46 Rider XP— By Capt. Patrick Sciacca
|Cigarette and its latest 46-footer have introduced a new generation of boaters to extreme speeds...and card games.|
I don't have big earlobes, but did you know that if you're in a boat and go fast enough, even small earlobes flap like a speed bag being repeatedly struck by a boxer? It's a strange and unusual sensation that I recently experienced while a boat I was on flew (literally) across Biscayne Bay near Aventura, Florida, at nearly 107 mph. The assignment was to go for a ride on, and take some speed readings of, Cigarette's latest launch, the 46 Rider XP, a true go-fast boat. Well, I did that. And in return I got a high-speed facelift. In addition to the Joan Rivers-like tight skin, the 46 gave me a new perspective on and respect for go-fast boats.
You see, I grew up on Long Island's south shore in the 1980's. There were many summer Sunday afternoons when my throat got sore trying to be heard over the parade of nonmufflered go-fast boats that went by the local waterside grill called Sprats on the Water. My notion of a go-fast boat buyer was that of a middle-aged, big-gold-chain-wearing guy with tufts of gray hair on his chest who was trying to recapture his hot-rod youth (and perhaps a bikini-clad beauty). In retrospect, it was a narrow view, but it was what I experienced. And TV shows like Miami Vice sure didn't help matters, many episodes featuring the pastel-blazer-wearing, crime-fighting duo of Crockett and Tubbs in a go-fast boat, looking for some bad guy.
No longer held under TV and childhood prejudices, I went into this adventure with an open mind. I discovered that go-fast boating has become quite the lifestyle, particularly with the growth of poker runs.
What's a poker run, you ask? Well, it's half race, half road rally, and half card game (I know you can't have three halves, but it's my story). Anyway, poker-run participants play five-card stud by running their boats to five designated checkpoints. At each checkpoint, someone gives the team a sealed envelope with a playing card inside. The envelopes remained sealed until all the boats have made all the stops, after which everyone shows his or her cards and the best hand wins.
Of course, with five stops for each event, the boats have been known to race to checkpoints. In fact, the 46 I ran had just returned from the Sarasota Poker Run, where she finished ahead of the pack, checkpoint after checkpoint. I soon found out why.
Neill Hernandez, vice president and co-owner of Cigarette, showed me around the 46 before we headed out for some hair-raising fun on the bay. With the press of a button, the aft engine hatch lifted to reveal two standard supercharged 900-hp Mercury 900 SC V-8s. I'd never seen engines that looked so big and intimidating, and in spite of their size and staggered layout (so they can be mounted closer to the centerline), there was room in the compartment to stand up and get to every inch of each engine. These massive powerplants were coupled to Mercury Racing Dry-Sump Six drives, also standard. The dry-sump lubrication system reduces friction on rotating parts and, in turn, enhances overall performance.
This article originally appeared in the May 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.