Since opening the SLT Collection two years ago in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Scot Conrad has been looking for a high-end sportboat line to add to the equally high-end collectible timepieces, SportChassis trucks, Airship RIBs (rigid inflatable boats) and curated pre-owned high-performance powerboats that his boutique-product dealership carries and/or represents. A marine industry veteran and former offshore powerboat racer, Conrad explored several domestic powerboat options but none of them came to fruition.
Now the SLT Collection is the exclusive distributor for Rome, Italy-based Canados Yachts, which has a sportboat line dubbed Gladiator and two yacht lines, Canados and Oceanic. And the deal happened in a completely organic way that tied back to Conrad's days as an offshore racer.
"Earlier this year, I flew to the Cannes and Genoa boat shows to check out larger RIBs to enhance what we currently offer," he explained. "I went to the Cannes show and kept going by this Canados 493 Grande sportboat that caught my eye. While I was there, I bumped into Michael Karsenti, an offshore racer I knew through my days in the sport-and it turns out he owns the Canados company. By the end of the trip, we signed up to be the Canados dealer in the U.S.-and after we get it going we'll be looking for sub-dealerships here."
Conrad has ordered a Canados 411 Gladiator Carbon model, which will be powered by twin Mercury Racing 450R outboard engines. The 6,800-pound V-bottom is scheduled to arrive at his facility in April 2022. In addition, he said he's ordered two 43-footers and four 49-footers-one with triple 600-hp Mercury Marine outboards from the upscale Italian boatbuilder.
"The 411 Gladiator has an 11-foot beam, shock-mitigating seats and a rear bench," Conrad said. "It's a loaded boat with beautiful hardware, lighting and upholstery, which means with everything it should retail for about $700,000. We went with twin outboards rather than triples because the manufacturer is estimating it will reach 100 mph with twins, and if we can achieve that it will be incredible. The second one will have triples."
Given his offshore racing background, going the high-performance boat route when he initially launched the SLT Collection made perfect sense to Conrad. But since starting the company he's added pre-owned yacht sales to his services.
Now with a new yacht line to represent in the U.S., Conrad has partnered with Paul Burgess, who worked for Sunseeker Yachts for more than 20 years and was the president of Princess Yachts North America for two years. Burgess will focus on the Canados yacht lines while Conrad mostly will stick to its Gladiator sportboat series while eventually developing a dealer network for the entire brand.
"Paul will build the yacht side of the business," he said. "I'll take care of the performance side."
According to Conrad, the Canados yacht department is building a modular showroom with interior materials samples including leathers, veneers, color swatches and more. It will be shipped to the SLT Collection and reassembled as a separate Canados yachts design center in the SLT Collection facility.
"Michael has wanted to introduce the lines in the United States for some time but couldn't find the right channel to make it work," said Conrad. "He told me, 'It's going to take someone with real passion for it and you have it.' So we put this deal together."