From SOS Venezuela to Smart Marine Service to Patriot Vapor/Smart Marine Service—by any name, Chris Schoenbohm’s 32-foot Doug Wright Stock-class raceboat has a storied history and a title to defend. With Schoenbohm driving and Gary Ballough handling the throttling chores, the 32-footer took the 2014 Stock-Class World Championship as SOS Venezuela in the 2014 Super Boat International World Championships in Key West, Fla. That the canopied, twin-outboard-engine-powered cat was cut in half so its tunnel could be expanded to 63 inches and then rejoined at Schoenbohm’s Smart Marine Service shop in the Orlando, Fla., less than two months before the 2014 SBI Worlds makes the story that much more compelling.
For next week’s three-race format in Key West, Schoenbohm will share the cockpit with Cape Coral, Fla.-based throttleman Shaun Torrente, who competed overseas this year in the Union Motonautique Internationale-sanctioned X-Cat and Formula One ranks. The duo teamed up for two races in Florida this season—the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix and the Space Coast Super Boat Grand Prix in Cocoa Beach (the team took first place in Sarasota, fourth in Cocoa Beach)—with the boat sporting Smart Marine Service graphics. Schoenbohm said they also have logged significant practice and testing time together in the cat.
Said Schoenbohm: “I think Talbot Excavating will give us a good run but I am out there to win it.” Photo courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
For the SBI National Championships in Clearwater, Fla., in late September, Taylor Chastelet filled in for Torrente, who had a racing commitment overseas. (Chastelet also filled in for Torrente for this year’s SBI event in Michigan City, Ind.) At the Clearwater event, the team also showed up with its catamaran dressed in the graphics of its new sponsor Patriot Vapor, a manufacturer of vaporizing liquids for electronic cigarettes.
“Shaun and I have learned a lot together and the boat is dialed in,” said Schoenbohm. “In addition to the 11/10 variable-speed bottom that will also be on the 32’ Phoenix (read the story), we have made a couple of other modifications for Key West that we weren’t able to get done in time for Clearwater.”
The outboard brackets for Patriot Vapor/Smart Marine Service were manufactured by Paragon Performance and Machine, Torrente’s fabrication company, according to Schoenbohm. He also credited Dave DeWald of DeWald Propellers for his ongoing help with the team’s propeller program.
“From Clearwater race, we know the boat runs like demon in flat water and corners well—we’re going to hit turn No. 1 in Key West as hard as we can and send everybody to Cuba,” said Schoenbohm. “We’re hoping for a rough race in Key West, though. Anybody can run a boat fast in the flat. We like to run in the rough.
“I’m going in with a lot of confidence knowing what my boat is capable of doing,” he continued. “In Key West, you’ve to run as hard as you can and hang on. I think Talbot Excavating will give us a good run but I am out there to win it, especially after our wreck with them in Michigan City. I am going there will rolls of fiberglass, epoxy and everything I need to fix the boat. Last year, we helped the Alex and Ani fix their boat. We’ll be there not just race, but to support and help all of our fellow race teams.”