About Matt Trulio

Matt Trulio is the co-publisher and editor in chief of speedonthewater.com, a daily news site with a weekly newsletter and a new bi-monthly digital magazine that covers the high-performance powerboating world. The former editor-in-chief of Sportboat magazine and editor at large of Powerboat magazine, Trulio has covered the go-fast powerboat world since 1995. Since joining boats.com in 2000, he has written more than 200 features and blogs.

Pyburn Targeting for 175-Plus mph at Shootout

Caught up with Bill Pyburn via email a few days ago. Well-known to poker-run enthusiasts around the country for his ongoing top-speed battle with Gino Gargiulo, who owns and drives the 44-foot-long Marine Technology, Inc., Mercedes, catamaran, Pyburn said that he will defend his Class 4 title at the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout, August 28-29 in Missouri.

Pyburn’s 388 Skater catamaran, Pure Platinum, is powered by twin 1,350-hp Chief engines.

“It should run in the mid-175-mph range,” Pyburn said.

Yet another aquatic rocket to look forward at this year’s Shootout.

Lake of the Ozarks Shootout: Beyond the Boats

Without question, the catamarans and V-bottoms running at “ludicrous speeds”—OK, I confess, I saw and actually liked “Spaceballs”—are the highlight of the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout, set this year for August 23-29. Next up in terms of sights to see is the fleet lining the course. For more than a mile, you could walk from spectator boat to spectator boat without dipping a toe in the water, and maybe even get a cold one or two along the way.

But according to Ron Duggan, the principal organize of the event, there are a whole bunch of new things to keep you busy before speed the runs on Saturday and Sunday. They include:

Monday: Personal watercraft run to the dam.

Tuesday: The Great Shootout Treasure Hunt, from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Captain Ron’s.

Wednesday: The Mini-Shootout at Captain Ron’s from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. with radio-controlled boats. Designated boat drivers probably aren’t required.

•Wednesday: Shootout on the Strip Street Party on Bagnell Dam Strip, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Thursday: Make A Wish Foundation Powerboat Rides 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., departing from and returning to Captain Ron’s

Thursday: Low-Profile Celebrity Volleyball Tournament, 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Captain Ron’s

Friday: Fireworks Display, 9:30 p.m., at Captain Ron’s.

Speed Shootout Will be Family Affair for Janssen

More than a month away, this year’s Lake of the Ozarks Shootout August 23-29 is looking to be another classic speed battle on the liquid mile. Already committed to being there is local favorite Dave Scott, who took Top Gun honors last year for his 196-mph run in Nauti Marine, a 50-foot Mystic catamaran.

On the V-bottom front, Michael “Doc” Janssen will return with Saratoga Stampede, a 42-foot-long Fountain recently re-powered with Mercury Racing 1025/1200 engines, to defend his 2009 Top Gun V-bottom title. Janssen earned the honor last year with a top speed of 136 mph.

“We are going to push the envelope for Top Gun V-bottom,” said Janssen.

But Janssen isn’t limiting his efforts to one class at the Missouri event. In fact, he’s bringing two more boats: Taz, a 47-foot-long Fountain with twin Mercury Racing 1075SCI engines and Watch Your Back, a 30-foot-long Fountain with a Mercury Racing 525EFI engine. What’s more, his son, Brian, daugher, Madisen and Brian Forehand (from Fountain Powerboats) will help him with the piloting duties.

“We’re looking for Top Gun and three class winners in 2010,” said Janssen.

Deep Impact Adding 39- and 42-foot Center Consoles

Caught up with Tim Gallagher, sales director for center-console boat builder Deep Impact Boats in Miami. According to Gallagher, the CNC tooling for the company’s new 39-foot-long center console, which will be offered with triple or quad outboard engines, is being completed and the CNC tooling for the builder’s new 42-footer has begun.

“We will get under construction with the new 39 very shortly and the first one should be ready for the February (2011) Miami Show,” said Gallagher. “The first model will be fully open with center seating. We will follow up with a cabin model.”

Pricing has yet to be established, according to Gallagher.

“We have tons going on here,” said Gallagher, who left Cigarette Racing Team to join Deep Impact. “The main reason I came here is because of this company’s aggressive attitude, even in this economy. These guys are moving forward.”

In Other Deep Impact News

•The company’s Miami Heat center console will grace the cover of the next issue of Ocean Drive magazine. Onboard the 36-footer with quad 350-hp Verado outboards from Mercury Racing will be the Heat’s latest acquistion, LeBron James.

Mystics at Lake of the Ozarks Shootout: What Will Compete?

Dave’s Scott’s 4,000-hp Nauti Marine catamaran won’t be the only 50-foot Mystic at the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout August 23-29, but it could be the only one running. That’s according to John Cosker, the owner and found of Mystic Powerboats in DeLand, Fla.

“Hopefully, JBS is going up, but they had some problems with their turbines two weekends ago so we’ll see,” said Cosker.

“We should be able to make it,” said Jeff Stevenson the owner of JBS Racing, which is moving its turbine engine program in-house from Turbine Marine. “We’re planning on being there.”

StIf JBS does make it, the cat will be driven by Stevenson and throttled by Joe Skrocki.

“Don Onkan is talking about going as well in the new open-cockpit 50 we’re building for him with twin V-16 engines—I think he’s making 1,600 or 1,700 horsepower a side—but I’m not sure that his drives will be ready,” added Cosker. “But he’s going to bring the boat, even if it’s just on display.”

Scott to Defend Top Gun Title

Former offshore racing notable Dave Scott can be one of the most gracious, engaging people you’ll ever meet. Back when he was racing in the various Anheuser-Busch-backed catamarans including Bud Light and Bacardi Silver with John Tomlinson, he and his crew would spend hour and hour talking with fans of all kinds. Scott was endlessly accessible. He was a truly great—and is a sorely missed—ambassador for the sport.

