Inspired by his favorite character, Doc Holliday, in one of his favorite movies, “Tombstone,” Texas native Clay Kehrer ultimately chose to name his new boat Say When. There’s a little double meaning, too, as Kehrer’s completely updated 40-foot Skater Powerboats catamaran won’t be lacking for power considering its twin 1,650-hp engines are going to be fueled by Ignite Racing Fuel and feature an AEM Electronics Infinity ECU supported by BoostPowerUSA.
Thanks to Boat Customs, Clay Kehrer’s Say When Skater looks nothing like the boat he purchased in 2014. Photos courtesy Clay Kehrer.
Kehrer purchased the 2005 40-foot Skater from TNT Custom Marine almost two years ago and enjoyed it for several weeks before he turned it over to Chris Mills and the team at Boat Customs in Caledonia, Mich. Although he needed some time to decide on the boat’s graphics, which he wanted Stephen Miles of Stephen Miles Design to design and Mills to paint, he knew for certain he wanted to update the quarter-canopy-style cat with the most current Skater wraparound windshield and receiver from Boat Customs.
Beyond the aesthetic updates—body, paint, windshield, interior, etc.—Kehrer wanted the boat to feature the most advanced technology available. And that’s where the Skater, which is expected to be complete this summer, is going to stand out, according to Kehrer.
“The boat will be centrally operated on a Microsoft surface tablet, which is totally new to the industry,” Kehrer said. “Most guys are running Garmin, but with the latest Microsoft Surface technology we will be able to tune the boat right on the dash with different fuel and timing maps. All of the data also will be translated via a MarineMods.US CAN BUS Gateway to Livorsi Marine VantageView gauges so we’ll also have the easy-to-read-style gauges.”
Kehrer said the 40-foot Skater was in pretty good shape when he picked it up from TNT Custom Marine.
Kehrer said that he and Jason Parvey, his co-worker at Sterling Fabrication Technology in Dallas, are rigging the boat with the most advanced technology techniques and custom hardware. Parvey, whose name you may recognize from running a 43-foot Black Thunder V-bottom to 145 mph with his father, Dennis, at the 2015 Lake of the Ozarks Shootout, has been instrumental in the entire project.
“We’ve taken our time with the project and put a lot of effort into looking at other areas of the boat we can improve,” he continued. “Jason and I both have the type of attitude where we look at how something was done and try to figure out how to make it better. Our strategy is to have a couple of beers and think it over again and again. Kidding aside, we considered both style and functionality when it came to this boat. We can’t wait to get it in the water. I think people are going to be blown away.”
Prior to owning the Skater, Kehrer, whose father, Gary, drove the record-setting Budweiser Special Top Fuel Hydroplane drag boat, had a Fountain Powerboats 42’ Poker Run Edition. “I had my first Jet Ski at 10 years old and before it hit the water my dad had the head on the milling machine,” he laughed.
“I am thankful for my upbringing and everything my dad taught me,” Kehrer said. “Because of him I’m a mechanical person and I’m not afraid to tackle a project like this. And since I have the understanding and technology at my disposal, one thing has led to another and we’re going to end up with a completely custom boat.”
Some of the custom parts, according to Kehrer, will be available for purchase through an online store he plans to open soon.
Editor’s note: Speedonthewater.com is going to have a series of articles—with plenty of accompanying photos—on Kehrer’s Say When Skater project over the next several weeks.