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New STIHL Getting New Look, Old STIHL Getting Back to Business

With hull lamination of his new STIHL raceboat complete, owner/driver J.R. Noble is planning to head to Douglas, Mich., next week to meet with Skater company founder Peter Hledin on the team’s new Skater 388 catamaran. While Noble is in Douglas, his “old” Skater 388 cat, which he’ll run with throttleman Mark Kowalski on the 2015 Super Boat International circuit until his new cat is ready sometime in mid-summer, will be on its way to TNT Custom Marine in Miami for its “final pre-race inspection,” according to Noble.


Caught here during the 2014 SBI Offshore World Championships in Key West, Fla., the “older” STIHL will run this season until the new one—with a brand-new graphics package—is ready to go. Photo courtesy/copyright Jeff Helmkamp.

“The bolts holding the drive sheered off and the drive fell off the boat,” said Noble, referring to the incident that initiated the damage to the cat’s transom. “They have been replaced with longer hardened steel bolts that should keep that from happening again. The transom has been repaired. The damage from the hits with Broadco has been repaired. The boat has been repainted, and it looks brand new. TNT is going to go through the boat and freshen up the drives.”

As for the new STIHL catamaran, it will be getting a brand-new look. Beyond that, Noble declined to reveal a detailed descripton of the cat’s new graphics package, much less provide a rendering.

“I can tell you it will be an entirely new graphics package,” he said. “Other than the STIHL name, it will be totally different. We’re going to step it up a notch.”

Once the Skater 388 is delivered, the older boat will go up for sale. Noble said that a couple of potential buyers have already expressed interest. He will offer the boat with or without its current pair of 750-hp engines built by Frank McComas of Scorpion Enterprises. The other pair of McComas-built powerplants, which have no operating hours on them (the set in the older STIHL boat have been run in three races), will go into the new boat.

“When our new boat is completed we fully intend to sell our current boat,” Noble said. “And if anybody would like to talk to me prior to that I’ll be happy to go over details one on one. We have a pretty good track record with the boat, and it’s never flipped. We had some damage (from the 2014 SBI Key West Worlds) but Skater has repaired it perfectly.”

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