Finished in 2012, a Skater Powerboats 388 catamaran commissioned by well-known performance boat enthusiast Gus Mallios was dressed in the multi-colored graphics of its era. It was a perfect reflection of the times in which it was produced.
Times change, of course, and tastes change with them. When Doug Stevenson of Kansas City, Mo, purchased the 38-footer powered by twin 2,000-plus-hp Carson Brummett engines last year, he tasked Chris Mills of Boat Customs in Caledonia, Mich., to revamp it for the modern world.
Ready for its Desert Storm unveiling, this Skater 388 has been thoroughly updated inside and out.
“Doug is more of a clean, simple colors kind of guy,” Mills said. “He wanted something timeless. The paint on the boat was really nice, but it was way too loud and busy for him.
“He flew up here twice and we sat down and worked through some renderings,” he continued. “In a couple of hours, we were really close.”
For better part of the 2020 winter, Mills worked solo—the COVID-19 shutdown was in full effect in Michigan at the time—on the project in his shop. He stripped off the paint, blocked and primed the deck and hullsides and then began painting. Meanwhile, Craig Ellis at Appearance Products in Grand Rapids, Mich., was creating a new interior for the boat.
Before and after.
“I ended up painting the boat myself—it was actually kind of fun,” Mills said, then laughed. “In addition to repainting the hull and deck, I brought the colors onto the dash and the new seat backs from Skater. And Craig at Appearance created a nice, clean matching interior with some nice diamond stitching and embroidery, which we installed here.”
The renovated cat will debut during the Desert Storm Poker Run, which is scheduled for April 21-25.
A private and humble gentleman, Stevenson said he enjoys the go-fast boat renovation process and typically has a hand in it. With the Skater 388 project, he worked with his friend Doug Knierim—who also handles Stevenson’s drive and transmission work—on updating the catamaran’s dash.
Most of Stevenson’s restoration projects take about a year.
The transformation in process.
“I don’t have much more patience than that,” he said, then chuckled. “I find it fun and enjoyable. I’m a traditionalist, if that makes sense. I like to bring stuff back to where it was with its original quality. I like stuff that is timeless.”
Mills currently is working on another renovation project, that of a Skater 50 SS catamaran, for Stevenson, whose home-water is the Lake of the Ozarks in Central Missouri.
Said Mills, “As soon as I get one done, Doug always wants to do another. He’s always trying to find something to play with.”