If Michigan-based businesswoman Connie Cushing, who is married to Sterling Performance Engines founder Mike D’Anniballe, ever wants a second career she has one waiting for her as a designer of exterior and interior powerboat graphics. A multi-time Skater Powerboats catamaran owner, Cushing has an eye for color and form, and that was something her friend Jerry Swanson of Destin, Fla., noticed years ago when he tasked her to design graphics for his then-new 46-foot Skater catamaran.
When Jerry Swanson wanted someone to spearhead the aesthetics of his new Skater 438 catamaran (above), he turned to his friend and fellow Skater owner Connie Cushing.
“When Jerry was building his 46, he called Mike and asked, ‘Who did the graphics for your Skater 388?’” Cushing said. “Mike said, ‘My wife did.’ While they were talking, I mouthed that I wouldn’t mind doing another and I ended up designing the exterior and interior graphics for that boat.
“A few years later, Mike and Jerry and I were having dinner and he asked us which Skater we would buy right now if we could,” she continued. “We both said ‘a 438’—it was like stereo coming out of our mouths. Jerry said, ‘OK, I’ll do it but only if Connie handles the design again.’”
Enjoy more images of the new 43-footer in the slideshow above.
Cushing’s goal with the 438 was to create a similar look to that of Swanson’s 46-footer. To make that happen, she worked closely with Steve Schulte and his son, Jake, who are Skater’s in-house painting contractors. She also collaborated with Craig Ellis of Appearance Products, the Grand Rapids, Mich., outfit that handles most of the Douglas, Mich., custom high-performance catamaran company’s interior work.
Powered by a pair of 1,900-hp turbocharged Sterling engines, the cat is ready for delivery. Swanson will see the boat for the first time in person when it arrives in Destin—he let Cushing shepherd the entire project at Skater. And she loved doing it.
“I thoroughly enjoyed the whole process,” Cushing said. “I tell Jerry all the time, ‘Thank you for the opportunity. And I’ll be happy to do your next one.’”
For Connie Cushing and Mike D’Anniballe, Jerry Swanson’s new Skater 438 was a bit of a family affair.
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