Michael Ciasulli knows what he likes, and when he puts his mind to something, he’s also used to getting what he wants.
He owns a Skater 388 catamaran powered by twin Mercury Racing 1,350s with M8 drives. “It’s a great boat, but it can’t be your only boat,” he says. For his family, he wanted a sporty cruiser. He decided he liked the Monterey 360SC (www.montereyboats.com) that he saw at Coty Marine (www.cotymarine.com) in Toms River, New Jersey, but he wanted a few things the boat doesn’t come with, including Mercury Racing (www.mercuryracing.com) 520 engines instead of the usual MerCruiser 8.2 Mag HOs. They are paired with Bravo Three XR twin-prop drives.
Ciasulli took delivery of his new 360SC in time for the Atlantic City Poker Run, and he ran that boat instead of the Skater. The 18,000-pound boat ran a top speed of 54 mph and cruised at about 45 mph at 1 mpg.
“It’s a fun cruising boat,” Ciasulli says. The 520s are the biggest engines offered with Mercury’s Axius joystick system and Skyhook station keeping, both of which Ciasulli ordered. The joystick was installed to the left of the steering wheel — at Ciasulli’s request — instead of on the right side where it’s normally mounted.
Mark Owens, vice president of design and engineering at Monterey, says the company had no problem accommodating Ciasulli’s request for the bigger motors, which pretty much dropped in without any modifications. They did add Mercury Racing’s Stage 2 exhaust to quiet the engines yet still give them a throaty rumble.
Owens admits he was more reluctant about the boat’s bright-red hull, but Ciasulli, who owns a number of car dealerships, can be convincing. “He wanted a red 36 and he wanted red Mercury Racing motors, and that’s what he got,” Owens says.
The 360SC is a cab-forward design that breaks the water far forward, so the combination of the extra power and the twin-prop drives helped with the ride as well as the overall performance.
One of the things that attracted Ciasulli to the boat is the fact that it has a full windshield and power hardtop. Other express cruisers need Eisenglass to fully enclose the cockpit, and Ciasulli says he hates Eisenglass.
Another noteworthy highlight on the boat is full infrared night vision as part of a comprehensive Raymarine electronics package. Ciasulli says that Dave Patnaude, the sales manager at Cote Marine and a well-known figure in the New Jersey performance-boating crowd, was with him every step of the way. With his new boat’s power, there won’t be many other cruiser owners who can say the same.