If you caught the first part of our annual Top 10 Go-Fast Boating Stories of the Year commentary, which went live yesterday, you revisited quite a few noteworthy stories from 2021. My speedonthewater.com partner Matt Trulio led off in strong fashion, and now it’s my turn to wrap it up. As the de facto art director and production manager for the 2021 Speed On The Water Year In Review issue, which went to the printer today, I had to get a few things off my plate before tackling my list.
But now I’m ready, so here goes.
1. In The Lead Video Series Breaks New Ground
Getting a chance to produce feature stories—with people such as Performance Boat Center’s Brett Manire and Mark Waddington—in a video format was a treat for the speedonthewater.com team. Photo by Ryan Wenk
Anyone who even barely knows me knows I don’t like to brag about our projects. I’d rather let the work speak for me. But in the performance boat world, there has never been anything like our seven-episode In The Lead video series powered by Mercury Racing with support from MYCO Trailers and Hamilton Marine Finance. Not a tired mash-up of boats, babes and subpar music, the documentary-style series focused on telling seven stories of nine people—Grant Bruggemann, Tony Chiaramonte, John Cosker, Nils Johnsen and Trond Schou of Nor-Tech, Brett Manire and Mark Waddington of Performance Boat Center, Shaun Torrente and Justin Wagner, all of whom make a difference in the go-fast boating world. We had a blast working with Brad DiMaggio and Ryan Wenk of Scrapyard Media. And we get to do it again—with fresh subjects and a whole bunch of other new wrinkles—in 2022.
2. Mercury Marine Unveils Verado 600 Outboard
The new Mercury Marine Verado 600 V-12 engine was designed for larger boats, such as the 500 Super Spot Crossover from Formula Boats. Photo courtesy Formula Boats
Though the Verado 600 outboard engine isn’t a necessarily a “high-performance” outboard engine of the likes that come out of Mercury Racing, it is a 600-hp, V-12 beast, which makes it a first in both departments. The engine is meant for big, heavy boats such as Formula Boats 500 Super Sport Crossover, and it has all kinds of technologically advanced features. The most noteworthy of these is that the twin-counter-rotating propeller lower unit—rather than engine’s powerhead—does the steering. That means the powerhead doesn’t move, which translates to more usable transom space.
3. Lake Of The Ozarks Shootout Sets Donation Record
Lake of the Ozarks Shootout committee members were extremely excited to donate $445,000 to 40 different local charities. Photo courtesy Diana Dorhauer
Since my earliest Powerboat magazine days, Central Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks Shootout has been near and dear to my heart. Of course, I dig all the action of the Shootout itself and all the events such as Super Cat Fest and the Shootout On The Strip that surround it, but what has always mattered most to me is the money it raises for the impoverished people who live just a few miles from the famed waterway. This year, Lake of the Ozarks Shootout organizer Ron Duggan and his team raised $445,000 for local charities that serve that population in need. Nothing makes me happier, and nothing makes me more honored and proud to be a member of the Bob Morgan Memorial Lake of the Ozarks Shootout Hall of Fame.
4. Good Boy Vodka Takes Industry By Storm
What’s one way to get attention for your vodka brand? Make a turbine-powered canopied 50-foot Mystic catamaran your billboard. Photo by Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix
Alex Pratt, the face of the Good Boy Vodka brand, is from Michigan—but you wouldn’t know it based on the amount of time he spends in Missouri at the Lake of the Ozarks. That’s where Pratt, who owns a turbine engine-powered 50-foot Mystic catamaran advertising the spirit, launched the brand, which now has a hard seltzer product, at the lake in 2020. He went big at the lake again in 2021 during the annual Lake of the Ozarks Shootout week, and then Pratt also took his polished marketing act on the road and finished the year in Key West, Fla., where Good Boy Vodka not only was the “Official Vodka of the Race World Offshore Key West Championships” but helped support the annual Speed On The Water Key West Bash, which raised $81,000 for Samuel’s House, a local charity.
5. Crockett Drops Jaws With Shootout Record
Tyler Crockett’s 132-mph pass at the 2021 Lake of the Ozarks raised a lot of eyebrows. Photo by Pete Boden
It takes a special kind of unhinged human to drive a single-engine V-bottom to 132 mph from a near-standing-start in three quarters of a mile, but that’s exactly what Tyler Crockett did on the second day of the 2021 Lake of the Ozarks Shootout. An engine-builder and former offshore racer in his own right, the Ruby, Mich.-based Shootout veteran pulled it off in his 26-foot Joker powerboat equipped with a 3,000-plus-hp engine of his own creation. And he’s already working on upping the bar next year.
• Tiki Lee’s Launches Triple Threat Event—For his first-year event, David Carey, the super-ambitious owner of Tiki Lee’s Dock Bar in Sparrows Point, Md., incorporated a poker run, a kilometer record event and a top-speed shootout into a single weekend.
• The Hookcups Go Viral—Designed as a tool for raft-ups, The Hookcups are a new product we thought might interest our readers. So we published a story. We had no idea it would be one of our best-read stories of the year.