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Jeruba's avatar

[Fiction question] Power boat? speedboat? what's the getaway craft?

Asked by Jeruba (41921 points ) November 27th, 2009

I thought I’d done pretty well by finding a 21’ Stingray 225 all by myself:

2009 top picks for the year
Stingray performance

But the people who write about these things assume that the reader already knows what they’re talking about. I can’t find out if this thing is called a power boat or a speedboat or something else, or if those two things are the same or different, or if this is even what my character (the yacht owner—this guy ) would use for his last-ditch getaway attempt.

So—my questions:
— Is the Stingray I picked out the kind of fast boat that my yacht owner might keep on hand? He wants it to be a good tradeoff between speed and sufficient fuel storage and space for supplies for a longish trip without having to fall back to land.
— What generic term do you use to refer to this type of boat?
— If I’ve got it wrong, what’s the right answer?

Almost to the end, guys. Thanks for all the help.

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20 Answers

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jackm's avatar

Maybe I am not in the know, but I would definitely call it a speed boat. I’ve actually never heard the term power boat so I may be confused though.

faye's avatar

Will you write my book too? I have so many ideas!

rooeytoo's avatar

Jeruba, you need a cigarette boat, google that and look at the pics. They are what the drug runners have in Miami!

wildpotato's avatar

I second the cigarette boat; it was the first thing that jumped to mind when I read the question. A lot of people know what they are, and they can outrun police boats (so I’ve heard through the vine).

Darwin's avatar

As a former Miamian, I, too, like the idea of a cigarette boat. They are larger than they look, and are hellishly fast. They also have a strong link to bad guys, both drug dealers and smugglers of other things. However, the Stingray isn’t a cigarette boat. This is a cigarette boat.

Otherwise, the term speedboat conjures up a better escape image to me than power boat. A speedboat is built to be fast, while a power boat tends to be one of those large, elegant motorized yachts like this one. And looking at the Stingray 225, with the space for sunbathing at the front and all, I would describe it as a speedboat.

Yacht owners, however, unless they own really huge yachts, typically keep something like this around for getting on and off the yacht. They are called “inflatable boats” in general terms, but we always called them “Zodiacs” in the same way many people say “kleenex” when they mean facial tissue regardless of brand.

But then, I only lived aboard a sailboat in Miamarina for three years.

Jeruba's avatar

He’s a rich man. He isn’t smuggling drugs. It has to be big enough so he can keep provisions on board, maybe enough for an extended run, and enough fuel. He also plans to take someone with him. There has to be room for two and probably sleeping quarters. The Stingray can go pretty fast. Are you sure it wouldn’t be a good tradeoff for escaping in?

Do these things all start with an ignition key like a car? We need a fast starter.

rooeytoo's avatar

Cigarette boats are huge, not like a yacht but very luxurious. They make a stingray look like a dinghy.

rooeytoo's avatar

Yep, no rope to pull on these babies, heheheh!

Zen_Again's avatar

A fast, small yacht?

Darwin's avatar

“It has to be big enough so he can keep provisions on board, maybe enough for an extended run, and enough fuel.”

Cigarette boats fit that description quite well. They are expensive and fast, and actually designed for racing (not illegal activities), and can easily run quite a long way before needing to refuel. They are much larger than they appear and have berths, a galley, and a head inside them (here is an example). They generally are the boats of rich folks (George Bush Sr. had one as did John Wayne), because new ones can run several hundred thousand dollars or more.

While the Stingray 225 also has a small cabin, complete with galley, v-berths and portapotty, it is much more a daytrip type boat. Its food storage seems centered around a built-in igloo cooler, and I don’t know how elaborate the galley is. It also isn’t terribly expensive as boats go, running under $35,000.

