With deck modifications completed this winter at Skater Powerboats in Douglas, Mich., the Skater Powerboats 438 catamaran dubbed Rockette by its private-by-nature owner and powered by twin Mercury Racing dual-calibration 1550/1350 engines hit the Lake of the Ozarks in Central Missouri. And with Performance Boat Center’s Myrick Coil behind the wheel and the engines in 1,350-hp output mode, the boat reached 180 mph.
Skater company principal Peter Hledin, his national sales manager Tony Cutsuries and Performance Boat Center's Myrick Coil were dazzled by the performance of the Skater 438 catamaran (shown here outside the Skater facility in Douglas, Mich.) on the Lake of the Ozarks last week.
“We took it out first with pair of 17” x 38” props with 13-degree rake angles and ran it to 168 mph,” Coil said. “Then we came back in and grabbed some bigger props, 16-3/4” x 40” with 15-degree rake angles. Our first pass with those props was 176 mph. I was totally pumped up at that point. Our second pass was 180 mph and we would have gone faster but I ran out of room. I had the boat trimmed at 29 percent. Based on the gear ratio of 1.30:1, we were running at about 4.8 percent slip, which was incredible.
“I was exhilarated,” he continued. “The way it turns, the way it leans in and carves—it felt like I was driving a big raceboat. I called (fellow Performance Boat Center offshore racing team member) John Tomlinson and I was like, ‘It’s been awhile since I’ve run 180.’ We got to talking and he counted like eight or nine different boats he'd been in at over 180 mph. It was six or seven, some of those with Johnny, different boats for me. So I was really, really excited.”
As most Skater catamaran aficionados know, the Skater 438 is a scaled up—by 10 percent—version of the company’s vaunted 388. But the 43-footer’s bottom is dramatically different than that of the 38-footer, according to company principal Peter Hledin.
“The tunnel is the same, only wider, but the bottom is completely different,” Hledin said. “The boat was fast from the beginning, but I made changes to the bottom that had been in the back of my mind for some time, like a double dihedral bottom step angle, a flatter running surface and steeper sides to make it a better rough-water boat. We also made a modification so the Mercury Racing 1550/1350s, 1350 and 1100s could fit better in a deep-tunnel cat.
For a closer look at the Skater 438, check out the slideshow above.
“It would probably go faster, maybe 190 mph with the engines still in 1350 mode, with different propellers,” he continued. “But you could put in Mercury Raciing 1100s and still get good speed, probably 165 mph on top and the ability to cruise at 130 to 140 mph, and not have to worry about fuel and warranty. With the 438, you can still get great performance from a ‘big boat’ with smaller power. That was what we wanted and I think we achieved it.”
Tony Cutsuries, Skater’s national sales manager, described the 12,000-pound (dry) catamaran as a “game changer.” Before Coil took the wheel, he ran the boat up to 160-plus mph with another Skater employee and the owner’s assistant, and the experience left him impressed.
“No boat that weighs this much can run that fast or accelerate that hard with this kind of power—we were in 1350 mode the whole time,” he said. “That’s why I’m calling it a game changer. Given the power-to-weight ratio, this is the fastest thing out there. It’s just incredible. The way it turns and way it accelerates are unbelievable.
“Customers who are interested should call to commission theirs today,” he added. “Because it’s one incredible boat.”