Just because the racing days seem to be behind him, Ray Contreras isn’t ready to give up the thrill of running his 38-foot Skater Powerboats catamaran, which he drove competitively for more than a decade. So instead of selling the canopied Team 388 Racing cat, which raced as Prop Stop, PhoenixParts.com and more, Contreras decided to convert the Skater into a pleasure boat and turned to the team at Boat Customs in Caledonia, Mich., to handle the project.
Boat Customs is currently converting Ray Contreras’ former Skater 388 raceboat into this pleasure machine. Photos courtesy Chris Mills
“I considered selling the boat—I wanted to sell it to someone who would continue to race it—but the only serious buyers seemed to be people who wanted to make it a pleasure boat,” said Contreras, who resides in New Jersey and also owns a 30-foot Cobra Predator center console with twin Yamaha 250 outboards. “So I thought about it a little more and figured I loved it as a raceboat so why not make it a pleasure boat?”
Contreras, who has been impressed by Chris Mills and the crew at Boat Customs to this point, said he is planning to use a modified version of the Super Cat race engines he’s had in the boat for years.
“We’ve redone the engines—detuned them some so they’re a little more pleasure-boat friendly but still powerful enough to get plenty of speed out of the boat,” Contreras said. “I’ve had some in-depth conversations with Chris about getting the center of gravity just right since that will be changing after losing the canopy, air systems and everything else that made it a raceboat. Fortunately Skater is going to help us and we’re going to follow their procedures.”
Check out the slideshow above for more images of the 38-foot Skater as well as a rendering of its graphics.
Contreras expects Boat Customs to have the boat wrapped up around the end of October or early November so it can hit the water for a shakedown test to determine if there’s anything that needs to be adjusted before the 2019 boating season starts. Contreras admits he debated repowering the boat with outboard engines, but he said he loves the way the boat runs with Mercury Racing No. 6 drives and couldn’t envision having it set up another way.
He is planning to modernize the boat in terms of minimizing gauges and taking advantage of the newer Garmin technology and engine monitoring systems so that all of that is integrated into the displays.
“We are excited to being doing this boat—it’s a very well-known Skater and Ray has been great to work with,” said Mills, who added that Chris Ellis from Appearance Products is handling the upholstery for the cockpit, which is being outfitted with a wraparound windshield from Lee Aerospace. “I think the paint came out awesome and the rest of it is going to be just as cool. I can’t wait to see this boat on the water.”
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