Some additional information about cigarette boats, also called go-fast boats:

“A typical go-fast is built of fiberglass, with a deep “V” offshore racing hull from usually 30 to 50 feet (10 to 15 m) long, narrow in beam, and equipped with two or more powerful engines, often with more than 1000 combined horsepower. The boats can typically travel at speeds over 80 knots (150 km/h) in calm waters, over 50 knots (90 km/h) in choppy waters, and maintain 25 knots (47 km/h) in the average five to seven foot (1.5 to 2 m) Caribbean seas. They are heavy enough to cut through higher waves, although at a slower pace.”

“These boats are difficult to detect by radar except on flat calm seas or at close range. The United States Coast Guard and the DEA found them to be stealthy, fast, seaworthy, and very difficult to intercept using conventional craft.”

They also can have fuel tanks that hold 200 to 300 gallons. From one boat owner:

“Cruise is approx. 40 mph @ 4000 rpm. At this speed, fuel consumption is 16 to 18 gph per motor per newly installed and calibrated Flo Scan. Top speed is 54 to 56 depending upon load. I understand that you can put triples on the bracket, but it will be tight. I suspect that an upgrade to twin Opti XS would increase speed and reduce fuel consumption. It has a 240 gallon tank on board which provides good range with current setup.”

If my calculations are right, that means a range of up to 600 miles, in a fast-moving boat that radar can’t find. Sounds like an ideal situation to me.

And yes, they are key start or sometimes push-button start.

And they are very macho.

Jeruba's avatar

All right, @Darwin! That sounds like a winner to me. Anyway, he isn’t actually going to go anywhere in it because before he can turn on the ignition, one of these is going to get him.

Darwin's avatar

Ah ha! Just desserts!

Jeruba's avatar

So—to give it its name—is Cigarette the brand? How do I refer to this boat in a way that’s comparable to saying a 21’ Stingray 225? And then what is the generic term?

Darwin's avatar

The generic term is either cigarette boat (they are called that because supposedly they were used to smuggle cigarettes into Canada but the name may actually been copied from the name of a famous rum-runner in the 1930’s) or go-fast boat. Don Arnow, the man who first built them, trademarked the name Cigarette, so like kleenex and xerox, the term is both a brand name and a generic name. As this guy puts it:

“Back in the 1970s, Cigarette Racing had such a lock on the market that the company name became synonymous with fast boats. “It was the equivalent of Kleenex,” says Bill Tweedie, a vice-president at Myco Trailer Co. in Bradenton, Fla., which sells its gear to owners of powerboats. “The brand name has been something that you just can’t kill.” ”

Here are some of the models of boat in the Cigarette brand line, which has been taken over and revived finally by Skip Braver. Arnow was gunned down apparently by rival boat builders and his company went to five different owners before Braver brought it back to life. However, cigarette boats, also described as deep-vee offshore performance boats, are also built by other companies such as Baja Marine, Donzi Marine, Jaguar, Pantera, and others listed here.

Basically, pick one whose name you like the sound of and go with it.

rooeytoo's avatar

I love Donzi, has such a nice ring to it!

Darwin's avatar

Does that mean Donzi is bonzer?

Jeruba's avatar

You’re a great help, @Darwin! Thanks so much.

Which name or brand has the greatest cachet? My guy does a lot of things for show. Would he gravitate toward the Jaguar?

“Beyond the door lay a dimly lit concrete landing facing an opening in a narrow concrete tunnel. The tunnel housed a waterway resembling the loading platform for a boat ride in a theme park. A <length or model or performance speed or something> Jaguar cigarette boat, capable of outrunning <something>, hugged the landing, poised to take off down the channel at the first spark of the ignition.”

rooeytoo's avatar

@Darwin hehehe, you know they pronounce bonzer as bonza, so it is close to musical!

Darwin's avatar

@rooeytoo – Oh, yes, I know (or should I say Oi know? That’s how my parents Australian “daughter” always said it.)

@Jeruba – I would say pick one you like the sound of, preferably an expensive one. Check the cigarette boats for sale sites for one that looks cool, sounds cool, and is expensive.

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