Though Peter Hledin of Skater Powerboats in Douglas, Mich., is as traditionally methodical as impeccable craftsmen get, he is not averse to exploring time-saving technologies—as long as they don’t compromise his finished products in any way. That’s why his Douglas, Mich.-based custom high-performance company recently took delivery of a new 3-D printer, which Skater plans to use to produce smaller parts such as scoops and deck hatches.
Fair Chase, a Skater 368 catamaran commissioned by Arizona’s Steve Ahrenberg, is among the current and nearly completed builds at the company.
“We have so many different kinds of scoops and hatches,” Hledin said in a telephone interview this morning. “We think our new 3-D printer, and this really big machine that just got here, can help us a lot with producing those. Like every technology, there will be a learning curve to get through. But in the end we think it make things easier and more efficient.”
On the old school side of things, mold construction for Hledin’s first 58-foot catamaran continues.
“It’s going to take a while to get done, but it will get done,” he said. “We’ve been at it for a couple of years now.
Work continues on the hull mold for the first 58-foot Skater catamaran.
“I really started the 588 project to keep myself busy,” he added, then laughed. “I needed something to do after I stopped gelcoating every boat, doing every windshield and all the other things I used to do before my stroke. So two years ago I ordered the wood and got started.”
Skater goes on its traditional holiday break December 23 and will re-open January 5. That will give Hledin more time to pursue what has become his favorite and decidedly old-school hobby—handcrafting scale-model wooden boats.
“I’m building a 17th century frigate right now,” he said. “It’s kind of nice. I can sit down at a table and work and not have to twist and turn and crawl all over boats, much less use any heavy machinery.”
Said Skater’s Peter Hledin, “We’re really busy right now.”