It was a long time coming—nearly two and a half years—but the Branton family said the wait was worth it after getting a chance to run VOODOO, its new Skater Powerboats 388 catamaran, last week at the biggest event in its home state. Anyone else who laid eyes on the family’s new ride in person last week at the Tickfaw 200 Poker Run in and around Springfield, La., is sure to agree.
The comments to Facebook and Instagram posts that dominated social media last weekend ranged from the “holy expletive” exclamations to the “that’s the most beautiful Skater ever” kind. The overall reaction, including that of Dave Branton and his son, Jim, to the 38-foot cat powered by twin 1,900-plus-hp Goodwin Competition Racing Engines powerplants has been nothing short of astonishing. (Click image below to enlarge.)
“I can’t even begin to describe how amazing the new Skater is,” said Jim Branton, who has grown up around performance boats—as well as wakeboard and fishing boats—because his parents, Dave and Leeann, are avid boaters who have owned at least a dozen Cigarette Racing Team V-bottoms and are on their fifth Skater catamaran. “The boat handles unbelievably. It drives like a sportscar—it is incredible. It is very nimble and it tracks straight and rides like it’s on rails. I honestly think it’s better than any other Skater I’ve been in.”
While the family was definitely ready to show off the boat at its hometown event, Jim admitted that the build process for the “Platinum Edition” 388 took a while but that it didn’t feel that long, especially once he saw the finished product for the first time in person early last week.
“The pictures don’t do the boat justice, they really don’t,” Jim said. “Dean Loucks and the team at The Art Of Design knocked it out of the park with the paintjob. It is absolutely gorgeous. The interior from Cutting Edge Interior’s Jamie Borg is ridiculous, too. Between the custom-made sky blue Alcantara and the wild curved stitching patterns, the seats and side panels are extraordinary.
“The best part is that we ran around for two days and didn’t have any major issues,” he continued. “I drove the boat in the poker run Friday and Saturday with my dad, my mom and my girlfriend, and we had a lot of fun. The boat pulls like a freight train. I don’t know how else to describe it but it is incomparable. Running alongside Mike (Pierce) and Chris (Bradley) in their 388s was awesome. It must have been an awesome moment for Bill (Pyburn), too, to see all three of the Platinum series Skaters together like that.”
Check out more images of the 38-foot Skater in the slideshow above.
Jim, who said his dad is “very pleased” with the boat, made sure to thank Pierce and Pyburn for their hospitality last week. Pyburn, a poker run enthusiast who built the red and black Pure Platinum 388 that debuted at the 2015 Miami International Boat Show, sold the 38-footer to his friend at the end of 2016 and has continued to run with Pierce as well as have a hand in the build of the Skaters owned by Bradley and Branton.
“Bill and I ran VOODOO earlier last week and he gave me a lot of good pointers,” said Jim, who added that he drove the boat, which he believes is capable of 200-plus mph, up to 160 mph at one point during the event but cruised around between 100 and 120 mph a majority of the time. “I can’t wait to get even more seat time in it. We’re going to have a ton of fun with it this year.”
Jim said the family is taking the boat to the Jacksonville River Rally and Fun Run next month and then in August he’s excited about his first trip to Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks. Not an easy thing to do, the boat is sure to be one of the standout models at this year’s Super Cat Fest, which is held in conjunction with the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout.
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