Marine Technology Inc 40 Pleasure Series Boats
Docile power took MTI’s excellent 40 Race/Pleasure catamaran to almost 130 mph
YOU’VE GOT TO LOVE THE WAYHOLLYWOOD spends money. During the filming of “Miami Vice,” the movie version of the once-popular television show, director Michael Mann reportedly asked MTI company owner Randy Scism if he could convert a 39 MTI catamaran to a 40-footer.
Scism said no problem, he could do it by adding a foot to the stern of the deck and—$10,000 and a couple of weeks later—MTI’s 40 Race/Pleasure was born. Scism figured the converted cat was a oneoff for the movie. Not so, as owners of existing 39 MTIs began asking him if he could extend their catamarans. Soon enough, Scism had a $10,000 deck upgrade for the 39 MTI in his program, and just like that a star (and another model) was born.
Because its deck was extended to make the length, the 40 MTI still runs on the same stepped-sponson hull as the 39-footer. That’s a very good thing, as we rediscovered during our tests of the 40-footer off Fort Myers, Fla.
We’ve seen our share of MTI offerings with monster power, and they’ve been consistently fast—a 162-mph ride a few years back in Sarasota, Fla., comes to mind. This time around, Scism and company went the more tame power route with twin Mercury Racing HP700SCi engines and NXT1 1.35:1 ratio drives. For propellers, the builder chose big 38"-pitch five-blade models from Hering.
With that setup, the 40 MTI reached a top speed of 128.2 mph as its engines turned 5,200 rpm. Good stuff. It cruised at 95 mph with the engines turning a moderate 4,000 rpm. Bump the engines another 500 rpm and the boat was good for 109 mph.
Without question, however, the 40 MTI was propped for top speed. That translated to fairly weak acceleration, especially from a standing start. After coming on plane in a still-acceptable 7.8 seconds with its trim tabs down, the boat reached just 56 mph in 20 seconds. Midrange acceleration was a bit stronger, as the cat ran from 30 to 50 mph in 6.7 seconds and from 40 to 60 mph in 8.7 seconds.
The obvious—and least expensive—solution for improving the catamaran’s acceleration would be to go with lower-pitch propellers. That would improve the boat for overall use. Surely you’d lose a little top-end, but the gain everywhere else would be worth it. Of course, for those with deeper wallets, bigger power is always an alternative solution.
No improvement was needed for the 40 MTI when it came to handling. The catamaran felt hooked up and carved precisely in all turns,especially those at higher speeds. Running at top speed, it felt bolted to the water and never wandered or wavered. The cat did exhibit a mild porpoise at 80 mph, but that tendency vanished at 90 mph.
As for the boat’s ability to tame rough water, that was in short supply during our test day. The wildest seas the Gulf of Mexico could conjure up were 1- to 2-footers. However, our test drivers Bob Teague and John Tomlinson have logged plenty of time in 39 MTIs (with the same hull as the 40) and can attest to its rough-water-taming ability.
“Immaculate” was how Teague described the 40 MTI’s tooling and paintwork. A stainless- steel rubrail protected the catamaran’shullsides from dockside dings.
Deck hardware consisted of six retractable cleats and a navigation light. The acrylic halfcanopy windshield fit the deck neatly. Though the sides of the windshield did have some distortion, the forward view it afforded the driver and co-pilot was perfect.
For access to the spacious engine compartment and the stern area, the builder molded steps into the center section between the engine hatches. Powder-painted scissor-style hinges connected the two hatches to the transom. Twin screw jacks raised the hatches to show off the engines.
Offshore mounts and L-angles throughbolted to the stringers secured the engines. So open was the space in the compartment that the engines were almost 4 feet aft of the firewall. Batteries were mounted in billet boxes, each with an engraved MTI logo. Rigging was simple, neat and tidy, right down to the colormatched blue tie-wraps for the wiring.
For our money, the six-bucket-seat layout in our test boat, rather than the four-bucket setup that also is offered, is the way to go. Sure, each person has a little less “personal space” than he or she would have in the fourbucket arrangement, but the ability to take a couple more friends along for the ride is a nice option.
To keep passengers from treading on the upholstery, MTI installed molded steps between the inner two buckets in the aft section of the carpeted cockpit. Grab handles were installed between the buckets, as well as on the padded gunwales.
Forward of the buckets for the co-pilot and driver there were doors that provided access to the boat’s “cabin” area, which was more of a large stowage locker than a useable cabin. Still, that’s more than a lot of catamaran builders provide and it will come in handy in the 40 MTI as its cockpit stowage options are limited.
At the starboard-side helm, the builder augmented the combination of Mercury SmartCraft instruments and Livorsi Marine gauges with a Garmin GPSMAP 3210 unit in the center of the dash. Throttles and shifters were from Marine Machine.
What started out as a change for a feature film has become a great addition to the lineup for Marine Technology Inc. Buyers are getting the proven hull of the 39-footer with a great cosmetic improvement. Sometimes it takes someone outside the industry to make a great product even better. Credit director Michael Mann for adding a new star to the MTI lineup.
Bruce Bullock Marine: MTI Marine Technology Inc Powerboat Authorized Dealer
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