About ten years ago when I still worked for Powerboat magazine, test driver Bob Teague and I ran a 25-foot Daytona catamaran from Eliminator Boats to a top speed of 144 mph. The darn thing, which was powered by a 1,400-hp engine, didn’t even have a windshield. I remember getting out of the boat and muttering, “OK, that’s about enough for me,” to Teague, who from the blank expression on his face seemed to have had enough as well.
It wasn’t that the ride felt in any way out of control. The little cat felt solid all the way to its top speed. But 144 mph worth of wind in your face is enough to let you know exactly how fast you’re going, and in a 25-footer that’s awfully fast and, for me at least, scary.
Since then, models from the Mira Loma, Calif., custom boat builder have run faster still. The current “fastest Eliminator catamaran” record is held by Greg Olson, who ran his 33-foot Daytona cat to 192 mph during the 2012 Lake of the Ozarks Shootout. More recently John Heieie of Casa Grande, Ariz., piloted his new 28-foot catamaran to more than 170 mph on his hometown waterway northeast of Phoenix—Lake Roosevelt.
Powered by a pair of Larry's Engine & Marine supercharged 555-cubic-inch big-block engines producing 1,050 horsepower each, the boat actually reached 174 mph. "I was going for acceleration; top speed wasn't as important,” said Heieie. “I knew the boat would be fast.”
To put the power to the water, the 28-footer was set up with IMCO Marine SCX4 drives that were blueprinted by Brad Stewart of E-Ticket Boats in Lake Havasu City, Ariz. Putting the power to the water is a pair of 16 1/2"-diameter and 38"-pitch props from Hering Propellers that have an 18-degree rake. All of the rigging and setup was handled by Larry Peto and the crew at Larry's Engine and Marine in Tucson, Ariz.
"Once I stopped, I checked the recall on the speedometer. Just to make sure it wasn't a fluke,” said Heieie. “I did it again and repeated the speed. If it wasn't for the limiters, I probably could have kept going.”