WMO Boat Spotlight: CLIFFORD


Name of owner: Russ Herrick

Name of boat: Clifford.......keeping the same name as previous owner, hey it works and fits perfectly
Make, model, year: Saber, Banshee,  2006
Length: 41 ft
Power: Twin Mercury Racing 1075's with #6 drives and Hering props

How long have you owned it?
I bought it from Jerry McConnel's ex wife in the spring of 2013  (poor guy passed away so soon after getting diagnosed with cancer that he wasn't able to get everything in order from their divorce). The only reason I got this boat versus one of his good friends was she wouldn't sell it to any of them. [from what I've been told from a close friend of his]  I think I got a pretty good deal considering others were looking at it but since it's pretty much set up for poker runs with only 5 bolster seats and no bench in it, no one else could talk their wifes into the purchase. I'm single btw. lol

Is this your first boat?
I grew up boating, all very small boats though. As a kid, my parents had a 15 or 16ft fiberglass outboard that was able to pull a skier. Then after a dry spell of not having a boat they got themselves a 17 open bow tri-hull outboard. This is the 1st boat I was able to drive and take out by myself and of course I had to go out onto Lake Michigan via way of Grand Haven. It was rough out and the ride pretty much sucked for that type of use!   After another dry spell without access to a boat and then after college, I did the 'hand me down' thing and bought a 18ft open bow I/O Berretta (sp), it was a perfect boat for the river, friends and operating on a budget. While owning that boat I also got a SeaDoo waverunner that was fun for the wave jumping that the boats couldn't do!   I then bought a 1990 Baja 250 sport and after a couple of years I built a 600hp big block for that and that became my new wave jumper and 75mph money pit! lol  That boat could take waves like you wouldn't believe but after many years of break downs and being towed and only going 75mph when my friends had bigger boats, taking bigger waves and blowing by me on the water I had it!  I was in search of a 36 Apache only to find out the only one that I wanted had just been sold, but I was informed by my friend that there was a 41' Saber, that was built off of the Apache hull design, that was for sale.  I had no plans of going that big or even that fast! But I began researching the vessel and once I found out more about it well I just had to place a bid on it.  I low balled the price so much I really thought I wasn't going to get it....here's the photos of me towing my new boat home! lol


At what port would we find you on a nice summer day?  
I boat out of Grand Haven and like to do runs to anywhere from Muskegon, Port Sheldon, Holland, Saugatuck, South Haven and all the way to Milwaukee. I enjoy spending the night in Saugatuck and South Haven and hopefully can make another run to Milwaukee for a couple of days.  I've trailered it to Traverse City and have had a blast on the bay there. I've also run in the Boyne Thunder poker run in 2013. I'm wanting to trailer to Mackinaw city and cruise over to the island for a couple of days this summer.  

Would you rather hammer down and crush waves, take a leisurely cruise up the coast, or raft up in a cove?  
It's always fun wave crashing, or I like to call it-flying, in Clifford. The best time was catching big air over 4-6ft swells on the big lake. Nothing beats flying out of the water over 15+ft and landing gracefully (or the occasion spiking of a wave and ducking at just the right time. lol) or trimming it up just right and cutting those same 4-6 footers at 80+mph with a boat full of people.  Don't get me wrong, just cruising on flat water can be fun too (said no one ever that has a boat made to abuse!!) lol

What’s the top speed?
The fastest I've had Clifford is 103.4 mph in about 2-3ft chop. I'm hoping for 105mph if the conditions are right. This boat loves chop and won't go fast if there isn't any.
Any recent projects?
I'm hoping to finish adding some LED lighting to the cockpit, cuddy and engine compartment this season to brighten things up a bit and a little improvement to the sound system is in the works too.
What’s interesting or unique about it?  
Saber bought Apache's 41' hull design and added their special touches to it to make it an even stronger hull design which is definitely noticed during severe wave thrashing.