Supercars are great for going fast and looking cool on land, but what if you want to do the same on the water? Why, you buy a long, slender and stupendously speedy powerboat, of course. But with so many competition-inspired (and in some instances, competition-proven) vessels from which to choose, how do you know which ones are really worth your (hundreds of thousands of) hard-earned bucks? By looking at the list that follows after the jump, silly. Think of it as the Tubbs and Crockett of the high-end powerboat buyer, ridding the streets of your mind from the criminal element known as indecision.
(Speaking of everyone’s favorite pastel-wearing lawmen, you might want to click here for a short but appropriate aural companion for this list to set the scene of this breed of watercraft’s glory days of cruising Biscayne Bay, weekend blasts to Key West and nocturnal pick-up and delivery of Latin American “pharmaceuticals.”)
One of the leading names in high performance boats is Donzi, and its current flagship is the 38 ZR Competition. As the name implies, it’s 38’ in length and has a competition pedigree. What the name doesn’t imply is that you can order yours with a pair of engines that produce 1,075hp each. In other words, you and up to four friends can get to wherever it is you’re going in a big hurry.
A long, sleek hull shape, powerful engines and the speed to go along with them is all very nice, but what if you also want a place to come in out of the weather and just chill? The Hustler 41 Razor gives you both, with two monstrous engines from your choice of Mercury Marine, Yanmar or Ilmor and a cabin with a 6’3” ceiling, stand-up shower, sink and a V-berth in the bow. It’s a giant sea-worthy cake that you can have and eat too (proverbially speaking)!
What better way to celebrate the speedboat’s status as the supercar of the water than to create one inspired by a famous land-lubbing supercar? That’s exactly what Cigarette Racing has done with the 46’ Rider, which was actually developed with input from Mercedes AMG to ensure it has the feel and panache of an SLS AMG, albeit in buoyant form. And while the props might not be spun by AMG mills (They each get their own 1,350hp Mercury Racing twin-turbo V8.), the ALUBEAM silver paint and bonkers 130 mph top speed solidify the connection between Gullwing and, er, Gulldodger.
Stripped-down, harder-edged sports cars are all the rage these days, and Reggie Fountain’s boatbuilding firm is looking to extend that craze to powerboats with the 42 Poker Run. The space occupied by the cabin on the company’s other 42-footer – the 42 Lightning – is instead used for storage, and the racing-style high cockpit windows and five-point safety harnesses practically beg you to explore its true capabilities.
When you think of great places to open a boatbuilding factory, Decatur, Indiana probably isn’t one of the first names that come to mind. However, it’s worked well for Formula, which today builds a wide variety of recreational boats. Formula’s hottest performer with the most cavernous cabin is the 382 FAS³Tech, a stylish sportster with two supercharged engines, six seats topside, and a lengthy options list. You could say this boat is exponential…
Miami is the Mecca of speedboats, and one of the manufacturers that calls the south Florida megalopolis home is Pantera. Not to be confused with any heavy metal band or Nixon Era Italian-American supercar, these guys and gals produce some serious wake-makers, chief among them being the race-ready 41 P1 Edition. Normally it seats just two in cocoon-like bucket seats, but lift off the rear hatch and it’ll hold three more. It’s like having a Corvette (the car, not the light battle cruiser) that you can stretch into an Impala (the car, not the hoofed quadruped) when needed.
Italian automaker Lancia expanded its horizons in the fall of 2009 by teaming up with designer Christian Grande to create its own powerboat, which it christened…wait for it…waaaait…Powerboat. While the name is a bore, the boat itself certainly isn’t: Two 1,120hp diesel engines from parent company Fiat’s marine power division, Martini & Rossi livery (apropos for any hot Lancia) and a retractable fabric top. Barca bella!
Some might consider single-engine speedboats to be lesser vehicles, unworthy of serious consideration by performance enthusiasts. Some people haven’t encountered the Stingray 225SX which offers up to 320hp from a Mercury or Volvo powerplant and a top speed of over 62 mph (100 kph for the Metric System fans in the audience). There’s even a modest-sized cabin beneath the swoopy exterior. Even if you can’t (or won’t) go big, you certainly don’t have to go home.
Big performance and a big cabin used to be mutually exclusive, but many boat manufacturers now offer vessels that give you the best of both worlds. Velocity is one of those manufacturers. The Sanford, Florida firm’s 410 has a stern full of Yanmar diesel power that’s good for a projected 80 mph and fully equipped living quarters with 6’ ceilings in the bow and amidships. Not quite cabin cruiser commodious, but how many of those will do 80 mph?
