Eric Colby and Mike Fiore
I had no idea that my last boat test with Outerlimits founder and president Mike Fiore was in fact going to be the final time we were in a boat together in April 2012. Ironically, our final time together was the first time my son remembered riding in a high-performance boat.
We scheduled the test during school vacation for my then-12-year-old son Blake, who was looking forward to going on his first 100-mph ride on the water.
I was always mindful of not needlessly wasting Fiore’s time. This was the most hands-on guy you’ve ever seen. He tested every Outerlimits before it was delivered and drove every prototype of any new models from plug to mold. Fiore passed away at the age of 44 from complications following surgery after he sustained serious injuries when he blew over in an Outerlimits 43 catamaran at the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout on August 24.
The SV 29 was something of a controversial boat for Outerlimits because it was supposed to be an inexpensive boat that fans of the manufacturer could purchase, but with a retail price approaching $230,000 for a single engine boat less than 30’ long, it became more of a high-end single-engine hot rod.
One thing you could not deny was that the boat performed, topping 100 mph powered by a Mercury HP600 SCi that had been optimized by Dustin Whipple at Whipple Superchargers. Fiore was married to Shonda Whipple, Dustin’s sister and the daughter of company founder Art Whipple.
After we looked over the boat from bow to stern and I found nothing to criticize, we took the SV 29 out on the water and the little boat with the orange gelcoat and a black stripe down the center of the deck topped the century mark during performance evaluations. Of course that was with Fiore driving, which my son Blake was quick to point out. “Dad, how come Mike could make it run 100 mph, but you only hit 99 and change?” For once, I actually had an answer. “Because Mike designed and built the boat and he’s one of the most talented performance-boat drivers you’ll ever meet,” I said. His loss leaves a huge void that will be tough to fill on many levels. Boating magazine extends its condolences to Mike Fiore’s parents Paul and Joyce and his widow, Shonda Whipple Fiore.