It wasn’t the first boat Marine Technology Inc. built when the up-and-coming powerboat manufacturer in Wentzville, Mo., started creating high-performance catamarans 25 years ago, but owner Randy Scism and company are confident that the 2001-model-year, 44-foot, canopied catamaran that hit the offshore racecourse as Tommy Bahama was the boat that put MTI “on the map.”
After 15 years of not competing on an offshore racecourse, the Tommy Bahama MTI has become a fan-favorite boat at the Desert Storm Poker Run in Lake Havasu City, Ariz., thanks to its new owners, Tom and Julie Mischke. Photo by Jeff Helmkamp/Helmkamp Photos
While the fan-favorite cat that was built for Mark Nemschoff and raced by him and his son, Paul, for several years in the heyday of APBA Offshore, LLC, retired somewhat early—the Nemschoffs exited the sport in the mid-2000s and soon thereafter converted the four-seat 44-footer for pleasure use by removing its canopy at MTI headquarters in Wentzville—the boat was revived and thrust back into the spotlight thanks to an enthusiastic couple from Arizona.
Tom Mischke, the owner of Classic Performance Restorations in Gilbert, Ariz., and his wife, Julie, took an interest in the popular boat, learned about its whereabouts—it was tucked away at a storage facility in Virginia Beach, Va., owned by Douglas Hahn, the team’s former crew chief—and, after more than a few discussions with Mark Nemschoff, acquired the former raceboat in December 2018.
According to Tom Mischke, he and Nemschoff bonded over their mutual love of vintage sportscars, and Nemschoff even ordered and oversaw the rigging process of the boat’s new 650-cubic-inch, naturally aspirated 800-hp engines from Sterling Performance Engines in Milford, Mich., before it was sent to Arizona in early 2020.
The project was followed by speedonthewater.com as you can see by the related stories below and since then the Mischkes have enjoyed the heck out of it.
As a raceboat in the early 2000s, the 44-foot MTI, Tommy Bahama, was as recognizable and beloved as any boat on the course.
Earlier this year, Mischke told speedonthewater.com that he sent the boat’s Trimax drives to the late Fabio Buzzi’s shop, FB Design, in Italy to refresh the bearings in the surface drives and that everything is being put back together for the 2023 season following an engine repair that was handled in the offseason by Mike D’Anniballe and the team at Sterling.
“We’re excited for this year,” said Mischke, who plans to participate in next month’s Desert Storm Poker Run in Lake Havasu City, Ariz. “You probably already know this, but every time we have the boat out, it still is the star of the show. She is amazing!
“Mark has stories upon stories from his time building the boat with Randy Scism,” Mischke added. “Mark is so knowledgeable with everything around the actual build of the boat, propellers, etc. He was so much more than just the owner and throttleman.”
Mischke, who is excited to get Tommy Bahama back on the water, said he loves the boat’s Trimax drive setup.
“Several people have told me that this boat had so much R&D and was a test bed for many of the changes and improvements MTI made to its raceboats at the time,” Mischke expressed. “It was the only boat to use the Trimax drives from Buzzi. The drives are simply amazing; plus they’re simple and incredibly strong.”
Editor’s note: “MTI At 25” is a weekly series on speedonthewater.com celebrating the company’s 25th anniversary. A new installment will go live every Wednesday on speedonthewater.com through the end of the year.
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