While the year began “a little bleak” in the words of Peter Hledin, business has been strong for Douglas Marine/Skater Powerboats—the iconic high-performance custom catamaran company he founded—since August. Hledin and his crew in Douglas, Mich., reportedly have built 10 new cats this year, and while the 388 is the current favorite with clients, Hledin says sales of his smaller models are picking up.
High: In the last three or four months we’ve had a big up-surge in orders, and that’s the most positive thing we’ve seen this year. The 28 and the 30 cats, with outboards and inboards, are starting to come back and that’s also been a positive sign. We hope that means that the “average” guy is coming back into the picture.
Low: Obviously, the deaths of Jeff Asbell and Brad Smith surpassed anything that happened this year. They were such great and capable enthusiasts, with so much potential. It was just a huge, huge blow to everyone in the community—their families and friends, as well as other boaters. They were so energetic when it came to following their passion. That’s rare.
(Photo courtesy/copyright Jay Nichols/Naples Image.)