Getting a 36-foot catamaran with brand-new engines completely dialed in less than a week is ambitious. But getting it dialed in for a 270-mile nonstop endurance run in the same period of time? That’s a very tall order.
Just ask veteran racer Ryan Beckley and Chris LaMorte, who spent the better part of this week—and just finished up today—getting LaMorte’s Skater Powerboat 36-foot cat with new 700-plus-hp engines from Innovation Marine in Sarasota, Fla., ready for the upcoming Around Long Island Race on Saturday, Aug. 22 in New York.
Despite lacking adequate time to get their boat completely ready, LaMorte and Beckley still plan to compete next Saturday in the Around Long Island Race (click image to enlarge). Photo courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix
Along for the ride this week—so to speak—to handle the fuel mapping for the electronically fuel-injected powerplants were representatives from Innovation Marine. Equally invaluable during the past few days, as well as in the months before them, was Grant Bruggemann of Grant’s Signature Rigging. Bruggemann has assisted Beckley, who will throttle the boat and LaMorte, who will be driving in his first offshore race in Long Island, with everything from replacing the rear bench with a fuel cell—upping total fuel capacity to a little more than 400 gallons—to going through the cat’s Mercury Racing No. 6 drives. Earlier today, Bruggemann even replaced a hydraulic trim line for one of the drives so Beckley and LaMorte could get an extra 30 minutes of running time.
“It’s been challenging, almost like she didn’t really want to go Long Island,” Beckley said. “Grant told us, ‘Oh no, she is going to Long Island.’ Grant has been incredible. He’s been working on the boat for months.”
Beckley, who dropped off LaMorte this afternoon for his flight back to his home in New Jersey, estimated that they ran the cat for less than two hours not counting an Innovation Marine representative “in the bilge with a laptop” during the past two days.
“We had a lot to do with dialing it in, starting with buying a new pair of props for the boat,” Beckley said. “Going from 1,000 hp to almost 1,500 hp is a big change. We got it up to 114 mph, which is the fastest that boat has ever run.”