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MTI 48 Pumping Up Sales

Is bigger better when it comes to high-performance boat sales? That certainly seems to be the case these days. A few hours after I spoke with Terry Sobo of Nor-Tech yesterday—see “Nor-Tech Bags Kingfish and Big Cats” below—I caught up with Randy Scism of Marine Technology, Inc. Scism had just returned from a weekend in Lima, Peru, after poor conditions forced him and Peruvian record-holder Lizardo Benites to cancel another point-to-point record attempt in a 42 MTI catamaran.

If Scism was disappointed, it didn’t come across on the phone—likely because business is strong at MTI.

“The new 48 has been a homerun for us,” said Scism. “We have four in production and two more ordered. It was quiet for a while, but in the last four or five months it’s really started going for us. Fort Lauderdale (boat show) was pretty good to us, and we just kept going.

“We’re also building two or three new race boats,” he added. “We handle all the race boat orders in house. Pier 57 handles all the pleasure boats.”

According to Scism, twin Mercury Racing 1025/1200 engines have been the most commonly ordered power for the 48-foot pleasure cat. The engine makes 1,025 hp on 89-octane pump gas and 1,200 hp on 110-octane race fuel.

“You can use 89, which you can get anywhere, for just running around your local lake, and 110 for big events like poker runs,” said Scism. “It makes sense.”

Why does MTI’s second-largest cat, which is—depending on how its ordered—one of its most expensive models, lead the company’s sales during a recession?

“The guys who can play at this level are still playing,” said Scism.

Visitors to the Miami International Boat Show Feb. 11-14 can check out the 48 at the MTI booth inside—for the first time—the Miami Convention Center.

“I’m really looking forward to climate control, and not getting rained on,” Scism joked. “We’re right next to Skip (Braver, owner and CEO of Cigarette Racing Team) and the Cigarette booth. That should be a really good place to be.”