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Performance Boating’s Next Generation: Catching Up With Alex Pratt

If you’ve had a chance to download the new digital magazine that went live last week, you may have noticed the youngest person featured in the inaugural Speed On The Water The Interview Issue was Alex Pratt. If you haven’t signed up for a subscription account yet, I recommend doing so now because there are 20-plus insightful interviews with many of the industry’s most fascinating and influential people in the new issue.

Alex Pratt has fallen in love with his 48-foot MTI powered by twin Mercury Racing 1550/1350 engines. Photo courtesy Alex Pratt

We chose to include the 25-year-old Pratt, who splits time between his hometown of Clearwater, Fla., and his other residence in Saint Joseph, Mich., where he heads up sales for Pratt Industries, a large custom trailer company, in nearby Bridgman, based on the boats we’d seen him running around in 2019, and because of his enthusiasm for the performance boating lifestyle.

Pratt’s boats included a Cigarette Racing Team 42X we saw him hammering down at the West Michigan Offshore Rock the Coast Fun Run last July as well as the jaw-dropping burnt orange Nor-Tech Hi-Performance Boats 450 Sport center console we spotted him in during the Florida Powerboat Club’s Key West Poker Run in November. Then in February, after attending the Miami International Boat Show, the retired motorcycle racer, who competed in Unlimited Supersport road events, picked up a 48-foot catamaran powered by Mercury Racing 1550/1350 engines from longtime MTI customer Johnny O’Loughlin—his first catamaran.

The boat was on display and available for demo rides at the Mercury Racing docks during the show and Pratt fell in love with it. He proceeded to use it in March for the MTI Owners Fun Run in the Florida Keys and then in early May at the Performance Boat Center Spring Fun Run on Central Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks. He left the 48-footer, which he described as “the coolest thing ever,” at Performance Boat Center and has returned several times to run it. In fact, he’s headed there today with his sister, Ashley Pratt, who Pratt said has zero performance boat experience so is in for a real eye-opener.

Check out the slideshow above more images of Pratt in his 48-foot MTI and his previous boats, a 42-foot Cigarette and a 45-foot Nor-Tech. Photos courtesy Alex Pratt, Pete Boden, Brad Glidewell and Florida Powerboat Club

“After having the MTI, I don’t know if I’ll ever go back to a V-bottom again; well, besides a center console—I’m looking to get a new one here pretty soon,” Pratt said. “I’m going to need a more economical boat and something that is more cruiser friendly, can hold more friends and is a little less stressful overall. The MTI is amazing, but it requires significant upkeep and it can be nerve-wracking when it’s at the docks and there is some guy in a rental pontoon who doesn’t know what he’s doing trying to park right next to it.

“It’s not the most economical boat to own either, although it’s pretty incredible that Mercury Racing builds such powerful engines and drives that stay together like they do for as long as they do,” he added. “I’m sure it helps that MTI knows how to rig a boat. It’s kind of mind-blowing actually when you think about how hard you can run a boat for such a long length of time and not have anything fail.”

Along with being part of a vastly successful trailer company that builds equipment for companies that specialize in everything from trucking and construction to wind power, oil/gas and more, Pratt said he’s been fortunate with several real estate property investments—the first of which allowed him, at age 19, to purchase a 1987 35 Café Racer that he rebuilt the drives on, fixed up a little and sold for more money than he had in it. A number of those investments, including a few of his boats, allowed him to become more engrossed in the powerboat world, especially over the past few years.

Pratt got into performance boats after retiring from racing motorcycles. Photo courtesy Alex Pratt

“I thought about cars to satisfy my need for speed but boating made the most sense because of the lack of speed limits on the water,” Pratt said, adding that he turned to go-fast boats because he gave up racing motorcycles after witnessing some friends die. “My first boat was the Café Racer and I worked my way up in a few years to a Cigarette 42X. My Cigarettes were great boats for learning to drive. The next boats I picked up (and have since sold) were the Nor-Tech 450 Sport and a 52-foot Outerlimits. The next boat was the 48-foot MTI, which has been a whole new experience.

“This is a fun industry and I’ve met some incredible friends because of it,” he continued. “Randy Scism and the whole MTI family have treated me so well. I grew up around the Chicago crowd and the South Florida crowd—they’re way rough compared to the Midwestern hospitality that the people at MTI, Performance Boat Center and more treat you with. It’s pretty refreshing.”

Pratt, who said he’s interested in trying offshore racing one of these days but is uncertain about the economics of it, had several poker runs on his hit-list this season. Unfortunately many of them have been cancelled, but he is planning to attend the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout and the Key West Poker Run for sure. And stay tuned, because at both of those events he has some big things planned, which we’ll be sharing soon on speedonthewater.com.

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