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Colledgewood Skater 388 Takes ‘Best In Show’ Award at Desert Storm

Standing out in a healthy field of top-shelf high-performance powerboats, a Douglas Marine Skater 388 LE Hardtop owned by Gary and Rosemary Colledge of Discovery Bay, Calif., earned “Best In Show” honors last Thursday at the Desert Storm Poker Run Street Party. Dubbed Colledgewood, the 38-footer, which features a hydraulically raised center section of its hardtop for cockpit access and is powered by twin Mercury Racing 1350 engines, was completed last summer and delivered just in time for the 2012 Big Cat Poker Run.

colledgeracing1hugeWith owner Gary Colledge driving and throttling and Skater founder Peter Hledin trimming, this “Best In Show” Skater 388 cat reached 141 mph during the Desert Storm Shootout. Photo courtesy/copyright Jay Nichols/Naples Image.

“I was excited about the award, but my wife went nuts,” Colledge said, then laughed. “She tends be more, well, enthusiastic than I am.”

Along with several friends including industry notable Karl Koster, Colledge piloted the boat in Friday’s poker run. The following day, he throttled and drove it with Douglas Marine/Skater founder and owner Hledin handling the trim duties—via the in-console switches—to 141 mph in the Desert Storm top-speed shootout. Though Hledin rarely rides in his own creations, it has happened a few times in recent years. But being in the cockpit and helping pilot the boat during a top-speed event was a “first” for him.

“Peter had a ball—he didn’t want to stop—and he was a joy to be with,” said Colledge. “And he showed me a few tricks with trim. He trims it to a certain level to bring up the boat and get it going, and then at 100 mph he trims it down a little.”

The unusual vertically raised hardtop section for the air-conditioned 388 LE isn’t a first for either Hledin or Colledge. The first Skater with the hydraulic roof configuration was Colledge’s 40-footer, which he still owns and also is called Colledgewood. The boat takes it name from two sources—Colledge’s wood veneer business and an old English name dating back to 1066, the time of William the Conqueror.

On display at the Desert Storm Street Party.

But the newer 38-foot cat is substantially different from the 40-footer. All of the “wood” graphics are painted on the 40, whereas on the 388 the builder used inlaid veneers of end-matched burled redwood. The same veneers were used through the boat’s interior, which also boasts more stowage space than the 40-footer. From the its rear-tapering roof to its swim platform, the profile of the 38-footer is lower. Colledge describes it as “more of a fastback” design.

Next up for the Colledges and their now award-winning Skater? The Big Cat Poker, Aug. 16-17, on Northern California’s Sacramento River Delta.