After owning half a dozen Skater Powerboats catamarans from Douglas Marine, Arkansas performance boater Sam Jirik is going to great lengths to get the outboard-powered Skater of his dreams. After taking possession of a 2014 308 Classic Deck Skater with twin Mercury Racing OptiMax 300XS engines via the sale of his 338 Fatboy Skater with Smith Power engines last year, Jirik thought about a few things he could to update the 30-footer and make it his own.
This outboard-powered 30-foot Skater catamaran will have a whole new look once Arkansas’ Sam Jirik gets it back.
What started as a potential wraparound windshield conversion to replace the boat’s windscreens after riding in Freedom, Jim Lee’s 28 Skater that received a Boat Customs windshield retrofit kit last summer, turned into an extensive project leading to a new deck, new instrumentation and electronics, a wider and deeper cockpit, and aesthetic changes from the paint to the interior, including adding a fourth rear seat.
“I drove Jim Lee’s 28 at last year’s Lake of the Ozarks Shootout and was impressed with the windshield-the paint was flawless, too,” said Jirik. “So I discussed a wraparound windshield retrofit with Chris Mills of Boat Customs because I was looking for better wind protection in my boat. We also talked about a new paint job, but I told him what I really wanted was a complete flat deck conversion to lower the deck profile, which in turn would improve visibility while driving, not to mention the boat’s aesthetics overall.
“So Chris and I came up with a plan to do a carbon-fiber flat deck conversion and update the boat with a larger Garmin 7610 GPS and twin Mercury Vessel View 7 displays tied to the GPS,” he continued. “Ron Muller with Electronics Unlimited is helping us tie in the displays with the integrated remote audio and CZone digital switching system to maximize versatility of electronics and allow remote access to critical boat components. Like many boat projects, the deeper you get into it, the more other things pop up that you either want or need to do.”
For more images of the flat deck conversion in progress, check out the slideshow above.
For Mills and the crew at Boat Customs in Caledonia, Mich., they were up to the challenge of tailoring Jirik’s Skater well beyond the deck conversion for a new windshield. Then again, when the name of your company is Boat Customs, you better be.
“This has been a lot of work to build a completely new deck but now we have the tooling we need to be able to do more of these if other owners are interested,” Mills said. “We’ll be painting the boat soon and completing the new interior, dash and rigging for the twin 300s.”
Mills said the project began a few months ago and is probably a couple of months away from being complete. He also said he wouldn’t be surprised if Jirik ends up with twin Mercury Verado 400R engines on the boat.
Jirik isn’t ruling out the power upgrade but he said it’s unlikely to happen immediately.
“I’m going to run the boat this season with the 300XS engines,” said Jirik, who added that he’s interested in the new 400-hp outboards but prefers to see how they run on other boats like his first. “I love the way the 308 handles and performs with the 300s. And with all of the updates we’re doing, we’re also changing some things to modify the boat’s center of gravity and balance it a little better. I’m expecting to see some improvements in performance-so who knows, maybe the 300s are all the boat really needs?”
One thing’s for sure-Jirik is sure to have a one-of-a-kind boat bearing no resemblance to its former self.
Editor’s note: Speedonthewater.com will follow up on the project. You also can find more detail on the build on the 308 Skater OB Flat Deck Conversion thread on OffshoreOnly.com.
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