World-renowned high-performance builder Force Boats has just created a monster. And Rod Bickerton and his crew couldn’t be prouder. The latest creation from the company based at Lower Portland on the Hawkesbury River in New South Wales is a custom-built version of their all-conquering 23-foot Force F1 for a client who had a simple brief – make it black and white, and make it quick.
That’s why this starkly beautiful beast features Mercury Racing’s awesome 450R outboard with its supercharged 4.6-litre V-8. It’s the first time this combination has ever been delivered in Australia and Rod is confident it’s a boat that will be capable of reaching 100mph – in comfort.
“It’s been built to race but is also has a social interior, so it’s got a bit of everything,” he said. This is the first time we’ve fitted one of the new Mercury Racing 450R engines to this hull and we can’t wait to see how it goes. It’s going to fly.” Fitting the 450R was, according to Rod, no problem and no different from any other Mercury he fits. It sits on a four-inch jacking plate, propelling the sleek machine through the water with 450 peak-propshaft horsepower. And it has the looks to match its muscle.
“We’ve taken the F1 design and dropped the profile to give it a longer and sleeker look,” Rod said.
“Like all of our boats, it is hand-finished but this one has no gunnel strip. It’s been hand-glassed internally and externally and the whole boat is one piece. It’s the only one of its kind in the world, so we’re pretty proud of it.” For Darren Whitfield, Mercury Marine’s Regional Manager for New South Wales, the boat is something very special.
“This has been fantastic to watch come together and to be involved in a unique project,” he said.
“The 450R is a glowing example of Mercury’s commitment to technology, research and development. The engine’s industry leading power-to-weight ratio delivers outstanding acceleration combined with rugged reliability, so this is a boat that will run wide open all day long.
“It’s a credit to Rod and his team and I’m sure the client is going to absolutely love it.” Last year was Force’s 25th in business and, for founder and owner Rod Bickerton, it was one of the most challenging.
“We’ve had just about everything thrown at us in 2020. Like everyone, we had to deal with the impact of COVID, we were flooded, we had fires and in early December a freak storm took out our power and internet,” he said.
“Nevertheless, we’ve still been able to get boats into the water and deliver them to customers. It’s always a great feeling to do so.”