From Jim Lee to Tom Borisch and now to Win Farnsworth, the list of relatively recent owners of Freedom, a 46-foot Skater Powerboats catamaran built as an offshore raceboat in 1994/1995, reads like a “Who’s Who” of high-performance powerboating community members. Most recently, the boat changed hands between Borisch and Farnsworth several months after its makeover by Chris Mills at Boat Customs in Caledonia, Mich., in early 2017.
“Chris did a ton of work—he installed a new windshield, replaced all the internal stringers and took about 1,800 pounds out of the boat,” said Farnsworth, who traded Low Altitude, a turbine-powered 50-foot catamaran Mystic Powerboats catamaran (and other goodies, including a hot rod automobile) with its previous owner Borisch in exchange for Freedom late last year. “He did all the fiberglass work and refreshed the paint.”
But the project was far from complete. Once Mills finished his work, the boat was sent to Mystic in DeLand, Fla., where head rigger/production manager Ryan Zvitski and his crew pulled its 1,550-hp carbureted supercharged Sterling Performance engines and sent them back to the Milford, Mich., engine company for major changes.
“We had Sterling convert the engines to fuel injection and detune them to 1,100 hp,” Farnsworth said. “Now, they run on 89-octane fuel and they’re a lot more docile because we aren’t pushing them hard to keep up.”
For Mystic, the scope of the project was significant.
“When Freedom got to the shop it was a completely empty bare boat other than the Sterling motors and the gimbal housings, which we removed to check everything before reinstalling them,” Zvitski said. “Before we pulled the motors we measured for drive shafts and marked where everything would hook up, such as the water inlet, hydraulic steering, fuel, oil and electrical so we could get as much rigged as possible while the motors were at Sterling.”
In addition to replacing the catamaran’s fuel tanks, Zvitski and company re-plumbed its fuel system with new hoses, filters, fitting and tanks. They also created dual-helm capability, which meant adding a new hydraulic steering system with Latham Marine helms and fittings, filters and valves from a local supplier.
For greater reliability and practicality, Farnsworth had Sterling Performance convert the boat’s carbureted 1,550-hp engines to fuel injection and detune them to 1,100 hp.
To complement the dual helm stations, they added engine gauges in the dash ahead of the drive and copilot bucket seats. In the center of the dash, they mounted a Garmin 7612 GPS monitor. Other electronics installed by the Mystic team include a six-way intercom system from Tiger Performance, a VHF radio and a JL Audio stereo system.
“We used all Livorsi Marine gauges, throttles and shifters, trim tab and drive indicators,” Zvitski said. “We installed brand new dry-sump oil tanks and new plumbing, hoses and fittings. We built the water intake system as we do in our own cats, using all 1-1/2-inch hose and stainless three-piece fittings. We installed new sea strainers from Stainless Marine.
“We had brand new drive shafts built by Gary’s Driveline in Daytona Beach to handle more power than the boat is running and built new drive shaft gurds in house at Mystic,” he continued. “The drives and gimbals are brand new Mercury No. 6 units. The custom headers and tailpipes for the engines were built by CMI. From bow to stern, the entire electrical system is brand new, all wire, breakers, switches, lights, charging system, batteries and more.”
Mystic also reinstalled the 46-footer’s refreshed interior. Additional cosmetic goodies handled by the company included SeaDek flooring in the cockpit and LED lighting under the dash and in the cupholders.
For a closer look at Freedom after its total renovation, check out the slideshow above.
“I am really proud of our team,” said Zvitski. “Everyone in rigging and some in other departments had a hand in the build and everyone did a great job. We really enjoyed the whole process including giving Freedom that ‘Mystic touch.’”
Fans of the famed Freedom Skater will be able to catch it in action during Skaterfest in August, as well as during the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout later that month. Farnsworth, who is based in Colorado, said he plans to keep the boat at Hidden Harbor near his second home in Pompano Beach, Fla.
“I should be in Florida by Wednesday to take it home,” he said. “It came out really nice—that was a long way for an old boat to come.”