For John Hice, the owner of Gulf Coast Marine Services in Panama City Beach, Fla., his upcoming trip to the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout in Missouri is a bucket-list item that he can’t wait to tackle this year. For the rest of us, let’s hope that Hice decides to show off his super-powered 25-foot Warlock catamaran on the Shootout’s three-quarter-mile course on Saturday or Sunday (Aug. 25-26).
Either way, visitors to the popular Central Missouri lake are likely to see Hice, and several of his friends’ boats that are caravanning from Florida for the 30th annual event, running around the lake throughout the week in his Warlock 25 SVT powered by a single 1,300-hp T-53 turbine engine that produces a whopping 1,125 foot-pounds of torque.
“I’ve been wanting to go to the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout for several years so I told my crew we’re shutting down the shop for 10 days and we’re leaving here on the 18th to go have some fun in Missouri,” said Hice, who took the 25-footer to its first event at the end of June—the Jacksonville River Rally Fun Run in Florida. “I’m really looking forward to this trip and getting a chance to show off the boat we’ve worked so hard on for the last year.
“I’m probably going to run the boat in the Shootout, but it really depends on how I feel about the conditions,” he continued. “This boat is fast—it has ‘stupid power’ in it. Seriously, it accelerates from 40 to 100 mph in a couple of seconds.”
Hice isn’t making predictions for how fast the Warlock can run in three-quarters of a mile, but he said he’s driven it beyond 115 mph—and at that point the power output was just 52 percent. Currently the two-seater has an 18-degree-rake, 26-inch-pitch propeller with a 16 1/4-inch diameter as Hice propped it for acceleration rather than top speed. Not that he even knows what the top speed is, as he’s pretty certain the 25-foot hull isn’t big enough handle all of the power he has in the open-air engine hatch.
Hice made sure to thank several people who have assisted him with the project along the way, including his neighbor Steve Hoyt, James Grisham of Principle Propulsion Systems in Tucson, Ariz., Craig Sage of SC Gearbox in Bellevue, Ohio, and Mark Wilson of Wilson Custom Marine in Stuart, Fla. He said the Arneson ASD-8 drive on his Warlock is actually from the former King of Shaves Fountain Powerboats raceboat that Wilson’s son, Craig, raced for many years both internationally and in the U.S.
Hice is hoping the Warlock project could get his company some recognition as a “turbine” outfitter. In the process of re-rigging the boat—it had a carbureted 500-hp Mercury Racing 502 engine with an IMCO Marine Bravo-style drive when he acquired it—Hice and company moved the center of gravity 18 inches forward. He said the boat, which has a 260-gallon fuel capacity, is equipped with an all-encompassing Racepak system that provides instantaneous information on the engine, prop slip, etc.
“The boat seems to like anything above 60 mph,” Hice added. “I can’t wait to get out to Lake of the Ozarks and have some fun with it.”