida who is now here full time. He’s very talented and picky about his wiring.”
In addition to completely rewiring much of boat, Shutter added LED lighting throughout the cockpit—including in the hidden speaker areas for backlighting—as well as in the engine compartment. While the engines were out of the boat and being refreshed and detuned to 1,025-hp for use with 89-octane fuel by Mark Boos of Precision Marine Performance Engines in Kenner, La., Shutter cleaned up and refreshed the engine bays. He also added SeaDek surfacing between the hatches, as well as on the cockpit sole.
The project required extensive fiberglass fabrication work and more.
With the boat redubbed Flight Time, the Cat Tagious name had to go. The new dash Shutter built took care of that at the helm station, but he also handled it on the deck and between the engine hatches.
“We did all the fiberglass work, then sanded and repainted and ghosted in ‘MTI 42’ in the deck and between the engine hatches,” he said.
Shutter’s work for Sestak was not his first MTI renovation. A little more than a year ago, he handled a similar project with a 2012-built 36 R/P catamaran owned by Kelly O’Hara of Auburn, N.Y. O’Hara and Sestak have been friends for more than 10 years and Sestak was impressed with the work Shutter had done on O’Hara’s 36-footer, which is powered by upgraded Mercury Racing 700SCi engines.
Attention to detail is obvious in the finished product.
“Bill and I have known each other forever, and I have known Chad a long time,” O’Hara said. “I have watched his business grow and progress—it’s a great family business with his dad, Bob, and his mom, Bonnie, involved. I knew Chad could take what he did with my boat to another level with Bill’s boat.”
In August, O’Hara and Jack Gladke, another mutual New York-based friend who bought a Donzi 38 ZRC earlier this year, joined Sestak on Onieda Lake for his first sea trial of Flight Time since its renovation. Sestak is planning to run the 42-footer in the 2021 MTI owners event in the Florida Keys this winter, as well as closer-to-home events including the 1,000 Islands Charity Poker Run, next season.
“After the MTI event and before bringing the boat home for the summer, I’d like to do the Jacksonville River Rally and Poker Run and then something after that,” he said.
Bill Sestak (left) was joined by his son, Alex, for the renovated 42-footer’s unveiling.