The rollover of the new Outerlimits SV29 V-bottom on Tuesday, May 15, on Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay sent shockwaves through the high-performance powerboat world. The long-awaited and much-anticipated 29-footer took more than two years to bring from concept to reality, and production of the stepped V-bottom reportedly sold out within a month of its mid-February introduction at the 2012 Miami International Boat Show. Neither Mike Fiore—the owner and founder of Outerlimits and the driver of the boat that day—nor his passenger sustained injuries in the accident.
Until now, Fiore has stayed off the record. Late yesterday afternoon, I caught up with him for a brief telephone interview regarding the accident.
Describe the conditions on the day of the accident.
It was a typical Northeast spring day on Narragansett Bay—those are our testing grounds—about 60 degrees, 1- to 2-foot with the wind blowing 15 miles per hour or so. Nothing crazy.
I was running the 29 with a client. We went for a normal ride on our normal course, did our usual loop around the bay and entered into a left-hand turn at 75 mph, like I do all the time. We experienced a mechanical failure that resulted in the boat overturning. We have identified the mechanical problem and have made the appropriate changes to make sure we never have that mechanical problem again.
What, exactly, failed?
At this point, that’s not something I’m willing to discuss. I can just assure everybody that we have identified and rectified the problem, and it will never happen again.
So the problem had nothing to do with the hull?
Absolutely not. It had nothing to do with the hull. This hull is by far the most vetted design we’ve ever had. Between the prototype and production boats, we have in the neighborhood of 200 hours of testing in the 29, and the majority of those hours are mine.
At the end of the day, I’m just very happy that the mechanical failure happened while I was driving rather than a consumer.
There were early reports that the trim tab indicators failed, which caused you to leave a tab down as you entered the turn.
I have no comment on that.
Had you turned the boat at 75 mph before?
Absolutely. I’ve turned the boat at 90 miles per hour.
Has the accident resulted in any cancelation of orders?
No. It definitely has not.
Are there any misconceptions you’d like to clear up? Any persistent and incorrect rumors?
The hull is fine. As I said, we’ve never put more hours into testing an Outerlimits model. We corrected the cause of the problem and it’s time to move forward with production. We have a lot of these to build.