For the past couple of months, South Carolina’s Dawn Hadden has had a blast putting her new Concept Boats 4400 Sport Cabin to the test on her favorite waterways as well as at the Florida Powerboat Club’s Emerald Coast Powerboat Poker Run in Destin, Fla., at the end of September. But last week took the cake as she and her husband, Donald, did the Florida Powerboat Club’s 29th annual Key West Poker Run in their unique 44-footer, which features quad Mercury Racing 450R engines and the Opa-locka, Fla., builder’s most extensive side console cabin space to date.
South Carolina’s Dawn Hadden hosted several friends on board her new quad Mercury Racing 450R-powered Concept Boats 4400 Sport Cabin during last week’s Key West Poker Run organized by the Florida Powerboat Club. Photo by Jeff Helmkamp/copyright Helmkamp Photos
“The poker run was very organized and well planned,” said Hadden, who was joined for the run from Miami to Key West on Wednesday by six other family members and friends. “Key West is always a great time. We had a few people in our group this time that had never even been on a poker run, much less to the (Florida) Keys and they said that they had the best time of their life. The boat got lots of attention at the docks in front of the Conch Republic. Matter a fact, I think Concept may have even signed a couple of build contracts because of it.
“The boat really is a show-stopper,” she continued. “Once you walk onto it and see all of the features between the lights and the electronics and how amazing the interior is, you really get a feel for how much work went into it. It took them roughly a year and a half to build it between COVID delays and making new molds for the cabin, and I think it turned out perfect. Concept also increased the space between the helm and the rear seats because I told them we needed that space to serve as our dance floor. It’s all about the party on this boat.”
Named Dirty Little Secrets, the 44-foot Concept’s side console has a “backup bedroom” in it for storage or for another couple to overnight with the Haddens, plus separate shower and toilet areas. Hadden said the team at Concept did an excellent job meeting her expectations for the cabin and everything else in the boat, which is available in a few different deck configurations, including a center console cuddy cabin and a sport cabin with either a center console or a side console.
“Dawn went all in with her boat,” said Eric Avila, Concept’s vice president. “We integrated flush-mount LED strips into the hardtop and lighting throughout the whole boat that can be combined and customized in any configuration. Dawn also went electronic crazy. The boat is loaded—we’re talking generator, air conditioning, hot-water heater; it’s a fully rigged boat. We even installed a GPS in the bow so passengers can see how fast they are going.”
According to Avila, the 20,000-plus-pound boat tops 80 mph and crushes anything in its way.
Check out the slideshow above for more images of the 44-foot Concept. Photos by Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix and Concept Boats.
Hadden, who had a 32-foot Belzona center console before purchasing the Concept and has owned several other boats, confirmed Avila’s statement, adding that the boat, which was on display at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show just before the poker run, is extremely versatile.
“We can take the boat island hopping or we can take it to our favorite local lake, Lake Murray,” she said. “We can sleep in it; we can do poker runs with it and we can take a bunch of our friends and all of our gear on it. And the best part is that it’s haulable. It’s a huge boat, but it doesn’t feel that big driving it down the road. To me it’s as easy to haul as my Belzona or my husband’s Baja. It doesn’t feel all that different backing it up and all that.”
After purchasing her Belzona a few years back, Hadden signed up as a member of the Florida Powerboat Club and enjoyed several events with the club. She soon realized though that a 55-mph top speed wasn’t going to cut it and that she wanted something faster and bigger with better accommodations. So she spent three years figuring out which boat she wanted next before going with the Concept.
Although she didn’t want to name names, Hadden said there were a couple of companies she encountered during her search that didn’t give her the time of day because she was a women.
“I looked at every performance center console on the market and there a lot of nice ones out there,” said Hadden, who has two kids and five grandkids with whom she enjoys boating. “And, after meeting with Concept and them agreeing to do whatever I wanted with the cabin, we made the deal. From then on, I was there every step of the way since I knew what I wanted and was going to make sure it was clear in their heads as well. I think Concept does a great job with their boats, but I wanted to make sure this boat was being built for luxury not for sport fishing.
“The paint is awesome; Richy and Janet (Lucente) did a great job on that,” she added, explaining that her boats always have unique graphics in her preferred colors—purples, teals and blues. “The interior is amazing, too. We went with a different material that has a lot of texture to it. It’s hard to see in pictures but it came out great. You definitely notice it when you walk on the boat.”
Hadden revealed that she will be back for the Key West Poker Run in 2022 and that she’s excited to get in a full poker run season next year with the boat.
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