Speed of Sound: Al Copeland’s Phenomenon Debuts at the Miami Boat Show

Who doesn’t like fast cars, or better yet, fast speedboats? The Phenomenon, our modern day answer to the Titanic—without Jack and Rose and that infamous iceberg, that is—made its debut Thursday, February 11 at the Miami Boat Show to great fanfare and promotion.

Thanks to its four turbine engines and 12,000 horsepower, the world’s fastest speedboat can accelerate to speeds that surpass the world water record of 220.5 mph. That is some serious speed—the average Boeing 737 airplane travels at a cruising altitude of 500 mph.

So who is behind this incredible 56-foot creation? Engineers from NASA and Boeing, as well as former U.S. Naval architects and professional powerboat builders, that’s who.

The founder of Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits restaurant chain and driver of the Popeyes Offshore race team, Mr. Copeland, tragically passed away from cancer before he could see his dream of building the world’s fastest speedboat become a reality. His son, Al Copeland Jr., finished the job his father began; helping to turn what was once only a far-off vision into actual existence.

The media excitement surrounding the unveiling of the Phenomenon at the Miami Beach Convention Center was one of the reasons why exhibitors had high hopes and expectations for this year’s Boat Show.

As the boating industry tries to recover from one of the worst slumps in decades by hyping new offerings and reasonable prices, the Phenomenon couldn’t have arrived at a better time. This phenomenal feat of engineering is getting people excited about boating again, and proving that luxury and speed still go hand in hand in the haute world of boating.