One of a Kind

Classic performance boats often tell a tale. With a long history as rich as the world of offshore, some stories are legendary, while others are just plain ironic.
Following PRA’s recent Rock the Bay Poker Run in North East, MD, Poker Runs America’s Bill Taylor visited Chris Cestaro at Ocean Performance in Old Saybrook, CT., to find his team hard at work servicing several models on its grounds.

One model in particular was a 1991 42’ Cigarette, once owned by Cestaro and the only one of its kind to feature a unique combination of a flat deck design and a three-man bolster. What’s more is the boat’s past is just as interesting as the boat itself.

A former offshore racer, Cestaro had the boat built in 1990 as plans were set to race with teammates Craig Barrie and Bud Lorow in the (former) Offshore Professional Tour (OPT), the same offshore grounds where Don Johnson, Kurt Russell, Chuck Norris, and Al Copeland came to play.

Given the uncertain state of the U.S. economy and the decline of sponsors in offshore racing at the time, Cestaro explained the boat didn’t have an illustrious career as the team had hoped, racing the boat just three times in one season.

Cestaro eventually brought the Cigarette back to his facility in Old Saybrook with a goal to incorporate Mercury’s Wet Sump Six’s and new graphics. This is also when Cestaro devised the name “The Hardway,” which signifies his hard work and dedication in establishing a successful business in the offshore boating industry.

“With the boat completed, I was looking forward to using it when a friend of mine from Massachusetts, Harry Turner, wanted to buy it and wanted to race it in the P3 class. I eventually sold it to him and he did race it as “The Hardway” in SBI and won the P3 Class in 2006.”

Following his victory, Turner stepped back from racing and eventually sold the boat to a local performance enthusiast, John Makepeice, who in turn sold it to its current owner, Rob Fiore.

“Knowing I was the original owner, Fiore came to me asking about buying the boat from Harry and I said ‘sure,’” explained Cestaro. “Now, it’s back here in my shop, powered by a set of MRD 1150/1350 hp engines with Wet Sump Six’s. Rob did a lot of the tech himself including changing the upper ends, rockers, valve springs, and the overall geometry of the engine. He’s a real hands-on guy.”

To this day, after its success on the offshore circuit and interest by a series of boaters, Cestaro is still curious as to why Cigarette only built one 42’ Flatdeck with a three-man bolster.

“Cigarette has built models with six-man bolsters with top gun decks, six-man bolsters with a flat deck, and three-man bolsters with a top gun deck. That 42’ was unique. It was the only one. The deck is huge on that boat.”

Nonetheless, with its stylish, contemporary graphics, highlighted with a World War II U.S. Military 101st Airborne insignia on the transom, (which Cestaro had originally designed to commemorate his father’s extensive duty in the Second World War), the boat runs in the 110 mph range with ease and still looks great with its solid, robust, old school design.

For more details on Ocean Performance visit or call (860) 388-6000  PRA

Print Friendly, PDF & Email