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Project: Motley Crew Skater To Take The Stage As Pleasure Boat

Back in the early to mid 2000s, the Super Cat Lite class featuring mostly 36-foot catamarans powered by twin Mercury Racing 525 EFI engines was thriving with the likes of Pepper’s, Popeye’s, Team AMSOIL and Motley Crew duking it out every race weekend. But like so many promising classes during the years, it eventually burned out. As usual, internal and external politics lit the flame.

The 36-foot Motley Crew raceboat was a staple of the long-dissolved Super Cat Lite class. Photo by Tom Newby copyright speedonthewater.com.

The good news is that fiberglass and resin—as well as carbon fiber and epoxy—raceboats tend to outlast the classes that spawned them. Motley Crew, for example, is back in Lumberton, N.J., with owner Ron Roman. And the canopied Skater 368 raceboat, last seen racing overseas in the one-and-done 2015 Qatar Cup, is about to reborn as a pleasure boat.

The change was slated to happen years ago. But for less-than-pleasant reasons reportedly involving lawyers, it didn’t. That’s all history now, and in a few weeks the cat will be hauled to Boat Customs in Caledonia, Mich., where company principal Chris Mills with handle the fiberglass work, complete the open-cockpit conversion and paint the 36-footer.

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The 2015 Qatar Cup was the final event for the famed Motley Crew raceboat.

“It’s going to get a straight-up, evil-looking paintjob,” Roman said, then laughed. “No chrome, anywhere, all the cleats and hardware will be blacked out.

“I’m not doing any of the crazy graphics I’ve been seeing lately,” he added, then chuckled again. “I’m not sure what people are thinking with those. And I will probably stick with Alcantara and SeaDek for the interior.”

To power the boat, Roman will use a pair of 1,200-hp JC Racing engines. Those supercharged mills came out of a 32-foot Skater after it was sold to South Florida’s Greg Harris and Yvonne Aleman, who converted it to a Mercury Racing 700 SCi engine-powered boat. (Harris and Aleman eventually sold the cat and now own an M37R catamaran from DCB Performance Boats.)

Roman has already started pre-rigging the engine compartment as he’ll handle the installation at home once the cosmetics are complete. For help with the job, he’ll work with his friend Lou Perrone of A To Z Marine Performance in Riverside, N.J.

“When we get it back, it should be plug-and-play with the engines,” said Roman. “I’m hoping to have it done in time for (Florida Powerboat Club) Key West Poker Run.”

From left: Captured here in 2006 with former Motley Crew teammates Matt Bruce and Chris Spera during Motley Crew’s Super Cat Lite-class heyday, Ron Roman was a fierce competitor.

Editor’s Note: Speedonthewater.com will cover this restoration/conversion project as it progress.

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