Story by DinaRella / Professional Imagery by Foley Loaded Media & Fast-Flag
THE MISSION: As a top-tier maker in boat manufacturing, Fort Lauderdale-based Intrepid Powerboats was challenged to SOLVE ALL OF A BOATER'S NEEDS in one spectacular center console…
At the forefront of the task was to be the vessel's versatility. Taken as a whole, Intrepid needed to focus on three fundamentals -- the inclusion of first-class fish-fighting essentials, a high-caliber quality of excellence in entertainment for cruising days when not casting lines, and lastly an inviting cabin offering comfortable accommodations for overnighting.
THE SOLUTION: The one-of-a-kind, built to your imagination Intrepid 475 Panacea.
Normally when writing the nautical narratives, to better acquaint myself with the speed-oriented aquatic treasures, the LCC piece would be sourced together from manufacturer interviews, boat show Q&As and/or my own personal gawking... counting USBs, rocket launchers, caressing carbon-fiber rails, etc., not to mention the make-me-smile, data-gathering moments when I get to squeeze those same carbon-fiber rails till my hands turn red, ripping through the rollers on the occasional test ride or poker run.
Nevertheless, the best substance for any story is the content collected first-hand from the owners, whether they be loyalists to a particular brand, or fresh faces in a new hull. Delving into the details and discovering customers' "attraction TO THE BOAT and satisfaction WITH THE BOAT" are paramount.
With that said, fitting the Panacea profile to a tee were Tom Hamami and his bellisma Italian wife Patricia out of Naples, Fla. If the names ring a bell, their new business fast-flag.com was highlighted in RDP's Miami Boat Show story. (More on that below.) Originally from Maryland, Hamami has been around boats all his life, with an ample amount of time racked up at the helm of past expedition trawlers and offshore sport fishes. Prior to taking possession of their 2020 model Panacea, his and Patricia's last vessel was a 52-foot Viking mated with 1200 hp MAN diesels.
When I first met the tall, trim gentleman of Turkish origin, Hamami was lounging on the rear bench of the Intrepid flagship moored center-stage at the Miami Show. He had that undeniable happy-new-owner grin, prompting me to come right out and ask if the boat was his. Yup, it was! Hoping to get the full scoop behind the purchase, Hamami cordially obliged. Right off the bat, he boasted, "I don’t miss that other boat. It was too big. The Panacea provides the best of all worlds for what we are looking for, and moreover its beyond safe and so amazingly comfortable."
You see, Hamami views life on the water like a lush Las Vegas high-roller food buffet, (OK, maybe not the comparison he had in mind, but it works.) He takes pleasure diving into and sampling a bit of everything with the hungry-for-action 47-footer ranging from... carefree cruising... to dropping anchor for angling and diving in the divine Florida waters... to grillin' a grouper, while relaxing over a tangerine sunset glowing down behind the horizon and a bottle of red flowing down into the wine glasses.
He continued to fill in the blanks (in my head) when pressed about the particulars that attracted him to make the near million dollar investment, "One angler-able feature I appreciate is the simplicity and ease of access converting the spacious rear deck fishing area into a stern bench in a matter of seconds. The variety of options this boat offers is astounding, and everything has been so well thought-out." I was noticing a pattern with Hamami's responses. He was definitely sold on the versatility of the boat. And for that -- Intrepid deserves a round of applause and to take a bow for winning the design challenge.
"I went from a 62,000-pound fishing yacht down to a 24,000-pound center console, and the difference is like day and night. We're on plane instantly and it flies across the water with the quad Yamaha 425 XTO 5.6L V8 outboards." He then added, "The Yamahas are so secure, dependable and consistent, as well as smooth, quiet and capable of pushing the boat unlike any other vessel I've had. What's even better? I don't have to go into the cabin to check the oil or engines."
Maybe it's because the Yamaha 425 XTO is the first 4-Stroke powerhead in the outboard industry to use direct injection. Fuel is sprayed at high pressure into the combustion chamber instead of the intake track, which leads to atomization and greater fuel burn success. Furthermore, this outboard demonstrates the highest compression ratio at 12.2-to-1, providing more power and efficiency with each spark.
