Come July, a new Skater Powerboats 368 catamaran powered by Mercury Racing 700 SCi engines will take to the waters of Lake Havasu in Arizona. The boat was ordered a little more than a year ago by Steve Ahrenberg, a longtime performance-boat enthusiast who lives outside Phoenix with his wife, Lori, and their 22-year-old, special needs son, Brian. For the Ahrenbergs, boating has long been a family pursuit.
Shown in this rendering as a Skater 388 catamaran with eight seats, a new six-seat Skater 368 catamaran called Fair Chase will be the next boat to occupy Skater’s paint booth.
Equipped with a removable power-lift to get Brian Ahrenberg in and out of the 36-footer when it is launched and retrieved, the boat’s trailer could be its most unique feature. The senior Ahrenberg, Skater principal Peter Hledin and Tony Cutsuries, the national sales manager for the Douglas, Mich., company, looked at several boarding and debarking solutions for the younger Ahrenberg. A standard boarding ladder at the front of the trailer wouldn’t work for Brian, who lacks sufficient muscle strength for the climb. Any sort of tie-bar-supported step system would have put him too close to the boat’s propellers.
A removable trailer-mounted lift system was the only way to go, they decided. But fearing liability, the lift-company Ahrenberg had in mind wouldn’t even sell him the requisite parts. So Skater stepped up to create one.
“That just goes to show you how custom Skater is and how much Peter Hledin cares about his customers,” said Steve Ahrenberg. “We can get Brian in the boat when it’s on the trailer and then launch. When the boat is already in the water and at the dock, of course, we don’t need the lift for Brian.”
Beyond his family, Ahrenberg has three passions: cycling, boating and hunting. Fair Chase, the new catamaran’s name, comes from his hunting hobby.
Though cost factored into the 58-year-old owner’s power choice, it wasn’t the primary driver. The twin 700-hp supercharged engines will push the six-seat cat to 130-plus mph. With twin Mercury Racing 1100s, it would top 175 mph, he said.
The boat is next in line for the Skater paint booth. For graphics, Ahrenberg turned to the Douglas, Mich., company’s longtime paint man Steve Schulte. Ahrenberg provided the colors he wanted. Schulte took it from there.
“I believe in letting an artist be an artist, so I said, ‘Here are the colors I like, make something cool,’ ” he said. “Steve had it nailed in three renderings.
“I have enjoyed the build process at Skater,” he added. “They said it would be a year and a half, and that’s what it is going to be.”