Outerlimits 52

When Outerlimits upgraded its new 52 Super Leggera, the engineers didn't just move the cup holders around. The new boat is 8 mph faster with the same horsepower, and it maneuvers better with more stability in adverse conditions, even at 100-plus mph speeds. And it even gained headroom in the cabin - all thanks to the new hull design.

The 52 SL ran 122.2 mph at 6,000 rpm with twin Mercury racing HP1075 SCi Dry Sump Six packages and provided a comfortable, low-stress ride at 105 mph turning 5,000 rpm, and 84 at 4,000. The new five-step hull starts with the first step about 20 feet aft of the bow - the larger 1-inch-tall steps and smaller ¼-inchtall versions alternate about every 3 feet. The sharpness of the angle of each step varies to improve stability while still providing lift to reduce adhesion.

When I took the wheel of the 52 SL, 20 mph winds were trying to push us all around. But even when I ran beam to the gusts, the boat doggedly held its track. I weaved through 60 and 70 mph slalom turns with ease and smoothly swept through an arc at 90 mph, bringing back memories of my offshore racing days.

With its deep freeboard and ample cockpit space, this wave crusher will provide an excellent ride during a poker run.

Outerlimits holds an advantage over its competition by employing advanced manufacturing techniques that reduce the hull weight by about 3,000 pounds. High-density foam panels for transom and stringers, plus carbon-fiber stringer caps, are vacuumbagged for optimum resin-to-fiber ratio. Even the new bilge liner is formed of carbon fiber, and it's bonded into the hull. While Skater catamarans use epoxy resins, only Outerlimits post-cures its boats in the oven to ensure a stronger bond. Stronger stringer laminates means only two are needed, which are set farther apart, letting the cabin sole lie lower in the hull, improving headroom.

Under the engine hatch, the motors are staggered with the port motor forward. But the locations of the trim pumps could make it tough to top them off. We also missed the sun pad on our test boat - a feature we enjoyed on most of its competitors. ****

Contact: 401-253-7300****, www.outerlimitspowerboats.com