With the first models not quite out the door of his Bristol, R.I., custom high-performance powerboat company, Outerlimits Offshore Powerboats founder and owner Mike Fiore already has big expectations for his new 36 Super Leggera V-bottom. Then again, Fiore, a 43-year-old legacy go-fast boat builder—his father, Paul Fiore, founded Hustler boats in the 1980s—has always thought big.
Finished in 1993, his first model was a 37-foot V-bottom. His next model was a 51-footer. In the 20 years that have passed since, Fiore and company have filled in the blanks with stepped-hull V-bottoms from 29 to 51 feet, and a 48-foot catamaran. (A smaller version of the cat is in the tooling stages.)
But the Outerlimits 36 Super Leggera, which features a stand-up cockpit and a full cabin like all SL models—Outerlimits’ SV offerings are all sit-down cockpit boats—could be Fiore’s biggest move yet. It’s not a size thing, for as previously noted he’s built much larger go-fast boats with price tags of more than $1 million. Rather, it’s that Fiore is adopting what for him qualifies as a semi-production option and construction approach to the 36-footer.
“The 36 is going to be a bit of a change of direction for Outerlimits,” said Fiore. “It is a high-end custom boat that is fairly standardized. We realize that to expand our market share we need to develop some products for buyers who aren’t necessarily uber-rich or wealthy. We want to have a broader reach, because as the economy improves we can expand our focus and our market.
“The 36 is going be our first semi-production boat. We took everything we learned from the SV 29, and put it into the 36. It’s a three-piece, highly engineered boat with an efficient lamination schedule that is not too heavy or light.”
With twin Mercury Racing 565 engines under the hatch of the 36 SL, Fiore said he expects the boat to list for less than $400,000. He also said he expects it to perform to the same high standards set by the other truly custom models in the Outerlimits line.
“We expect it to run 105 mph with a pair of 565s,” he said. “For less than $400,000, someone can have a really, really fast Outerlimits boat that’s big enough and built well enough to handle offshore water.”
In another intriguing wrinkle, Outerlimits will only sell the 36 SL through Performance Boat Center in Camdenton, Mo., a few miles from the Lake of the Ozarks. While Performance Boat Center is the builder’s only dealer and can sell every model in the Outerlimits line, buyers will be only be able to get SL 36 through the dealership—Outerlimits won’t sell it factory-direct as they do with all others in the line.
“They are basically buying all the production for the 36,” Fiore explained. “Brett Manire — he’s a tremendous young guy — and his crew over there, are going to be taking care of the clients. They’ll have two in stock over there, one with 565s and one with MerCruiser 8.2s, and they’ll be able to order more. Because of the limited options, we don’t have to worry about buyers saying they really want this or that. That doesn’t exist for the 36 SL. It wouldn’t make sense at that price point.”
For all intents and purposes, the twin-engine 36 SL joins the single-engine SV 29, which was introduced in 2011, as an entry-level Outerlimits. Fiore said that, in fact, what he and his team members learned in terms of efficiency building the 29-footer inspired them to create the 36-footer.
But there was a bigger-picture inspiration for Fiore. With the near-death of true production-built high-performance boats thanks to the recession, used late-model custom and production models have become the new “entry-level.” And while that has carried the market for a few years, that inventory is slowly drying up—and what’s out there isn’t getting any younger.
“You might get a twin-engine V-bottom for $100,000, but now you have to put $200,000 worth of engines and drives into it,” said Fiore. “So now you’re sitting on a $300,000 used boat, whereas if you were will to spend a bit more you could get something new like the 36 SL with the latest hull and engine technology.
“Really losing, for all intents and purposes, Fountain, Donzi, and Baja, that was a huge piece of the market where people can’t buy new boats anymore,” he added. “If would could just pick up two percent of those buyers, the 36 would be a huge success.”
Editor’s Note: For an in-depth interview with Mike Fiore, whose company celebrates its 20th anniversary this month, check out the July/August issue of Speed On The Water digital magazine.