These days, the Son of a Son of a Sailor (you may know him as Parrothead-in-Chief Jimmy Buffett) doesn’t like to hang around when he’s heading out to his favorite fishing spots. That’s why the “Margaritaville” chorus leader’s newest boat—a stunning, 42-foot, custom power catamaran dubbed Last Mango and painted Buffett’s favorite shade of seafoam green—can top out at more than 60 mph and cruise effortlessly at 40.
“We have four Yamaha F300 outboards, so 1,200 horsepower in total,” says Vinnie LaSorsa, Buffett’s longtime captain and BFF (Best Fishing Friend). “At 6,000 rpm we’ve seen 61 mph. It’s a fun boat that gets us there and back fast.”
After spending the summer with Mr. B, as LaSorsa calls him, chasing bluefin tuna off Cape Cod and Nantucket, Last Mango will soon be heading down to Florida for the winter, docking at Pompano Beach. Buffett and LaSorsa are already planning wahoo-fishing excursions to the Bahamas and sailfish hunting in the Keys.
“Since we took delivery, we’ve been using it a lot,” LaSorsa says. “We’ve probably put 400 hours on the engines and covered over 7,000 miles. It’s been all over the place.”
Buffett, who splits his time between homes in Montauk, Palm Beach, and “a little trailer in Malibu,” had pretty specific requirements for his new boat. After years casting a line from his beloved West Palm Beach–built Rybovich Express sportfisher, it seems Mr. B was looking for something that went a little faster, but not at the expense of comfort. He loved the look, performance, and smooth ride of the ultra-sleek, 42-foot power catamaran from South Carolina–based Freeman Boatworks. But, according to LaSorsa, he really wanted a boat with a pilothouse instead of an open center console.
“We talked long and hard with Billy Freeman about building us a pilothouse version of the 42, but they were too backed up with orders. We had to come up with a plan B.”
The solution? Freeman agreed to provide a stripped-out 42 hull and deck to the revered nautical artisans at Merritt’s Boat & Engine Works in Pompano, who designed and built a custom carbon-fiber pilothouse and finished off the boat.
As LaSorsa notes, “Jimmy only had three requests: power-opening windows for the sides of the house, shock-absorbing seats, and a retractable power awning for the cockpit. Oh, and 58 rod holders so you can fish from pretty much anywhere on the boat.”
Why was a pilothouse so important to the 73-year-old singer-songwriter? According to Captain Vinnie it can get cold and foggy up in the Northeast, so it provides a warm retreat. Then in the midday heat of Florida and the Bahamas, it becomes an air-conditioned haven.
As you might expect, Last Mango boasts a very cool sound system. Designed for the boat by JL Audio, it pumps out Buffett’s favorite playlists through speakers in the cabin, cockpit, bow, and even up on the tower.
“When Mr. B’s on the boat he’s pretty much exclusively at the helm,” adds LaSorsa. “Being behind the wheel for him is the relaxing part.”
Any scary moments while out on the ocean? LaSorsa says he won’t forget a trip to the Bahamas earlier this year, in an area southwest of the Berry Islands known as The Pocket. “We were heading down to the Exumas and got into a heavy southeaster with wind against tide. The seas were a solid 8 to 10 feet. The boat did pretty well, but it was not comfortable. It was the roughest conditions I’ve been in.”
Even when Buffett isn’t wetting a line, it’s rare to see Last Mango tied to the dock. LaSorsa is the founder of Freedom Fighter Outdoors, a charitable organization that works with injured service members. With Buffett’s support and occasional participation, LaSorsa organizes fishing expeditions for wounded veterans. To help raise money, Buffett and LaSorsa created the Last Mango Boatworks website selling cool Last Mango–logoed apparel, jewelry, and more.