HIS GRANDFATHER, AMOS, OWNED A SHIPBUILDING AND REPAIR YARD BUSINESS, WHICH MARK BEGAN VISITING AT AGE 4.
After studying Architecture Design and Mechanical Engineering, Mark began his career with New Orleans shipyard Halter Marine, where he managed the construction of 65-foot yachts. A chance meeting with Don Aronow at the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show led to Halter Marine purchasing Cigarette Boats from Aronow in March, 1977.
Mark subsequently moved to North Miami Beach, where he supervised construction of Cigarette models from 20 to 41 feet.
The first 38-foot Kevlar-hull “Ajac Hawk” built by Mark McManus in 1978 went on to win three World Championships for Cigarette Racing Team.
Mark’s successful use of Kevlar lamination set a standard for an unheard of 10-to-30 year hull life expectancy. His research and development in hull materials led the Cigarette 38 and Apache 41 designs to become the most sought-after and copied boats in offshore today.
The first diesel offshore performance hull, the Cigarette 41, was built by Mark in 1979.
Cigarette Racing Team went on to produce 60 of these boats over the next three years, including 10 for military use.
In 1984 Mark joined Don Aronow as Vice President at USA Racing Team, building 27- and 39-foot catamarans which provided novice captains with a stable and easy-to-operate high-speed platform. The design proved so successful that it became the choice of US Customs authorities in a drug smuggling interdiction role.
Vice-President George H. W. Bush personally traveled to Miami to inspect the prototype, named “Blue Thunder” – the first of 14 vessels Mark built for U.S. Customs to be used for drug smuggling patrols along the Florida coastline.
The following year Mark took on further responsibility in overseeing the daily management of Apache Boats, Inc. Under Mark‘s direction, between 1986 and 1995 the company manufactured 130 Apache high-performance Deep-V boats from 40 to 50 feet.
Incredibly, every Apache race boat that Mark designed and built has won a race competition – a remarkable record that has never been matched anywhere in the world.
Mark was the first to manufacture a 47-foot, three-engine race boat prototype. With seven-time world champion Richie Powers at the helm, the boat would go on to win the Offshore Pro Tour SuperBoat World Championship in 1992 and 1993.
Throughout his storied career, Mark McManus has manufactured more than 600 offshore boats from 20 to 65 feet.
Mark McManus’s record of innovation includes:
- Creating the first 38-foot offshore race boat built with Kevlar in 1977, subsequently winning three consecutive world championships.
- Building the first 40-foot and 50-foot Deep-V pleasure and race boat models using Kevlar and Kevlar Carbon laminates.
- Pioneering centerline steering, the standard for high performance safety.
- Building the first sit-down canopy, Deep-V, triple-engine super boat.
- Pioneering the use of staggered engines using 18-inch to 22-inch centerline in both racing and pleasure models.
- Building the first high performance, 100-year capable Deep-V race boat from Kevlar 149 composite, which went on to win two world titles.