Driven by the unprecedented popularity of Mercury Racing’s Verado 400R outboard engine and consumer and boat builder expectations of more powerful outboards to come, though nothing has been formally announced from the Fond du Lac, Wis., high-performance marine engine company, Skater Powerboats has announced it is adapting all of its larger catamarans for the option of outboard power. Based in Douglas, Mich., the high-performance custom catamaran and V-bottom builder is offering its 40-foot-and-longer catamarans with quad Mercury Racing Verado 400R outboard, meaning translates to a pair of outboards behind each sponson.
On its largest models, which go up to 55 feet long, Skater can even offer up to five outboard engines.
“Our history began with outboards,” said Peter Hledin, the founder and owner of Skater. “We didn’t get into inboard engines until we introduced the Skater 32. The performance of the Verado 400s is incredible—it’s almost baffling—and the numbers speak for themselves when it comes to speed, power and cost. You just can’t get around it.
“So we have adapted all of the hull molds for our bigger boats to accept outboards,” he continued. “In addition to the benefits of that power, you automatically get so much more usable space in the space for additional seating, more fuel capacity or even more cabin options with the bigger boats.”
Of course, the company will still offer its larger cats with stern drive power. But Hledin expects the quad outboard option to attract a broader range of buyers. That will prove especially true, he noted, for budget-minded buyers looking to save money on power and cost of ownership, as outboards compare more than favorably to inboard stern-drive engines.
“There will always be that element of performance boat owners who have the need for speed and want to run 150, 160 and 170 MPH, but that’s a really small segment of the marketplace,” he said. "There are so many other boat owners who spend most of their time running between 80 to 100 MPH and want to max out at 125 MPH, and with a 46-foot Skater powered by four Verado 400s you can do that, no problem. The cost of the boat with four outboards instead of two inboards is much lower. Plus, the entire cost of ownership is lower thanks to better fuel economy and lower maintenance with outboards.
“And as more-powerful outboard enter the market, it will only get better,” he added.