Let’s get this out of the way right now. A 50-foot catamaran with 3,600-hp worth of turbine engines, six seats in the cockpit, no cabin, and a sticker price of $1.6 million is not a “rational” purchase. First, nobody actual needs—quite a different word than wants—one. Second, there are better investments out there. Lots of them.
On the other hand, if you’re into really high-performance boats, it’s hard to see Mystic Powerboats’ latest creation, an open-cockpit 50-footer, as anything less than a dreamboat. Owned by Paul Iser and tagged Fly Boy, the new model is the first Mystic 50’ catamaran to have an open cockpit—and, as such, to be labeled a “pleasure boat.”
To date, Mystic founder John Cosker has overseen the creation of 11 of his prized 50-footers—nearly all with full canopies and turbine power, most of which were handled by John Arruda at Turbine Marine.
All except for the most recent offering have been used for offshore racing. (Cosker says he considers the four-seater he built for performance-boat enthusiast Don Onken “a race boat,” because in essence it’s a canopied model with an open top.)
The most notable still-active 50’ Mystic racer is Miss Geico, which is piloted by Marc Granet and Scott Begovich. It has power from Whispering Turbines and runs, for all intents and purposes, in a class of its own. Another turbine-powered 50’ Mystic, Aqua-Mania, occasionally competes with Miss Geico, as did JBS Racing (yet another turbine-powered 50’ Mystic) before owner Jeff Stevenson exited the offshore competition world.
And there is the 50’ Mystic Nauti-Marine, powered by alcohol piston engines and piloted by well-known racer David Scott and throttling legend John Tomlinson. At last year’s Lake of the Ozarks Shoot, the boat posted a liquid-mile top speed of 218 mph.
Cosker introduced the first 50’ Mystic cat in 2005. Prior to that, he had purchased a 48-foot Tencara catamaran designed by Michael Peters of Michael Peters Design in Sarasota, Fla., and used it as a “test sled” for the model he would eventually create.
“We used a lot of the design from the Tencara,” says Cosker. “We instrumented that boat pretty heavily with pressure sensors. The Tencara was a great boat, but it was designed for a top of 150 mph, not 200 mph. Our 50s are capable of running 230 mph.”
Although the new six-seat 50’ Mystic has an open cockpit, Cosker wanted the interior to be low enough so that passengers could actually have conversations while underway—wind and engine-noise in such boats can be deafening—but high enough so those in the rear seats had forward visibility. The catamaran made its debut at the Florida Powerboat Club Poker Run during the Sunny Isles Offshore Challenge, and according to Cosker, Mystic accomplished that objective.
“The feedback [from the passengers during the poker run] was good,” said Cosker. “Part of that has to do with us using a full-frame windshield rather that simply bolting pieces of acrylic to the deck.
“We did a lot of prototyping on the interior of this one, so we learned a lot,” he added. “Premier Performance Interiors installed the interior. They did a great job, and we learned a lot about how to set up to make it easier on them in the future.”
With its twin turbine T-53 703 engines, the composite-constructed—like all Mystic models—catamaran should be capable of speeds well above 150 mph. That’s nothing new for Mystic. Completely new, however, in a 50’ Mystic cat are two sets of rear-facing sunlounges aft of the cockpit.
“We borrowed that idea from our performance yachts,” said Cosker.
But there are a couple of other items—basics that could be found in even the most entry-level runabout—that are new in this spectacular 50-footer. “This is the first one we’ve installed a stereo in,” Cosker laughed. “And we’ve built in a couple of coolers. That was definitely a first for us.”
For more information, visit Mystic Powerboats.