Yesterday’s first sea trial of the much-awaited Skater 388 catamaran with the first pair of Sterling 1,700-hp turbocharged engines on Lake St. Clair couldn’t have gone better, according to Sterling principal Mike D’Anniballe.
“When the power came on, it came on hard,” said D’Anniballe, who throttled the boat for its maiden run. “The acceleration was mind-blowing. I was running at about 4,000 rpm at around 80 mph, and hit the throttle for like two seconds and it jumped to 7,000 rpm—and the speed jumped to 140 mph.
“We had too much power for the props,” he added. “I think we were just boiling them. The conditions weren’t great, it was sloppy with two-footers, and it was my first time throttling a Skater 388. And it was still like nothing I’ve ever seen before. When the power came on, it came now. Once the boat gets propped right—we actually had to back off the throttle and wait for the props to bite—wow.”
On board with D’Anniballe were Sterling’s Jeff Burrill, who was collecting data on a laptop connected to one of the engines, and well-known mechanic/rigger Steve Lopez, who worked for offshore racing notable Bobby Moore.
“Steve has been in every raceboat known to mankind, and he said, ‘Mike, I’ve never experienced anything like that,’” said D’Anniballe.
The catamaran will leave the Sterling shop today and is headed south for more testing with David Wade and the owner. From there, said D’Anniballe, it will head for the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout at the end of August where it will make its public debut.