Although the Mercury Racing 565 engine with digital throttle and shift hasn’t taken off as quickly as Fred Kiekhaefer and the rest of the crew at the Fond Du Lac, Wis., company had hoped, orders for the newest member of Mercury high-performance family are picking up. One latest pairs of 565s is now in the hands long-established custom go-fast builder Active Thunder Powerboats in Pompano Beach, Fla.

Active Thunder 37 Express

With its transom painted prior to engine installation, the Active Thunder 37' Excess is ready for its twin Mercury Racing 565s.

The company is installing a pair of the 565-hp engines in one of its 37’ Excess stepped-hull V-bottoms. The full-cabin, Ferrari-red boat with a 3,000-watt stereo with ten speakers and a billet aluminum swim platform, is being built “on spec” for the 2013 Miami Boat Show where it will be on display. As such, the 37-footer will have a $314,000 “show special” sticker price.

“We expect it to run in the low 90-mph range with the 565s,” said Patrick Haughey, the owner of Active Thunder Powerboats.  “We build a heavy boat—it will weigh 10,000 pounds—so we don’t expect it to be much faster than that.”

Haughey described the last four years in the go-fast boat business as “the roughest ever,” but said he is cautiously optimistic that business will pick up next season.

“We’ve been struggling like everyone else, but we’re still here,” he said. “I think this new 37 with the 565s is a great package at a great price, and I think it will really kick things off for us in 2013.”