Sport Cats Tapping 400R Verado Outboard Power
One aquatic rocket is already making a splash—and another is on the way.
April 19, 2015
Mercury Racing’s Verado 400R outboard engines are the most powerful offerings in the Fond Du Lac, Wis., company’s supercharged outboard Verado series. They're sure to see most of their duty on the back of luxury performance center-consoles -- but more than a few are likely to end up on go-fast sport catamarans in the 30-foot range.
In fact an M29 cat from Dave’s Custom Boats in El Cajon, Calif. was equipped with twin 400R powerplants just one month after the new outboard model was introduced during the Miami International Boat Show this year. The boat was ordered by Javier Raisch, a longtime client of the company. DCB’s Tony Chiaramonte and Mike Griffiths of Mercury Racing tested the 6,500-pound cat extensively—putting in more than 200 miles on a local lake—and ran it to a top speed of 108 mph -- before delivering it the customer.
"She's a home run," said Chiaramonte. "People need to understand this isn't a boat that's just built for outboards—it's a 29-footer with the same hull that can handle twin Mercury 700s with NXT1 drives. I mean you can run Arneson drives back there too, if you want. It doesn’t matter what you put in it—we’ve done single Mercury 1350s—the thing runs really well and has no ill-handling characteristics whatsoever.
“So for this one to run 108 mph—14 mph faster than the first M29 we built with twin Mercury OptiMax 300XS engines—we’re happy with that,” he continued. “The boat runs 105 mph all day with 32-inch-diameter Bravo One props, whether it has one or three people in it and whether it’s full or empty."
The next twin Verado 400R-equipped sport catamaran will come from Douglas Marine in the form of a Skater 318. Not only will the 31-footer be the vaunted Michigan catamaran builder’s first 400R-powered boat, it will be the first 318 model produced. Featuring a flat deck and a wraparound windshield, the boat will be delivered to Toms River, N.J.-based buyer Steve Lane in June.
The Skater 318’s engines will be mounted on 12-inch brackets on its transom. Tony Cutsuries, the national sales manager for Douglas Marine/Skater, estimated that the wide-tunnel catamaran will top out at 115 to 120 mph.
"We started with a Skater 30 hull, gave it one more foot of running surface, and widened the hull 10 inches," said Cutsuries. "It has a 63-inch tunnel. The bottom is a little different than that of a standard 30-foot Skater cat, but that's about all Pete [Hledin, founder and owner of Douglas Marine/Skater] wants to say right now."
For Lane, who is moving up from a 21-foot Velocity V-bottom sportboat powered by a 250-hp Mercury outboard engine, the new 31-footer is a major step, and he’s eager to take delivery of his new baby.
"I always wanted a Skater—everybody wants a Skater," said Lane. "I originally ordered the boat with 300-hp engines, but when the 400s became available we changed the order."