Beyond what my articulate partner Matt Trulio wrote in his story yesterday reflecting on this unforgettable year and all the negative news that was outnumbered significantly by positive, feel-good stories, all I can say is that I’m not at all surprised by the way the performance boat community made the best of a challenging situation that was felt worldwide when the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted everyone’s lives.
As you can see from his top stories of the year as well as mine below, there was no shortage of incredible news. And, as Trulio stated, our beautiful 196-page Speed On The Water 2020 collector’s edition magazine that printed just this week is sure to prove it. (You can order copies of the magazine here if you haven’t already purchased it.)
So, without further ado, here are my five picks for the stories of the year—newsworthy items that I believe will have a lasting effect on the industry.
Between the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout and many other happenings on the popular Missouri waterway, the Lake of the Ozarks was an oasis of sorts for high-performance powerboat owners this season. Photo by Tom Leigh/Tommy Gun Images
In a typical year, the late-August Lake of the Ozarks Shootout and the accompanying Super Cat Fest in Central Missouri is at or near the top of the list of the nation’s best events. And thanks to the lake region’s continued growth in large part due to Performance Boat Center and Redhead Yacht Club along with other local businesses ranging from Big Thunder Marine, Marine Concepts and Waves and Wheels to Camden on the Lake Resort, Coconuts Caribbean Beach Bar and Grill, Dog Days and more, the lake has become a destination for powerboaters from all parts of the country starting before Memorial Day and running well past Labor Day. Of course this year, with the lake being one of the only non-pandemic-restricted destinations to go to, boaters flocked to the lake whether there was an event taking place or not. In fact, the lake saw more than twice as many visitors as its annual average of 5.4 million people.
With its jaw-dropping M37R Widebody catamaran, DCB Performance Boats took positive steps to expand its reach. Photo by Tom Leigh
The team at DCB Performance Boats in El Cajon, Calif., had a lot riding on the debut of its first new M37R Widebody full-tunnel catamaran powered by Mercury Racing 450R outboard engines. Fortunately for everyone on the team, as well as the owners of the first three 37-foot cats that were delivered since hull No. 1 was introduced during Super Cat Fest at Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri at the end of August, the reception was overwhelmingly positive and the initial sales of the 37-footer has supported that. The beautifully finished boat that was designed by Franco Gianni of SFG Yacht Design & Management in Miami has some amazing attributes and some serious style combined with DCB’s impeccable attention to detail and extraordinary level of craftsmanship.
Thanks to boaters such as New York’s Michael Tandoi, who brought Out of Control, his 40-foot Skater Powerboats catamaran powered by Mercury Racing 860 engines, to the Key West Poker Run, the Florida Powerboat Club’s 28th annual event was another winner. Photo by Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix
We all know Key West, Fla., holds a special place in the hearts of high-performance powerboat lovers. That was proven again in 2020 with the Florida Powerboat Club’s season-ending Key West Poker Run, which attracted 162 boats and more than 500 participants despite the absence of offshore powerboat races and large-event gatherings. And while Duval Street was not as lively as usual, the docks in front of the Conch Republic Seafood restaurant, the event’s longtime home base, were buzzing with activity. Without any races to contend with on Friday, FPC head Stu Jones organized a day trip to Woman Key that attracted more than 80 boats. And when all was said and done, Jones and his team were beyond thrilled with how smoothly the 28th annual event went and how nicely it closed out what was a rather challenging season for the club.
Nor-Tech showed off its beautiful new 460 Flyer powered by quad Mercury Racing 450R engines at the inaugural Roar Offshore Fun Run (above) in Cape Coral, Fla., in October and then took it to the Key West Poker Run the following month. Photo by Pete Boden
By far one of the most unique boats in this year’s Florida Powerboat Club Key West Poker Run, Nor-Tech Hi-Performance Boats’ beautiful new 460 Flyer powered by quad Mercury Racing 450R engines also was one of the standout boats of the year thanks to its elegant and stylistic design that Nils Johnsen, the Fort Myers, Fla., company’s primary designer who co-owns the business with Trond Schou, came up with. Not only did Nor-Tech expand on one of its most unique offerings—the 360 Flyer—to ever leave Johnsen’s design studio, the manufacturer took the 46-foot boat, which included a power-convertible hardtop, a wide-open cockpit and the ability to cruise at full speed in any kind of water, to another level. Although I don’t know for certain, it seems likely we’ll see more 460 Flyers from Nor-Tech in 2021.
MTI owner Randy Scism spent most of the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout week giving demo rides in the company’s latest MTI 390X catamaran powered by Mercury Racing 450R engines. Photo by Pete Boden
Along with catering to its customers through its South Florida service center and its well-organized owners fun runs, the team at MTI in Wentzville, Mo., has continued the momentum created several years ago when it introduced its MTI-V 42 luxury performance center consoles and followed that up a few years later with its 340X catamaran powered by a pair of outboard engines. Since then, the outboard-powered boats have dominated the company’s production allowing MTI to release its MTI-V 57 “super console” and its more robust 390X twin-engine catamaran. And in February, owner Randy Scism announced that MTI was building a new 50-foot center console to fit between the 42- and 57-footers that is expected to hit the water in early 2021. Gone are the days of building double-digit sterndrive-powered offshore catamarans a year—although the company did deliver a few 48-footers this year and a 52-foot beauty during the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout in August—as the demand for 34- and 39-foot cats, not to mention 42-foot center consoles, far exceeds the demand for 48- and 52-foot cats.
Top Stories Of 2020, Part I
Top 10 Stories Of 2019, Part I
Top 10 Stories Of 2019, Part II
The Biggest Stories Of The Decade
2018 Stories Of The Year, Part I: Another Memorable Year
2018 Stories Of The Year, Part II: More Memorable News
2017 Stories Of The Year, Part II: Almost All Positive
2017 Stories Of The Year, Part I: Triumph And Tragedy
2016 Stories Of The Year, Part II
2016 Stories Of The Year, Part I
Ongoing COVID 19-Related Coverage