This may come as a surprise, but there are closed-top non-racing speedboats out there, and the Advantage Poker Run 40’ is one of ‘em. While the very rear of the cockpit remains open, most of the seating area is like riding in a very roomy car…on the water. Of course, if you do want increased headroom, you can always remove the T-tops for semi-open boating. No word if Advantage will paint one black with gold striping and a gold, flame-puking avian on the bow, but we’re guessing they would if the price is right. Now if only there was a way to acquire a circa-1977 Sally Field …
Narrow-hulled boats tend to be more stable in rough waters, but are less stable when stationary in calm waters. Adding width seems like the logical solution, except it increases drag in both the air and the water. Italian manufacturer FB Design has managed to solve this quandary with its STAB inflatable pontoon system, which is optional on many of its boats including this stylish Buzzi 48-footer. The semi-enclosed cockpit hints at its racing pedigree (seen above), but the fact it’s available with up to 1,440hp of dual inboard power (or 900hp from triple outboards if that’s your thing) shouts it to the world. Throw in its inviting cabin and you’ve got a real winner.
Rigorous research and development breeds excellence when creating any machine, be it a car, boat, or something else entirely. The folks at Baja know this, and have distilled most of the things they’ve learned from their 40 years in business on the 35 Outlaw. With up to 1,400hp from twin Mercury Racing supercharged engines and available cabin air conditioning, this shapely speed demon is an iron fist in a velvet glove.
Twin MerCruiser power, a posh cabin and a sleek shape? This could describe any number of boats, but Cobra’s 320 Razor exemplifies all of those traits. The Montclair, California company’s range-topper has a combined 750hp and the corresponding performance needed to make this craft turn heads on more than just its classic (It kinda hurts to call any product of the ‘80s “classic.”) looks.
Lest you assume the high-performance boat market is dominated by single-hull machines, Eliminator has a catamaran to remind you that there are some monstrous multi-hull craft out there. With a total of 2,400hp and an even more bat guano 169 mph top speed, it’s serious about performance, while an inviting cabin means it’s also serious about taking it slow and enjoying longer trips and overnight cruises.
Another scorching hot catamaran comes out of the Douglas Marine shops as part of its Skater line. The 40-foot Super Sport is a true dual purpose cat, with an aggressive race-bred hull design, as much as 2,600hp(!), and a projected 170 mph v-max. It also has room for six and a solid, civilized ride quality. It’s a powerboat that looks and performs like Superman, but can also be as docile as Clark Kent.
If there’s anything we’ve noticed watching the car world in recent years, it’s that big and heavy doesn’t always have to mean slow and poor handling (Witness the Bentley Continental GT and Porsche Panamera Turbo.). It’s also true in the boat world, as evidenced by Magnum Marine’s very sweet 44 Banzai. Sure, it’s dimensionally larger than quite a few cabin cruisers, and has living quarters that put those of some of those more relaxed runabouts to shame, but with up to 1,600hp of diesel sturm und drang and a resepectable 55 mph top end, it’s one of the fastest apartments on the water.
Like the land-bound Mitsubishi that also answers to “Evo,” Laveycraft’s top dog is a serious performer. The wraparound cockpit glass and a range of Mercury or Ilmor inboards will get you all kinds of attention at the next poker run, but the Evo is more than just a pretty/athletic face. It also has a highly stylized and highly functional cockpit and cabin, so while it might have the speed of a torpedo, it’s far more comfortable than riding astride one. Not that there’s anything wrong with that…
Reducing a vehicle’s weight improves multiple performance parameters, so it’s no surprise Outerlimits trimmed the fat when creating this near-race-ready thoroughbred. Using lessons learned in offshore races around the world, Outerlimits designers gave the 41 Super Leggera a lighter-than-normal hull that is also shaped to improve speed, handling and, somewhat surprisingly, ride comfort. The cabin is also nicely appointed, which is another pleasant surprise in an otherwise hardcore sporting machine.
If you love blasting across the water with the wind and spray in your hair and face, we have two pieces of advice: First, invest in some robust eyewear, and second, check out the 42 Supersonic from Sonic Powerboats. The low windscreen and cockpit sides give the 42 Supersonic an airy, roadster-like look. Do be careful, though: With up to 2,700hp available, you might be picking pelicans out of your teeth if you get over-exuberant with the throttle.
Do you feel the need? The need for speed? Okay, that’s probably not the most original segue into a boat called the 39’ Top Gun Unlimited, but this stepped-hull superboat is a pretty big deal. With timeless styling and a bevy of potent power options, this standard bearer for Cigarette Racing will definitely take your breath away. Okay, we’ll stop. GOOOOOOSE!!! Okay, now we’ve stopped for real.
(Speaking of everyone’s favorite pastel-wearing lawmen, you might want to click here for a short but appropriate aural companion for this list to set the scene of this breed of watercraft’s glory days of cruising Biscayne Bay, weekend blasts to Key West and nocturnal pick-up and delivery of Latin American “pharmaceuticals.")