By their very nature, custom high-performance powerboats take time to build. That’s especially true with new models, and nobody knows that better than Peter Hledin at Skater Powerboats in Douglas, Mich. At present, the company’s founder has three new offerings in various stages of production. That’s in addition to “existing models” (if such a thing is truly possible at Skater, since all the company’s creations are a bit different from one another) such as a couple of 46-foot catamarans including endurance-run notable Tyson Garvin’s latest long-distance ride, Performance Boat Center’s new 38-foot offshore raceboat, a 338 cat with twin Mercury Racing 700 engines and Arneson drives, and more.
Right now, the builder has three brand-new models, two cats and one V-bottom, in the works. Here’s a status update on each model:
478 V-bottom: As happens now and then at Skater, new models have a tendency to “grow.” Such is the case with 478 V, which began its life as a 43-foot, stepped-hull model dubbed the 439 V. Primed and heading for paint in the near future, the full-cabin V-bottom has a 43-foot long running surface and including its stern bustle measures 47 feet long. According to Tony Cutsuries, the company’s national sales manager, the nine-foot beam boat will head to North Carolina for its interior design and installation by noted designers Gary Bridges and Paul Gallup. A pair of Mercury Racing 1100 engines will power the 47-footer, which is headed to an as-yet undisclosed Skater client.
For a look at the current state of the Skater 478 V, check out the slideshow above.
438 Catamaran: Like the 478 V, Skater’s 438 cat grew from its original design as what was originally called the 428. Unlike the 47-foot V-bottom, however, the almost 44-foot-long cat doesn’t as yet have an owner. So the laminated hull has remained in its mold as other boats with committed buyers have taken priority over the new-model project. “We’ve been busy getting other projects out the door,” said Cutsuries. “We haven’t popped the 438 hull out of the mold yet, but we will.” While the project has no hard deadline, Cutsuries said he expects work on the cat to resume in the near future.
318 Catamaran: A strong case could be made for the Skater 318 as the company’s most important release in recent years. That’s not to detract from any the outfit’s sensational builds, such as Bill Pyburn’s jaw-dropping Pure Platinum 388 cat, but the twin-outboard-engine-powered 318 represents an “affordable”—a relative term to be sure—Skater model. The cat has been painted and clear-coated and—like more than a few new models in the go-fast world—is waiting on its Mercury Racing 400R outboard engines. As noted in previous articles on speedonthewater.com, the first 318 will be sent to the Fond du Lac, Wis., high-performance marine engine company for its final setup before it is delivered to owner Steve Lane in New Jersey. According to Cutsuries, Mercury Racing is working on a new tie-bar system for the twin 400-hp outboards and the 318 will be the first model outfitted with the system.