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HomeProjectsVeteran Racer Eyes Next Project After Selling Upstate Powerboat-Overhauled 40-Foot Barbedwire Skater

Veteran Racer Eyes Next Project After Selling Upstate Powerboat-Overhauled 40-Foot Barbedwire Skater

For the most passionate and informed members of the Skater Nation, the Skater Powerboats 40-foot catamaran named Barbedwire is likely a familiar boat. But for those unfamiliar with the 2006-model-year, carbon/Kevlar-constructed, flat-deck 40SS powered by a pair of monstrous Sterling Performance 1500 engines since it wasn’t used all that often by its New Jersey-based owner, all you really need to know is that it is a beast. At least that’s how anyone who has ridden in would describe it, especially the boat’s previous owner, former offshore racer Scott Grants of New York.

Barbedwire, a 2006 Skater 40SS catamaran, was given new life last year by the team at Upstate Powerboat in New York. Photos courtesy Scott Grants

Grants, who has owned close to 50 boats throughout his life and raced offshore in the late 1990s and early 2000s in various catamaran classes, purchased the boat in early 2021 and used it a few times that season before turning it over to the team at Upstate Powerboat in Port Byron, N.Y., for a major overhaul last year. The project, which included an interior update, sending the engines to Sterling for a refresh, fiberglass repairs and bright new paintjobs for the boat, the crashboxes and the trailer, the 40-footer was completed in time for Grants to run it in October on Lake Oneida—on his 54th birthday in fact. Then he sold it—reluctantly.

“We got the boat to where it was what we had dreamed of and we received a call from Mitch (Kramer) from Maryland Offshore Marine Performance Center saying he had a VIP client who wanted the boat,” explained Grants, who said his wife, Sarah, is an avid boater as well who had a lot of input on the Barbedwire project. “We reluctantly agreed to sell it and the boat left us for its new life in Maryland. The new owner, Joe Erickson, seemed very excited about the boat, as were we for him. It’s now getting even more upgrades at Maryland Offshore and will be ready for the spring.”

Scott and Sarah Grants and their family (above) were thrilled with the changes done to their 40-foot Skater that featured its original barb wire-theme paintjob (below) when they purchased it.

According to Kramer and Maryland Offshore owner Andy Imhof, Erickson, who owns several boats including the former Miss GEICO MTI canopied raceboat with his wife, Michelle, asked Maryland Offshore to customize the boat a little more to his liking. Kramer said Maryland Offshore is updating all of the gauges, accessory switches and throttles and shifters, adding cupholders to the center console between the driver and co-pilot, installing a Garmin display at the helm and a smaller one in the center console for rear-seat passengers, and upgrading the boat’s stereo with a variety of Bluave Marine Audio components.

“It’s coming together very well,” Kramer said. “We are doing some fine-tuning to it now and still need to add the SeaDek, but it should be ready to start testing soon.”

Imhof said he can’t wait to run it with Joe and his team.

“In general, 40SS Skaters handle the water really good; they’re kind of like a cross between the 46 and the 36,” Imhof said. “Acceleration-wise and speed-wise, because they’re smaller than a 46, the 40s get up and go faster. And because they’re almost the same dimensions—they’re just six feet shorter—they handle big water well. Scott said he’s been pretty fast in the boat and I don’t doubt it. It’ll be a nice boat for Joe, especially once we get done adding some modern touches to it.”

Grants may still have some regret over the selling the boat, but he called it a fun project and is even looking to start another one.

“Upstate Powerboat exceeded our expectations with the boat,” Grants said. “Phil and his team created a masterpiece of color. And their repair work was excellent. The sheer size of a 40SS is impressive but when you add three dimensional colors as vibrant as they did, it’s simply awe-inspiring to see. We didn’t know Phil when we bought the boat, but we’ve been impressed with him since the first time we visited his shop.”

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Check out the slideshow above for several images of the 40-foot Skater project.

That first visit didn’t come until after Grants had the boat in his possession.

“In all that time racing and owning and riding in different boats, I was never in a 40 Skater,” Grants said. “And it wasn’t until after selling our 36-foot Nor-Tech SuperCat that my wife suggested we look for a 40SS. We called Tony Cutsuries at Skater to inquire about the Recovery boat but we were told that they had already taken an offer. Tony said he would start looking and get back to us as soon as he found something. A week later he called and told us he found a boat, a literal ‘barn-find.’

“The boat, named Barbedwire, hadn’t been used in years and was one of the fastest 40SS ever built,” he added. “The owner needed a fast sale and we needed to move quickly. It was in New Jersey so we asked our friend, Bernie Neuhaus from Marine Unlimited, if he would inspect the boat. He went the following day and met with Rolf Papke from Proroc Marine Performance who had maintained the boat for the owner. Bernie reported back that it was a solid boat with only 89 original hours but that its paint was severely cracked.”

Grants said he made the offer through Cutsuries and shortly thereafter owned his first 40SS. Once the boat arrived he began looking for someone to turn their paint vision into reality.

“We met with Phil and were immediately impressed with his knowledge on Skater build technology and repair,” Grants said. “Walking through his shop he had numerous 40- and 46-foot Skaters in different stages of completion. Because of the complexity of our paintjob, Phil felt we were better off waiting until the end of the year to drop off the boat so he could work on it all winter. We agreed and eagerly prepared to enjoy the boat all summer. Throughout racing and owning boats I’ve probably owned 20 boats that were capable of easy triple-digit speeds, however this boat was something entirely new.”

Sarah Grants enjoyed her time behind the wheel of the 40-foot Skater before it was sold.

Grants said his first poker run—the Seneca Lake Battleship Run—started as many do with a healthy bravado at the dock as people talked big numbers for the following day. He said he quietly listened while looking forward to aggressively running the boat for the first time.

“As the fast group lined up the next day, we held back and allowed the boats about a mile head start —then we let the Sterling power do its work,” he said. “We caught the group at 140 mph and stayed there for a second. However, the thrill of the chase and pull of the rpms was too much as we pushed the throttles forward and brought her up into the 160s with absolute ease and a ton of throttle to go. At the end of the run we were vastly alone and it hit me—this boat is amazing!”

After the 2021 season, the motors were pulled and sent back to Sterling where Mike D’Anniballe and his team worked their magic and made them new again. Unfortunately, according to Grants, parts delays due to COVID obstacles basically tripled the expected three-month rebuild time. So, because they had the extra time, Grants had Upstate Powerboat take almost everything out of the boat and send it out for rehab—the interior, crashboxes, etc. Even the trailer received new paint and bunks.

“Almost one year from the start of our project, she was done,” Grants said. “As luck would have it, I got to splash the boat on my birthday in October and run it. A few quick passes and the boat felt and looked incredible. We had the lake all to ourselves except for the bewildered fisherman wondering what the heck this orange rocket was doing screaming up and down the lake.

“The boat ran 188.3 mph at its peak in the 1,500-hp setting and reached the low-170s in its 1,300-hp setting,” he continued. “That was by far the most exhilarating ride of my life.”

Grants called the refit a labor of love and said he was blessed to have been able to see it to fruition. Then he added, “We hope Joe enjoys her as much as we did. And Joe, don’t worry about all those big numbers you hear on the dock … they won’t catch you.”

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