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VIDEO: Outboards are king at Intrepid

Many boatbuilders have capitalized on the improvements and increased horsepower of today's outboards, but perhaps none as much as Intrepid Powerboats.

"Let's face it, outboard engines have come a long way," Intrepid president Ken Clinton said during a recent visit to the company's manufacturing operation in Largo, Fla. "They're fuel-efficient, reliable and we figure there is a lot better use for your aft cockpit than an engine room."

The builder — known for its durable hulls, top-quality workmanship and customer service — offers 14 models, from the 245 Center Console to the the 475 Sport Yacht, which is typically powered with quad 300- or 350-hp outboards. And a 15th model is in the works.

Click play to watch as Soundings' Chris Landry talks with Intrepid Powerboats' Ken Clinton.

"I have drawings completed for a 54 that I already have six deposits on and will probably start [manufacturing] in 2013," Clinton said. "That's a three-stateroom boat — and an outboard boat."

The engines for this boat will be triple 557-hp outboards from Seven Marine, he said. Seven Marine introduced the behemoth 4-stroke at the 2011 Miami International Boat Show. Two of the 1,000-pound V-8 engines were mounted on an Intrepid 370 Cuddy, which also was shown last October at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. Normally powered with triple 350-hp Yamaha outboards, the Intrepid hits 75 mph with the 557s, Clinton said.

"We knew this was a direction we wanted to go in," he said. "We're really pleased that [Seven Marine] is getting ready to start production. We'll have engines in the pipeline by summer. We have customers with boats on order with this engine package arrangement.

"When we come out with a new boat it's very important that it is very innovative and fresh and new," Clinton added. "That's what people want."

Despite its use of outboards, Intrepid also offers inboard and inboard-outboard power, Clinton said. "Whatever the customer wants."

Look for a feature story about Intrepid in the March issue of Soundings.