A self-proclaimed “Cigarette guy,” Bill Forenski, the owner of WMF Watercraft and Marine, a Delaware-based Mercury Marine/Mercury Racing, Yamaha outboard engine and multi-brand pontoon boat dealership, didn’t really ever see himself owning a performance catamaran. Forenski and his wife, Patience, have owned seven Cigarette models, including a 2000 model-year 20-foot Baby Gun he said he will never sell, throughout the years and loved every one of them.
Bill Forenski and his son, William, Jr., were happy to earn their certificates from the GSR High-Performance Catamaran Driving School led by Shaun Torrente (center) in their new MTI 340X cat. Photos courtesy Bill Forenski
And then he took a ride in an MTI 390X powered by twin Mercury Racing 450R engines with his friend, Shaun Torrente, who designs and builds parts for a variety of high-performance boating applications through his company, Shaun Torrente Racing in Southwest Florida. Forenski, who owns a second home in Cape Coral, Fla., and is an active member of the nonprofit club Fort Myers Offshore, was sold—as was his son, William, Jr.
“I’ve been a big Cigarette guy my whole life so my son, who is a senior in high school, has always been into Cigs,” Forenski said. “He’s pretty much always said he’d never own anything but a Cigarette. That was until we went for the ride with Shaun, who had been telling us for a few months that we needed to drive a sport cat. My son was sold—right when we got back in the truck after the ride he said, ‘Let’s sell the Cigarette.’
“Then I told Shaun to keep his eyes and ears open for me, and shortly thereafter, when he was at the MTI Owners Fun Run in the Florida Keys, he called me with a lead on a 340X for sale,” he continued. “Shaun said the owner wanted a deposit and that if I didn’t say yes, he had several other buyers who would take it. The only stipulation was that I couldn’t get the boat until after the owner did the Tampa Bay Poker Run in early April. That was fine by me so we made the deal happen through MTI.”
Forenski said he’d never bought a boat without seeing it in person before. Basically he took Shaun’s word—and the assurance a good friend of his who has owned several MTIs and was at the Owners Fun Run—that everything was great with the boat and that they’d give it a once over, as well as install a set of adjustable STR X-Act brackets, once Forenski got the 340X.
“It was kind of crazy to wire that much money without seeing that boat, but that’s how hot the market is right now,” Forenski said, adding that business at WMF is fantastic as the dealership is sold out of new boats through 2021. “I knew I could count on Shaun though and he was right. The boat is incredible. It’s so fun to drive and my wife loves it. She said it’s her favorite boat we’ve owned and we haven’t even owned it two weeks. The boat is super easy to drive and doesn’t do anything unsettling.”
Check out the slideshow above with more images of the Forenski family in their 34-foot MTI powered by Mercury Racing 450R engines.
Despite his extensive boating experience, Forenski recognized that he and his son were going to need some instruction on how to drive the 34-foot catamaran. Of course he knew where to turn being that Torrente recently started teaching the GSR High-Performance Catamaran Driving School, a two-day course for new and experienced catamaran-owning students.
“The main reason I took the course with Shaun was I wanted someone to go out with me while I got comfortable in the boat,” Forenski said. “For me, there was some repetitive stuff in the class, but I definitely learned a lot, especially as it pertains to driving a cat. The reason I’d recommend doing the driving school is that Shaun takes you out there and does stuff in the boat that you wouldn’t do right away or maybe not even ever do. He made me extremely comfortable in the boat immediately and gave me the confidence I needed as a new cat owner.
“My son, who is actually going to move to Florida and work for STR full-time after he graduates, learned a lot as well,” he added. “Shaun told me he’s a better drive than me. I think my wife explained it best when she said I was trying to ‘V-bottom a cat.’ What can I say? That’s all I’ve driven for the last 30 years.”
Forenski admitted that he’s likely not going back. “I think I’m a cat guy now,” he said with a laugh, adding that he’s likely to order a 390X in the near future.
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