Yesterday’s tests of the first Skater Powerboats 28 catamaran powered by twin Mercury Racing Verado 400R outboard engines delivered impressive results, not the least of which was a top speed of 120 mph. Tony Cutsuries, the Douglas, Mich., company’s national sales manager, put the 28-footer, which was outfitted with Mercury Racing CNC 15” x 34” five-blade propellers, through its paces on Lake Michigan.
“We were on the limiters with the 34s so the boat could handle more propeller,” Cutsuries said. “But it was pretty rough out there and the boat ran really, really strong. Actually, the boat is phenomenal.”
The first Skater 28 catamaran powered by Mercury Racing Verado 400R outboard engines hit the water yesterday—and impressed everyone involved. Photos courtesy/copyright Paul Rose and Tony Cutsuries/Skater Powerboats.
According to Skater founder and owner Peter Hledin, he and his crew have built more than 100 of the vaunted 28-footers. While Hledin said the Verado 400R-powered model wasn’t the fastest one he’d ever built (“I believe we did some with modified 2.5-liter outboards that were faster,” he said), the catamaran worked beautifully with the twin 400-hp outboard setup. To accommodate their weight, he reinforced the boat’s transom.
Skater also added a windscreen on the deck and installed a pair of 80-gallon fuel cells. Beyond those additions, everything about the 28-footer was standard.
Denny Cassel, the boat’s 71-year-old owner who lives in Brookville, Ohio, ran the cat to 96 mph in two- to three-foot chop and was “blown away” by its performance. Cassel owns a cabin on the shore of Intermediate Lake, which is connected to several other waterways, in Northern Michigan and plans to keep the boat there.
“I have always had speed in my blood, and I tell my wife, ‘I like fast cars—I just ordered a Dodge Demon and it will do the quarter-mile in 9.65 seconds—and fast women, and you’re the fastest woman I have ever had,’ ” he said, then laughed. “The Skater 28 suits me just fine. I wanted something reliable and economical to operate. There are a lot of guys with bigger boats who are still keeping them these days, but also stepping into something more manageable.
“In that three- to four-foot chop, I was amazed how the boat performed and I wasn’t nervous at all,” he continued. “It just floated right along. That’s going to make my wife happy because she gets a little nervous when it’s rough. I can’t wait to get up to the cabin to run it around and have fun. I plan to do that all summer.”
Cassel paused for a moment, then laughed again. “I had to work on Peter a little to get him to put a windshield on it,” he said. “At first, he just wanted to build it with a faring.
For a closer look at the latest Skater 28 catamaran, check out the slideshow above.
Wiindshield or not, Hledin said he was delighted to add a Verado 400R-powered to his Skater 28 construction resume.
“I think we’ve built more 28s than any other model we’ve ever had,” he said. “There was a five-year lull there where we didn’t build any, and then one guy ordered one, then another guy, then another guy. The 28 always seems to get rejuvenated.
“It certainly is fast and runs to 120 quite easily,” he continued. “It could use more propeller, but the customer is more interested in acceleration and taking out his grandkids. The difference between running 120 and 125 mph isn’t important to him. It’s a very fun and pleasant-to-drive boat—and I think the windshield really helps hold down the boat. And it’s comfortable. You don’t feel any turbulence in the cockpit.”