With 10 orders for its new 32-foot single-engine raceboat, Phantom Boats of Sarasota, Fla., will begin laminating the first canopied 32-footer this week. The hull mold was completed last week by High-Tech Composites LLC/Doug Wright Boats in Melbourne, Fla., and delivered to Smith’s new facility in Sarasota this past week.
Shown here with his new hull mold, Phantom’s Will Smith will begin lamination of his first new 32-foot hull this week.
The entire project, which has been in development for two years, is being backed by Jorge Arellano of JRA High-Performance Boat Sales, a new company in Ocala, Fla. In addition to ordering the boats, Arellano a businessman and philanthropist, paid for the plug and deck mold.
Smith already has completed a deck plug for the boat. After the first hull is popped from the molds, he’ll marry the tool deck to it and create a flanged deck mold for the model.
“We’ve waxed the mold and we’re just gathering the lamination materials,” Smith said. “I already have the deck plug done and the small parts molds complete. The hull mold is just beautiful.
“The object is to get it done so we can go race,” he added. “It’s going to be a hell of a year.”
For Smith and Arellano, a former offshore racer who stopped competing in 1994, the overall plan is bigger than producing a single raceboat for offshore powerboat racing’s most compelling canopied V-bottom class. Arellano said he wants to “bring new blood into the sport.”
“The price is structured to the mass of a performance boater, who normally could not afford a new race boat,” Arellano said. “The regular selling price will be between $300,000 to $370,00. There will be a special introductory price.”
To that end, Arellano said he plans to offer the first 10 boats in the “$250,000 to $260,000 range” with an IMCO Marine upper and lower drive attached to an Integrated Transom System—as well as an aluminum trailer—and a race-ready, single-carburetor engine from either Frank Mccomas or Chris Bowers.
“One thing that will remain the same for the next four years,” Arellano said. “The boat, and the bottom will not change for the next four years, though Will Smith and I have agreed to let individuals who buy the boats do their own blueprinting. But all the boats will weigh the same and the bottoms will be the same for all production.”
After Smith completes hull-and-deck construction and the respective engine men finish the engines, the boats and powerplants will be sent H3 Marine Concepts in Winterville, N.C., for engine installation and rigging work. Arellano said that engines will be installed on a rail system with short, long and medium drive shafts offered as options, so center of gravity can be adjusted to meet the demands of different race courses on the Offshore Powerboat Association, Super Boat International and Race World Offshore circuits.
Arellano and Smith said their goal is to have at least one to two boats sold and racing this year.
“Each boat will run in one race and sold as ‘used,’ ” Arellano said. “If the buyer wants to put down a 50-percent, non-refundable deposit he can run in the first race with Will. “I haven’t taken any deposits yet because I don’t have a working product to sell. But I will.
“Our goal is to build the class,” he continued. “We believe that without bringing new blood into the sport, there won’t be a sport in the future.”