Throughout his career, from his early days as a designer with the Gentry Eagle trans-Atlantic raceboat project in the 1980s to his ongoing role as the man behind Mystic Powerboats in DeLand, Fla., John Cosker has focused on creating high-performance vessels conceived and built to tackle open water. His company’s current 42- and 38-footers are among the most seaworthy center consoles on the market. They are designed and built to handle the rough stuff.
For three days last month, Mystic Powerboats owners explored the Bahamas.
And yet more often than not their open-water range is limited to the distance of the average poker run on a lake or river. This is not, of course, a bad thing. But poker runs and inshore or near-shore outings do not put Cosker’s creations to the test, much less showcase their open-water capabilities to their current and future owners.
In mid-May, Cosker and his team set out to change that with the inaugural Mystic’s owners run to The Bahamas. A combination of 11 Mystic creations—one M5200 center console, six M4200 center consoles, three M3800 center consoles and one C4000 catamaran—made the midweek trek to Freeport to the Grand Bahama Yacht Club and the Pelican Bay Resort.
For the next few days, Cosker guided owners Mathew Baum, Fred Connor, Doug Cooper, Josh Denning, Joe Gilmore, Daniel Laborde, Glen Mayers, Greg Olson and Jeremy Stradley and their guests through various daytrips. Destinations included Lucayan Waterway and Sandy Cay.
Mystic’s M5200 demo model pulled lead-boat and shuttle duty throughout the trip.
Cosker led the group on his M5200 demo boat, which he also used in Freeport to shuttle owners from the harbor the host hotel.
“We had customers from all over, from as far as California and as close as Florida,” explained Greg Weber, Mystic’s national sales manager. “But for almost everyone on the trip, it was their first time to The Bahamas.
“The idea was to open up the cruising world to our customers because the boats are more than up to the task,” he continued. “We also are trying to put the Mystic line in front of a new audience.”
For most members of the group, the Mystic-led trip to The Bahamas was their first.
Among the Mystic owners who made the trip were Joshua and Johanna Denning of Iowa. First-timers to The Bahamas, the Dennings own a 2019 model-year M4200 center console powered by Mercury Racing 400R engines of the original six-cylinder kind and, including their children, had six guests for the adventure.
“It was a once-in-a-lifetime, bucket-list experience that we’ll have to do again,” said Joshua Denning, who calls the Lake of the Ozarks in Central Missouri his home-water. “There were a lot of highlights, but taking the boat across the Gulf Stream was definitely one of them. On the way back, we cruised at 55 mph down the backs of these 15-foot swells. It was amazing.”
Denning paused, then laughed. “Sometimes it feels a lot rougher at the Lake of the Ozarks,” he said.
Joe Gilmore and his wife, Margaret, also joined the group in their 2021 Mystic M4200 center console. The boat is the Massachusetts couple’s second 42-footer—they bought one of the company’s M4200 models in 2016—and they mostly keep it at their second home in Jupiter, Fla.
They were joined by two other couples for what was their first adventure in The Bahamas.
And by the end of the trip Joe Gilstorf had transformed the grateful guests into competent deckhands.
“Trips like this are what the boat is really great for,” he said. “And now that I know my way around, we’re definitely going back. It was special—it really was.”
Gilmore said he told Cosker, “You know you’re not getting away with not doing this next year, right? You’re going to have like 30 boats next year—you’ve opened up a whole new world for your customers.”
For Cosker, Weber and rest of the Mystic crew, that translates to two words.
Without question, the Mystic owners run to the Bahamas will return in 2024.
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