From a 37-foot Active Thunder V-bottom to a 32-foot stern-drive Skater Powerboats catamaran to—most recently—a 34-foot MTI cat with Mercury Racing outboard engine power, South Florida’s Greg Harris and Yvonne Alemán have positive things to say about every boat they’ve shared since 2015. But all of those boats were pre-owned, and their ultimate goal was to build a new boat of their own when the time, finances and model in question were right.
Yvonne Alemán got her first turn behind the wheel of a DCB Performance Boats M37R Widebody powered by Mercury Racing 450R engines with the DCB’s Tony Chiaramonte, and she was dazzled by its performance. Photo by Jeff Helmkamp/Helmkamp Photos
Now the couple has a DCB Performance Boats M37R Widebody catamaran under construction by the El Cajon, Calif., company and—in what has been a longtime dream for Harris, a Floridian to his core—it will be showcased at the 2022 Miami International Boat Show.
Harris and Alemán began looking at new catamarans almost two years ago, but as a former Stock-class offshore racer he wanted one with a full tunnel as opposed to a hull with two sponsons and a short center pod. As it happened, DCB had exactly that in the works with the M37R. Jeff Johnston, the president of the company, and Harris have been friends for more than 10 years. (They got to know one another when Johnston was working at Hering Propellers.) They kept in touch through the development of the 37-footer, which debuted at the 2020 Lake of the Ozarks Shootout with a 120-mph pass on the three-quarter-mile course.
A right side perspective of the Miami Boat Show-slated M37R catamaran’s asymmetrical gelcoat graphics.
Alemán even got a turn behind the wheel of hull No. 1 with DCB’s Tony Chiaramonte throttling during the Central Missouri event.
“They asked me for feedback and I loved it, except I told them I wanted a place to be able to put my cell phone within reach easy reach,” Alemán said, then laughed.
Flash forward to April, 2021. Harris and Alemán are boat-less—they weren’t up for hauling their MTI 340X from Florida to Arizona—at the inaugural Super Cat Fest West event. They spent a lot of time watching Chiaramonte and Johnston “working their butts off the whole time to support their customers,” as Alemán put it, and even took a field trip to the DCB facility.
During the next few months via text messages, Johnston let Harris know that the company was going to showcase an M37R at the 2022 Miami event. The boat would soon be heading into gelcoat but had no current owner. That, plus the availability of a new, top-tier custom creation in months rather than years was enough to set the hook for the couple.
In July, Alemán and Harris put down a deposit and soon after listed their 34-footer for sale. (The boat has since sold.) And then they began the order process with Johnston.
A left side perspective of the Miami Boat Show-slated M37R catamaran’s asymmetrical gelcoat graphics.
“I was terrified it was going to be painful but I can’t tell you how easy Jeff made it,” Alemán said. “I would get on the phone and say something like, ‘I want the gelcoat design to be swooshier. And sure enough, Jeff would send me something swooshier. It was so crazy easy and fun.”
Both Harris and Alemán quickly learned the limitations of gelcoat versus paint. But their finished product will have five colors on a predominantly silver base.
“I told Jeff that more than anything else it had to be as close to an actual paintjob as gelcoat can get,” Harris said. “At the end of the day, it’s going to be killer. We decided to go with an asymmetrical design.”
Quipped Alemán, “But my side will be prettier.”
Said Johnston of one of DCB’s most elaborate gelcoat jobs to date, “From each side, it’s going to look like two completely different boats.”
For Johnston, having such a high-profile yet down-to-earth couple as the first South Florida residents to own an M37R cat is ideal. While far from abandoning center-pod hull designs for most of its catamarans, the 37-footer is targeted at buyers who appreciated DCB’s unmatched workmanship and creativity but wanted a full-tunnel hull design.
“Greg and I have been good friends for a long time and I couldn’t be happier that he and Yvonne, who’s also become a good friend, are joining the DCB family,” he said. “We have DCB customers on the East Coast, but Greg and Yvonne are joining Ken and Renee Lalonde of New York as the first East Coasters with an M37R. And that was exactly what we were going for with this model.”
Johnston paused, then laughed hard.
“OK, I admit that Jamie, our gelcoat guy, wants to gouge my eyes out,” he said. “Yvonne and Greg wanted some black blended into the silver to make it darker and that isn’t easy, but Jamie absolutely nailed it. And the asymmetrical design is going to be super cool. From each side, it’s going to look like two completely different boats. It’s unique.
“But we are a boutique, custom high-performance builder,” he added. “That’s what we do. We sweat every detail.”
Which explains why the boat will not have just one easy-to-reach cell phone pocket—per Alemán’s suggestion from more than a year ago—but two.
Flanked by Johnston (left) and Chiaramonte, Harris and Alemán couldn’t be more delighted with DCB’s boutique design and order process so far.
Editor’s note: Look for updates on this DCB M37R Widebody catamaran build as the project progresses.
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