Getting the July 4 holiday weekend off to a good start, though one a bit different than originally planned, Randy Sweers of FB Marine Group in Fort Lauderdale put a 30-foot Predator Powerboats catamaran powered by twin Mercury Racing 300XS outboard engines through a sea trial this afternoon. The 30-footer, which was built in 2012 and originally powered by Mercury 200XS outboard, was owned by veteran offshore racer Gary Ballough.
The boat topped out at 93 mph today. Sweers said he expects a much higher top speed with different propellers combined with the twin 300-hp outboards.
FB Marine Group principal Randy Sweers put this 30-foot Predator Powerboats catamaran through its paces today.
“We didn’t have the right props,” he said. “These little cats are all about propellers. From one set of propellers to another, you can see a 10- to 15-mph difference combined with gear ratio and pitch. I expect this boat to run 105 to 110 mph with the right props.”
Sweers had time to test the 30-footer, which is based on an earlier AMT hull, late this afternoon as he decided to withdraw from the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix on Sunday. For the immediate future, he’s putting his offshore racing plans on hold for the Sailor Jerry/Autonation team, which runs a 40-foot MTI catamaran in Super International’s Superboat class.
“We’re done for a little while until we get this whole program figured out,” said Sweers, who struggled with a mechanical failure in the first race of the SBI season and an engine compartment fire in the second. “We could have gotten the boat ready—Sarasota is a fun venue. But we need to change around some stuff and go back to the drawing board.”