A Sequel That Equals The Original, UPDATE!!
Within the confines of Douglas Marine in Saugatuck, Michigan, there exists an office where a boat building legend draws up the creations thought of on a large drafting table. Then, once that legend decides the design has reached the potential required to bear his reputation of performance and handling, he finally releases that creation to be built.
Peter and Mike coming back in after the first test.
That is the way Peter Hledin creates a Skater for the world to utilize. And his latest completed creation once again upholds that reputation with the utmost capability.
Tyson and Peter heading out to Lake Michigan
The first 318 built by Skater made its debut at the Miami boat show this past February. (Read about it here: Skater 318 ) It was a complete success, and the rough water design built into hull #1 has impressed numerous riders around the performance boating world.
Hull #1 on Lake Winnebago
But, when it comes to Skater, the legend never rests on his laurels and custom tweaks are day-to-day normal occurrences. So, along comes hull #2 which will run more often in on-shore waters versus the offshore home of hull #1. For Peter, challenges are always seen as just another opportunity.
Getting ready for launch
At 31’ long, with a 10’2” beam and a 62” tunnel the 318 is not a small boat. It handles six people in high back seats and has a large storage locker behind the rear seat. The second hull has a notched transom, and a long, low, sleek windshield.
Once it was complete, and a couple of short check-out runs were performed close to the Skater factory, the boat was loaded up on its Skater tri-axle trailer and off to Mercury Racing it went, with Peter along to assist, review, and contribute.
Heading out under acceleration
The weather was completely uncooperative, but Mike Griffith, Mercury Racing’s test drive expert, accompanied the boat to the north end of Lake Winnebago to try and find some waters a bit less rough. It was a bit less rough, only 1 ½ to 2’ waves with 35 mph wind gusts. So, the test was unable to go for absolute top speed, but the boat was put through its paces at speeds up to 114 mph.
Mike said it was an incredible handling boat, and its abilities to run that fast in those swirling winds was extremely inpressive. The boat came up on plane no problems, even with the 400’s at neutral trim. His prediction was that, with the current props, the boat would run around 118 to 119 in better test conditions.
A 120 MPH pass
After a thorough tour of the Mercury Racing facility, the boat was brought back to the Skater facilities in Michigan.
Cruising On By
Then, a break in the weather allowed the opportunity to do a bit of testing on Lake Michigan. Having the conditions on the big lake was a bit of a lucky break, and not one to be squandered, so out for a couple of speed runs it went.
A Smooth 120 MPH With Tyson
With Tyson Garvin testing, 120 mph was the top speed recorded on the GPS. The engines were on the 7000 RPM rev limiter at that speed, so larger props would be needed to go faster. But, this boat was built as an all around pleasure boat so putting in a smaller person, removing the extra seats and side panels, putting less fuel in, raising the drives to where it would need negative trim to get on plane, and putting on a larger prop seemed to be a bit of a waste. Leave all that up to others who only have a single goal.
Heading Out on Lake Winnebago
It’s not too much of a surprise to some of us that Skater has built a boat that feels like an Italian sports car on both smooth and rough water, can haul six people in comfort similar to a German luxury sports sedan, and utilizes American power which carries up to a five year warranty. World Class results attained once again.