March 4, 2024

Cigarette Boat: A High-Speed Marvel on Water

Cigarette boats are a type of high-performance powerboat known for their speed, sleek design, and luxurious features.

Originally popularized in the 1960s by Don Aronow's Cigarette Racing Team, these boats have become a symbol of wealth and status among boating enthusiasts. Over time, cigarette boats have evolved to incorporate cutting-edge technology and design elements, making them a top choice for those seeking an adrenaline-pumping experience on the water.

Often characterized by their long, narrow hulls and powerful engines, cigarette boats are designed for maximum performance and speed.

They are commonly used for offshore racing and leisure activities, attracting thrill-seekers who appreciate the exhilarating experience of cutting through the waves at high speeds.

While these boats are undoubtedly impressive, they also require a significant investment of time, money, and commitment to ensure proper maintenance and adherence to safety regulations.

Key Takeaways

  • Cigarette boats are high-performance powerboats known for their speed and luxury features
  • They have evolved over time to incorporate cutting-edge technology and design elements
  • Ownership of a cigarette boat requires a serious commitment to maintenance and safety

History and Evolution

Origin of Cigarette Boats

Cigarette boats, also known as go-fast boats, were initially designed during the early 1960s for high-speed water racing. Their unique planing hull and narrow platform allowed them to reach speeds of over 50 knots.

These boats got their name from either an idea by their creator, Don Aronow, inspired by a cigarette smuggler, or as a result of winning the American championship three times in a row.

Cigarette Racing Team

The Cigarette Racing Team was founded in the 1960s by Don Aronow, an entrepreneur with a passion for speed and boat racing.

Under Aronow's leadership, the Cigarette Racing Team quickly gained a reputation for creating high-performance boats. Some of the key features of their boats included:

  • Long and narrow hulls for increased speed
  • High-performance engines for efficient power output
  • Sleek designs that showcased both speed and style

Don Aronow Legacy

Don Aronow's legacy in the performance boat industry is undeniable. He is often credited with popularizing go-fast boats in the United States and beyond.

The history of Cigarette boats is closely tied with Aronow's own story, as he mentored numerous builders and designers throughout his career.

Some prominent figures who have been influenced by Aronow's work or have had professional associations with him include:

  1. Michael Aronow, his son
  2. Bob Saccenti, builder of Chief Powerboats and founder of Apache Performance Boats
  3. Phil Lipschutz, former Aronow contractor and current Miami-area Cigarette dealer
  4. Allan "Brownie" Brown, former acquaintance
  5. Michael Peters, contracted designer (1981-1986), hired full-time in 1987

Design and Characteristics

Hull Design and Deadrise

Cigarette boats are known for their unique planing hull, which allows them to attain high speeds on the water.

A key element of this hull design is the deadrise - the angle formed by the hull's bottom and the horizontal plane.

This angle is critical for performance, as it affects the boat's handling, stability, and efficiency at high speeds.

The hull's narrow beam and deep V-shape help the vessel cut through the water effortlessly, with minimal resistance.

Length and Beam

The distinctive length and design of a cigarette boat contribute to its sleek, aerodynamic profile.

These vessels typically feature a long, narrow platform, with the length ranging from 30 to 50 feet or more. Meanwhile, the beam, or the width at the widest part of the vessel, is significantly reduced - allowing for better hydrodynamics and improved handling at high speeds.

Cockpit and Cabin Comfort

Despite their focus on speed, cigarette boats also prioritize the comfort of passengers.

The cockpit typically features ergonomic seating with bolstered and adjustable positions, providing a secure and comfortable ride even in rough conditions.

The cabin area, although compact, offers essential amenities for overnight stays, such as a V-berth, a small galley, and an enclosed head - ensuring a pleasant experience while on board.

Carbon-Fiber Construction

One of the innovations that has revolutionized the cigarette boat industry is the use of carbon-fiber construction.

This lightweight yet strong material significantly reduces the vessel's overall weight while maintaining structural integrity, thereby enhancing its performance.

In addition to improving the top-end speed, carbon-fiber construction provides a myriad of benefits such as increased fuel efficiency, improved handling, and reduced stress on the powertrain components.

The inclusion of cutting-edge technology ensures that the cigarette boat remains a high-performance vessel on the forefront of maritime engineering.


