When John Correnti wants to get away from
steel, he heads for his 40-foot Baja power boat and the fresh
waters along the Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi
"It's a good way to kill a Saturday
afternoon," said the chief executive officer of SeverCorr LLC,
Columbus, Miss. "It's enjoyable, it's a good way to get away
from business and the water has a soothing effect on you."
Named My Dawn after Correnti's wife
of 27 years, the high-powered craft can hit 60 miles per hour
in the water. The muscle cars of recreational boating, Bajas
are known for their speed and power, Correnti said. "For a big,
40-foot-long boat, that's really fast. Most boats go 30 to 35
The Baja is a far cry from the 18-foot
boat-an unnamed Sea Ray-the couple used for water skiing in the
late 1970s. That's when Correnti, now 60, first got into
boating. At the time, he lived near Lake Corpus Christi in
Texas while he helped to build uranium plants for U.S. Steel
Corp., Pittsburgh. The Sea Ray set Correnti back $8,000 in
1976. He declined to disclose the price of the Baja.
When Correnti moved to Utah several years
later to work for Nucor Corp., Charlotte, N.C., he swapped
water skiing for skiing the fresh powder of the Rocky
Mountains. He said he still tries to make it back to the
mountains to ski at least once a year.
Correnti moved to Mississippi in 2005 as head
of SeverCorr, a joint venture between JSC Severstal,
Cherepovets, Russia, and a group headed by Correnti. The
company expects to enter the market with its own steel this
"I really let it go, but I started getting
back to it when I moved to Mississippi," he said. "The boating
season is so much longer down here. You can really boat from
March until the end of November."
Correnti particularly enjoys cruising the
Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway and Pickwick Lake-about 130 miles
north of Columbus, where SeverCorr is located and where
Correnti currently calls home-with his 24-year-old son. "Mainly
we just water ski and run around. We swim off it, sun bathe off
it, and it goes fast-so in 90-degree weather, it really cools
Correnti no longer water skis, but he likes
to jet ski. And he also competes in "poker runs," where
competitors motor from one station to another, taking one card
at each stop. "You might have 200 boats in it, and at the end
of the day the best hand wins," he said.
From the balmy southern waterways, it would
be possible to travel north through Kentucky and follow the
Ohio River all the way to Pittsburgh. But Correnti doesn't plan
such an epic trip anytime soon. "That would take too long-too
many locks to go through."