After yesterday’s test session on Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay in a 37-foot Outerlimits Offshore Powerboats catamaran he helped design, Steve Curtis paused to marvel at how far things have come since he entered the performance-boating world several decades ago.
“It really is incredible,” said Curtis, a multi-time offshore racing world champion who has worked closely with the Bristol, R.I., high-performance powerboat company to develop its catamaran program. “Back in the day with a 36-foot aluminum Cougar catamaran running twin 700-hp engines, we’d top out at 110 to 115 mph. Now we have boats like the SC 37 running twin Mercury Racing 450R outboards topping 125 mph and we’re just getting started with setup. Yes, the boats are a lot lighter now, but I think it’s amazing the way outboard technology has advanced and evolved.
Though there’s more work to be done, the first Outerlimits SC 37 catamaran is already impressing the team that created it. Photos courtesy Outerlimits Offshore Powerboats
“There are a few more things we can do to improve performance—we are still messing with propellers—but the boat ran great,” he continued. “And it handled great.”
Curtis’ pronouncement delighted Outerlimits national sales manager Dan Kleitz. Though the project has taken the Outerlimits team longer than expected, Kleitz said he is thrilled with the results.
“We went in a completely different direction with the SC 37 in that, unlike our other boats, it may not be the fastest thing on the planet,” he said, then laughed. “But it ran 125 mph right out of the box, and for a brand-new model with a brand-new setup for us—Outerlimits isn’t exactly know for outboard-powered boats—we couldn’t be happier. And we’re not done.
“Though we’re setting up the boat to produce a respectable top speed, the acceleration and handling are already amazing,” he added. “It turns like a go-kart. Steve was very happy with it.”
Both Kleitz and Curtis described the SC 37, which has a bustle and an overall length of slightly more than 38 feet, as a “big boat,” though its beam is relatively conservative with a width of 10 feet, 1 inch. Kleitz explained that the cat was designed with “a big cockpit, deep freeboard, a deep tunnel and wide sponsons,” but Outerlimits went with the beam dimensions so the boat would be easier to manage off the water.
The first 37-footer is going to a longtime Outerlimits customer.
“The whole point of these outboard catamarans is easy, no-hassle boating,” he said. “Why would you order an outboard cat that needs a tilt trailer? This SC 37 is easy to tow, easy to launch and easy to pull into a gas station for fuel.”
Kleitz and the Outerlimits crew are far from finished with testing. Next up is finding rough water in Narragansett Bay and—for bigger stuff—the Atlantic Ocean. Hull No. 1 is going to a three-time Outerlimits owner in Connecticut.
“We think it’s going to be great in rough water,” Curtis said. “It ran right through all the wakes and chop we encountered on the bay with no problem.”
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