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Still Afloat After Sinking at the Box Office

 January 27, 2002|FRED DICKEY Los Angeles Times

 At first blush, you wouldn't suspect the innocent trimaran rocking gently on its triple hulls in a San Diego Bay marina of abetting a movie debacle. But on this very craft, Kevin Costner swashbuckled, emoted and, um, relieved himself into a can to groans from critics and audiences in 1995's "Waterworld."

As unlucky filmgoers may recall, Universal's $175-million sci-fi opus took place on a water-covered future Earth where Costner grew gills and fought bad guys for custody of little piles of dirt. (There was a girl, too.) His trusty craft was rigged with about every device a guy might need to whiz around Hawaii with a villainous Dennis Hopper and his snarling minions gunning their Sea-Doos in pursuit.

Today, however, it's being refitted for respectable employment as a racing craft--the only 60-foot trimaran on the West Coast, according to owner Howard Enloe, a 66-year-old El Paso, Texas ambulance company owner and boat-racing enthusiast. Once the boat is refitted with a 90-foot mast, he hopes no competitor in these waters will be able to touch it.

Enloe picked up the vessel about four years ago for "pennies on the dollar" of the hundreds of thousands it cost to build for the film. A spacious cabin is being replaced with a more spartan space holding a navigation station along with a stove and bunks. The boat never had a name; Enloe says he'll let it "create its own" in the racing arena. For his part, Enloe shrugs off show-biz history: "I'm into racing boats, not movies."

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