Frisini Motorsports made a bold—maybe even risky—move earlier this year when it pulled out of the Miami International Boat Show at the last minute. That’s because when a high-performance powerboat builder "misses Miami,” speculation (often fueled by the competition) on the builder’s financial health and future begins. And to be honest, there was no shortage of loose talk and rumor when the Fort Pierce, Fla., builder of the Frisni, Sonic, and Spectre lines bailed on the show at the zero hour.
The problem, at least according to company principal Tony Frisina, was that the company was swamped and behind on production of several models, most notably its 42-foot-long custom catamaran. Bringing unfinished models to Miami wasn’t an option, said Frisina.
“I would have loved to show our boats in Miami, but you can’t go there with unfinished boats and expect to have a good show,” Frisina explained. “It’s just not a good idea.”
The plan, he said, was to debut the 43-foot cat, as well as the company retooled 38-foot-long Hyper Sonic V-bottom, at the Desert Storm event in Lake Havasu City, Ariz., in late April. While the 38-footer still wasn’t ready for its close-up at Desert Storm, the SCX 43 catamaran was the new-model hit of the event.
The cat was officially unveiled at the Oregon Custom Marine Open House event in Lake Havasu City. (Based in Portland, Oregon Custom Marine is Frisini’s West Coast dealer.) The following morning, the boat was moved to the daylong Desert Storm Street Party. The next day, its new owner, Dr. Gabe Jasper of New Jersey, drove it in the Desert Storm Poker Run.
Frisini’s largest model at 42 feet, 8 inches with an 11-foot, 8-inch beam, the catamaran was tested the week before Desert Storm in the waters off Miami by John Tomlinson, the famed offshore racing world champion who co-owns Miami-based TNT Custom Marine. He was joined in the cockpit by Jasper, and together they ran the cat, which is powered by a pair of turbocharged, quad overhead cam Mercury Racing 1350 engines, to 150 mph.
Estimated top speed for 43-footer is in the 160- to 170-mph range.
"We took it up to 150 mph and the boat handled just fine," Tomlinson said. "Some finishing touches still need to be done, and with further dialing in, it’s going to be a nice boat."
In the poker run, the 43-footer ran faster still. “We’re still dialing it in, but in the poker run, with all that traffic, we ran 151 mph and the boat was just so stable,” said Jasper, who handled the wheel duties with Frisina on the throttles. “I have never been in a boat at 150 mph before, and I never felt so comfortable.”
Set up with the driver’s position in the center of a three-bucket arrangement, the dash panels to the left and right will be equipped with Garmin GPSMAP 7215 displays. Controls are mounted on each side of the middle bucket and a pair of Livorsi Marine tachometers flanks the tilt steering wheel and Mercury SmartCraft display.
Behind the outside front buckets are the exclusive cabin entrance “pods.” Jasper chose to convert the portside entryway into a beverage storage/refrigerator/accessory charging station. The starboard-side entrance provides easy access to the cabin below that includes a head compartment and a bed. By devoting additional space for the pods in the cockpit, there is more room to move about the boat. The pods also include “conversation seating” to bring passengers together at idle speed.
The tan, red, and cream upholstery from Fine Line Interiors complements the boat’s compelling graphics, and the all-in-one armrests/handles between the four rear bucket seats are uniquely designed. The boat’s primary red and titanium silver paint job gives it an aggressive appearance, as do the forward-raked windshield pillars that support the crystal-clear 3/4-inch thick windshield provided by Aero Marine.
“We are very proud of our latest offering in the SCX 43. Performance and handling are exactly as we predicted—and the owner is thrilled, which is most important to me,” said Frisina. “We’ve engineered much of this boat to make it stand out from the rest and offer a different style of boating—one that combines the finest aspects of performance and pleasure.”
Styled by Grafik EFX owner Chris Dilling with input from Frisina, the SCX 43 features sleek lines, aggressive styling and a substantial cockpit unlike anything on the water.
“The idea behind the boat was to build an offshore catamaran that you can comfortably run around in all day thanks to the spaciousness of the cockpit and cabin,” said Dilling, adding that the seven-person cockpit is a full 11 feet by 8 feet. “The goal is to have a boat that can cruise at 100 mph at its most efficient point, but still break 150 mph.”
Along with a generous 380-gallon fuel capacity, the boat was designed with aerodynamic recessed air intake vents, sun pads flush-mounted to the dual engine hatches, and gull-wing-style locking deck hatches that make loading and unloading gear easy from the dock. The SCX 43 is built using high-tech materials, and includes engineering and lamination schedules designed to compensate for the elimination of bulkheads in the cabin and hallway areas.
“They still have a few things to handle in the interior like installing the GPS and the night vision system, but I am really happy with it. The craftsmanship is great. It’s exactly what I imagined.”