One moment Loren Peters, the owner and throttleman of the 32-foot Doug Wright LPC raceboat, and his driver Vinnie Diorio were in the thick of the Super Stock-class contest and exiting the third turn on the 7-1/2-mile Roar Offshore Fort Myers Beach racecourse. The next they were upside down—minus their windshields.
LPC will be among the 11 to 14 Super Stock-class teams competing for a world title in Key West, Fla., next month. Photo by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
“We caught an edge coming out of turn No. 3,” said Peters, who has found himself upside down in his 32-footer three times in the past three seasons. “We hit really hard, and the way we rolled, the windshields were probably the first things to make hit the water. They blew out and everything went black.
“There was water in my mouth, I couldn’t see anything and I was like, ‘Whoa, we’re underwater, slow down, relax,’ so I popped the escape hatch and climbed out. I looked for Vinnie and he was OK, though he got pretty banged up. He looked like he’d be in a boxing match. But all the work Mike (Wright) did to make the canopy stronger in the off-season paid off. The canopy itself sustained no structural damage.”
The accident happened just 20 days ago at the Southwest Florida finale of the second-year American Power Boat Association Offshore National Championship Series, which didn’t give Peters and company much time to repair the 32-footer for the upcoming Race World Offshore-produced American Power Boat Association Offshore World Championship in Key West, Fla. The cowlings of the cat’s Mercury Racing 300XS outboard engines were destroyed and their powerheads had been submerged in saltwater.
Time was not on the side of the LPC team, despite that they “jumped on repairs right away,” according to Peters.
“We’re fortunate to have such great friends in the marine industry who pulled strings to make it all come together,” he said. “The windshield should be here by Saturday or Monday—that was probably the biggest thing I was worried about.”
LPC’s crash during Roar Offshore Fort Myers Beach left the canopied Doug Wright catamaran with jagged holes where its windshields once were. Photo courtesy/copyright Loren Peters/LPC.
The LPC crew immediately “pickled” the outboards—a process in which fuel, generally diesel or kerosene, is used to displace whatever water has made it into a submerged engine—as soon as the boat was off the water. Once the engines were back at H.P. Mafia, the team’s home-base this season at the Lake of the Ozarks in Central Missouri, the high-performance marine engine and service shop’s Anthony Smith, Jr., went through them from top to bottom. The outboards’ wire harnesses needed to be replaced, as did the boat’s Garmin GPS unit and data logger—both of which also had been completely submerged when saltwater filled the cockpit. But the engines’ internal components were undamaged.
New cowlings were fabricated at Manatee Marine Unlimited, a Palmetto, Fla., business owned by the Super Stock-class Jackhammer team’s Reese Langheim and Julian Maldonado, the son of Jackhammer throttleman Rick Maldonado. They were painted locally by Chris Boercker of Boercker Auto & Marine, which also handled fiberglass repair on the catamaran’s starboard side.
As for the boat itself, in addition to needing new windshields one of its fuel tanks had come loose and needed to be re-secured—but the tank was intact and no fuel had escaped. Boercker took care of that job as well.
“We have such a good group of guys back home,” said Peters, who will be joined by Diorio again in the cockpit for the Key West event next month. “Anthony Smith, Jr., has been working closely with me, as has my friend Kyle Hensley. They put a lot of work into getting us ready for Key West and they deserve a lot of credit. And Performance Boat Center helped us get parts we needed in time.”
“Nick Scafidi (of the Super Stock-class YourStorageUnits team) put in a call to AcryliCo to help us get the windshields,” he added. “It’s nice to have contacts like that. All we have to do when they get here is drill the holes and install them. The boat will leave for Key West next Friday.”
Despite their rough outing earlier this month, Peters and Diorio will be back in the LPC cockpit in Key West.