Engine Power and Horsepower

The performance of a Cigarette boat is significantly attributed to its powerful engines and remarkable horsepower.

The 52' Thunder by Cigarette boasts a fusion of power and elegance driven by 600 V12s.

Another popular model, the 515 Cigarette, stands as the most innovative performance boat featuring cutting-edge technologies and methodologies.

Some key features that contribute to the impressive engine power and horsepower include:

  • The use of carbon fiber for lightweight and durable construction
  • Advanced design techniques to optimize airflow and stability
  • Collaborations with industry-leading yacht designers, such as Italian designer Giorgio Cassetta

Handling and Stability

Handling and stability are essential factors to consider in performance boats.

Cigarette boats are designed to provide responsive and confident navigation through the water.

The 52' Thunder is a prime example of this characteristic, offering a sleek and aerodynamic design to efficiently cut through the water.

With stability in mind, the boat's deck construction also plays a crucial role.

The 515 Cigarette's deck is designed to be exceedingly light to optimize the boat's overall performance dynamics. This lightweight construction allows for a perfect balance between speed, handling, and stability.

Top Speeds and Performance Metrics

Cigarette boats are known for their remarkable top speeds and performance.

For instance, the Cigarette 52 Thunder can reach an astonishing 90 MPH thanks to its six Mercury 500R engines.

The Cigarette 515, a flagship model for the brand, expands on the performance capabilities of the 50' Marauder with a hand-laid fiberglass construction that is both lightweight and stiff enough to achieve incredible speeds.

To summarize, Cigarette boats exhibit the following impressive performance metrics:

  1. Engine Power: Equipped with high-performance engines, such as the 600 V12s in the 52' Thunder
  2. Handling and Stability: Sleek and aerodynamic designs enhance navigation and control
  3. Top Speeds: Some models can reach speeds of up to 90 MPH or more

Models and Types

515 Cigarette

The 515 Cigarette is a luxurious high-performance boat that offers a perfect blend of power and elegance.

This model features a sleek and aerodynamic design that allows for efficient navigation through the water. The 515 is equipped with 600 V12s engines, providing an impressive amount of power and performance.

38 Top Gun

The 38 Top Gun is a classic example of Cigarette's dedication to speed and style.

This high-performance boat is known for its modified vee hull, which ensures a smooth ride and exceptional handling. The 38 Top Gun combines a spacious layout with powerful performance, making it one of the most popular Cigarette models available today.

Tirranna and Nighthawk

Cigarette's Tirranna and 41 Nighthawk models represent the company's commitment to innovation and cutting-edge design.

The Tirranna offers a blend of luxury, sport, and performance, while the Nighthawk is a sleek speedboat that promises thrilling offshore adventures. These models showcase Cigarette's versatility as a boat manufacturer, catering to various tastes and preferences.

  • Tirranna: A perfect fusion of luxury, sport, and performance.
  • Nighthawk: Sleek design and thrilling offshore adventures.

Auroris Experience

The Auroris Experience is a unique offering from Cigarette, focusing on creating an unforgettable experience on the water. The Auroris features an array of advanced technology, including state-of-the-art navigation systems, high-performance engines, and comfortable accommodations.

ModelKey Features
515 CigaretteLuxurious, high-performance, sleek design, 600 V12s engines
38 Top GunClassic speed and style, modified vee hull, spacious
TirrannaLuxury, sport, performance blend
NighthawkSleek design, offshore adventures
AurorisUnforgettable experience, advanced technology, comfort

Technology and Accessories

Garmin Multifunction Displays

Cigarette boats are equipped with the latest in marine electronics, one of which includes the Garmin Multifunction Displays.

These state-of-the-art displays provide boat owners with vital information on GPS, chartplotters, and other essential data, enhancing the overall boating experience.

Garmin is a trusted name in the marine industry, and their displays are known for their accuracy, reliability, and ease of use.

Radar and Navigation

Another essential technology found on cigarette boats is advanced radar and navigation systems.

These systems not only help with safe navigation on the water but also allow for efficient and accurate positioning.

The integration of cutting-edge radar technology ensures that captains can easily spot and track nearby vessels, buoys, and obstacles, making for a safer and more enjoyable journey.

Moreover, digital switching systems help to control various on-board features and functions, simplifying the user experience.

