Inside SOTW Mag—Flight 1130 Cigarette Coming To A Poker Run Near You

When the 2023 Florida Powerboat Club Winter Poker Run fleet departed the Miami area bound for Key Largo in late January, a predominantly silver, 38-foot Cigarette Racing Team Top Gun V-bottom led the pack, at least at the start. The 2000 model-year 38-footer, which is owned by Florida Powerboat Club president Stu Jones, is far from the newest boat among the 700 vessels owned by club members. And with a top speed approaching 80 mph, it’s also far from the fastest.

Florida Powerboat Club president Stu Jones made a power move with his 2000 model-year Cigarette 38 Top Gun—and it’s already paying off. Photos courtesy/copyright of the Florida Powerboat Club.

But it is the most immediately recognizable.

To celebrate the club’s 25th anniversary five years ago, Jones repowered the classic conventional-hull sportboat with Mercury Racing 540 engines, had it wrapped in vinyl graphics and dubbed it Project 1080 in a nod to the boat’s total horsepower. More than an eye-catching marketing piece for the club and its own events and others, the vintage 38 Top Gun was a family boat that Jones used for trips and adventures with his wife, Jackie, and their two sons.

At a glance from a distance, the Jones family’s 11,000-pound Cigarette looks much the same as it did when it first hit the water as Project 1080. Move a little closer, however, and you’ll notice that the graphics have changed. The Project 1080 handle has been replaced with Top Gun Flight 1130 and there’s a new and instantly familiar graphic element on its hullsides.

Yet the biggest change is under the hatches.

In another collaboration with the Fond du Lac, Wis., high-performance marine engine and accessories company, Jones repowered the 38-footer toward the end of 2022 with a new pair of naturally aspirated 565-hp engines. The project got rolling shortly after the 2022 Miami International Boat Show in February where Jones “met with the Mercury Racing brass” to discuss another power-upgrade collaboration.

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