Something between an engineer and an artist
Lives in: Sarasota, Florida
Sketch: He won academic acclaim for one of his boats from the Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design in company with the Mini Cooper and iPod.
Imagine being in back of a college engineering class drawing boats instead of taking notes. Being obsessed with go-fasts and having Don Aronow as your hero. And imagine that a prototype of your boat — the first deep-V with steps — gets made by one of the big-name builders and Aronow himself is coming down to give it his blessing. And imagine that after the ride your hero turns to you, and he says, “Don’t waste your time, kid.”
Well, Michael Peters didn’t give up and start selling vacuum cleaners. “I filed the plans away for 10 years,” he says, “and got on designing other boats.”
Then, in 1991, Intrepid called, looking for something “new.” Out came Peters’ old plans for that 38-footer, which would begin the stepped-hull craze. The boat was fast, but it didn’t spin out in turns, unlike those boats from other designers who followed Peters’ lead.
Peters has made a name for being the go-to guy if you wanted to win races. His boats have dominated Offshore Class 1 since 1991, winning a record 13 world championships, including a sweep from 2000 to 2008. He’s done work for Cigarette, Magnum, Invincible and others. But his most recent breakthrough boats had nothing to do with speed.
In OMC’s waning days, during the late 1990s, it wanted to revive Chris-Craft’s past glories. Corporate heads had seen Peters’ remarkable Alpha–Z and gave him carte blanche to remake the Chris-Craft. The result was the launch, an instant classic that evoked memories while establishing a future.
“It’s my dear-old-dad boat,” Peters says, “something you think you remember from growing up.” It worked, proving that what once worked so well can work again, only better, in the right hands.
For more innovations check out the Game Changers photo gallery.