Though Rockette, the first Skater Powerboats 438 catamaran, made its official public debut during 2017 Boyne Thunder Poker Run in Northern Michigan, the 43-foot catamaran powered by Mercury Racing 1550/1350 engines turned heads around the country. Among the many performance-boat enthusiasts who fell in love with the model, upsized by 10 percent from a Skater 388 catamaran but with a completely different bottom design, was Matt Rice of Sarasota, Fla.
According to Tony Cutsuries, Skater currently has four 438 catamarans in various stages of production.
So Rice ordered a Skater 438, which currently is being painted at Skater’s home in Douglas, Mich. A former offshore powerboat racer, Rice ordered the catamaran twin Mercury Racing 1100 engines and an eight-seat cockpit, which makes it the first eight-seat 438 built.
“It will have eight seats because I always have tons of people with me, and it’s getting 1100s because they run on 89-octane fuel, which means I don’t have to have to search for 93 octane on the water,” said Rice. “Plus it should run 160 mph and I don’t need to go faster than that. If I had 1350s I would try to see what it would do too often.
“Skater should have the windshield, hatches and other small parts on it in the next month,” he continued. “Craig (Ellis) from Appearance Products is doing a really nice Alcantara interior for it and then it will go to Grant’s Signature Racing for final rigging. I’m hoping to have it by early July.”
Rice’s 438 cat is one of four currently under construction at Skater, according to Tony Cutsuries, the company’s national sales manager. Among the other three 438s is a canopied model going to the M-Con team owned by Tyler Miller, which will compete in the Super Cat class on the six-race American Power Boat Association Offshore Championship circuit this season.
“We are super busy with 438s right now,” said Cutsuries. “It’s a super-fast hull. But we’re crazy-busy in general. We’re also building a 46 cat with a cabin, a 388 raceboat for an overseas offshore racer and more.”