13 March 2014

Marketwatch: Donzi ‘Sweet 16’ marks its 50th Anniversary

If you ask a collector boat enthusiast about classic fiberglass boats, invariably one of the first names to arise is Donzi Marine and its iconic 16-foot SkiSporter, known by most as the “Sweet 16.” This year marks the 50th anniversary of the SkiSporter, which has remained one of the most desirable ski boats ever built.

Originally conceived by offshore racing legends Don Aronow, Walt Walters and Jim Wynne, the SkiSporter presented a bold, new look and sleek styling derived from the offshore race boats that the team used to set numerous world records. According to our friends at the Lake George Donzi Club, the name SkiSporter was derived from the boat’s unique seating arrangement, which allowed a spotter to sit backward. The boat also features a 24-degree deadrise hull, which allows it to reach speeds of 45 miles per hour while maintaining a smooth ride.

Values for the SkiSporter vary, as the boat remained in production through 1980 and was subsequently reintroduced after a 10-year hiatus. In fact, the Sweet 16 can still be ordered as a custom model through Donzi. However, if you’re looking for an early model, boats that are well used but in good condition can be had for $15,000, while restored examples often fetch prices in the $30,000 to $40,000 range. As with most collector boats, engine swaps do not seem to significantly affect value, and those looking to purchase a SkiSporter may find that very few have retained their original engines. While Hagerty is pleased to provide coverage for these highly sought-after boats, please note that heavily modified vessels, especially those modified to have exposed engines, may not be eligible for coverage.

Special thanks to Matthew Veth, Paul Herzan, Scott Pearson and all our friends at the Lake George Donzi Club.

To find out more about Hagerty's Classic Boat Insurance, click here.

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