Heck, he might even buy you a Bud Light or Bacardi Silver after work hours.

But make no mistake, Scott is one fiery competitor. That’s especially true when it comes to the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout. First, the event, which happens this year from August 23-30, is on his home water in Missouri. Second—he doesn’t like to lose.

“We plan on defending our Top Gun title again,” Scott told me in a recent email. “We’re bringing the Nauti Marine 50-foot Mystic powered by two 2,000-hp blown alcohol engines built by my guy ‘Lucky’ Bodenbach. Lucky was on my “Budweiser” crew and now owns a high-performance engine business named New Century Performance. We ran 196 mph last year for the Shootout’s Top Gun honors and would like to equal or exceed that speed.”

Even with some of the serious hardware reportedly coming to this year’s Lake of the Ozarks Shootout—more on that in tomorrow’s blog—I sure wouldn’t bet against him.

Braver on Cigarette AMG: “Running Like a Dream”

About six months ago, Cigarette Racing Team made a big-splash with its AMG-inspired 46-footer powered by twin 1,350-hp turbocharged engines from Mercury Racing at the Miami International Boat Show. But since then, the boat has fallen off radar.

So where it is now?

“It’s right below me,” said Skip Braver, owner and chief executive officer of Cigarette Racing Team in Opa-Locka, Fla., whose office has a picture window that looks into the main plant. “I’ve been driving the heck out of it. We have over 100 hours on it. The boat is running like a dream. It handles like a 525 (Mercury Racing 525EFI engine) boat around the docks.”

The bigger question: How fast is it?

“I won’t give you that number,” said Braver. “But it goes faster than any production Cigarette has ever gone.”

According to a closely placed source, the public will get its first look at the Cigarette AMG in action today as part of the Mercedes-Benz AMG Fashion Week event.

Spellberg at Cigarette Racing Team

Movement of one person or another within the high-performance powerboat industry doesn’t usually qualify as news for the average go-fast boat enthusiast. But when someone who is as well known outside the industry as he is inside it makes a change, it’s worth reporting.

That’s the case with Vic Spellberg, the former director of sponsor promotions for Formula Boats/Thunderbird Products who has joined Cigarette Racing Team as director of sales and promotion. Based in Opa-Locka, Fla., Cigarette Racing Team is a short drive—brutal South Florida traffic notwithstanding—from Spellberg’s home in Fort Lauderdale

“Loving the ‘performance’ side of the business, I see Cigarette as a brand, epitomizing that lifestyle,” said Spellberg in a press release from Cigarette, “With my experience in racing and my long affiliation with such a variety of boats in the industry, I think I’m in a good position to help prospective Cigarette customers assess their needs and boating styles.  That’s a key to finding the right boat for the right person.”

Like Skip Braver, the chief operating officer and owner of Cigarette Racing Team, Spellberg is from Chicago and cut his high-performance boat teeth on the waters of Lake Michigan. Unlike Braver, Spellberg is a former offshore racer who teamed up with Scott Porter, the chief executive officer of Formula, to run a 30-foot Formula in the late 1970s. Spellberg continued to race through the mid-1980s, winning back-to-back Southeast Divisional Championships in 1985 and 1986

“As Cigarette’s customer base and business broadens, we need someone who can be the liaison between the factory, customers and dealers,” said Braver in the release. “We need someone who not only knows boating, but also the importance of top-quality customer service.  We think that is where Vic is going to be very valuable to Cigarette.  We work as a team here and he has those teamwork qualities.”

“We have a simple goal here—build the best-running, most reliable, safe and well-designed performance boat on the market,” Braver added. “We work at that every day and look forward to Vic’s contribution to that goal.”

Shore Dreams: One Boat Closer

Just checked in with Mike Fiore of Outerlimits Offshore Boats in Bristol, R.I. Earlier today, Fiore agreed to bring and pilot a boat at the July 17 Shore Dreams for Kids event in Seaside Heights, N.J.

“I’m bringing a 44-footer down there,” said Fiore. “I think it’s the second or third time I’ve done it. It’s a wonderful event.”

That’s good news for the annual charitable event, which provides a day of boat rides for mentally and physically challenged children and adults, because the organizers—most notably the New Jersey Performance Powerboat Club—are a little short on boats this year.

In related—but equally good—news, Tony Frisina, the owner of Spectre Powerboats and Chris Cestaro of Ocean Performance, are teaming up to provide rides in several Spectre models at Shore Dreams.

“We are still looking for boats,” said Dave Patnaude, NJPPC president.

Spectre Adding 30-Foot V-Bottom

Just got off the phone with John Cunningham of Spectre Powerboats, who said that the company’s new SV300 V-bottom is being laid up and should be ready by October. Base price for the 30-footer, which will ride on a 24-degree single-step hull, with an 8.2-litre engine will be $164,352.

“We’ve taken all the fat out of the pricing,” said Cunningham. “We understand where the economy is and we understand it will be a couple of years before it comes back.”

Cunningham described the 30-footer as ‘family sport boat”—with a full cabin and a V-berth—designed and built for running on lakes and bays. The boat will be offered with a single big-block engine, twin small-block engines or twin big-block engines. Although custom paint will be available, Spectre currently is designing a standard graphics package for the new model.

In a larger sense, the new 30-footer represents a move by Spectre, which made its name on high-performance catamarans, to expand its product line.

“What we’re trying to do is build a boat company for everyone,” Cunningham explained. “It’s very hard to just build cats and survive in this market.

“Our 260 Roadster center console is very popular,” he added. “It’s really selling.”

Future model releases for Spectre reportedly include a 40-foot V-bottom as well as 36- and 43-foot catamarans.