The Covid pandemic and an ailing father brought a change of perspective to Spectre Powerboats owner Todd Lamb while building boats in Ohio. Years of researching and planning to relocate to Florida finally came to fruition after enduring several months of government mandated shutdowns in 2020 and coping with the unfortunate passing of his father in early 2021. Lamb obtained a new, almost 30,000 square foot manufacturing facility in DeLand, Florida and started a new chapter for Spectre and his family.
“About 85 percent of all boats we were building and selling come to Florida or would actually come down here to the Jacksonville port and ship overseas,” Lamb said. “It just made sense logistically to move everything to Florida.”
Lamb moved Spectre to Ohio in 2017 after buying out the company. Lamb was busy building a 22-foot Talon and a 25-foot SEB cat hull, doing race boat repairs, restorations and overflow work when he took on manufacturing Spectre Powerboats.
That wouldn’t be the case at the Florida facility, where Lamb is only building Spectre models to keep up with demand. Not only did Lamb bring his family from Ohio, but also long-time employee Cody Bowles.
Lamb said he’s already seeing the benefits of the Florida sunshine.
Lamb said he’s already seeing the benefits of the Florida sunshine. “The biggest problem we had with the Ohio facility was nobody wants to go to Ohio in the winter,” he said. “It was really hard to get people there. We’ve seen more people in two, three weeks down here (in Florida) than we would see in a whole year in Ohio.”
The company is working on a new 26-footer with a center pod that is expected to debut late summer. Lamb is aiming to get consumers into the boat with a Mercury Racing 300R outboard for around $125,000. The catamaran with its twin step and unique center pod design, will allow for a single outboard, sterndrive, or twin outboards.
“We think it will be a good entry-level boat for guys who want to step into a cat but don’t want to go spend over $200,000 to do so” Lamb said. “It’s hard to find a boat under $125,000 anymore at that size.”
Lamb will be releasing an all-new 38-foot catamaran with one of two sold to a returning customer this year. This is in addition to his ambitious plans that call for the 2023 winter debut of a new 34-foot catamaran. The new models will join the company’s existing lineup of a 32’ and 36’ catamarans.
“On the 32, we’ve done a lot of tooling and rework to really clean it up and give it a more modern look,” said Lamb, noting the catamaran is the company’s best seller.
All the boats built are 100 percent composite with epoxy, E-glass, Carbon Fiber, Kevlar, foam coring for the boat hulls, decks, and bulkheads, and Coosa board for the transom. A hull—minus rigging, interior and paint—can be produced every two to three weeks.
“We know there’s bigger power coming, so we’re trying to look ahead. I’m not building boats that’ll handle 450s, I’m building boats that are going to handle 500 and more horsepower,” Lamb said. “In perspective, our hulls probably weigh 200 or 300 pounds heavier than our competition, but we don’t have boats come back to the factory either.”
Former Spectre Powerboats company owner Jay Pilini, current owner of SMP Offshore Performance is now a dealer selling boats for Spectre. Pilini owned the company for 11 years before leaving in 2006.
“Jay and I talk almost daily. “ Lamb said “It has been a wealth of knowledge to hear of all the boats he has built, all the racing he has done, and to hear of all the “trials of life” of being a boat builder.”
Lamb said the plan is to build 15 to 20 boats this year in the new plant and increase production an additional 10 boats in 2023. It was a tough relocation last year with Lamb’s father passing away in April and construction setbacks delaying the plant opening for months.
Three Spectres have rolled out of the DeLand, Florida facility so far under Lamb and his team. The goal is to offer a catamaran for performance-boat buyers who have been outpaced by boat prices. That requires keeping overhead costs low and maximizing marketing opportunities. Lamb’s most effective marketing besides word of mouth has been his Spectre customers showing off their boats in poker runs all over the US. Now that the facility is in Florida Lamb says you can expect to see him and his wife at boat shows and poker runs in the near future.
“I want to deliver the best offshore boats at the most reasonable price,” he said. “I think there’s enough of them up top fighting that there ought to be a guy down below, saying, you know what, ‘I can get you the same thing.’”
Spectre was one of the last high-performance boat builders left in Ohio with Baja Boats and Checkmate Powerboats having long left the Buckeye state.
“We were actually the last boat manufacturer in our area,” Lamb said “but the Sunshine State is where we’ve always belonged.”
Spectre Powerboats, 937-292-7674, www.spectrepowerboats.com