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Creating The New Tilt: Boat Customs Makes Over 40-Foot Skater

If you know dedicated performance boater Ed Tirakian of Michigan, chances are you know his boat Tilt. Although which Tilt you know is the next question, as Tirakian has owned several go-fast catamarans over the past 30 years with the same name, a nod to his days of buying and selling pinball machines, and a similar color scheme.

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Michigan’s Ed Tirakian is thrilled with his new Tilt boat, a completely overhauled 40-foot Skater catamaran. Photos courtesy Boat Customs

Now Tilt fans will have a new boat to drool over as it cruises on Michigan’s Lake St. Clair this summer. After two seasons of not boating in the 2003 Skater Powerboats catamaran he purchased in 2016—the former Bacardi O owned by August Busch—Tirakian is eager to get the boat, which is powered by a pair of supercharged engines from Sterling Performance Engines, on the lift in his backyard and start running it.

After talking to Tirakian about his latest boat, a project that turned into more than he originally intended, enthusiastic is a good way to describe the man. Patient also is an adjective you could use, especially after the time it took for the makeover to be completed by Chris Mills and the team at Boat Customs in Caledonia, Mich.

Tirakian doesn’t hold Boat Customs entirely accountable for how long he was without his boat—he admits the project took on a life of its own as it went from a windshield conversion and paintjob to more bodywork than expected, a full interior overhaul and refreshing the 1,100-hp engines, No. 6 drives and BAM Marine transmissions.

“I love the boat and its new look—I can’t wait to for the season,” Tirakian said. “The project turned into more than we anticipated doing, but now that it’s done it was well worth it. I originally intended to do the projects in a couple stages, but once I missed one boating season (2017), I figured we might as well do the engines and drives and get everything the way we wanted it.”

Tirakian, who also owns a Statement Marine center console, said he’s excited about his practically new Skater, which is the largest—and fastest—boat he’s ever owned.

As you can see from the included slideshow below, the team at Boat Customs was very busy with the project. Mills and company handled everything from the bodywork, wraparound windshield conversion, custom paintjob, rigging and much more. About the only thing they didn’t tackle was the upholstery and that’s because they already lined up interior guru Craig Ellis from Appearance Products in Grand Rapids, Mich., to handle the cockpit design and production.

Check out the images above for a closer look at the Tilt project boat.

The details about what went into the boat, which features a six-seat cockpit rather than the five seats like it had before, were rather extensive, but the slideshow above gives a pretty good before-and-after look at the Skater.

Tirakian said he was particular about everything that went into the boat, including the Livorsi Marine gauges and components, the Bluewater mechanical indicator panels, the Waves and Wheels stereo components, the Latham Marine steering and shifters, the dash panels from Innotech, and the engine headers that were sent back to Custom Marine Inc. (CMI) to be sanded, polished and gone through.

Along with new gas tanks, tons of body work and rebuilding the engines and drives, Tilt’s entire cockpit was redone, giving the boat a fresh, modern look with more creature comforts all around and Tirakian’s desired wraparound windshield.

“I wanted a new look and I’m glad I followed Chris’ and Craig’s leads—they sure know how to make a boat look good,” Tirakian said. “We used to have ‘Game Over’ on the transom of the Tilt boats but this time around we decided to paint it on the hood scoops and the back of the front seats.”

This is not the story to get into all of the previous Tilt models, but don’t worry, a full feature story on Tirakian’s history of Tilt boats is in the works and is going to be part of the March/April issue of Speed On The Water magazine.

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