A year after relaunching Black Thunder Offshore, the powerboat builder completed its first redesigned 46 Raised Deck model with Mercury Racing 700 SCi engines.
The V-bottom still has its notable 6-foot-5 headroom in the cabin, but the boat underwent updates to the cockpit and cabin as well as hull improvements. Work started in August soon after the company was restarted after being shuttered in 2008.
“When you’re out of production for 10 years and you come back in you do have the advantage of relooking at everything, evaluating you competition as your coming back in and also embracing all the new products because there has been quite a difference in product the last 10 years,” said John York, who leads product development and marketing for Black Thunder. “Coming back into the market we wanted to take advantage of what’s out there.”
For the cabin and cockpit, Black Thunder collaborated with Waves and Wheels in Osage Beach, Missouri. Waves and Wheels updated the cockpit which features four standup bolsters with drop-down bottoms and a rear bench with seating for four people. A high-end sound system even included a pair of speakers on the swim platform.
The full-feature cabin included a 50-inch flat-screen TV. LED lighting throughout the boat is broken into three zones and can be controlled independently. York’s favorite zone is the engine, cockpit and underwater lighting zone.
Black Thunder also reshaped the last third of the boat’s hull to improve handling characteristics and speed for the twin 700 SCi engines, York said. Mercury Racing announced it is restarting production in August. Two 700-hp engines with M6 drives is base power for the 46 Raised Deck but the boat can handle bigger horsepower. York said the company is starting production on two 46 Raised Decks with twin Mercury Racing 1350s.
The Hannibal, Missouri, builder is also debuting a new 47-footer that York describes as a “hybrid center console.” Additionally, Black Thunder has signed a deal with Italian design company Poltrona Frau to produce three new models under the Black Thunder-Poltrona Frau branding. The first model will be the largest in the yacht series and will debut as a high-performance yacht.
York said the boat company is making up for lost time with the redesigns and new partnerships.
“Historically, Black Thunder has produced 300 large powerboats in the 43- and 46-foot range, so they have quite a following worldwide,” York said. “When they ceased production in ’08 due to the economy, there was quite a bit of customers on the sideline.
“Now that they’re back in production, they’re just all coming out of the woodwork to embrace, number one, Black Thunder being back in production and then also with these new designs just really, really being well received.”