Florida Powerboat Club founder Stu Jones and Pat Sullivan – owner of the Mercury Racing dealership Performance Marine Trading tested FPC’s official pace boat for the first time on Wednesday. The freshly restored Cigarette 38 Top Gun features modern Mercury Racing hardware including 540 sterndrive engine packages with Integrated Transom Systems, Bravo One XR drives, Mercury Racing Bravo I Propellers and K-Plane trim tabs. Digital Zero Effort Controls transfer driver intent to the twin 540 powerhouses.
The sea trial was the culmination of a project that involved stripping the 2000 model year boat to an empty shell, and updating all aspects of the legendary hull from bow to stern in form, fit and function.
Stu was anxious to share his first-time experience in the Resto Mod Cigarette with us.
“It was an amazing experience, given how the project evolved from a a simple repower to a complete restoration. It is amazing how it turned out. I honestly felt like I was driving an entirely new boat,” said Stu.
Installation of the 540 sterndrives and all rigging was handled by Pat Sullivan and his crew at Performance Marine Trading.
Stu handed over the helm to Pat, a former offshore racer for the initial shake down cruise. Pat eased the Zero Effort controls forward as the 540s quickly brought the Cigarette on plane. The epic vee-bottom handled the ocean swells with ease.
Pat said, “Stu you really have a great package here. The switch from mechanical to digital controls is like night and day. There is no comparison. And beauty of the new power is you don’t really have to worry about anything. These engines are so reliable, you just push the throttles and go.”
The Project 1080 Cigarette will make it’s pace boat debut this weekend at FPC’s Winter Poker Run to the Florida Keys, the first run for the 2019 season.The durable 280S K-Plane trim tabs worked like a charm. Both Pat and Stu grew an appreciation for the intuitive design of the VesselView 703 touch screen monitor as well. The replication of vital engine data on the larger Garmin display was easy on the eyes, providing a constant view of vital functions throughout their 20-minute journey.
Pat and Stu will return to dial-in props to take full advantage of the 540s’ 4800-5400 operating rpm range.
The Project 1080 Cigarette will make it’s pace boat debut this weekend at FPC’s Winter Poker Run to the Florida Keys, the first run for the 2019 season.