OPA Worlds Day 1: Miss GEICO, Shadow Pirate, Typhoon And More Take Charge
Inside SOTW Mag: Factory Billet’s New Power Paradigm
OPA Fleet Approaching 50 Teams For World Championships
Lake of the Ozarks Shootout Hires Executive Director
Commentary: And Joe Sgro Served The Pizza
All Gain And No Pain In Skater 36 ROS Swap Out For Verado 400Rs
Arrow
Arrow
Slider

Human nature being what it is, people are more likely to be vocal when they are unhappy about something than when they are happy about it. That’s a lesson I learned waiting tables from junior high school through college, and one I continued to learn during 17 years at Powerboat magazine. Satisfied customers, so to speak, tend to move on and go about their business without comment. Unsolicited praise for a job well done is rare.

The owner of Checkmate Powerboats, Doug Smith founded Baja Marine.The owner of Checkmate Powerboats—the company's new 26-footer is captured in this photo—Doug Smith founded Baja Marine.

That’s what makes the email below, which we received at speedonthwater.com, so very worth publishing. We didn’t ask for it. Doug Smith, the owner of Checkmate Powerboats in Bucyrus, Ohio, and the founder and former owner Baja Marine, didn’t ask for it. It just arrived on Labor Day, which, as you’ll read, makes perfect sense.

The Bad Travels Faster than the Good

“I read your recent story on Checkmate and Doug Smith, and it reminded me of a 1979 Baja 190 TC that I bought at a small marina on Bass Lake in Indiana. I ordered the boat with an OMC Cobra 260 hp I/O.  The boat was fast but had a wicked chine walk, not just a wobble but gyration. Once you got over 60 mph, there was one rock to the left then a violent rock to the right, and before the next one you had to get off the throttle!  You thought that you were going to flip.

I used the boat for three months. The marina tried different solutions but nothing worked.  Mr. Smith came to Bass Lake to do an in-water demo boat ride one weekend.  The marina owner told me to bring my boat over while Doug was there. The dealer asked Doug to take the boat out for a ride. He did but without anyone else on board. We all watched from shore.

Near 60 mph, the violent chine walk started—one gyration—and he stopped turned around and came back in and said, “That's not right, let me take it back to the factory.” I said that I had a two-week vacation, could I give him the boat after Labor Day? He said that would be fine.  

About the end of October, I got a call from the marina dealer. He said that Baja could not fix the problem, but that mine was the only boat that they had ever made with the OMC I/O. They had built many MerCruiser I/Os with the 260-hp small-block Chevy and never had a problem with them. Would I take the Merc instead? Well, in spring 1980 there was a brand new 190 TC waiting for me.

Now, all this happened without any yelling or screaming—just me simply stating the problem and Doug Smith and company backing up their product. I never forgot it, and I tell the story often. I used the first boat for three months and never put out a single penny, and got a brand new boat at the end of the season.

Doug Smith is one of the good guys in the boating industry.”—Nick Amelio

Latest Videos

  • Miss GEICO 2.0 was spotted testing recently.
  • Adrenaline Powerboats ZXR 47 Stringer Infusion Timelapse
  • Adrenaline ZXR 47 Hull Infusion Timelapse
  • Buffalo Drone Skater
  • Boyne Thunder 2017 016
  • Boyne Thunder 2017 Boyne to Charlevoix
  • Test-driving the all-new MTI-V 57 with quad Seven Marine 627 engines.
  • All-new MTI-V 57 Runs in Miami
  • Livorsi Marine Multi-Stepped Trim Tabs
  • Speed On The Water 2016 Year In Review on Press
  • 2016 SBI Key West Offshore World Championships—From The Air
  • Skater 318 No. 2 Runs 122 MPH.
  • Christian 42 3rd Run
  • Christian 42
  • Lake Lanier 388 Skater
  • Skater Powerboats 368 at the 2016 Pirates of Lanier Poker Run in Buford, Ga.
  • DCB M35 with Mercury Racing 1550 Engines
  • Swoop Motorsports Dial 911 Skater test session on Lake Havasu in March 2016.
  • Kenny Mungle and John Tomlinson of TNT Custom Marine tested Mungle's 36-foot Skater in Miami today.
  • Mercury Racing ROS Teaser 3
  • Mercury Racing ROS Teaser 2
  • Mercury Racing ROS Teaser 1
  • Blackwater Boats 36 Sport, 36 Sportfish, 36 TE Models
  • Waves and Wheels Optimus Prime Skater Unveiling
  • Mystic Powerboats M3900 Delivery
  • DCB Performance Boats Lickity Split delivery on Lake Havasu.
  • DCB M35 Lickity Split
  • Pure Platinum 388 Skater Powerboats catamaran testing in Jacksonville in early April.
  • Waves and Wheels Ironman-themed Hustler 377 Talon.
  • QMSF Qatar Cup - Doha 2015
  • Mystic Powerboats C4400 test run
  • Waves and Wheels Cigarette Racing 38 Top Gun update.
  • First Mystic C4400 Water Test
  • Mystic C4400 First Dip
  • Mystic C4400 First Fire
  • AJ Interview Transcoded 01 YouTube 720p
  • Bob Nixon Interview Final YouTube 720p
  • Win Farnsworth Interview - Monster Bash 2014
  • Speedonthewater.com Sunsation Powerboats interview from 2014 Lake of the Ozarks Shootout
  • Mystic 39 Center Console Sea Trial
  • Speedonthewater.com MTI interview from 2014 Lake of the Ozarks Shootout
  • Speedonthewater.com Gone Again interview from 2014 Lake of the Ozarks Shootout
  • Ray Lee of Speedboat Magazine wows the SCOPE Poker Run crowd with his rendition of Johnny B Goode.
  • Chaparral Villian Water Test
  • LOTO, Hall of fame awards
  • Pirates of Lanier Poker Run party
  • Tom Cat Skater Powerboats catamaran
  • Some video highlights from the Boyne Thunder Poker Run in Boyne City, Mich.
  • Start of the 2014 Boyne Thunder Poker Run.
  • 2014 Boyne Thunder Poker Run
  • 11th annual Boyne Thunder Poker Run street party.
  • 2014 Jacksonville River Rally Poker Run
  • Dan Lawrence in Porsche 918 Spyder
  • Outerlimits Kilo Run
  • DCB M35 with Mercury 1100s
  • DCB M35 with twin Mercury 1100s
  • Miss GEICO Mercury 1650 Engines
  • Nor-Tech 390 Sport with Seven Marine 557 engines 2
  • Nor-Tech 390 Sport with Seven Marine 557 engines 1
  • Nor-Tech 390 with Seven Marine 557 engines close-up
  • Broadco Property Restoration Offshore Racing Team Test
  • fpc miamishow14 mangroves
  • fpc miamishow14 mangroves
  • fpc miamishow14 stop1
  • fpc miamishow14 start
  • fpc miamishow14 mti42s
  • Sunsation Boats 29 CCX
  • 43 Outerlimits
  • Formula Boats 353 FAS3Tech with first set of Ilmor Marine 570 engines.
  • Lake of the Ozarks Shootout Panic Mouse
  • Lake of the Ozarks 2013 SuperCatFest
  • Texas Outlaw Challenge 2013 Party
  • Texas Outlaw Challenge 2013 MTI Catamarans
  • KeyWest PokerRun13 NorTech DJ
  • Big Cat Poker Run 2013 Baehr 39 Cigarette

Latest Videos

Speed on the Water