It seems like every owner of a boat from Outerlimits Offshore Powerboats has his or her own personal Mike Fiore story. Whether it was fixing their boats to get them back on the water quickly or helping them tie up at a poker run, the late founder of the company always went out of his way to put customers first.
Outerlimits founder Mike Fiore started out in performance boating working in the family business and three decades later, every owner of one of these go-fast works of art feels like an extended member. Photos by Halsey Fulton copyright Outerlimits Offshore Powerboats
Fast forward 30 years to the modern day and Fiore’s legacy carries on through his customers. In the week leading up to the Outerlimits 30th Anniversary Owners’ Fun Run, Sean and Mary Harrington were fearing they were going to miss the event due to a mechanical issue.
“We had an engine problem and Matt Hayes, Mario Genovese and Bill Steppi had the boat back together working at night,” said Mary Harrington, who celebrated a birthday on July 22, the day of the run. “Everybody helps each other. If someone is down, everybody says, ‘What can I do?’”
Also leading up to the fun run, the owners of two Outerlimits boats that planned to attend, Big Soldier and Holy Smoke, each hurt one of the two engines in their boats. They pulled the bad motors out of both boats, put the two good engines in one boat and participated in the run together.
For the Outerlimits family of customers, loyalty to the brand is and the people behind it is everything.
Mike Fiore grew up working for his father, Paul Fiore, who founded Hustler Powerboats on New York’s Long Island. When Mike decided to go off on his own to start Outerlimits, it was with Paul’s blessing and guidance. The first Outerlimits 37 Stiletto appeared in 1993 and it was a custom-built single-stepped work of art.
“It was a family business from the start,” said Dan Kleitz, national sales manager for Outerlimits. “Mike grew up at Hustler and started Outerlimits and at one point, he employed his whole family. It was always a family thing and with my dad we always boated as a family.”
The family feeling continues with the Kleitzs. Mom Barbara vacuumed the front office at the Outerlimits factory in Bristol, R.I., on Friday morning of fun-run weekend while dad Ken was busy helping tie up boats when they arrived to Borden Light Marina, in Fall River, Mass., which hosted the run.
When he was about 12, my son, Blake, accompanied Mike and I on a test of the then-new Outerlimits SV 29 powered by a Mercury Racing HP600SCi. Mike was a gracious host as always and to this day, Blake remembers running 90 plus mph in that boat. A few years later, Kleitz carried on the tradition, hosting Blake and I in a 39-foot Outerlimits at the Borden Light Poker Run.
A member of the extended Outerlimits family, Stephen Miles maintains that the SV 43 Crypto paintjob is the most complicated work he’s ever done.
For the 30th anniversary fun run, Kleitz put my daughter, Makenna, and I in the capable hands of the Harringtons, who have a 46-foot Outerlimits powered by twin Mercury Racing HP1075SCi engines called No Discipline.
A total of 20 Outerlimits boats descended on Borden Light Marina in Fall River, Mass., July 21-22 to commemorate the company’s three decades in business. The fleet included the sixth 37 Stiletto built, a couple of super-fast classic 42 GTX sit-down models and one of the newer boats from the company, the SV43, Crypto, that is powered by twin Mercury Racing 1550s.
The Harringtons and Kleitzs met before Dan even started at Outerlimits when each family owned some classic Sutphens. Dan Kleitz met his wife Karly, who is the Harringtons’ daughter, when she was at the wheel of a 33 Sutphen.
Eventually, when the Harringtons, who call Brewster, Mass., home, decided to step up to the big time, they got their first Outerlimits. “I was only thinking Outerlimits,” Shaun Harrington said. Their 46-footer is the company’s third boat from the company.
John Makepeace, a cranberry farmer from Hallifax, Mass., was a pretty early customer, purchasing a 37 Stiletto with twin staggered 575-hp Mercury Racing engines in the summer of 1999. He moved up from a Formula 353 FAS3Tech. “I was figuring out things on my own and saw an ad for Outerlimits and it was right in my backyard,” said Makepeace. “I came down and met Mike and he took me out for a ride in a boat and I was sold like that. He spent a lot of time with me showing me how to run the boat and be safe.”
Participants in the Outerlimits Factory Fun Run fleet enjoyed some of the prettiest water Rhode Island has to offer during Saturday’s main event.
Makepeace has remained one of Outerlimits’ most loyal owners, following up the Stiletto with a 42 GTX powered by twin Mercury Racing HP900SCs. Then he bought a 42 Legacy from a local dealer but returned to a sit-down design with a 47 GTX. Next came a 51, another 42 Legacy and his current boat is a 42 GTX with twin 1075SCis.
“It was the boats, the performance and Mike,” said Makepeace who brought his son Wyley, an aspiring motocross racer, to the 30th anniversary run. “You became part of a family.”
When Blake and I went to the Borden Light run, the owner of the boat we rode in was Brian Mihelis of Hamilton, Mass. That was two Outerlimits models ago for Mihelis, who now has a 41-footer with twin Mercury Racing HP700SCis. “The boats are very well built and it’s a local company, but it’s also the friends and the relationships,” Mihelis said when asked what keeps him coming back to the company and gatherings like the 30th anniversary run.
Craig LaScola, his wife, Franka, and sons, Joey and Dominic, were all sporting Roll the Dice team shirts that match the family’s 46-footer powered by twin 1075s. Craig started with a 37 Stiletto and then built one of the rare diesel-powered Outerlimits boats before moving up to the 46-footer.
The Newport, R.I., lunch stop was simply spectacular.
“For a V-bottom, I don’t think there’s anything better,” said Craig LaScola, who added that the family will be participating in the Key West Poker Run again this year. “We all love it,” said Franka LaScola.
Outerlimits hosted the participants and extended family at the factory on Friday night where Kleitz unveiled the new SC 37 that will be powered by twin outboards as well as an open-cockpit version of the SC 46 that can have sterndrive or outboard power. Guests were treated to freshly made pizza and wings from a local food truck.
Outerlimits displayed what will be a new canopied SC 37 during the Friday night welcome celebration at the factory.
On arguably the first rain-free Saturday since Memorial Day weekend, the drivers gathered for a briefing at Borden Light Marina where Kleitz described the course that would lead from Fall River to Providence and then Newport for lunch at Stoneacre Gardens. The waterfront city known for the America’s Cup and the sailing museum and hall of fame graciously welcomed the loud, fast fleet.
After lunch, the boats headed to Bristol, R.I., where Outerlimits builds the boats and then it was a quick dash back to Borden Light. All told, the run covered about 75 miles.
When Dan Kleitz finally had a chance to breathe after organizing the event, he looked back on his 14 years with Outerlimits. He started working at the company part-time while attending Roger Williams University, which was near the factory. After graduating, he went to work full-time at the boat manufacturer.
The V-bottom fleet delivered every color off the rainbow.
“I met Mike briefly at runs and saw some of the guys at the poker runs and he said, ‘Do you want a job? and I said, sure,’” recalled Kleitz, who at 34 years old, has been through more than his share of turbulent waters. First Mike Fiore died after complications from injuries sustained in a boat crash in 2014.x
Then Joe Sgro, a customer who took over, died in a freak accident in 2017. Paul Fiore, who assumed the helm to keep his son’s legacy going, passed from a sudden illness in 2019.
“It probably wasn’t the 30 years that was envisioned for the company because we’ve been through a lot of ups and downs,” Kleitz said.
One thing, however, has remained constant. “The customers have stood by us,” he added.
That’s what family does.
Despite tragedy that easily could have ended the company, Outerlimits has logged 30 years of creating unforgettable high-performance V-bottoms and catamarans.
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