It will be almost three years to the day since Marine Technology Inc., introduced the twin-outboard-powered 390X catamaran that has become its best-selling model a couple of days before the 2019 Key West Poker Run when the Wentzville, Mo.-based company debuts its all-new 440X catamaran during the Florida Powerboat Club's flagship event to Key West, Fla., next week.
Yep, the highly anticipated outboard-powered 44-footer hit the water earlier this week, which was ahead of schedule being that MTI's original goal was to have its demo boat complete and on display in time for the 2023 Miami International Boat Show in February.
"You know us, we're always trying to get done ahead of schedule-we said Miami for the debut to be safe, but internally we were targeting Key West," Taylor Scism, MTI's client relations manager, said on Thursday afternoon, minutes after wrapping up a testing session in the TS Motorsports MTI 390XR raceboat that she's driving next week in the 450R Factory Stock class with throttleman John Tomlinson. "We also try to 'under promise and over deliver,' which is why we're ecstatic to have our first 440X in the poker run and to see what other people think of it. So far the response has been great, and we haven't taken anyone for rides yet."
The feedback has been so great, in fact, that Scism said the company has 30 orders so far for the 44-footer, and expectations are high that number will grow following next week's poker run and three-race American Power Boat Association/Union Internationale Motonautique Offshore World Championships produced by Race World Offshore.
"I think we're going to wear (the 440X) out next week," said MTI founder Randy Scism-Taylor's dad-with a laugh.
Although Randy Scism added that he's not driving the 440X, which is powered by twin Mercury Racing 450R engines on Shaun Torrente Racing brackets, in the poker run-he's taking a VIP group from Miami to Key West in an MTI-V 50 luxury performance center console on Thursday-Tom Stuart, MTI's sales manager, is going to run the 44-footer on Wednesday, the first day of the poker run, with the owners of the first production 440X, Mike and Sarah Howe of the popular Howe 2 Live online adventure series.
"After the races Wednesday we're planning to fly to Miami to do the poker run on Thursday-and then the rest of the week is boat racing and boat demos" said Randy Scism, who sounded energized after testing the 440X earlier this week at Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri. "To be honest, the boat exceeded my expectations; I was pleasantly surprised. The acceleration is great for its size and the ride is amazing, and, because it's four inches wider than the 390X, it feels roomier and gives us more space for more options. And you know our customers-they love options.
"The 44 is a little heavier than the 39-this is a prototype so our production boats won't be exactly the same, but I think the 44 will be approximately 1,000 pounds heavier-and it's five feet longer so it's feels bigger," he added. "Here's the thing, the 34 is a great boat, but the 39 just does everything better. It's such an awesome boat. And now we have the 44 and we're going to try to repeat that. So far our clients are behind it. What's cool is that we've built such a great clientele and reputation that people believe in us when we tell them what we're going to do."
After being informed that the company's X catamaran models have been released in subsequent three-year gaps-the 340X was released in summer 2016, the 390X in fall of 2019 and the 440X in fall 2022-Scism said, "Oh really? I didn't realize that-that's good information."
Taylor Scism, who said she was surprised with how well the 440X accelerated during testing with the Mercury Racing 450R engines, added that there wasn't enough time to paint the catamaran and still get it to Key West, so the prototype 440X was wrapped in the graphics designed in-house at MTI.
She also said anyone interested in a demo ride in the 440X can contact Tom Stuart directly to set something up.