Here is the truth about “themed” boat paintjobs: No matter how artfully they are conceived and executed, they inevitably grow stale. Such was the case with Mighty Mouse, a Skater Powerboats 368 catamaran built in 2008 and powered by twin 1,550-hp supercharged engines from Sterling Performance. Popular and playful as it may have been in its day, the superhero-rodent-theme for the 36-footer didn’t stand the test of time.
Completely reimagined and refurbished, this 36-foot Skater catamaran will be home on Lake Havasu this season. Photos courtesy/copyright Boat Customs.
About a year-and-a-half ago, the cat was purchased by a privacy-loving owner who splits his time between California and Montana but does most of his boating on Lake Havasu in Arizona. Not only did he want fresh graphics for the boat, he wanted a new interior and a modern windshield.
To handle the graphic restoration, as well as shepherd the entire project though its various stages, he tapped Chris Mills of Boat Customs in Caledonia, Mich. A powerboat painter of significance, Mills worked with the new owner,—who flew to Michigan twice to meet with him—to come up with a new graphic design for the cat.
Once its interior was removed and its engines had been extracted and sent to Sterling’s Mike D’Anniballe for refreshment, Mills and his crew began attacking the project.
“The other owners had taken pretty good care of the boat and the paint was in pretty nice condition, but we came up with updated graphics, which were simpler and cleaner,” said Mills. “The current owner and I went over it and I think we changed it three times before we started working on it.
“We probably talked once a week during the project,” said Mills. “By the time we started, we had it stripped down to a bare hull.”
In addition to removing the old paint, applying the new graphics package and re-clear-coating the deck and hull sides, Mills and company handled some small but necessary bottom repairs. Other fiberglass work involved installing a receiver for the cat’s new windshield from Jim Lee at Lee Aerospace.
Craig Ellis of Appearance Products in Grand Rapids, Mich., handled the cat’s new interior, which was installed—as were the refreshed Sterling engines—back at the Boat Customs Shop. When the project was complete, Mills took a ride in the boat with the owner and D’Anniballe.
“We got on it for about 30 seconds,” he said. “It pulled like a rocket ship.
More than a year in the making, the renovation of Mighty Mouse transformed a dated Skater catamaran into a contemporary looker.
“The owner will use it mostly at Lake Havasu, I think,” he added. “It’s going to be right at home there.”
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