Texas performance boaters Chad Havens and Krissy Reese, who are engaged to be married, had big plans for a fun week at Lake of the Ozarks in Central Missouri. Unfortunately for them, Hurricane Laura destroyed pretty much everything they were hoping to enjoy—and accomplish—at the lake over the last week in their 40-foot Skater Powerboats catamaran named Savage.
Everything but the chance for Reese to run the 40-footer in the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout on Saturday, which she did thanks to a superb effort on the couple’s part to go back and forth from their home in Orange, to the lake via a private plane. Even that aspect didn’t go according to plan as yesterday’s weather delays at the Shootout prevented them from coming and going on Saturday because Reece and throttleman Anthony Smith of HP Mafia had to wait until 4 p.m. to make their only pass of the day—a respectable 146-mph top speed in the cat powered by a pair of dual-calibration Mercury Racing 1550/1350 engines that were in 1,350-hp mode.
“The experience wasn’t anywhere close to what we imagined it would be a few weeks ago, but considering the circumstances, it turned out pretty good,” Havens said on Saturday night from the Camden on the Lake Resort where his boat has been docked since Thursday. “We were supposed to get in early, which we did, and then let Krissy make a run or two before heading back to the airport for an afternoon flight home. Obviously that didn’t happen with the weather delays, but we stuck it out and, because the flight crew’s standby hours were too high, we had to stay the night.
“So we made the best of it and had a few drinks to celebrate with our friends who were supposed to run around with us all week,” he added, making sure to thank David Whelan of Gulf Coast Complete Marine Service for showing their friends a good time with a few runs around the lake, one of which was captured by speedonthewater.com chief photographer on Friday afternoon (see slideshow below). “This is the fifth poker run of the year that we paid for that we didn’t get to do. This one wasn’t cancelled like the others, but having to deal with a hurricane was not any fun so we needed to get out here at least for the day to keep our sanity.”
Check out the slideshow above for more images of the 40-foot Skater powered by twin Mercury Racing 1550/1350 engines.
Reese agreed, adding that boating is their favorite way to let their hair down. That and hunting.
“That was fun even though we only made the one run—I’m definitely happy I’m not wet anymore,” said Reese, who was hoping to reach 150 mph or better even though they decided it wasn’t worth changing fuel and putting the engines in 1550 mode for one pass. “I wasn’t nervous. I had all the faith in Anthony and I knew how much work had been done to the boat to prepare it for today. I also knew they weren’t going to put me in a boat that wasn’t ready.
“Honestly, I wish these Shootouts could go back to one a mile because three quarters of a mile seems a little too short,” added Reese, a Shootout first-timer who won the Queen of the Shootout at the Texas Outlaw Challenge in 2019 running the couple’s DCB M35 Widebody catamaran to a top speed of 135 mph. “You’ll absolutely see me again. That was only the beginning. We want to come back next year and enjoy the whole event like we were supposed to this year.”
Havens and Reese are now back at home after a week they will never forget. It started with Havens hauling the boat to the lake Tuesday morning, then he flew home to evacuate his family. His property, which includes the Tin Top Arena and Event Center, was expecting a 15- to 20-foot surge so they evacuated to Austin for a couple of days. From there he put plans in place to fly in and out on Saturday just for the Shootout.
He said he made it back to the house on Thursday and that a tornado tore through their 200-plus-acre ranch
“It did minimal damage to our house and probably $100,000+ in damage to the rodeo arena,” Havens said. “I spent Thursday evening clearing oak trees off of my driveway with the tractor. We’ll probably be depending on our generator for the next week or two until power is restored. David (Whelan) offered to bring the truck and boat home so we could get back to the family. He’s been such a blessing through all of this.”
Coverage Of The 2020 Lake Of The Ozarks Shootout
Repowered And Restyled Savage Skater All Set For Shootout Appearances
Savage Skater Getting New Mercury Racing 1550/1350 Engines And Fresh Interior