In both its original and current form, Dale Rayzor’s Skater Powerboats 30 Prototype catamaran is unquestionably the most beautiful Skaters I have ever seen. Nothing else comes close.
Of course beauty is in the eyes of the beholder and, especially among the Skater faithful, strong reactions to that statement above will surely follow. But that’s my story and I’m sticking with it, full-barnacle style.
For 18 years, the Skater 30 Prototype has been the epicenter of Discovery Bay resident Dale Rayzor’s go-fast boating life.
The first time I rode in the one-of-a-kind 30-footer was during the 2005 during Powerboat magazine Performance Trials in San Diego, Calif., with lead test driver Bob Teague. Back then, the silver-red beauty was powered by 800-hp Sterling Performance engines with Arneson ASD-7 surface drives.
The last I time I rode in the boat was less than 36 hours ago in the Unleashed Poker Run on Northern California’s Sacramento River with Rayzor, his longtime partner, Lisa Molls, and my motorsports-loving Modesto-based friend, Ernie Ramsay, who owns the famed Kruse Lucas Body and Paint outfit near his home. This time around, the boat was dressed in various blue-and-gray hues and powered by twin Mercury Racing 400R outboard engines.
Since bringing the boat back to California after its 2018 Lake of the Ozarks Shootout unveiling, Rayzor has invited me to join him and Molls in the cat. (I live in Napa, which is one hour away from Rayzor’s longtime home in Discovery Bay.) Knowing that coverage of a Friday event wouldn’t mess with speedonthewater.com’s Lake of the Ozarks Shootout coverage, I finally accepted.
Rayzor put his baby to bed for the last time this weekend.
A bit of news from Rayzor earlier this week made me wish I’d said yes sooner. The inaugural Unleashed Poker Run—the only such event on the Delta this year with the cancellation of the annual longstanding Big Cat Poker Run—would be the last event in which Rayzor would run his 30-foot prize.
“I’m trading it for a 36 Skater with Mercury Racing 700s that’s currently in Texas with Wayne Perkins, its current owner,” he said. “I love this outboard boat, but I miss the sterndrive power and I can run the 36 on the Delta and in San Francisco Bay. I don’t plan on running my 46-footer, Freedom, more than eight hours a season and that won’t be here.”
That made the five-stop poker run, which benefitted the Stockton-area Animal Protection League and was organized by the nonprofit organization’s president Dan Bouchard, special for Razor. It would be the last time he would have his hands on the wheel—and his foot on the throttle—of the special 30-footer.
The run itself reportedly had 70 boats registered, though 50-something ran. (The 96-degree Central Valley heat might have contributed to the attrition.) It was a solid and decidedly laidback first outing that included members of the Delta Lunch Bunch, a local group of passionate performance-boat owners from all over area. Among those boats were roughly a dozen Skater catamarans including the Prototype 30. They ranged from old-school 28- and 36-footers to a striking cut-down 368 that was completed in 2017 for Floridian Matt Rice and is now owned by Northern California Steve Haverland.
For more images from the inaugural Unleashed Poker Run, check out the slideshow above.
From Garlic Brothers to the Rusty Porthole to Windmill Cove, the stops were laidback in their signature, Sacramento River Delta style. The participants were fun-loving, friendly and more than ready to have a good time on the last Friday in August. Thanks to Bouchard and company, the route confusion was minimal—that’s something given the maze-like waterway that’s been known to confuse even season locals. Based on all that, the event has a strong future.
But for everyone on board the Skater 30 Prototype, the day was all about the boat and its swan song ride, one we were privileged to experience and one that included Formula One-style turns through Delta sloughs, cruising casually at 105 mph and topping out twice at 119 mph. No one enjoyed it more than the cat’s owner, and putting it back on the lift behind his home was bittersweet.
“I’ve had it since 2005 and made my down payment in 2003,” Rayzor said. “It’s been part of my life for 18 years. The first year we had it, we were first to the first card-stop at the Big Cat Poker Run. The next year, we flipped there. We went from hero to zero in one year.”
Rayzor laughed, then paused for a moment. “A friend I’ve known for a long time told me, ‘I can’t believe you’re selling your jewel,’” he said. “I know I’ll miss it and hope I don’t regret trading it, but it’s time for a change”
Rayzor’s next Skater cat is a 36-footer coming from Texas.
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