Most offshore powerboat racing fans know Dan Lawrence as the throttleman for The Hulk, a remarkably fast 32-foot Doug Wright catamaran owned by his teammate and driver Rob Nunziato. Most recently, the team took second place in the Super Cat Light class in the inaugural Qatar Cup. But performance-boat enthusiasts in and around the Sarasota, Fla., area also know Lawrence for Loan Shark, his 32-foot Doug Wright pleasure boat.
“We took it all the way down to the E-glass,” said Lawrence of his 2005 Doug Wright 32′ pleasure cat.
Built in 2005, the 32-footer currently is undergoing a transformation with the help of Smart Marine Services, a full-service performance-boat outfit in Orlando, Fla., owned by Chris Schoenbohm, Lawrence’s friend and fellow competitor in the Stock class on Super Boat International circuit. To start with, Schoenbohm and company stripped off all the original Awlgrip paint from the post-cured, epoxy and carbon fiber catamaran. Gone forever is the boat’s Loan Shark handle.
“We took it all the way down to the E-glass,” said Lawrence.
While Lawrence considered having Schoenbohm widen the tunnel of the 32-footer as Schoenbohm did with his own raceboat (read the story), he opted to leave the hull in its original state, albeit with a few tweaks from Smart Marine Services. He believes the cat’s original factory hull dimensions are better suited to pleasure boating.
“The difference in top speed between the older Doug Wright 32s and the models with the wider tunnel is negligible,” he said. “From 60 to 100 mph, the wider-tunnel boats are about four seconds faster. But I am not convinced the wider boats handle rough water better than the other Doug Wrights. I’d rather have a boat that handles better in all conditions for pleasure use. Chris did a great job widening his own boat, I just didn’t deem it necessary with this one.
“The handling of the Doug Wright 32 is unbelievable,” he added. “It was originally made for rough-water racing. It’s an amazing piece.”
Prior to the release of the new Verado 400 R outboard engines from Mercury Racing (read the story), Lawrence purchased a pair of Mercury OptiMax 300XS outboards. He’s currently considering an upgrade to the 400-hp four-strokes. To ensure that the catamaran can handle either bracket-mounted power package, Smart Marine replaced its transom, according to Lawrence.
“With the new propeller technology, I am confident the boat with run in the high teens, even 120 mph,” said Lawrence. “And I am going to be working with Hering to build a really cool set of props for it.”
Lawrence is consulting with two “interior architects” on the replacement interior for the four-seater’s cockpit. The helm station will include an all-new gauge package with a data-monitoring system, as well as keyless ignition. Acrylico of Lantana, Fla., is building a windshield for the recently repainted all-white boat. Lawrence estimated that the project will be complete in one to two months, but admitted he would “be really happy” to be running the boat this summer.
“It’s beautiful right now—it’s like sheet of glass—and it’s been wet-sanded three or four times,” he said. “I love the Doug Wright design. It still looks extraordinarily modern.”
As for what graphics—all vinyl—will complement the gleaming white cat, Lawrence said people will have to wait to see the finished product.
“It’s going to be cool, that much I can tell you,” he said. “It’s going to be really cool.”
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