Powerboat Performance Report: Cigarette 39 Top Gun Unlimited

This high-performance V-bottom is a true American Beauty.

27th March 2006.
By Powerboat Test Team

When prospective owners are plunking down as much as $850,000 for a new offshore boat, they can be a demanding bunch. They expect the boat to have unmatched fit and finish, and the best performance that money can buy. Cigarette owner Skip Braver is not unlike his customers. When he wasn’t satisfied with the embroidery on the seat backs, he had a new machine designed and built to improve the quality. “Our buyers pay a lot of money for our boats and they’re doing it because they feel that nobody can give them this fit and finish quality that’s rough-water handling, fast and safe,” Braver said. “That’s what we pride ourselves on. That’s what we build the company on.” The pride showed in the 39 Top Gun Unlimited the builder delivered to our tests in Sarasota, Fla.

Pushing the sticks all the way forward, the Top Gun reached a top speed of 117.5 mph at 5,900 rpm. (Photography courtesy/copyright Robert Brown.)

Pushing the sticks all the way forward, the Top Gun reached a top speed of 117.5 mph at 5,900 rpm. (Photography courtesy/copyright Robert Brown.)

Performance The majority of boats rolling out of the company’s Opa-locka, Fla., plant these days have Mercury Racing power in the engine compartments. And for good reason. The engine builder provides reliable production power that most Cigarette owners crave. Our test model came equipped with twin Mercury Racing HP1075SCi engines with No. 6 dry-sump drives. Spinning five-blade 16 3/4″ x 33″ Hering propellers, the package was an excellent fit for the stepped-bottom boat. Few boats with 2,000-plus horsepower at the controls were as maneuverable as the 39 Top Gun around the docks. Unleash the boat out on the open water and it struts its best stuff. During an hour-long photo shoot in the Gulf of Mexico, our driver ran the boat better than 100 mph through some 1- to 2-foot rollers. The V-bottom ran straight and delivered soft landings for the boat’s occupants. Our driver noted the Top Gun was cruising along at 86 mph and the supercharged engines were turning just 4,000 rpm. Pushing the sticks all the way forward, the Top Gun reached a top speed of 117.5 mph at 5,900 rpm. It took some time to wring out the final top-end but that’s expected for a 6-ton boat. Both test drivers were impressed with the boat’s acceleration. From a standstill in the water, the boat was running better than 90 mph in 20 seconds. In midrange drills, the Top Gun shot from 30 to 50 mph in 4.8 seconds and 40 to 60 mph took 4.8 seconds, as well. Going from 40 to 70 mph took a respectable 7.5 seconds. The stepped V-bottom got nothing but top marks from our evaluators in slaloms at various speeds and turns at cruise and full speeds.

Workmanship Cigarette continues to set a high standard when it comes to workmanship. The 39 Top Gun blended trick custom features such as a billet fender holder in the engine compartment and billet footrests with rubber tread that you almost hate to put your feet on. The company’s rigging work shined in the engine compartment, where the hatch opened to a near-vertical position to showcase the staggered HP1075SCi motors. The underside of the hatch was painted to match the boat’s deck. Riggers sweated the small details such as taking great care to protect hoses where they passed through the bulkheads. Inner transom plates, where visible, were painted orange to match the boat’s graphics. Oil tanks for the dry sumps were also color-matched and aluminum battery boxes featured the Cigarette logo. The bilge was sanded to a smooth finish, which allowed for easy cleaning, and the trim pumps and fire extinguisher were mounted high on the fire wall. In addition to the custom holder for the fenders, there was a Fisher Panda generator in the engine compartment. “It’s just a very first-class custom installation throughout,” said our chief inspector. Equal care was taken with the boat’s paint job done by In-Visions by Hunter. A substantial rubrail helped protect the exceptional tooling and the $41,000 investment. Getting on the deck to drop the fenders in place was easy thanks to steps built into the electric sliding cabin door.

Interior Gone are the days when the cabin of a 100-mph V-bottom was nothing but unfinished fiberglass. The 39 Top Gun was far from it. It was an inviting cabin that most owners will want to spend time in. The cabin offered one of the largest V-berths we’ve ever seen in a boat with an 8-foot beam. Rather than try to use all of the space up to the bow, Cigarette wisely installed a zippered panel for access. At the foot of the V-berth, there was a padded locker that contained a VacuFlush head. On either side of the head were some small stowage bins. In addition to the contoured facing lounges, Cigarette included a flat-screen television and a draining ice chest in the cabin. Out in the cockpit, the builder installed electric dropout bolsters for the driver and observer (blue and green buttons controlled the up and down functions). At the driver’s spot, the Marine Machine throttles were to the right of the wheel, while the shifters were on the left. Just above the tilt steering wheel were carbon-fiber-faced Livorsi Marine Monster gauges and a Garmin GPS map. Other gauges for water pressure, oil temperature and more were in front of the observer and angled toward the driver. For those sitting in the rear, Cigarette installed three individual bolsters. Those passengers can check on the speed thanks to Mercury System View screens built into the back of the forward bolsters. If everyone wants to communicate while the boat is underway, all they have to do is plug into the David Clark intercom system. The customer also opted for a “mood lighting package,” a $3,600 up-charge that featured LED lights throughout the cockpit and cabin. A cool feature when hanging out at the docks in the evening.

Overall Cigarette’s 39 Top Gun Unlimited shows that performance boaters can have a well-equipped V-bottom and not sacrifice speed.

Manufacturer Contact Information Cigarette Racing 305-931-4564 www.cigaretteracing.com


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