Just in time for the summer, Arkansas performance boater Sam Jirik got his 2014 30-foot Skater Powerboats catamaran with twin Mercury Racing OptiMax 300XS engines back from Boat Customs a week ago. And boy is Jirik glad he decided to go with the more extensive project rather than just have the crew in Caledonia, Mich., install one of its windshield retrofit kits.
Sam Jirik is excited about the new look of his 30-foot Skater Powerboats catamaran. All photos courtesy Sam Jirk
Jirik, who has owned several Skaters in the past including a 338 Fatboy with Smith Power engines that he sold last year, opted to take the 308 Classic Deck Skater and add a new flat deck, install new instrumentation and electronics, create a wider and deeper cockpit, and update the interior, which included changing the rear bench from three bolster seats to four.
“I’ve got to say, this boat is amazing,” said Jirik, who drove the boat a few times early last week although he was mostly taking friends for a ride. “Overall we are very pleased with how it turned out. Not only does it look better with the flat deck, between the new deck, the changes we made to the center of gravity and the new windshield, it changes the entire running attitude of the boat.”
On Friday Jirik got his first opportunity to do a little testing in the 30-footer and he said everything worked great.
“The boat ran 95.6 mph to 97.5 mph on the rev-limiters with 32″ x 14.5″ Mercury four-blade Cleaver propellers and 60 gallons of fuel,” Jirik said. “Before the conversion we hit 98 to 99 mph with the same conditions but I never hit the rev-limiter so we have some dialing in to do. My best speed before was 102 mph in ideal conditions with light fuel. We’ll see if we can get it above that—either way the CG change made it plane and handle even better.
“We’ve got some work to do still but so far it’s a 10 out of 10,” Jirik continued. “The boat hooks up well and as I raise the jack plates it takes off but we lose water pressure even with water ramps in the hull. I may consider low water pickups if we stay with these motors. It would be nice if the new Mercury 400Rs run well—and go on a diet.”
Check out more images of the completed boat and some of it in production at Boat Customs in Caledonia, Mich.
According to Jirik, one of the best parts about the ride is that his wife, Kim, was able to sit next to him with her “big, floppy black hat” and keep it on thanks to the boat’s new windshield. He said the wind protection, along with the visibility from every seat in the boat—including the new four-person rear bolsters, is vastly improved. In fact, one of Jirik’s friends pointed out that he could see everything out of the back seat, which wasn’t possible before the conversion.
“Lastly I need to thanks Livorsi Marine, Stainless Marine and Electronics Unlimited (a new website is coming soon) for their support,” he added. “Ron Muller of Electronics Unlimited has been a lifesaver. He’s a wealth of information. He helped reconfigure all of the electronics so I can control everything from my Garmin 7610 display. The CZone digital switching system is working flawlessly, and what’s cool is the GPS satellite also has built-in WiFi.”
In case you’ll be at one of the following events this summer and want to see the Skater up close, Jirik said he’s planning to run the boat at the new Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees Performance Boat Challenge Shootout in Oklahoma in July, the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout in Missouri in August and the Lake Cumberland Poker Run in Kentucky in September.
Boat Customs Updating 308 Skater with Flat Deck and More