More than two years in the making, the final versions of 1,700-hp turbocharged 557-cubic-inch engines from Sterling Performance should see their first sea trial in a 36-foot Skater catamaran sometime next week. The well-traveled cat, which began its life as a canopied offshore raceboat and was later converted to an open-cockpit pleasure boat, was purchased by Mike D’Anniballe, the owner of the Milford, Mich., engine company, to showcase the turbocharged powerplants.
“I had to send one tailpipe back to CMI because it didn’t fit, but we should get it back next week,” said John Tomlinson, the co-owner of TNT Custom Marine, the Miami-based outfit that handled the installation and rigging of the two engines in the cat. “Once we get the tailpipe back, we’ll install it and put the boat in the water. Other than that, we’re ready to go.”
According to Tomlinson, TNT put approximately 180 hours into getting the boat ready for testing. In addition to installing the engines, the crew at the shop rebuilt the cat’s Mercury Racing No. 6 drives, added new sea strainers and installed a new water system.
Tomlinson said he will take a conservative approach to testing the 36-footer.
“Ten years ago, it ran 200 mph with 1,400- or 1,500-hp Sterlings,” he explained. “The 1700s are a lot of power for a small boat—and it’s a small boat. Mike’s goals and our goals are not to see how fast it will go. The goal is to check out the drivability and handling of the boat with the new turbocharged engines.”
If all the testing is successful, the 36-footer—with its combined 3,400 hp—may complete in the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout at the end of the month.
“Mike want’s me to take it to the Shootout, yeah, but let’s get through this sea trial, first,” said Tomlinson.