Douglas Marine Icon Douglas Marine's Skater Douglas Marine Icon

A Tour of the Factory

In the middle of winter we were able to convince Carl Hunt Hays to visit Douglas Marine, the makers of the famed Skater. Located in the heartland of America - Douglas, Michigan - you will find Peter C. Hledin and his super qualified team of race boat building professionals turning out most of the top performance boats in the United States today.

The off season between the Key West Race, and the first race of the season in Texas, marks the time when many teams decide to retool and build a new boat. This is a time of experimentation and angst while race teams adopt hull modifications and special layups to gain that extra bit of speed. It is of course the crew of Douglas Marine, headed up by Pete Watson (below), who is the Plant Manager, that executes the vision of a team and that of Mr. Hledin to bring a hull alive from sheets of kevlar and drums of resin.

(Below) The bow section of a 46' race hull with most of the Balsa, which is used for structural reinforcement, in place.

The process of building a hull takes a total of three or four months, depending upon the complexities of the customization that the team requests.

More photos from the Skater Factory Tour

Special thanks to Carl Hunt Hays III for taking sharing this tour of Douglas Marine with us, and to Jim Robinson for the digital conversion.

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