Mastercraft X-80



Memoirs of a Crash Test Dummy. Working 9 to 500, hours that is.

When the phone rang, in the Spring of 2004, the last thing I expected was a job offer from my Dirty Dog Hockey buddy, Ron.  Ron Flammang was the Head of Engineering for MasterCraft boats, and they had a situation that he thought I might be able to help them with. At the time, I was self employed, and servicing big boats in the Ft Loudon lake area, including the Sea Ray Corporate fleet. MasterCraft was developing a Saltwater version of the MasterCraft boat line and needed someone to do a 500 hour durability test on a new twin engine X-80, with 375 HP Crusaders, in the Ocean. Since I had captained a 55 foot sportfish, while living in the Bahamas, Ronnie had an idea.

I met with Mike S. who was in charge of the project and he had a 3 phase test plan. Throttle by wire testing, a wakeboard photo shoot in the Bahamas, during which time they would build me a 28′ twin engine boat for a 500 hour engine test. He said I would be able to select somewhere on the east coast for testing and they would ship the boat there. I suggested that since I had lived in West Palm Beach, and knew the waters, that would be where I want to test. As far as shipping, I would prefer they put the boat in the water, at the factory on Tellico Lake, and I would take it from there.

On June 21, 2004, I left the MasterCraft factory and started on the journey of a lifetime. I have Captain’d and crew’d multiple large boats down the Tennessee River and Tom Bigby Waterway, but never in an open bow ski boat. This was going to be an adventure.

I sat down to write these notes, so that I can add them to my newly formed website, of my newly formed business. I plan to add to the info, or Bio as it were, from time to time, to add stories of the people I’ve met and places I’ve been. Time. That’s all I need.

Donnie Brown

Das Boot

Mastercraft X-80