Final design of Outerlimits Offshore Powerboats’ new stepped 28-footer is nearly complete and hull tooling is done for its 36-foot sibling, according to Mike Fiore, the owner and founder of the Bristol, R.I.-based company. The new models will be the smallest offerings in the Outerlimits V-bottom line, which currently ranges from 40 to 52 feet.
“We just finished the hull tooling for the 36 and now we have to do the deck tooling,” Fiore told me early this morning. “And we’re just about done with the design for the 28.
“It’s going to be an epoxy, composite boat,” he added
Historically speaking, builders of large custom high-performance boats have not fared well when they’ve introduced smaller models. Fiore is cognizant of that fact, and said that the key is controlling construction costs.
“Obviously, we can’t build the 28 the same way we build our 52—we’d lose our shirts,” he said. “The 28 has to be a production-built boat. Our 44 is a monocoque, three-piece boat and we’re going to build the 28 the same way.”
At present, said Fiore, Outerlimits has eight boats—from 44 to 52 feet—in production, and has shipped 12 sets of its in-house-built, Whipple-supercharged engines with power ranging from 850 to 1,375 hp. But even with what would appear to be steady work, `Fiore said doing business in the current economy remains difficult.
“I would be absolutely lying if I said it isn’t tough,” he said. “Sure, we have eight boats going, but we’re not making a ton of money on them. We’re keeping our guys working and still making enough to develop some new models. I haven’t had a day off for 45 days, and I’m lucky to be able to say that.
“I’m also lucky to be doing what I love—building boats—and I’m young enough to see another turnaround,” he added. “But if there isn’t another one while I’m still at it, I am perfectly happy to build 14 or 15 boats a year.”