Grant Bruggemann of Grant’s Signature Racing and his longtime friend and client Matt Rice knew they were entering uncharted waters with the first high-performance pleasure-boat application of 400-hp Mercury Racing ROS outboard engines, which were developed specifically for X-Cat Racing series. Both understood the ROS—Race Offshore by full name—outboard was, as announced by Mercury Racing when it was released in 2015, a “racing engine.” Unlike the Verado 400R supercharged outboard platform on which the ROS product was based, essential operating hardware such as a fuel pump items were not built into the engine. Like the engine’s oil reservoir, they had to be remotely located in the engine compartment of Rice’s new 36-foot Skater catamaran, which he had built with a super-low profile for the ROS power application.
Shown here with its original Mercury Racing ROS outboard engines, this 36-foot Skater has been repowered by Grant’s Signature Racing with Verado 400R mills. Photo courtesy/copyright Pete Boden.
But being veteran offshore racers and diehard performance lovers, they went for it. Worst case, they’d pull the twin ROS units and replace with their Verado 400R consumer consumer-oriented siblings.
From the first time it hit the water, the 36-footer struggled to be user friendly with its exotic, race-bred power package. At idle around the docks, the engines tended to cut out. Bruggemann attempted to resolve the issues at his rigging shop in Bradenton, Fla., but they persisted. So a little more than a month ago Rice and Bruggemann decided it was time for a change.
“The ROS motors worked great—they made plenty of power—but they just weren’t quite consumer friendly in the way people have become accustomed to today’s outboards,” said Bruggemann. “After a lot of discussions with Matt and Mercury Racing, we decided to pull those motors and replace with a pair of Carbon Edition Verado 400Rs. Matt’s ROS outboards are currently for sale.”
For a closer look at the Skater 368 repower project, check out the slideshow above.
Bruggemann removed all of the remote hardware required for the ROS outboard installation. He also repositioned STR X-ACT outboard brackets from Shaun Torrente to accommodate the standard Verado 400R offerings.
Now Rice has a unique Skater catamaran, the lowest-profile 36-foot pleasure version ever built, with well-mannered, civilized powered. And he got with it without losing performance.
“With ROS power, Matt’s boat ran 119 mph,” said Bruggemann. “With the Verado 400Rs, the top speed is exactly the same—and my client is very happy. It just shows what great product Mercury Racing is building for the consumer market these days.”