Summer Kitchen Add-Ons

When it comes to enhancing the entertainment and leisure aspects of cigarette boats, the Summer Kitchen Add-Ons cannot be overlooked.

These optional features are designed to maximize socializing and entertaining guests on board.

Some popular add-ons include:

  • Grill: A built-in grill is perfect for outdoor cooking and enjoying delicious meals with family and friends.
  • Sink: A convenient sink makes cleaning and food preparation much easier.
  • Refrigerator: Keep your beverages and food items cool with an on-board refrigerator, essential for hot summer days.

Safety and Regulations

Safety Features

Cigarette boats, like other recreational watercraft, must incorporate several essential safety features to ensure the well-being of passengers and minimize accidents.

Some key safety features present in cigarette boats include life jackets, fire extinguishers, and navigation lights.

Wearing a U.S. Coast Guard-approved PFD (Personal Flotation Device) while on the water is necessary for every occupant to enhance safety.

In addition, cigarette boats should have:

  • Adequate ventilation systems to prevent the buildup of dangerous fumes.
  • Properly-installed fuel systems to minimize the risk of fires or explosions.
  • Emergency communication devices, such as VHF radios or satellite phones, for contacting the appropriate authorities in case of an emergency.

Boating Regulations and Compliance

Boating regulations in the United States aim to promote safety and protect the environment.

The United States Coast Guard enforces federal boating laws and regulations, while state and local authorities handle jurisdiction-specific rules. It's critical for cigarette boat owners and operators to comply with these regulations.

Some key aspects of boating regulations include:

  1. Age Requirements: Operators often need to meet minimum age requirements and possess a boating education certification.
  2. Navigation Rules: Boaters must adhere to laws governing speed limits, right-of-ways, and avoidance of collisions.
  3. Equipment Requirements: Boats should be equipped with necessary safety gear such as PFDs, fire extinguishers, and sound-producing devices.
  4. Environmental Regulations: Boat owners must follow guidelines to minimize pollution from fuel, sewage, and trash.

Moreover, cigarette boats may attract attention from law enforcement agencies such as the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) due to their history of being used in drug smuggling operations. Ensuring compliance with safety and boating regulations can help maintain a positive image for cigarette boats and their operators.

Lifestyle and Culture

Cigarette Boat Gatherings

Cigarette boat gatherings are popular events where enthusiasts and owners come together to showcase and admire these sleek, powerful boats.

These events often feature a variety of go-fast boats, including the famous Cigarette boats. Boat shows and marina meet-ups allow attendees to see the latest models, as well as marvel at the craftsmanship and engineering of classic boats.

Poker Run Events

Poker run events are another exciting aspect of Cigarette boat culture.

These events involve participants navigating a predetermined course in their go-fast boats, collecting playing cards at various checkpoints. The goal is to have the best poker hand by the end of the race.

Major poker run events, such as the annual Florida Powerboat Club's Key West Poker Run, attract Cigarette boat owners from all over the country.

Poker Run Facts:

  • Speeds can reach over 100 mph
  • Boats participating may range from 30' to 50'
  • Many events benefit charitable organizations

Luxury and Status Symbol

Cigarette boats have become synonymous with luxury and status.

A prime example of this opulence is the collaboration between Cigarette Racing and Mercedes-AMG, creating high-performance boats that reflect the luxury and power of their automotive counterparts.

Cigarette boats are also well-known for their eye-catching designs and world-famous paint jobs.

These boats often feature vibrant colors and intricate patterns, making them stand out on the water and catch the attention of fellow boaters and spectators alike.

Ownership Experience

Buying a Cigarette Boat

Purchasing a Cigarette boat is a significant investment and a unique experience for the buyer.

With top-of-the-line models like the Cigarette 515 and the Cigarette 52 Thunder, customers can expect exceptional performance and luxury.

When selecting the ideal boat, buyers can explore customization options to create a one-of-a-kind vessel tailored to their preferences and needs.

Dealer and Sales Network

Cigarette has an established network of authorized dealers who are well-versed in the intricacies of the different models, features, and performance specifications.

The sales process often includes consultation with dealership experts to educate the buyer on their options and ensure they make informed decisions.

Throughout the purchasing process, buyers are likely to engage with dealers and sales staff who are knowledgeable about Cigarette boats and committed to providing the best customer experience.

