Those of us who know it well recognise that Sydney Harbour is, well, one of the great ones, where, as Captain Arthur Phillip once said, “1000 ships of the line can ride safely at anchor.”
So it’s highly appropriate now that one of the world’s truly legendary boating marques can call the harbour home with the Cigarette Racing Team’s creations now being handled from the Rose Bay headquarters of the Chapman Marine Group.
In selecting the Chapman Marine Group as its Australian distributor, the Cigarette Racing Team could not have made a better choice, for CEO Mark Chapman arguably boasts more performance boat expertise than anyone else in the industry.
Chapman was appointed the Australian distributor for the Cigarette breed late last year, and the first boat, hopefully the first of many, has arrived down under.
The boat is the 39’ Top Fish, a centre-console design which, as the name implies, is fitted for blue water sport fishing.
Built on a straight our performance hull similar to the fabulous ‘muscle boat’, the 39’ Top Gun, the Top Fish now gracing Sydney Harbour makes waves courtesy of a triple 300hp Mercury Verado outboard rig.
Cigarette Racing Team lists this power arrangement as ‘standard’ for the Top Fish, with Mercury Marine’s latest 350hp Verado as an option (if you’re really determined to lead the pack offshore, the Top Gun 39 can handle four engines!).
More than two-years development was invested into the Top Fish, and when Mercury Marine was on the lookout for a ‘platform’ to test the new 350hp Verado engines well, where else would an engine manufacturer go but to the Cigarette Racing Team.
The test program was actually the third time Mercury Marine and the Cigarette Racing Team have undertaken joint testing.
Previously Mercury Racing called on the team to test its new HP1075hp and HP850hp stern drive engines.
The Top Fish 39 is certainly going to impress (or leave speechless?) those who range wide in search of the big bill fish.
Neill Hernandez, Cigarette’s executive vice president, said the 39 Top Fish was subjected to a ‘punishing’ test program before it was handed over to Mercury Marine.
“The ride is just incredible,” Hernandez said.
“When you’re running a boat through four and five-metre waves it’s comforting to know the hull beneath can handle things.”
Aside from its superb ride, the 39 Top Fish is brilliantly fitted out and can easily accommodate eight-plus aboard.
A ‘ton’ of stowage space, a highly–efficient centre console, protective hard-top, transom gate, the 39 Top Fish is a boat with bells and whistles a ‘plenty.
Next year, the Cigarette Racing Team will have been producing the best deep vee performance hulls for 40-years.
It was the late Don Aronow who established the company in 1969, leaving behind a legacy that will endure as long as people want boats that go and go quick.