Since November 2020, Devin Wozencraft has been keeping a secret—not an easy thing to do for the popular and gregarious, Southern California-based high-performance marine insurance man. That was when Mercury Racing’s Kevin Skiba approached him about swapping out the twin Mercury Racing 300XS two-stroke outboard engines on his 2015 Skater Powerboats 308 catamaran for four-stroke Mercury Racing 300Rs with Advanced Mid-Section. The new derivate product was unveiled yesterday for members of the media at an event on Captiva Island in Southwest Florida.
Repowered with Mercury Racing 300R AMS outboard engines, Devin Wozencraft’s Skater 308 catamaran made it just in time for yesterday’s media event.
“I was honored to be asked and excited for the opportunity to be able to update and modernize my boat,” said Wozencraft, who hauls the branded 30-footer to multiple events during the boating season every year. “And it was very good from the publicity standpoint. A lot of people have told me that this boat has become synonymous with our brand. So many people know the boat and associate it with our business.”
Wozencraft initially approached another rigging shop to handle the conversion, but the timing didn’t work out. So he reached out to John Tomlinson at TNT Custom Marine in Miami at the suggestion of Electronics Unlimited’s Ron Muller. (As it happens, the Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Muller also owns a Skater 308 cat.)
Just six weeks ago, Wozencraft delivered the 30-footer to TNT. Statement Marine had stored the cat at its facility in St. Petersburg, Fla., for Wozencraft since he ran it in the Joey Gratton Memorial New Year’s Day Fun Run in nearby Sarasota. All he had to do was catch a flight from the West Coast to Tampa and haul the boat to Miami.
Enjoy before, during and after images of the project in the slideshow above.
“Johnny Tomlinson said he could do it but that he needed the boat right away,” Wozencraft said. “So having the boat at Statement really helped.”
For TNT, the project was relatively simple and straightforward as the company specializes in outboard engine repower jobs. They crew removed the 300XS mills, which Wozencraft already has sold, and installed the 300R AMS outboards. Re-rigging the boat with the 300-hp, naturally aspirated engines meant that the cat—thanks to the AMS units—could now have power steering and Mercury Marine Digital Throttles and Shifters.
While Tomlinson and company were handling the propulsion side of the job, which included mountain the outboard on Shaun Torrente Racing brackets, Wozencraft had Muller reconfigure the catamaran’s dash. The changes enabled him to replace the boat’s original seven-inch chartplotter with a 12-inch Garmin GPS unit, as well as two Mercury VesselView 502 units. Only three Livorsi gauges—one GPS speedometer and two tachometers—remain at the helm station. (While he was at it, Wozencraft also had a new steering wheel and cleats installed.)
Muller also convinced Wozencraft to update his four-seat cockpit interior using Fineline Interiors in Hallandale Beach, Fla. Fineline’s Mike Mears and his crew removed the existing interior during the repower and reinstalled the new version before Wozencraft picked up his updated ride from TNT.
“The boat ran well,” said Tomlinson, who put it through a quick sea trial after the repower job was complete. “It went 105 mph and there should be a little more in there with some setup work. The engines performed well on it.”
“I think we’ll be able to get it to 110 mph,” saiid Wozencraft, who added that he’d seen a top speed of 104 mph when the cat was equipped its 300-hp OptiMax outboards.
Wozencraft picked up his revamped Skater last Thursday and delivered it to the Captiva Island venue on Saturday, just in time for yesterday’s media event.
“The benefits are countless,” he said. “Yes, my boat does perform better with the 300Rs. The torque of the V-8s is just stunning and getting from 30 to 80 mph takes seconds now. But now I also have power steering. Now I also have DTS controls. It’s incredible.
Said Wozencraft, “My motors were great for their time, but they were old technology.
“For years, the OptiMax followers talked about what great fuel efficiency those engines had, and I was among them,” he continued. “I think this boat got three miles person gallon with those engines. But one point that always gets left out is the cost of the two-stroke oil they required. I would spend $400 to $600 filling up my tanks and then have to spend another $250 for two-stroke oil with each fill-up. That’s a considerable cost. I think these engines have similar fuel economy and the cost—and hassle—of getting and using two-stroke oil is gone.”
Wozencraft emphasized that while he wasn’t at all unhappy with his OptiMax 300XS outboards, he’s thankful for the opportunity to modernize his boat.
“These new motors are amazing,” he said. “My old motors were great for their time, but they were old technology. The 300R AMS outboards are new technology.”