Although there’s still some dialing in yet to be done, Grant’s Signature Racing has completed an intriguing project—and an industry first. The famed Bradenton, Fla., rigging shop replaced the triple Mercury Marine 300X two-stroke outboard engines on a 2009 Skater Powerboats 328 flat-deck catamaran with a pair of Mercury Racing 400R Verado outboard engines. It is the first Skater cat to hit the water with the white-hot 400R outboards.

According to company principal Grant Bruggemann, who handled the work with his crew, the 6,500-pound cat currently tops out at 103 mph—the same top speed it achieved with its triple 300-hp engines during testing in Florida before the project began—and there’s more left.

skater328verados 01

The first Verado 400R outboard engine-powered Skater catamaran to hit the water since engines were introduced, this 32-footer previously was powered by triple 300XS outboards (click to enlarge). Photo courtesy/copyright Grant’s Signature Rigging.

“We’re on the rev limiters now early with 32-inch-pitch modified Bravo One propellers,” said Bruggemann. “I think we need a pair of 36s. But the boat will run all day long at 100 mph, and the twin-engine application has made it a lot more user-friendly.”

Thanks to its conversion from triple to twin outboard engines, the six-seat catamaran lost 345 pounds, according to Bruggemann. It also lost three sets of gauges, as Bruggemann replaced them with a Garmin GPS unit and a Mercury VesselView monitor.

“Technology has come so far with all the plug-and-play accessories—you can 'NMEA 2000-in' everything," Bruggemann said. “Now the boat has a nice, clean dash with carbon-fiber panels and dual helm. And the engines are so quiet. You can cruise at 70 or 80 mph and hear each other in the cockpit. When you’re standing at the dock, you have to check to see if the engines are running.

“Technology is just screaming ahead right now,” he continued. “Mercury Racing makes all these engines—the 400 Verado, the 565, the 1350 and so on—that make a decent amount of power, and all you have to do is make sure they have water, oil and fuel, and they’ll run all day long. And if it doesn’t have one of those, ‘Mr. Guardian’ is going to let you know about it.”

The 32-footer is scheduled for a photo tomorrow with Pete Boden of Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.

Editor’s note: Look for a comprehensive feature on this project in the upcoming issue of Speed On The Water digital magazine, which will be released soon.

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