Breaking with offshore racing’s mostly standard practice of two-man operation in the cockpit, Nick Scafidi, the owner of the Super Stock-class Shadow Pirate/Nick’s Creative Marine team running in the new six-race American Power Boat Association Offshore Championship Series, will throttle and drive his 32-foot Doug Wright catamaran this year. Scafidi, who has been racing since the 1970s and owns Nick’s Creative Marine in Riviera Beach, Fla., will be joined in the cockpit by 28-year-old observer/navigator Travis Booker.
Joined in the cockpit by copilot Travis Booker, Nick Scafidi will pull double duty as driver and throttleman in Shadow Pirate this season. Photo courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
“Travis will watch all the gauges, count laps and so on,” Scafidi said. “So all I have to do is watch the water in front of me. He has a 90-mph center console and 110-mph flats boat, so he’s used to going fast. Plus, he weighs about 150 pounds. Weight is everything in this sport.
“Whether I’m driving or throttling, I get tired of telling the person next to me what to do,” he continued. “I have been testing the boat myself since I started with it, and I intentionally had it set up with steering on the left side so I could drive and throttle.”
Scafidi also had his 32-footer, which is powered by twin Mercury 300XS outboards as are all other catamarans in the Super Stock ranks, originally equipped with Latham Marine hydraulic power steering.
“You can turn my boat with two fingers,” he said. “It’s a lot easier to drive than my old Velocity, and in the 1970s I used to race that by myself.”
The Shadow Pirate team enters the inaugural ABPA Offshore Championship Series with impressive credentials. For the past two years, the team has been the Super Stock-class world champion on the Offshore Powerboat Association circuit. In 2017, the team took the Super Boat International Stock-class world title in Key West, Fla. Last year, Scafidi and former Miss GEICO driver Marc Granet shared the Shadow Pirate cockpit (Granet drove and Scafidi throttled) at the SBI Worlds in Key West and piloted the 32-footer to a second-place overall finish.
A devout supporter of the sport, Scafidi recently joined the OPA’s “Adopt-A-Team” program where established teams mentor and financially assist teams in Class 7 teams, the organization’s most entry-level category. Scafidi and company are backing the Class 7 Woah Mama! outfit. (A team of the same name competes in OPA’s Pro Stock V ranks.) Scafidi said he’s helped the team with setup and more, and is even supporting it with “gas money” for upcoming races this season.
But none of that will distract him from his role as Shadow Pirate’s driver and throttleman this year. Other notable offshore racers who enjoyed solo-operation success include Reggie Fountain, Jr., and the late Bob Nordskog.
“It’s been a lifelong dream of mine to be in total control of my racing environment,” he said. “It may work out great. I may fall on my butt. But it’s all my expense and risk.”
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