Service and Maintenance

Owning a Cigarette boat means having access to reputable parts and services from authorized dealerships and service centers.

These specialized facilities are equipped to handle the unique needs of high-performance boats and deliver timely and reliable maintenance.

Regular service and maintenance not only ensure the boat's longevity but also maintain its peak performance and reliability.

Here are some common maintenance tasks for Cigarette boats:

  • Engine checks: Regular inspection and tune-up of engines and related systems.
  • Hull maintenance: Cleaning, polishing, and checking for signs of wear or damage.
  • Electrical systems: Inspection and repair of wiring, batteries, and connections.
  • Safety equipment: Checking and updating life jackets, fire extinguishers, and other safety gear.

Cigarette Merchandise and Apparel

To complement the prestigious ownership experience, Cigarette Racing Team offers a line of exclusive apparel and merchandise for proud boat owners and enthusiasts alike.

These high-quality clothing, accessories, and memorabilia showcase the distinctive Cigarette branding and allow the owner to express their connection to the brand in their everyday lives or when attending boating events and gatherings.

Cigarette Racing Collaborations

Mercury Racing Partnerships

Cigarette Racing has a long-standing partnership with Mercury Racing. This collaboration focuses on providing high-performance engines for Cigarette boats, leading to remarkable speed and power.

For instance, the Cigarette boat line has incorporated Mercury Racing's 450-hp supercharged V-8 engines, achieving incredible capabilities in the water.

Collabs with Luxury Brands

The luxury aspect of Cigarette Racing is further enhanced through collaborations with prestigious brands like Mercedes-AMG. Together, they have created stunning, high-end boats like the 41 Nighthawk Black Series, which was inspired by the Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series car.

This partnership showcases the fusion of style, luxury, and performance in their creations, resulting in a unique boating experience.

Media and Press Coverage

Cigarette Racing's innovation and collaboration with luxury brands have made it a favorite among media and press. Various publications like Car and Driver and YachtWorld have covered the company's releases and events, highlighting its latest technologies and performance capabilities.

This media attention solidifies the brand's prominent position in the world of high-performance boating.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the price range for high-performance cigarette boats?

The price range for high-performance cigarette boats can vary widely depending on their size, engine specifications, and additional features.

On the lower end, they may start around $100,000, while more luxurious and powerful models can easily reach over $1 million. It's important to note that prices will also fluctuate based on factors such as demand and manufacturing costs.

How can one find cigarette boats for sale?

Finding cigarette boats for sale can be done through various channels.

For the most up-to-date options, refer to specialized online boat marketplaces, dealerships, or boating forums. Additionally, many manufacturers and dealers have listings on their websites or can direct potential buyers to available models.

Don't forget to also check local classifieds and boating publications for potential options.

What are the distinct features of cigarette boats?

Cigarette boats are known for their long, narrow bodies with a unique planing hull design that enables them to reach high speeds on the water.

They are often equipped with powerful engines, usually inboard stern-drive, but sometimes outboard-engine power. Cigarette boats range from 20 to over 50 feet in length and usually have single or dual engines.

What are the top speed capabilities of a cigarette boat?

The top speed capabilities of a cigarette boat can reach 100 miles per hour or even higher, depending on the specific model, engine configuration, and water conditions.

These boats are designed for speed enthusiasts and often require experienced operators due to their high-performance characteristics.

Which models are considered classic in the cigarette boat lineup?

Some classic models in the cigarette boat lineup include the Cigarette Racing Team boats, founded in the 1960s by Don Aronow.

The classic lineup features various performance-oriented options with different engine configurations, sizes, and layouts. Among the most iconic models are the Cigarette Top Gun, Café Racer, and 38-foot Top Gun X.

Can you describe the engine specifications of cigarette racing boats?

Cigarette racing boats typically feature high-performance engines. These engines often use inboard stern-drive systems with one or more engines providing power.

These engines can range significantly in terms of horsepower. Some boats may have engines with just a few hundred horsepower, while others could boast over a thousand horsepower per engine. Outboard engine configurations are less common but can still be found on some models.

The power and configuration of the engines largely contribute to the overall speed capabilities and performance of the cigarette boats.

Charlie Hardcastle
Charlie is Editor-in-Chief of Sea Magazine
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