Boat Review: Mirage 61

At 81,000 pounds, the Mirage 61 falls right in the median-weight range of available 61-footers, but with its thoroughbred history, you can bet it'll be one of the fastest.

It doesn't claim the usual ancestry of so many offshore fishing boats, e.g., charter captain starts boatbuilding company or boat owner starts company so he can write off his yacht. Rather, Mirage Powerboats started life in 1975 when two former employees of the Cigarette Racing Team left and began construction of their own 29-foot speedboat.

They fared well on the racing end but not in business. In 1997 Mike Hatami purchased the assets of the company and, along with one of the founders, reopened Mirage Powerboats.

The new company started life with an all-new 40-foot speedboat based on the legendary 41-foot Apache. Remarkably, this new model proved an instant success. The acquisition of the Super Hawaii and Midnight Express companies quickly provided greater market share. Numerous other sizes rapidly followed, all successful.

But just as most boat owners want to continuously trade up in size, so, too, did Mirage. The company decided to apply the same rigorous standards and technology used in their go-fast boats to larger models and enter the sportfishing and yacht markets.

My grandfather told me that it's OK not to know something as long as you know someone who does. And Mirage made a good move when it signed renowned naval architect David Napier to draw the lines of the new Mirage 40. Napier earned his unblemished reputation by designing every Bertram between 1971 and 1997, the latest Cabo 43 Flybridge and a host of others.

The 40 enjoyed instant popularity - enough so that Napier now has a 48 and a 61 on the drawing board. Thanks to the prop-pocket design, Mirage expects the 61 to be a very fast boat that draws less than 5 feet of water.

Mirage took a fairly bold leap into advanced technology by using a new fiberglass product called 3-tex (www.3tex.com). This three-dimensional material takes the place of multiple layers of fiberglass with chopped strand between the layers, providing significant weight savings without sacrificing strength. Mirage also bonds hulls, decks, stringers, bulkheads and partitions. In addition, all interior elements such as furniture, cabinetry, floors, bulkheads, etc. consist of honeycomb composite materials that also get bonded into the boat where it all becomes a monocoque, or one-piece structure. And of course, for longevity's sake, Mirage uses only vinylester resin to prevent any water intrusion in the laminate and subsequent osmotic blistering.

SPECIFICATIONS
LOA 61'0"
BEAM 17'0"
DRAFT 4'8"
WEIGHT 81,000 pounds
FUEL 1,800 gallons
WATER 250 gallons
POWER T 1,675-hp Cat 32 diesels
BASE PRICE $2,200,000
Mirage Yacht, LLC Miami, Florida 954-462-5527 www.mirageyachts.com

At 81,000 pounds, the Mirage 61 falls right in the median-weight range of available 61-footers, but with its thoroughbred history, you can bet it'll be one of the fastest. Napier designed some of the world's greatest sportfishing hulls, and Mirage is banking on its new 61 to join those rarified ranks.