No category in this magazine's Awards for Product Excellence program is more competitive than offshore catamaran. That's because the builders in the class are elite. There might not be many of them, but, as the saying goes, what's there is choice. A win in this category is a major achievement.
No stranger to victory, Marine Technology Inc. principal Randy Scism can add another trophy to his shelf. From performance to workmanship, his MTI 39' Race/Pleasure model floored our Test Team and earned our Offshore Catamaran of the Year award. The trophy should look good next to the one Scism earned in 1999 when he took the Union Internationale Motonautique Class 1 Offshore World Championship.
A four-seat aquatic roadster powered by a pair of 675-hp supercharged engines, the 39' Race/Pleasure reached 133.5 mph. Better than the top speed, which was just dandy for the relatively docile power package, was the catamaran's overall stability. No cat we tested this year tracked more precisely from idle speed to top end, and it never porpoised.
With a professional test driver at its helm, the 39' Race/Pleasure grooved gently through wide arcing turns on smooth water at 100-plus-mph without slipping or catching. The catamaran was every bit as exhilarating offshore, where it made short, soft work of 2- to 4-footers from all directions.
MTI used advanced techniques and materials, including vacuum-bagging and epoxy resin, to build the 39' Race/Pleasure, and the result—finished with sanitary paint-applied graphics—was sweet eye-candy. With styling evocative of a European sports car, the 39-footer incorporated a rounded sheer line and no rubrail, which would have compromised its sleek lines. Following those lines, and fitted seamlessly to the deck, was an open canopy-style windscreen that ran the length of the cockpit.
Gary Stray, who oversees all of MTI's rigging, freely admits to obsessing over details, and it showed in the catamaran's engine compartment. Fastidiously protected and supported, hoses and wires were laid out in parallel runs. So tidy and open was the setup that it made the engine compartment seem much larger than it was.
As a purpose-built hot rod, the 39' Race/Pleasure was appropriately unencumbered with cockpit amenities. That said, the boat's four high-back bucket seats were supremely supportive and reassuring. Plus, the open-top, full-length canopy provided wind protection even for passengers in the aft pair of buckets, which were mounted a few inches higher than those ahead of them for better forward visibility.
We expect that kind of thoughtful detail in a big-buck, custom-made offshore catamaran. MTI delivered it, again and again, in its stellar 39' Race/Pleasure.
MTI 39' Race/Pleasure Performance Test Results
|Weight as tested||8,500 pounds|
|Price as tested||$592,541|
|Engine model and horsepower||(2) Comp Marine 675/675|
|Propellers||Hering five-blade 15 1/2" x 33"|
|Acceleration zero to 15 seconds||61 mph|
|Top speed||133.5 mph at 6000 rpm|
|Manufacturer contact||636-639-1166, www.marinetechnologyinc.com|
For the Performance Report on the MTI 39' Race/Pleasure, see "In Perfect Stride," May 2004, Page 104.