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Ready For A Desert Debut Do-Over: Restored Tommy Bahama MTI

Tom Mischke, the Gilbert, Ariz.-based owner of an MTI catamaran that began its life as the former Tommy Bahama raceboat and later was converted for recreational use, planned to unveil the meticulously restored 44-footer during the 2020 Desert Storm Poker Run in Lake Havasu City, Ariz. That didn’t happen with the event’s COVID-19-fueled cancellation, but if current plans hold he’ll have it at Super Cat Fest West, April 15-18, as well as the Desert Storm Poker Run, the following week.

At home in its toy barn in Parker, Ariz., the restored Tommy Bahama MTI catamaran owner by Tom and Julie Mischke (center) is slated to appear in the Super Cat Fest West and Desert Storm Poker Run events in April.

Though Mischke was disappointed after putting hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars into the famed, twin 800-hp, naturally aspirated Sterling Performance engines-powered MTI catamaran, last year’s Desert Storm cancellation didn’t dull his enthusiasm for project. With the boat’s restoration complete, he set his sights on building a “toy barn” to store it in Parker, Ariz., a quiet town on the shores of the Colorado River about 40 miles down the road from Lake Havasu City.

“This is going to sound crazy, but we haven’t splashed the boat since we got it back from (former Tommy Bahama crew chief) Douglas Hahn’s place in Virginia Beach (Va.) last year,” he said. “We ran it there but haven’t run it since in Arizona.

“We just finished up our toy barn for it in Parker,” he continued. “It will house Tommy Bahama, my jet boat and a couple of choppers. My wife, Julie, is putting a bar in. She’s making it into my man-cave.”

Mischke said he’s hoping to have Mark Nemschoff, Tommy Bahama’s original owner, run the cat with MTI principal Randy Scism, during one or both of the upcoming Lake Havasu events. If that happens, he’ll deck them out in new Tommy Bahama shirts created by Tyler Kaddatz of TK Kustoms.

“I would love to get shots of them running the boat,” said Mischke. “It’s a very nostalgic boat for MTI. I was talking to Cherell and Taylor Scism and they said Tommy Bahama was the boat that put MTI on the map in the offshore racing world.”

Mischke isn’t sure which events he’ll tackle after Desert Storm, though he said that the original Super Cat Fest at the Lake of the Ozarks in Central Missouri in late August is in his plans. (In the past several months, he’s gotten to know Alvin Heathman, the producer/promoter of both Super Cat Fest events.) He also may tackle a few poker runs in his MTI showstopper.

In the meantime, Mischke has another project to tackle.

“We’re going to expand the toy barn,” he said, then laughed. “We’re going to make it 80 by 80 feet.”

Thanks to a planned expansion, Tommy Bahama will have even more space in its relatively new home.

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