Owners of Skater Powerboats, built by Douglas Marine, converged on Lake St. Clair to flex their muscle during the eight annual Skaterfest gathering in Harrison Township, MI.
The event, which debuted in 2011, is organized by Ron Szolack, and transforms the area into a muscleboat paradise. With more than 40 Skaters and their crews in attendance enjoying near-perfect weather, the Douglas, MI, builder had plenty of its gorgeous offerings on Lake St. Clair to represent its illustrious array of beautiful, high-performance catamarans.
Szolack originally launched the event as a way to enjoy a weekend with his friends who owned Skaters, inviting anyone from anywhere to bring their Skater and attend his “house party.” Since then, it has outgrown his private residence and was relocated to the spacious surroundings of Lake St. Clair Metropark, which offers a wide, multi-lane launch ramp with plenty of dock space reserved for Skaterfest guests.
“This was definitely the best Skaterfest ever,” Szolack says. “It keeps getting better and better every year. We had a lot of newcomers who had never been here before, and it’s so great that they get to experience what we do. The camaraderie among everybody is just unbelievable. When you come to Skaterfest, everybody knows everybody else by the time you leave. It was just a spectacular time, and we had a lot of newcomers.”
One bonus was that two new Skaters were sold during the event: a 368 was went to Bill Munyan of Bradenton, FL, and a 388 went to James Branton of Covington, LA. (Both Skaters were on display at this year’s Miami International Boat Show.) “I’m glad they went to good owners,” Szolack says.
Skaterfest is a great place to see some older models, including some from the 1990s, while a few of the newer boats boast incredible power packages. One of the most famous Skaters in attendance was the 438 Skater Rockette, powered by Mercury Racing dual calibration 1550/1350 sterndrives. “That boat ran 180 mph in 1350 mode, so that’s a pretty fast boat,” Szolack says. “Steve Gordon has a 46 skater with 1875 twin turbo Sterlings in it, and that boat is capable of running 200 mph.”
Also in attendance was Skater President Peter Hledin. “He can tell you about every single boat there,” says Szolack. “His mind is incredible. He can tell you how every boat was laid up, even the little 28 Skaters from 1996. He’ll tell you exactly who owned them, how they were built, how they were laid up, what he did to build them for each owner. It’s pretty mind-blowing.”
Among the farthest traveled were Greg and Yvonne Harris, who trailered their 32’ Skater Mad Props all the way from South Florida.
“It just keeps getting better and better,” Szolack says. “The people are incredible, and they’re such good friends who travel all over the country once a year to come hang out with me. It’s really special.”
Powerboat Nation was on the scene at Skaterfest #8. Check out the gallery of photos below.