Story and select photos by DinaRella / Additional photos from American Marine Performance and Smart Performance Marine

Part Two
The second AMP 37 XPR to show itself made a phenomenal first impression at the 2024 Miami International Boat Show. Sporting twin Mercury Racing 500R outboard motors, an attractive $775,965 sticker, a unique patented running surface, and a lifetime warranty on the hull... is the AMP 37 XPR too good to be true?

Molded with an open top and moniker standing for "X-Cat Poker Run," no doubt the eight-seat XPR model was made with fun runs in mind. Crafted by Smart Performance Marine in Orlando, Fla., under the direction of owner and offshore racer Chris Schoenbohm, the boats are then transported to Pompano Beach where American Performance Marine takes the reins overseeing all rigging and painting chores.

Fortunate to find Schoenbohm on hand at the AMP booth, he was happy to bare all about both the "storied build history" that lies beneath the bling, and his upbringing in the U.S. Virgin Islands. At the age of eight, he became the youngest skipper to race the 1982 Hobie Cat Worlds, and has been fascinated by how catamarans glide and get on plane, ever since. Crewing for Todd Klindworth and Tres Martin of Team Virgin and racing professionally himself, further solidified his passion for speed extraction and culling the best possible performance out of the kitties.

1 AMP 37 XPR deck.jpg
2 AMP 37 XPR MIBS debut.JPG

3 AMP 37 XPR 2024 MIBS debut.jpg
4 AMP 37 XPR twin 500Rs.JPG

5 Smart Perf Marine Chris Schoenbohm.JPG

The Recipe for Success:
It's in the Running Surface

His recipe for success starts with the running surface, as the designer tells us, "I'd been racing several different brand boats since the early 2000s. Not one cornered or accelerated well, and I went through the whole gauntlet of trying to make them handle better to get through the turns faster. Because we weren't packing in as much air with the 57-inch tunnel in my 32’ Doug Wright SOS Venezuela, in the end we added our own running surface. We cut it in half, widened it to 63 inches and then rejoined it. The drastic modifications meant less chance of sliding and skipping, improved predictability leaning into turns, and better overall maneuvering to win races."

And win he did, starting with the Stock-class checkered flag at the 2014 SBI Key West World Championships when joined by veteran racer Gary Ballough on the throttles. Riding that wave of success, Schoenbohm returned to Doug Wright to buy a new cat that included the changes he'd made, only to be told "build it yourself." And so, he did! After dialing in the running plug and making the mold, the Phoenix lineup of recreational and racing catamarans came to fruition. Then, Fountain found out!

Loving what they saw, Fountain leased the tooling which led to the 32 Thunder Cat in 2018, later replaced by the next-gen 34 Thunder Cat. Today, the 37 AMP XPR marks the third generation. Four hulls are currently done and in production, as Schoenbohm says, "I've known Walt (AMP's VP of sales and marketing) for a long time, and he actually introduced me to Arthur and Clair, knowing they wanted to introduce a cat to their series. It's been a great partnership."

6 Smart Perf Marine shop 1.jpg

7 Smart Perform Marine shop 2.jpg
8 Smart Perf Marine shop 3.jpg

9 Smart Perf Marine shop 4.jpg
10 AMP Sales VP Walt and SPM Chris.jpg

"The AMP 37 XPR is crafted around the special patented running surface consisting of three distinct bottom profiles forward of the front step, between the steps, and aft of the second step, each optimized to deliver a superior driving experience where that section meets the water. The turning point is also very unique. We've also patented several other features including our bracket design in the back. It's the only catamaran in an eight-seat configuration to get on plane by 18 mph. Wide open we're looking for 130 mph; we're right up front with the 39 MTI and 37 DCB."

Delving deeper into construction details, he explains, "Our process with the vacuum resin infusion is also a little different. The boat is built all under pressure. We release the resin onto the laminate and it all becomes a boat in one shot. We use only epoxy, there is no vinyl ester or wood coring. It's 100% foam and weighs 5,500 pounds rigged. Even if it was submerged, it would still float."

11 AMP 37 XPR deck.jpeg
12 AMP 37 XPR.jpeg
13 XPR bottom design.jpg
14 AMP 37 XPR before 1.jpg
15 AMP 37 XPR before 2.jpg
16 AMP 37 XPR  running.jpg

"Using old-school engineering tactics, we also put pinhole cameras in the bottom to track our course with the amount of weight and fuel and to monitor where the wind was coming from. Then, we analyzed the video footage to see where the boat scrubbed water or picked up, and at what rpm."

Schoenbohm finishes with his thoughts on the 500s,"A lot of variables go into how the AMP 37 XPR runs, but the cat's power with the 500Rs is a game changer. Because of the super heavy, all most bulletproof gear case and thicker prop shaft, you don’t have to worry about breaking them. The water pick-up is much lower, so you're allowed to run the motors a little higher for better speed and efficiency. Everything in-house that we are building now is with 500Rs."

17 AMP 37 XPR windshield.JPG
18 AMP 37 XPR  8 seater.JPG
19 AMP 37 XPR cockpit.jpg
20 AMP 37 XPR Helm.JPG
21 AMP 37 deck.jpg

AMPed for 2024

AMP is ramped up to conquer the performance boating world in 2024 in more ways than one. To start, the manufacturer has already signed on with eight dealers nationwide. For the South Florida market, its exclusive service provider and sales partner is FB Marine Group, which had a strong presence on B Dock keeping respected team member Mindi Doller busy all weekend.

Next month, the company prepares to integrate a new rigging facility nearby to its primary facility, which is also being expanded to double the size. And speaking of size, a 43-footer designed from scratch and dubbed the AMP 433, is currently in production and projected to be ready for FLIBS!

22 AMP 433 center console.jpg
23 AMP 433.JPG
24 AMP 433 tooling.jpg
25 AMP founder Arthur Fusco.JPG

Return to part one to read about the AMP 333 center console.