With the goal of showcasing everything his company is capable of handling, Phil Hess of Upstate Powerboat in Auburn, N.Y., recently purchased the former U B Violated 40-foot Skater Powerboats catamaran owned by the late Jeff Asbell and plans to rebuild the boat using the best aftermarket equipment the performance boat industry—and more—has to offer.
Upstate Powerboat owner Phil Hess is excited to rebuild this 2013 Skater Powerboats catamaran. Photos courtesy Phil Hess
After seeking out the boat and getting approval from several family members of Asbell and engine builder Brad Smith, Hess picked up the boat, which was involved in a tragic accident at the 2013 Lake Cumberland Poker Run in Kentucky, a couple of weeks ago and has already started on the structural repairs.
“Before I bought the boat, I got approval to rebuild it from both Jake, Jeff’s son, and Brandon, Brad’s son—in fact, Brandon is going to be involved; he’s a painter so he’s going to come help paint it and provide some input on the design,” said Hess, who plans to name the boat Show Time. “Jake said, ‘Go crazy on it, do something no one has ever seen—that’s how my dad would have wanted it.’ So that’s what we’re going to do. We think this is the perfect boat to show off the full potential of our shop.”
Painted originally by Visual Imagination in Missouri, the 40-foot Skater is going to look nothing like this when it’s finished next year.
Hess said he’s working on the graphics and appearance aspects of the boat at the moment and has already coordinated using the services of rigger Adam Low of Marine Dynamics in Michigan as well as a “local underground interior guy” in New York. Power for the boat is going to be twin Smith Power engines that were part of Asbell’s stable. Hess said his friends at Performance Marine/Saris Racing Engines are going to make sure the engines are up to snuff and everything is dialed in.
“I’m kind of obsessed with this boat—I like the underdog story and the hustle mentality of the guys who built the boat originally,” Hess said. “The boat had kind of been forgotten about, and now it gets to live again. My intention is to unveil it next year so people can see the full scope of our capabilities—as well as our partners’ talents—from start to finish.”
Hess plans to campaign the boat at performance boat events across the country next summer.
“I wish him all the luck in the world with the project and his business—I can’t imagine having a business like that is easy,” said Brian Smith, Brad’s brother. “Phil seems like a good, young, hard-working guy. We’re all hoping he can take the boat from salvage to stardom again.”
Of course speedonthewater.com plans to follow the rebuild, but for Hess said he’s going to be posting regular updates on his company Facebook page, which you can follow here.
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