Telling speedonthewater.com that you have to walk before you can run, Bill Pyburn and company began testing Pure Platinum, his latest 388 Skater Powerboats catamaran from Douglas Marine, last week in Jacksonville, Fla. With twin 1,800-plus-hp supercharged Goodwin Competition engines powering the 38-footer, which was unveiled to much fanfare at the Miami International Boat Show in February, the spotlight is definitely on the highly anticipated cat and Pyburn is taking it all in stride.
Bill Pyburn plans to run his new Pure Platinum 388 Skater at the Tickfaw 200 Poker Run next month. Photo courtesy Bill Pyburn
“All of the engine tuning went great and the motors have exceeded my expectations,” said Pyburn, who has owned several notable go-fast boats from the likes of Nor-Tech Hi-Performance Boats, Outerlimits Offshore Powerboats and, of course, Skater. (For more on Pyburn, check out the feature in the January/February 2015 issue of Speed On The Water magazine.) “We started dialing in the boat a little last week, but at this point we’re working on getting the water pressure just right and gathering the props to do some more testing this weekend or next.
“We’ve run some decent speeds—we’ve put over eight hours on the engines already just running around and having fun—but we’re not trying to push the boat until we get everything where it needs to be,” said Pyburn, who plans to bring the boat to the Tickfaw 200 Poker Run in Louisiana next month. “The power difference (compared to his previous Pure Platinum 388 Skater) is definitely something to get used to. With these engines you have to squeeze into it to hook it up. If you lay into it you’ll just blow out the props. And the boat, wow, Skater knocked it out of the park with the handling. The boat turns and tracks unlike anything I’ve ever driven.”
After the Florida Powerboat Club’s Miami Boat Show Poker Run, Pure Platinum‘s engines were pulled and the 38-footer was returned to the Skater factory in Michigan to correct what company owner Peter Hledin described as “teething issues.” Once those issues—limited to a few rigging modifications but requiring correction nonetheless—were resolved, the cat was sent back to Brand X Hi-Performance Marine in Pompano Beach, Fla., for reinstallation of the engines, on-water testing and further engine calibration work with Dustin Whipple of Whipple Superchargers in Fresno, Calif.
“I’m not sure if the fuel curve is correct for the rpm yet,” Hledin said. “It’s still in the testing phase but it looks promising. I think the biggest challenge is finding time in everyone’s schedule—that’s been harder to do than everyone thought.
“A tremendous amount of R&D goes into the power—it’s a monumental amount of work,” he continued. “I have to give most of the credit for this project to the engine builder. I’ve said this before over the years, but the performance gains that have come through hull design are incremental. The ‘leaps and bounds’ we are seeing in performance are a product of better engines and better propellers.”
Jason Ventura of Brand X said the boat felt great after working with Whipple recently.
“We spent some time with Dustin, tuning idle and shift maps, with the boat cross-tied to the boat house,” Ventura said. “Then we did some sloping on the running maps, and in all honesty started to run out of daylight. Bill hit it once and she pulled ungodly hard. Then he let off and we coasted into the boat house.”