Even if you’re relatively new to offshore racing fandom—or a fast-food fried chicken aficionado—the odds are good that you’ve heard of the legendary Copeland family of New Orleans. On the offshore racing side, Al Copeland loomed large in the sport’s glamour days of the 1980 and 1990s and he passed on his high-performance boating passion to his son, Al Copeland, Jr. On the fried chicken side, think Popeye’s and Church’s, though the Copeland family restaurant enterprises, such as Copeland’s of New Orleans, go far beyond crispy yard-bird and fluffy biscuits.
Thanks to Al Copeland, Jr., Nor-Tech and Bent Marine, the Copeland family’s high-performance boating legacy lives on in a 390 Sport center console.
Though the senior Copeland died in 2008 from a rare form of cancer, his son continued in the restaurant and investment business. To celebrate his father’s offshore racing legacy and his dream of setting a world water-speed record, he launched the Phenomenon project in 2010, and though the quad-turbine-engine-powered 50-foot catamaran never reached its intended goal it created plenty of intrigue and discussion for the next couple of years.
And now on center console side of the Copeland performance-boating legacy, you can think Nor-Tech Hi-Performance Boats. Earlier this summer, Al Copeland, Jr., took delivery of a 390 Sport powered by quad Mercury Racing 450R outboard engines from Bent Marine in Metairie, La.
“Mr. Copeland called when we were closed and left a voicemail and I happened to be the message recipient in the morning,” said Josh Clement of the multi-brand dealership. “He was in the market for a center console and Nor-Tech was one the brands he was looking into. He really wanted to be able to purchase something locally from a dealership that could support him, and we fit the bill.”
Enjoy more images of the 39-footer in the slideshow above.
Soon after, Copeland visited the Nor-Tech facility in Southwest Florida and toured the plant before heading to the 2020 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show in late October. According to Clement, Copeland considered going with the larger Nor-Tech 450 Sport but “really wanted” the 39-footer.
“He also really wanted the 450R outboards when he saw them in Fort Lauderdale,” said Clement. “He wanted to get back into the powerboat world with a 39-footer powered by 450s.”
The boat’s vibrant graphics were handled with a vinyl wrap, which is an unusual dressing for a Nor-Tech product but made sense in context of the project.
“Mr. Copeland had a budget of what he wanted to spend,” said Clement. “He knew how much the paintjob he wanted would cost and how long it would take, so he went with a wrap.
“He loves the boat,” he added. “And it’s great to have Al Copeland, Jr., back in the high-performance boating world, especially in a Nor-Tech.”
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