Gone from the water since the 2019 Florida Powerboat Club Miami Boat Show Poker Run, the famed 46-foot Freedom catamaran from Skater Powerboats is coming back for the 2020 boating season. That’s the word from Northern California’s Dale Rayzor, who purchased the twin Sterling Performance 1,550-hp engine-powered 46-footer in late 2018. A mechanical issue knocked the boat out of the event and Rayzor sent it back to Boat Customs in Caledonia, Mich., where it had been extensively renovated by company principal Chris Mills.
Last seen on the water during in February 2019 during the Miami Boat Show Poker Run, the well-known Freedom Skater catamaran will be back in action this season (click image to enlarge). Photo courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
Among the projects involved in getting Freedom back on the water is converting its PSI-supercharged engines from electronic fuel injection to carburetion. Eric Casperson of Boyd’s Racing Engines in Norman, Okla., is handling the conversion.
“Eric had a couple sets of custom Bob Book Racing carburetors built to put on top of the PSI blowers,” said Rayzor. “Both he and Joel Weber, who worked on (former Freedom owner) Jim Lee’s original engine program and is an F.A.A.-certified aircraft engineer, felt that carburetors are safer than the complex EFI system with so many more possibilities for failure mostly due to all the electronics/wiring associated with it. Removing the EFI does limit us to one fuel/octane setting, rather than being able to remap the ECU on the EFI system for different fuel/octane settings. I’m fine with losing that flexibility though, as we are setting up the motors to run on 110-octane race gas only.
“The engines also will also be losing their original Sterling valve covers, as they are being replaced with a set of custom-built Moroso covers to clear the new steel T&D rockers,” he added. “The Sterling covers wouldn’t clear the new steel rockers, so we had a new custom set made for the proper clearance, while retaining the valve spring oilers the Sterling covers had in them.”
Once the engines are complete, they will be shipped to Boat Customs for installation, where Mills also will equip the catamaran with a TrimSync system from Marine Design Corporation. From there the cat will go to Craig Ellis at Appearance Products in Grand Rapids, Mich., for interior work.
“The interior is also going to get a little tweaking,” said Rayzor. “Craig is going to embroider the Freedom US1 logos in the headrests and raise the front seat cushion height for Chris—we are going to run the boat together in poker runs this season—and me. It’s hard to see over that huge deck at low speeds and around the docks.
“Joel and Eric also plan to be with us when they can make it,” he continued. “It’s a group effort to run one of these big-power 46 Skaters.”
Though he has time decide where to debut his upgraded boat, Rayzor said he hopes to make that happen at the Boyne Thunder Poker Run in Boyne City, Mich., in July. To that end, he is signed up for the event.
“We hope to have Freedom back on the water for Skaterfest and LOTO this year,” he said. “We did register for Boyne Thunder, but I have a feeling that will get cancelled due to COVID-19.”
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