Story and photos by DinaRella

On a dock full of hardware heavy on the black, white, red and blue hues, the audacious orange and glittering gray twin hull in slip number three in the Red Zone of the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show told another story. Rightfully titled First Born – the bright striped kitty summoning showgoers to a double take was the P-420 – the first 42-footer hull from Performance Boat Center’s new three-model line including the already-splashed 36-footer (P-360) and future 28-footer (P-280).

1 P-420 debut.JPG
2 P-420 bow.JPG
3 P-420 2023 FLIBS.JPG
4 P-420 First Born.JPG
5 P-420 LOTO launch.jpg

The Background

The birthing of the series was influenced by multiple factors stemming from industry partnership changes to PBC’s own personal evolutionary trajectory. To start, co-owners Brett Manire and Mark Waddington had previously been selling Wright Performance catamarans for a solid six years, before an ownership swap at Doug Wright Designs/High-Tech Composites ultimately ushered in a nameplate alteration to Performance Powerboats. Consequently, prior to this twist was also a short-lived chapter in early 2022 in which, an acquisition deal for Doug Wright Designs by Cigarette Racing Team fell apart in farcical fashion.

Secondly, considering the Central Missouri fastboat mecca of all things recreational and raceboat rigging-related in Osage Beach also functions as a dealer covering the center console market with its flagship MTI and Sunsation brands, the idea was: Why not add catamaran boat builder to its resume?

From this epiphany, came the opening of an epic lamination facility providing over 30,000 square feet of climate-controlled space in Houston, Texas; and the hiring of a top-notch development and production manager named Johnny Bauer, who brought 27 years of experience from Mercury to the table. Today, the crew of nearly 20 complete the hulls, then PBC takes delivery for rigging under the direction of Myrick Coil. Ryan Schwarzen of Kutting Edge Interiors handles the interiors and in-house graphics man Rob Rich maps out the paint designs and details.

6 P-420 hull 1.JPG
7 PBC P-420.jpg
8 PBC FLIBS lineup.jpg

P-420 First Born

Owned by powerboater Brent Medley and originally rolled out at the Shootout with its smaller sibling P-360s (number four is currently in the works), First Born was in the finest of hands at its South Florida exposé with salesman Rusty Williams (who doubles as Super Stock-class pro racer sharing the cockpit with Coil on the PBC team.)

Tasked with telling it all about the $900,000-priced wonder, Williams explains, “Putting our own special touches on the P-420, you’ll see it’s bigger in size with taller gunwales than some other manufacturers. We also did a nice flat area around the windshield to be able to walk from the front to the back.”

Talking about walking, also praiseworthy were the gray steps facilitating easy entry from the transom into the cockpit without climbing all over the seats. As an additional safety measure, my bare feet appreciated the marine matting while standing on the steps, as I admired the wickedness of the sleek, black hardware, PB branded push-up cleats and matching padded dash coupled with the white and orange interior. The robust hand straps on each side of the rear seats to grab onto were another welcome feature for days when hitting the triple digit high notes.

9 P-420 8 seater.JPG
10 P-420 8 seater.JPG
11 P-420 middle step.JPG
12 P-420 PBC cleats.JPG
13 P-420 seat straps.JPG

Other notables were the seriously large storage compartments on both the bow and stern, capable of accommodating much more than just the fenders and flip-flops, and the cool cut-outs in the seats for air ventilation. Waterfall steps down the transom provide quick access into the water and to reach the engines, which were the latest supercharged V8 500Rs from Mercury Racing. Of course the next obvious question was, “What’s the stop speed?” “With a set of 34s, we saw 130 mph on the rev limiter. Because of the new large prop shaft design, we are still waiting on new props,” responds Williams.

14 P-420 padded dash.JPG
15 P-420 massive rear storage.JPG
16 P-420 bow fender storage.JPG
17 P-420 cockpit.JPG
18 P-420 Waterfall steps.JPG
19 P-420 twin 500s.JPG
20 P-420 rear steps.JPG

Six units of the P-420 are on order, and in total with all three models... PBC hopes to build 12 a year. Another new feline – this one a "Wildcat" from Jaguar Powerboats – also chose FLIBS to reveal itself, that’s up next!