The owner of Classic Performance Restorations in Gilbert, Ariz., Tom Mischke had hoped to have the fully restored pleasure version of the former Tommy Bahama MTI raceboat ready in time for the 2019 Desert Storm Poker Run in Lake Havasu City, Ariz. But work and family obligations interceded and the detail-oriented Mischke had no pressing deadline for the revival of the famed 44-footer. Getting the job done to his standards was more important than simply getting the job done.
Restored to perfection, one of the most famous former raceboats in MTI history will be part of the West’s biggest go-fast boating event in April (click image to enlarge).
But with a pair of new 650-cubic-inch, naturally aspirated 800-hp engines from Sterling Performance engines, the catamaran hit the water last fall in Virginia Beach, Va., under the watchful eyes of Douglas Hahn, the former Tommy Bahama team crew chief. Mischke was joined by Mark Nemschoff, the former owner of the boat.
“It was the first time the boat had been back in the water since 2006, and it was fanastic,” Mischke said. “We brought it back to Arizona and Mark and I are going to retest it in mid-February.
“I have registered the boat for the 2020 Desert Storm Poker Run and Street Party, and it will be there,” he added “We probably won’t do the top-speed shootout—we didn’t build it for that.”
Mischke credited Christy Wright at WIA Marine Insurance with helping him get proper coverage for the 44-footer. That was essential to him.
“Christy jumped through hoops for me,” he said. “Her customer service is phenomenal.”
Mischke was in no rush to finish the Tommy Bahama restoration, and his patience was rewarded in the finished product.
During the 2019 Christmas holiday, Mark Nemschoff and his son, Paul, visited Mischke and his prized MTI. Mischke said it’s possible that one or both members of the former father-and-son offshore racing duo might join him for the Desert Storm happening (April 22-26).
“I am trying to get them to come out and run the boat with me,” he said. “That would be amazing. Mark is super happy with how it turned out.
“When they visited, Paul brought his two sons and they crawled all over the boat,” he continued. “They had a ball seeing the boat their dad and grandpa had raced.”