It's been fun in recent years to watch what Eliminator can do with stock power in its Daytona catamarans. When MerCruiser introduced the 496 Mag HO engine awhile back, Eliminator was the first builder to break the 100-mph barrier—using two of the 425-horsepower offerings in a lightly laid-up 30 Daytona—with the then-new power package.
Of course, the Mira Loma, Calif., boatbuilder has sent us some wild things as well. A 25-foot Daytona that ran 144 mph, and still had power left in its supercharged 1,400-hp engine, comes to mind.
Now Eliminator is at it again, proving what can be done on production power. This time around, the builder sent us a 28 Daytona "Carbon Series"—dubbed so for its carbon-fiber graphics and appointments rather than its build—with a pair of Mercury Racing HP525EFI engines. According to the builder, lamination was standard for the 28-foot Daytona and the boat weighed in at more than 6,200 pounds.
From the 36"-pitch lab-finished propellers on the Bravo XR drives with 1.35:1 reductions, tall X-dimensions and Dana tunnel tab, we could tell that the 28 Daytona was set up for speed. For everyday use, you'd probably have the boat set up less aggressively, but this one was set up for a purpose—top-end.
With the 525-hp engines turning 5,400 rpm, the 28 Daytona reached 120.4 mph. Not all that long ago, that speed would have been impressive on psycho, blown and extremely temperamental power. For a standard sport catamaran to do it on warranted and mellow power, at least relative to what's currently available in the marine-engine market, is nothing short of awesome.
The integrated cockpit canopies did an excellent job keeping wind off our drivers and editors. Some distortion in the acrylic windscreens remained, but they were much improved over earlier versions.
As expected, the top speed came at the price of holeshot. It took 8.2 seconds for the 28 Daytona to come on plane from a standing start, and getting it down to that time demanded finesse from both of our test drivers. They'd hit the throttles, wait for the props to blow and the nose to fall, and then gingerly advance them again. Without the tunnel tab, bringing the cat on plane would have been far more challenging.
Midrange acceleration didn't suffer nearly as much as that of the low-end. The cat ran from 30 to 50 mph in 5.6 seconds, 40 to 60 mph in 7 seconds and 40 to 70 mph in 10.3 seconds, all of which were reasonable numbers.
Slalom turns were good and improved with speed. At lower speeds, the 28-footer leaned outward in typical cat fashion. But as the speeds increased, so did the boat's tendency to lean into turns. In sweeping circles, especially at higher speeds, the sweet-tracking cat carved well.
Eliminator incorporated carbon-fiber inlays into the hull and deck for the 28 Daytona. Combined with gelcoat graphics, that made the catamaran's appearance nothing short of spectacular. A stainless-steel rubrail devoid of even the smallest gap or wave protected the stellar mold work from harm.
The boat's cleats, as well as its cat-eye-style navigation lights, were mounted in pewter bezels. Additional hardware included billet bilge vents. Beyond, the hull and deck were devoid of anything that could clutter their lines.
A pair of screw jacks raised the fiberglass engine hatch, which was secured by hidden scissor hinges. The engines were mounted on L-angles through-bolted to the stringers and backed by double stringer washers with bezels. Where lines, hoses or cables passed through bulkheads, the holes also were finished with bezels. Wiring was neat and, for the most part, properly supported, and the bilge had a smooth finish.
Standard for the West Coast custom sport catamaran breed, the 28 Daytona had a four-person bench seat and two high-back buckets in the cockpit. Snap-in carpet covered the cockpit sole.
For access to the foredeck, a step was molded in the co-pilot's dash. Mounted in the port gunwale within reach of the observer's bucket was an anodized grab handle and a Sony Xplode stereo system. There also was an angled footrest, part of the sole liner that included bases for the bench and buckets, and the footrest was covered in its own section of snap-in carpet.
A footrest also was provided for the driver to starboard. Installed in pewter bezels, the pewter-rim Auto Meter Pro-Comp Marine gauges were grouped by engine on each side of the tilt steering wheel. Livorsi Marine throttles and shifters were mounted on the gunwale.
Far from an afterthought, the cabin of the 28 Daytona actually had facing love seats and was completely carpeted. Carpet also was used for a headliner. Ahead of the love seats was a rectangular berth that could accommodate two adults. Even though the cabin likely would see little more than stowage duty, the builder did bother to make it functional for overnighting in a pinch.
Once again, Eliminator has wrung the most out of production engines, although in all fairness to Mercury Racing, the HP525EFI is the dominant high-performance marine engine in its class. Still, 120 mph on what qualifies as mild power these days is a substantial achievement. With the 28 Daytona, Eliminator pulled it off.
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