As the world’s largest powerboat magazine, Boating represents the mass media. So why, some would ask, would an organization that caters to the masses cover boats produced either at such high prices or in such low numbers that few people will buy them? Newsworthiness is one aim. We’d be remiss if we didn’t report developments, such as Jim Hendricks’ story of the creation of HCB Center Console Yachts’ 6500 Estrella . A behemoth of a boat, the 6500 Estrella presents wow factor for sure. But there’s more to its story than sheer size.
HCB Center Console Yachts
With size and a big budget comes the ability to innovate. In reading this month’s report by Jim Hendricks, and in viewing the accompanying video Hendricks produced, you’ll get a glimpse at some of those innovations, including the way a single space or area aboard the boat can be used for multiple purposes with as little compromise as possible. Many such innovations, proven aboard the elite boats that sell in the 10s, make their way into boat models that sell by the hundreds. The Euro transom, the hullside dive door and the through-stem anchor chute comprise prime examples of such innovations that trickled down. So, as the 6500 Estrella becomes fully realized, we’ll be there to cover it, informing you of milestones met and challenges overcome, right up to the moment it hits the water and we run the 6500 Estrella — and the five 627 hp Seven Marine outboards that power it — through performance trials. The expected launch date is sometime this summer. Stay tuned.
Another boat that few will ever own, but has the potential to affect the boats of many owners, is a Fountain Powerboats that may set a new world speed record for V-hulls soon. The run is technically called a kilo. The boat is a 40-foot Fountain, and overseeing the design, construction and propulsion is none other than boating legend Reggie Fountain himself. Back from retirement, Fountain looms large and in charge, and during a recent conversation, told me he is confident he’ll break the V-bottom world kilo record of 180.46 mph set by Outerlimits Powerboats with its SV 43 in 2014. (Fountain held the record prior to Outerlimits, set at 171.88 mph in 2004.)
Speed and efficiency are different sides of the same coin. Now, the most obvious effect of racing on boats for the masses is the prevalence of boats with stepped hulls. But innovations as diverse as weight-saving construction and propeller evolution were born on the race course. We’ve assigned Charles Plueddeman to attend the record attempt and also visit Fountain’s facility to find out what goes into designing and building a world-record boat. Making you the most well-informed boater on the dock is a big part of our job.