Though he’s been absent from the Super Stock ranks this season, Daren Kittredge of New England is no stranger to battling in offshore powerboat racing’s burgeoning outboard-engine-powered catamaran class. He shared the cockpit of FJ Propeller, a 32-foot Doug Wright cat, as a driver alongside veteran throttleman Gary Ballough for six years. In 2016, they claimed the Super Stock-class world title in the Super Boat International Offshore World Championships in Key West, Fla.
Last seen on the racecourse in 2019, this 32-foot Doug Wright catamaran has been re-rigged with Mercury Racing 300R outboard engines and will be campaigned by new owner/driver Daren Kittredge and throttleman/rigger Grant Bruggemann in Key West, Fla., next month. Racing photos by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
Come November 6-13, Kittredge will be back in the Super Stock saddle next to throttleman Grant Bruggemann in a 32-Doug Wright raceboat, which previously ran as The Hulk and was owned by Rob Nunziato, at the American Power Boat Association/Union Internationale Motonautique World Championships in Key West. Nunziato and his former cockpit-mate Dan Lawrence last competed in the 2019 Race World Offshore event in Clearwater, Fla.
After dealing with long delays for what he had hoped would be a new Doug Wright raceboat for this season, Kittredge canceled his order and several months ago purchased the former Hulk boat from Nunziato.
The Grant’s Signature Racing crew has been working overtime to get the cat ready for next month’s Key West races.
“That boat is a bit of a unicorn—it’s kind of unique,” Kittredge said. “Plus, it’s really fast and it’s won a lot of races.
“I ran 22 races with Gary Ballough in a 32-foot Doug Wright and I’ve owned two 32-foot pleasure versions and one 36-footer,” he added. “So I’m very familiar with Doug Wright cats.”
What gives the catamaran, which currently is in the final stages of rigging with Mercury Racing 300R outboard engines at Grant’s Signature Racing in Bradenton, Fla., “unicorn” status is two-fold.
First, its original owner Doug Kelly, who was 57 years old when he died in 2021, was every bit of 6’4” and “just a really tall, really big guy,” said Grant Bruggemann, the owner of the famed rigging shop that bears his first name. So the cat’s deck and cockpit had to be custom-made and modified for him.
“They had to raise the deck to fit Doug in there, and the process created a cat with a really slender profile that sloped and dropped off in the back,” explained Bruggemann, who rigged the cat for Kelly when it was brand-new.
Second, the cat was the first all-carbon-fiber 32-foot Doug Wright with a 63-inch tunnel to be popped out of a dedicated hull mold. That was in 2010. While Michel Karsenti actually owned the first 63-inch-tunnel Doug Wright 32 raceboat, that cat was laid up using the previous generation’s narrower hull mold and then cut in half, widened and rejoined to expand the tunnel. The dedicated hull mold for Kelly’s boat came later.
Sharing the cockpit of FJ Propeller, Kittredge earned a Super Stock-class world championship in 2016.
“It’s just an awesome piece,” said Bruggemann, who will throttle the cat with Kittredge behind the wheel.
Rigging is nearly complete and if the current schedule holds, Bruggemann and Kittredge will begin testing next week. Then in early November they’ll head for Key West, where Bruggemann will pull double duty as the throttleman for the Super Cat-class Pro Floors Racing team, which unofficially claimed second place behind M CON in the American Power Boat Association Offshore National Championship Series.
At present, the boat has a number—S-77—but no name.
“Grant and his crew have been pushing so hard to get this done—they’re just phenomenal,” Kittredge said. “It’s been a lifelong dream of mine to own a raceboat, and I’m super lucky to have shared the cockpit with one legend and to be going racing again with another.”
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