Dan MacNamara, president of Speedster Powerboats, and Boating blogger and contributing editor Eric Colby have a few things in common, but the most important is that they both loved driving Nigel Hook’s 26 Scarab, Archer Marine Scarab, when it dominated the Offshore A class in American Power Boat Association competition during the 1990s.
So MacNamara, figuring other people would enjoy driving a pleasure version of the boat, decided to build one, calling it the Speedster 26 LS. On Sunday morning, Aug. 17, he ran the prototype of the new model at 75 mph with a 500 hp 520 cid engine off the coast of Dana Point, California. In the first-ever pass in the boat, the engine topped out at 5,200 rpm with plenty of throttle left.
The boat is the original flat-deck 26 Scarab that Larry Smith designed for Hook in the early 1990s. When Smith was closing down his shop a few years ago, he told MacNamara to cut up the mold. Knowing that performance enthusiasts would want a single-engine go-fast model in the 25-foot range, he told his guys to move the mold to the side of the dumpster and went to borrow a flatbed trailer to take the mold to his shop in Costa Mesa, California.
After he got enough inquiries over the past few years, he decided it was time to build a pleasure version of the boat. “People were looking for something in the smaller- to mid-range,” MacNamara said. “Most of the 26-footers that are out there, you can’t take them out in the ocean.” MacNamara and I both raced the competition version of this boat in the ocean and wouldn’t think twice about taking it out in waves.
The 26 LS measures 26 feet even with a 7-foot-6-inch beam, and has a 24-degree deadrise at the transom. The mold had the original delta pad in the aft end of the running surface, and MacNamara and his crew cleaned up the bottom before building the first boat. After driving the boat at speeds exceeding 100 mph (I drove it at 90-plus in races) during testing for kilo runs, MacNamara decided it didn’t need steps. “All steps do is make boats ill handling,” he said.
The boat is constructed with a ¾-inch Baltek balsa core in the bottom and ½-inch Divinycell foam in the hull sides and deck. The rest of the recipe consists of vinylester resin and multidirectional fiberglass mat, and the laminate is vaccum bagged for proper resin distribution.
The base boat is set up with two buckets up front and an aft bench. Controls are centrally positioned if you want to run with a throttleman and a driver. Speedster uses Auto Meter gauges with Marine Machine controls and IMCO steering. MacNamara didn’t get too aggressive with the drive height because he wants the boat to be versatile and, most importantly, drivable.
He’ll sell it complete with an interior, but no power, and said the boat retails at about $80,000 with a 430 hp MerCruiser 8.2 L MAG. When was the last time you saw a boat for $1,000 per mph?
For more information visit speedsterpowerboats.com.