Here is the first thing you need to know about the new low-profile, lightweight Skater Powerboats 368 catamaran owned by Matt Rice, who lives in Hanover, Pa., and has a second home on Florida’s idyllic Siesta Key: It’s an absolute one-off—and for a different reason than all Skater models are essentially one-offs, though that’s also true with Rice’s new 36-footer.
Owned by former offshore racer Matt Rice, a new Skater 368 cat is the first—and most likely the last—pleasure boat to be powered by Mercury Racing Verado ROS outboard engines. Photo courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
But in this case, the unique nature of the Skater 368 built and rigged to exacting weight specifications has as much or more to do with the power package than anything else. The catamaran is the first go-fast pleasure boat built in this country—make that the world—to be outfitted with 400-hp Mercury Racing Verado ROS outboards created specifically and exclusively for the XCAT World Series racing under the Union Internationale Motonautique sanctioning umbrella. Mercury built approximately 40 Verado ROS outboards for the UIM, which in turn leased them to XCAT teams. They were designed for racing, not high- performance pleasure-boating applications.
So how did they end up on what will be, with the exception of perhaps one powerboat race this season, a pleasure boat for the rest of its life? The answer, of course, is in the question. Part of the deal between Mercury Racing and Skater Powerboats stipulated that the boat had to run in at least one race this year. Exactly where and when that race will be has not been finalized, but the best bet based on class structure would be an Offshore Powerboat Association event.