Of course there were many magnetizing new boats from a variety of high-performance boat manufacturers running around Central Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks last week. Among the most attention-getting boats at the lake for the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout and Super Cat Fest was a stunning raceboat conversion project—the iconic Popeye 47-foot Fountain Powerboats V-bottom constructed at Douglas Marine/Skater Powerboats in Douglas, Mich.—owned by Illinois performance boater Ryan Retter of Retter Engine Development in Colfax.
Illinois performance boater Ryan Retter dropped his impressive Popeye project boat in the water for the first time last week at the Lake of the Ozarks in Central Missouri. Photos courtesy Ryan Retter and Adam Low.
Retter, who bought the boat with the intention of “cleaning it up” and putting a pair of his turbocharged LS-based marine engines in it to showcase the cutting-edge engine and EFI technology capabilities offered by the full-service engine shop his father started in 1968, said he was excited to finally put the boat in the water and start testing it. He figured what better place to do that than at the Lake of the Ozarks during what is one of the busiest weeks of the year on the lake.
Despite a mad dash to get it wrapped up and over to the lake late last week, Retter said his shakedown of the V-bottom, which was repaired and painted by Boat Customs in Caledonia, Mich., and rigged by Marine Dynamics in Byron Center, Mich., and its RED 900 engines and Arneson ASD-8 drives went really well.
“We had an awesome time at the lake—as we usually do when we hang out there during Shootout week—but I will never forget this trip because of everyone’s reaction to seeing the boat for the first time,” Retter said. “It was cool to have so many people come up and want to see the boat or find out what it is. I had a few guys ask, ‘Is that the Popeye boat?’ but most people came up and asked, “What is this?” because it you can’t tell from the lines. It’s like a Skater in the back, a Fountain in the front and an MTI in the middle. It really is a neat boat.
“The boat looks better in the water, too,” he added. “I know that’s normally the case, but when you see it sitting in the water, it looks so cool. Everything went well with the testing. We found a couple of leaks the first time we put it in the water. We have a couple of adjustments we want to make, but for the most part, the boat ran great. We spent all weekend running around the lake. We took it over to Dog Days and we also drove it over to Redhead Yacht Club and Performance Boat Center to show it off. The reaction to it was incredible everywhere we went.”
Check out the slideshow above for more images of Retter’s Popeye V-bottom at Lake of the Ozarks.
Adam Low of Marine Dynamics was on hand with Retter for the boat’s maiden voyage, and had a fantastic time at the lake.
“We had tons of fun at the Shootout,” Low said. “That is, by far, the best event I’ve ever been to. The whole place is awesome. We will definitely be going back any chance we get.”
Retter said he’d like to take the boat—the former national and world championship-winning raceboat that was built in 1998 for racer Dominic Visconsi Jr.—on the Florida Powerboat Club’s Key West Poker Run in November, although he’s not sure if he will make it whether it happens or not. He does plan to take it in the club’s Miami Boat Show Poker Run in February as well as take it to Arizona for the Desert Storm Poker Run in April.
Coverage Of The 2020 Lake Of The Ozarks Shootout
Blow Me Down! New Popeye Fountain/Skater V-Bottom Is Out Of This World
Boat Customs Going Back To Basics
Marine Dynamics Open For Rigging And More In West Michigan
Skater 338 Receives Incredible Make Over And Mercury Racing 860 Repower