“The pinnacle of performance boating evolution.” That’s how Mike Howe referred to his new 440X catamaran from Marine Technology Inc., the week after taking delivery of the Wentzville, Mo., company’s first production 44-foot catamaran in early February. And it’s still how he and his incredible wife, Sarah—the adventure-seeking couple behind the Howe2Live YouTube channel—refer to the eight-seat 440X four months after taking delivery of the boat, which had twin Mercury Racing 450R engines but is soon to be repowered with a set of the Fond du Lac, Wis., engine builder’s new V-8 500R offerings.
Enjoying a summer sunset in Maine in a radical new MTI 440X with Mercury Racing 450R engines following a scrumptious lobster roll dinner (below)—now that is Howe2Live. Photo courtesy Brad DiMaggio/Scrapyard Media
At least that’s what they reiterated during my “quickest turnaround” visit to the opposite side of the country I’ve ever taken. Last week, my colleagues at Scrapyard Media—Brad DiMaggio, his wife, Katie, and their good friend, Bobby Boyd—landed in Portland, Maine, on Monday afternoon and less than two days later we had all departed the historic seaside region that is an excellent representation of the past melding with the present.
We traveled to Maine to shoot one of the six In The Lead episodes speedonthewater.com is producing this year and capture the Howes in the environment they grew up in and live in on a day-to-day basis before their upcoming, but not yet scheduled, endurance record attempt from New York to Miami that will conclude with the 44-footer taking up residency for the remainder of the year at the Howe’s home away from home in the Florida Keys. We could just have easily planned to hang out in Big Pine Key or take a trip to The Bahamas with the owner of the Maine-based company Howe and Howe, which manufacturers manned and unmanned robotic tracked vehicles developed for military and civil applications, but instead we opted for the New England experience—the “real” Mike and Sarah Howe experience. The experience not always shared with their massive audience.
Upon returning to my home in California, I’m happy to report that what millions of Facebook and YouTube followers have seen during the last few years as the Howes have evolved from their 340X to their 390X and to their new 440X is real. No, we didn’t get the cameras turned on us—thanks Mike for resisting—but we did get to witness the Howes in their everyday environments with co-workers, friends, family and the employees at the Stern Seafood Restaurant at Pine Point Beach in Scarborough who were happy to see Mike and Sarah and five passengers pull up in their radical 44-footer last Tuesday. Mike’s oldest daughter, Micayla, joined us for dinner.
Touring the high-tech business he started in the early 2000s with his twin brother, Geoff, was an obvious highlight, but enjoying the local food—no surprise but my Stern-prepared lobster roll (pictured above) was larger and more delicious than any I’ve ever consumed—and taking in the sights of bald eagles soaring around the Howes’ property on the Saco River was just as unforgettable as seeing where firefighting and bomb-detecting robots are built.
All of that and more will be spotlighted in the upcoming In The Lead season three episode so I won’t give away much more, but I will conclude by saying that after taking my first ride in the 44-foot MTI that Mike’s “pinnacle of performance boating evolution” description of the boat is spot on. Between the Mercury Racing power and MTI’s hull design and overall fit and finish, the 440X is as good as it gets. I can only imagine how impressive the catamaran’s performance will be once the new 500-hp supercharged engines are installed on it.
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