While go-fast boat design guru Peter Hledin, the owner and founder of Douglas Marine/Skater, said he must complete the tooling for the 338 and other catamarans before he starts building another new model, his next new release will be an “entry-level” catamaran. The cat will be 24 to 25 feet long, and the likely standard power package is twin Mercury Marine OptiMax Pro 200XS outboard engines.
“My goal is to produce a 100-mph boat priced at around $100,000,” said Hledin. “Don’t ask me if it’s going to work, but that’s what I’d like to do to get some of the younger guys back into it—get them away from their keyboards and Facebook and back out there having fun in a boat.
“It has to be reliable, reliable, reliable and it has to be low cost,” he continued. “It has to be outboard-powered because that’s where you get the most bang for your buck.”
Hledin said he is considering using conventional fiberglass and vinylester rather than the standard epoxy, carbon fiber and other materials he uses in current Skater models to keep down costs in the new cat. But that decision is not final.
“Really, the cost of lamination materials is insignificant in a boat compared to the overall cost,” said Hledin. “You really don’t need to skimp on materials. What kills you is the cost of the motors, the drives and all the other parts.”
Hledin said he hopes to begin working on the new cat, which will not be derived from the original Skater 24 and will require all-new tooling, in early 2014. He already has drawings for it.
“It will have totally fresh tooling—I don’t like to make new stuff from old stuff,” said Hledin. “We’ve made so many improvements over the years. I have drawings for it, but they will change. Your design is only as good as what your eyes can see when you’re building. You’d be surprised how many things I change along the road when we’re building a new boat.”