Power Cat Boat Pages
The 15x model was an adaptation of the 16c
hull with a fiberglass molded deck
designed for single engine race applications. These were
production models that
were made in greater quantity than the wood deck bubble cats.
These photos above provided by Ron & Craig Sloan
When I bought the 15X I was a Mercury/Powercat dealer, at 24 yrs old.
So I bought it from the factory, a fella by the name of Kirk Black was
the factory rep at that time.
I bought 2 of them, a black one and a red one. One for a racer
friend and one for me. I gave him first pick
and he chose the black one. Both had been sold and the first
owners tried to run Johnson or
Evinrude on them and was dissatisfied (old style Johnrude lower units
just would not run competively)
and Powercat took them back. The 15X is a 15 ft twin hull skiboat
with the hull cut way
down and the special deck put on them as you see on yours.
Centerline length of mine was 13' 10".
From the factory they came with a wraparound bucket seat on the
In that configuration there were at least 2 and maybe more drivers
that blew them over backwards and broke their leg, one guy broke both,
because when the boat hit the water upside down there was no way for
them to get out of that seat. The dashboard was only a couple of
inches above the thigh.
So, I did not want that, so I took the seat out and made a foam
saddle to set
on the tunnel and I ran the boat on my knees with my feet against the
(standard 6 gal), which sat on the tunnel against the transom. I
rigged a squeeze throttle on my left.
The standard Mercury control was on the right, but the only thing I
used it for was to start and kill the motor,
since I ran a 1 to 1 Speedmaster lower unit (direct drive, no shifting).
I first raced the boat in late 1965 with one 100 Hp inline 6, in the
center of the tunnel,
with 3 megaphone headers, big mistake. Those headers will
cause the reeds to chip and
you know where those chips go. Then in 1966 Mercury came out with
the 110 Hp inline 6, so I put
one of those on it. I kept it stock with the exception of
changing to Mercury heavy duty shock mounts,
my Mercury 1 to 1 lower unit, and Parker needles and seats in the
the distributor off to have it set so the points did not float at 8,000
rpm. When I sold the motor,
after the accident, it still had the seal on the block. I don't
remember the transom height, but I can tell you
that it was high enough that the top of the gearhousing was even with
the plane of the hulls extended.
I tried it even higher, made it harder to get on plane, and after
getting it going the rear end drifted around.
There just was not enough control for competition.
I did run the old 100 Hp some on it with the club foot (stock lower
unit) and used the same
realtionship of the top of the gear housing to the plane of the hulls.
Of course that made the transom a bit shorter than the
The 15X would run about 62-63 mph with the club foot.
The best I got out of the 110 and the Speedmaster, over a measured
course with a stop watch was 75 mph,
with a top end prop, we only ran 2 bladers in those days.
For the one mile oval, the prop that I used, with better
acceleration out of the corners, would run
about 70 mph top end. One thing I did to try to gain some speed
was to turn the boat over
and build up all edges that touched the water with gel coat and sand
them all to a sharp, crisp edge.
Even at the junction of the bottom surface and the transom. Well
I didn't gain any speed, but the comfortable,
controllable speed went up by 5 mph, from 65 to 70. and in
competition, that was probably more important
that gaining speed. In the National Championship race, we were on
the south shore of Lake Texoma,
with a north wind and some pretty large swells and it handled just
When I crossed the finish line in first place, my friend with the black
15X was just coming out of
the last turn, in second place. He bought my red boat the next
year and took it to Lincoln, Ne for
the championships and won second in it there. But they said the
first place finisher did not have a boat that
met the spirt of the "Pleasure Boat" classes. More of a custom,
hand built boat just for competition.
I did blow mine over backwards one time. It was in straightaway
trials. We had one race per year where
we were able to make a two way run over a 1/2 mile measured
That day some of the twin engined cats were turning in two way runs of
68-69 mph. I felt I could beat that
because that was the set up that I had clocked 75 mph upwind and I
figured I coul maintain at least 70 mph downwind,
so besting the twin engines. Well, when it came my time, I
entered the traps upwind and it
was really ginning. A short way into the traps I felt the front
of the boat begin to raise a little so I eased off
on the throttle just a bit and leaned forward. She settled back
down and I was on the throttle again and
back as far as I could get. Just a few seconds later, no warning,
she took off for the sky. When the boat was upside
down I fell out, pulling the kill switch, and hit the water flat of my
back. Then I felt the boat hit my helmet.
When I came to the top of the water, there was my boat sitting
right side up coasting to a stop in
the direction that I was going. Only about 30 gallons of water in
it. The way I see it was, that when the nose
of the boat hit my helmet (you could see the mark on the deck) and the
water, the rear end was
still high in the air. By the time it came down to hit the water,
the nose had bounced up somewhat and the
whole thing reversed the flip and wound up rightside up.
After drying the motor out I got it started and was ready for the round
and round race that afternoon.
But I jumped the gun for the first time so was disqualified. I
told people I got two firsts that day, first time to flip it
and first time to jump the gun.
Well I hope I haven't bored you with my tale. If you have any
specific questions, shoot away.
Good luck with the restoration. BTW if the right sponson has a
patch right at its point
up front, just under the deck, it is likey the one that I ran.
Below is one found by Shandon & Danny Nichols
I ran across these
pictures of the 15X I got from Ron Sloan
back around 1969.
This was the red boat he talked about in his
write up. After
I got it from Ron I sanded it down
and put a paint job on it. I
front deck with white vinyl car top material.
I had a lot of fun
with the boat
going for rides and even skiing behind it.
I used the boat on Texoma
for 2 or 3 years and ended up
I enjoy going to the
website from time to time and looking
at all the great boats.