For the past two days, Tony Cutsuries, the national sales manager for Skater Powerboats in Douglas, Mich., has been working with Mercury Racing’s Mike Griffiths and Bob Krupp on the setup and dial-in of a new 31-foot Skater catamaran powered by Mercury Racing Verado 400R outboard engines. After resolving an initial power-steering issue, they were able to run the twin-outboard Skater 318 catamaran—the first 318 built—to a top speed of 110 mph on Lake Winnebago near the Mercury Racing plant in Fond du Lac, Wis.
“We need bigger props,” Cutsuries said. “We started with prototype five-blade 14-1/2-inch-diameter, 33-inch-pitch cleavers and then moved to modified four-blade Bravos with a 33-inch pitch. It ran really well with the Bravo props—we ran both sets of props rotating in, and we played around with several drive heights. Now we are just waiting on Mercury to build us 34- or 35-inch pitch Bravo props so we can test again. We are going to wait a couple of weeks and run the boat again when the props are ready.
For a closer look at the new Skater 318 during its first test sessions, check out the slideshow above.
“It’s a really big boat, and it runs really well,” he continued. “The handling and acceleration are phenomenal. Mike (Griffiths) said it’s one of the best-handling outboard cats he’s ever run. We got 110 mph out of it and there’s more left—we’re hoping for 115 mph, but I don’t know that we’ll get there. We’ll probably get to 112, 113 mph.”
Owned by Steve Lane of Brick, N.J., the 31-footer likely will remain in storage at the Mercury Racing facility rather than being hauled back to Michigan and then back to Wisconsin for more testing when the new propellers are ready.
Editor’s Note: Speedonthewater.com will continue to provide updates on the Skater 318 as they become available.