On any given weekend when they head to their second home in Osage Beach, Mo., Jim and Barb Unger of St. Louis know they'll have a crowd to host. That comes with the territory of having three children, seven grandchildren and a whole lot of friends, and it's why they bought a Sunsation Powerboats 32 CCX center console four years ago. But much as they loved their 32-footer, the couple, which also has owned several cruisers during the years, knew additional passenger space was necessary.
The solution arrived a few days before the late-August Lake of the Ozarks Shootout in the form of a Sunsation 40 CCX center console powered by three Mercury Racing 450R outboard engines. So far, the Ungers have logged 25 operating-hours on the 40-footer, which they will keep year-round at their lake home.
"The 32 Sunsation was perfect for the kind of boating we do at the lake-pile people on and go-but it just wasn't quite big enough," Jim Unger said. "So we sold that boat and our 40-foot cruiser and bought the 40.
"We love it-it's a great boat," he added, then chuckled. "And with three 450 outboards, it has a lot of scoot."
The couple ordered the boat through Osage-Beach, Mo.-based Performance Boat Center, Sunsation's largest dealer. "They have such a great operation," Unger said referring to Performance Boat Center. "They handle everything really well and the people there are top-notch."
In July, Unger traveled to Sunsation headquarters in Algonac, Mich., to check out his new prize as it approached completion.
"It was great having Jim visit the factory," said Jeremy Schaldenbrand, the company's logistics coordinator. "We love when customers visit us to meet the team and see their build in progress before delivery day."
But the visit proved particularly productive, both for Unger, who enjoys boating after dark, and the Sunsation crew.
"During Jim's visit, he shared feedback that he and other customers would benefit from a better dash light for night navigation," said Aaron Treppa, Sunsation's rigging supervisor. "Within a few days, we were able to take his idea and implement it on his build before it shipped out for delivery.
"Customer feedback always helps us improve, and we're thankful for Jim sharing his ideas with us at the factory," he added.
So far Unger, who ordered a custom-made cover from Marine Concepts to protect the boat, has run the center console to 82.5 mph. But while he enjoys the boat's speed and acceleration, he also appreciates that it comes on plane with little-to-no bow-rise, rides "extremely flat" and is easy to manage around the docks thank to its bow thruster. Having a second row of bolsters shaded by a larger top is another plus, he said, as is the boat's flat windshield, which creates minimal distortion at the helm station.
The 40-footer's dive door and ladder are yet another much-appreciated feature.
"Both the dive door and ladder, which my 32 didn't have, are super-solid," Unger said, adding that he plans to use his new ride through October. "But if we have a warm weekend this winter, we'll probably come down and run it. We love it."