Following last year’s unforgettable double-boat blowover during the Race World Offshore Key West Championships in November featuring the LPC team of Loren Peters and Mike Wright and Bill Allen and Larry Pinegar of Team Allen Lawn Care and Landscaping, the LPC team completed a full safety-inspired rebuild of the boat’s cockpit, deck and transom during the “off season.”
Super Stock-class racers Loren Peters and Mike Wright are excited to get back into the LPC 32-foot Doug Wright catamaran after the boat was rebuilt following a blow-over accident in Key West, Fla., in 2019. Photos courtesy Mike Wright
Fortunately for the Lake of the Ozarks-based teammates who race in the Super Stock class there hasn’t been a season up to this point (the entire American Power Boat Association Offshore Championship Series was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic) so they were not rushed to get the outboard-powered 32-foot Doug Wright catamaran back in the water. But the boat is back in the water now—stronger than ever, repowered, rerigged, rewrapped and ready for some all-out testing. Maybe even some racing if any events happen this year.
“If there’s a race this year, we’ll be there,” said Wright, the team’s throttleman who managed most of the rebuild project of the boat, which is backed by Peters’ Kansas City, Mo.-based business, L Peters Construction. “We’re ready to get back out there and get after it. I know everyone else is too. We haven’t done any major testing days yet as we were mainly making sure everything was working correctly the first few times we took it out, but we plan to get in some more testing time at the lake soon.
“We’re really happy with how it’s running, plus it’s going to be tremendously safer with all of the safety improvements that were made to it during the rebuild,” he continued. “The main goal for Loren and I was safety after what we experienced in Key West. So, while we had the boat completely apart, we figured out ways to secure everything better, reinforce the cockpit and improve the boat’s performance. We even consulted with some raceboat manufacturers before deciding how the canopy should be reinforced. Of course we had to be conscience about the weight we were adding so we didn’t impede the boat’s performance. The boat was very balanced and fast before and we wanted to make sure it remained that way.”
Wright admitted the boat was competitive when Peters purchased it from veteran offshore racer Gary Ballough in April 2019, but that it is significantly improved from a safety and comfort level now that the rebuild is complete.
According to Wright, some of the safety improvements the team made included installing a full roll cage in the cockpit, covering the inside of the cockpit with a carbon-fiber and Kevlar blend to help keep the cockpit in the event of another wreck, reinforcing the bulkhead behind the seats, improving how the five-point harnesses were attached to the boat, relocating the air system, adding water deflectors around the top hatch and double-stepping the top hatch to prevent water intrusion. The team also moved some weight around to keep the boat’s handling and performance characteristics as efficient as possible.
Wright said the team turned to Elite Composites, a full-service manufacturing facility in Highland, Ill., to handle the rebuild and that Al Minen and his team were fantastic to work with.
“The most difficult part of the rebuild was that the roll cage had to be built inside the canopy,” Wright explained. “They used schedule 40 aluminum pipes wrapped in a carbon-fiber/Kevlar blend and the bars were bent and welded in, then glassed into place. Then the same carbon-fiber Kevlar blend was used to cover everything, which made it like a full shell inside.”
Check out the slideshow above for more images of the LPC rebuild process.
After the Elite Composites crew was finished with it, the catamaran was delivered to Performance Boat Center in Osage Beach, Mo., where the rigging of the twin Mercury Racing OptiMax 300XS engines and everything else in the boat was completed.
“Andy (Sanders) and the team PBC at did an awesome job with the rigging and the rest of the finishing touches—they are a full-service shop,” Wright said, adding that the team turned to a couple of Lake of the Ozarks companies, Pro DeZigns and Lake Grip, to handle some beautifications. “Jimmy from Pro DeZigns did the new decals for us and Ian from Lake Grip wrapped the inside of the cockpit for us in EVA marine flooring, which definitely helps deaden the sound inside. Between the new electronics, the seats, the controls and the communication systems, the cockpit is more advanced than it was before, that’s for sure.”
Wright said it was nice to be able to customize everything inside the cockpit to their liking and to fit them accordingly. He returned to the safety aspect being the most important part of the rebuild though.
“You don’t really know what works and what doesn’t until you wreck a boat like we did,” he said with a slight laugh. “We learned a lot after the accident and implemented what we learned into the repairs of the boat. It’s like a new boat now. We knew it was a good boat before, but while it was apart we strengthened a lot things and modified a few other things that we believe will improve the boat’s performance.”
Now it’s time to get back to testing.
“Fortunately we have a great place to test,” Wright continued. “It can be flat here one day and super sloppy the next day. And because of the resources at the lake, we have a lot of stuff, including propellers to try, right here at our finger tips.”
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