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Super boat for a super client

When a big-thinking Russian client asked for a 26-foot boat that could go 80 mph, carry 10 passengers and run in 4 inches of water, Boice Jet answered the call

When the call came to Boice Jet from Los Angeles, it sounded fanciful.

A Russian businessman wanted a 26-foot boat that could hit 80 mph, carry 10 passengers and run in 4 inches of water. Oh, and a bone-jarring sound system and style that would do James Bond proud.

Yeah, someone's messing with us, general manager Marty Maurer said he thought at the time.

As far-fetched as it sounded back in November, the Medford aluminum boat builder launched the &

36;150,000 pleasure craft at TouVelle Park Thursday morning, checked out all systems then crated it up for shipment to Moscow.

Company President Justin Boice, whose grandfather was a Curry County sheriff, wanted to make sure he knew who he was dealing with before delivering a high-powered boat into the wrong hands. So he contacted the U.S. State Department and FBI, and they gave him the OK.

I didn't want to read about a Boice Jet boat used in a terrorist act, he says.

Boice has spared no effort to build its most expensive non-racing boat to date.

It's been 24 hours a day the last few days, Boice says. We gave them our word that we would ship on a certain date. The whole thing has been an eye-opener for us.

The project involved 20 people, or about half of the company's work force, led by Boice himself. Mark Illingsworth was the main designer and Mike Dixon the head rigger.

The aluminum boat builder's previous high-dollar mark was &

36;130,000 for a commercial vessel for a Swedish customer. Sunset Engine Development of Portland supplied the &

36;50,000 720-horsepower, 540-cubic-inch Donovan racing motor for the 2,200-pound vessel.

Although Boice gave it full throttle, he says the test cruise on the fog-shrouded river was uneventful.

Kind of boring, he says. We just hopped over a couple of logs.

The 47-year-old buyer from Moscow owns malls, a furniture store business and apparently intends to build a full-scale amusement park.

The boat is destined for cruising on the Volga and Oka rivers, which are far different than the Rogue.

He wanted to go fast, look good and all those things, Boice says. He wanted to be able to entertain clients and friends.

They might want to bring along earplugs.

The 120-decibel stereo system ' discounted to &

36;9,000 ' is sheer bravado.

As far as anything in this area, it's unmatched ' especially for a boat, says. Justin Hopkins, a salesman at Progressive Audio in Medford, which installed the system.

When we first started, everyone listened to it and said 'Man that's good,' Hopkins says.

But not good enough.

Even though it vibrated our garage doors, Hopkins says, the gentleman getting the boat wanted it louder and that's fine with us.

Originally, the plan was for six 10-inch sub-woofers.

Most people around here have two and that's enough noise to anger everybody, Hopkins says. There's no enclosure, so a lot of the sound goes out into the air.

Progressive packed in three 500-watt Kicker amps for three sets of 6-inch speaker components and three 1,200-watt amplifiers for the sub-woofers.

If you were putting this into a car, Hopkins says, it's impossible to run off your normal battery. We've done some pretty wild cars, but never anything like this to a boat.

The audio store had planned to spend a week on the project, but turned the job around in three days in order to finish last weekend.

Alexander Lvov, a former member of the Russian rock group Gorky Park, knows a thing or two about loud music. He's also the go-between in the deal and discovered Boice Jet on the Internet.

Lvov founded Hot Commodity a year ago so he could import goods to Russia. He operates out of Los Angeles.

We researched for a long time to find a company that just wasn't making boats one-by-one, Lvov says. We wanted to find a company always looking for something new and interesting, willing to make faster boats.

It was an opportunity Boice Jet couldn't refuse.

He made us walk a real tightrope, Boice says. He came here in the middle of February to inspect our work and make sure we would meet deadline.

The project's impact reaches local vendors such as Central Point's Synchro Machine, which fabricates intake cleanout grates for jet boats. Synchro Machine had an exclusive contract with Jetcraft Boats before the company closed in July. It now supplies Boice, Alumaweld and Bolton Boats among others.

Boice Jet employees Joe Hare and Mike Smith remove fenders from a boat trailer so the whole package can fit into a shipping container. The custom-made 26-foot boat was built in Medford for a Russian businessman. Mail Tribune / Roy Musitelli - Mail Tribune Roy Musitelli