While the speediness of the center console ranks high up on the Hamamis' happy face emoji list, what really reigns supreme is the boat's agility which affords the family the ability to lay anchor practically anywhere. Getting in and out of shallow West Coast waterways used to be a nightmare due to the five feet of draft frequently limiting chosen destinations. Now with the reduced three feet of draft it's possible to pilot the Panacea all over, especially when the Hamamis' adult-aged children are in town and longing for some Sunshine State sea time.
As we chatted about his family and fishing, I couldn't help noticing the name on the transom. I had an idea as to the origin, and Hamami validated Field Office is indeed a play on words linked to working "on-site", rooting back to both his career in architecture and freelance design, and Patricia's 30-plus years in finance in Washington, D.C.
Wrapping up my dockside Intrepid interrogation with one final question (or so I thought), I motioned to the flag up top after noticing the same logo on his black polo shirt; not to mention the others on the table display near the entrance that I blindly passed by.
During the Intrepid build process, Hamami told the crew he wanted to modify the top of the boat to hoist an American flag. The design team put a kibosh on the idea, presenting him with a list of negative variables citing it would fall apart from cruising over 60 mph and corroding salt water, in addition to the clattering of vibrating brackets for hours on end would not be muy bueno.
That night after hearing the unfeasibility report about erecting a fabric flag, Hamami hopped into bed with a dilemma in his head, and woke up a man with a plan. Seeing that by character, he is a natural born problem solver, and by trade, the owner of Fluid Marine Design, a Naples-based business responsible for developing marine products and materials... it made sense that he would design his own US flag.
He started stage one with a full size cardboard mockup to get the stream lines right, followed by addressing all the aerodynamic aspects. The final phase led to the production of a 30 inch, 22-pound powder-coated aluminum flag ready to raise high on Field Office. However, Hamami's engineering endeavor to show the world "his angle" of our American flag was far from over. After taking possession of the Panacea it was in fact, just starting to soar!
Drumming up attention all along the inlets and waterways, people who saw the Star Spangled boat began calling Intrepid with inquiries about where they could get one for their own boat. As the flag phenomenon continued, Hamami's aspirations for easing into retirement and basking in la dolce vita were about to be postponed, when it became evident the patriotic American's passion for good will would put him back in the "field office".
A sort of snowball effect began to spiral and just as Frosty the Snowman came to life, so did a jolly new business, which in return presented center console owners the opportunity to add their own Old Glory to their boat. The Hamami family and Intrepid have since developed a strong bonding relationship and the luxury boat group went so far as to invite them to display the 475 Panacea and fast-flag.com products together with Intrepid at the MIBS.
Admiring the flags up close you can appreciate the solid durable craftsmanship; and even more poignant, while the initial design was by Hamami, the flags themselves are fabricated 100 percent in Naples by local artisans, many of whom are proud veterans. A smaller 20-inch version weighing in at 12 pounds is also on the market, and both are customizable to the color scheme of a vessel, including solid white and gray, or traditional red, white and blue. The durable aluminum has been powder coated and paints are of the highest marine grade standard.
If you put your mind to it, in the land of the free and the home of the brave -- anything is possible! With this core value enrooted in Hamami, he went a step further to create truck mounted flags fabricated with a convenient V-lock Universal Mounting System and easily removable V-lock bracket; now enabling truck owners to navigate the streets with that extra touch of USA spirit guiding and guarding them from behind.
All flags are interchangeable and can be taken off the bolted down base and moved to the identical fixed structure on the boat (and vice versa). If you haven't a boat or truck, Hamami has you covered too with picture frame cut out flags, perfect for decorating an entrance way, bar room or wall in your entertainMANt cave or diva den.
Awe-inspiring, enduring and indestructable just like our country and its citizens -- the Intrepid Powerboat and the aluminum flag inherited the same exceptional qualities. Furthermore, the name of the 475 model PANACEA is defined as: A remedy designated to cure all. It's certainly no coincidence these two are connected!