Not only did Chris Mills and the team at Boat Customs get to play a major part in such a personal project, the company was able to showcase its first wraparound windshield conversion kit on Larry Vincent's completely updated 36-foot Skater Powerboats catamaran, which made its debut at this weekend's Tickfaw 200 Poker Run in Louisiana.
Along with a new paint job and the companay's first windshield kit, Boat Customs built the trailer for Larry Vincent's "new" 36-foot Skater.
Vincent, who is from Tulsa, Okla., decided to upgrade his 2003 36-footer after his friend and engine builder, Brad Smith of Smith Power, died last fall in a poker run accident alongside another one of Vincent's friends, Jeff Asbell. He turned to the Boat Customs crew in Caledonia, Mich., to apply a fresh paint job, rebuild the dash and side panels, create custom engine hatches, and remove the quarter canopies, rebuild the deck and install a wraparound windshield.
His goal, along with having a "new" boat to play around in, was to pay tribute to Smith and Asbell. The boat, which is now called Aftermath, includes the Smith Power logo to starboard within the stunning orange, gray and black paint job.
Thanks to a new side of the Boat Customs' business—a collaboration with aircraft and marine window manufacturer Lee Aerospace in Wichita, Kan.—Vincent's boat provided a perfect platform to showcase the company's first windshield retrofit as well as everything else it can handle, including building trailers.
"The overall concept is that Boat Customs can now provide full, start-to-finish conversions on older performance boats," said Mills, whose wife, Alicia, gave birth to a beautiful baby girl this week. "Between the paint and interior to updating dashes, hatches and bustles, being able to provide aftermarket wraparound windshields for multiple makes and models is a huge advantage. We are very excited and can't wait to create multiple works of art, as well update some of the industry's favorite boats."
Along with the 36 Skater kit that's available with stainless or billet hardware from Factory Billet in Lake Zurich, Ill., Boat Customs has a version finished for 28-foot Skaters that was recently installed on Jim Lee's 28 Skater, Freedom, which has about a month's worth of interior and rigging work before it hits the water. Powered by twin OptiMax 300XS engines from Mercury Racing, the boat features a cool new paint job and Boat Customs' gray windshield—the middle shade between the other two tints available, clear and dark bronze.
"I think the potential is huge because there are a lot of guys out there who love their boat but wouldn't mind having a new windshield that makes things a little more comfortable for everybody in the boat," said Lee, the founder of Lee Aerospace, which manufacturers the four-piece windshields for Boat Customs and builds windshields for companies such as Doug Wright, Mystic Powerboats, Outerlimits Powerboats, Skater and Statement Marine. "The kits will be flexible enough that they can be modified to fit most any boat."
Mills said the current molds and tooling can be manipulated to fit a variety of performance boats, both catamarans and V-bottoms. In fact, Mills added that the first windshield for Fountain Powerboats V-bottoms from 38 to 47 feet is almost finished. With the completely framed windshield, Mills said the kit changes the whole look of the Fountain models.
The windshields, which include a fiberglass or carbon receiver, are available in 1/2" or 3/4" cast polyurethane. Mills said Boat Customs also offers flat deck conversion options.
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