Not only did his students learn quite a lot during his first session in Lake Havasu City, Ariz., a week and a half ago, Shaun Torrente, who recently acquired the GSR High-Performance Catamaran Driving School curriculum, ascertained a solid amount of information on his end as well.
The owner of the 32-foot Doug Wright catamaran pictured, Scott Maizlish, left, and Adrian Barrett, right, were all smiles after passing the GSR High-Performance Catamaran Driving School led by Shaun Torrente, center. Photos courtesy Shaun Torrente and Scott Maizlish.
This week, the two-time defending F1 H2O world champion who hails from Florida will put two more students through the two-day course geared for new and experienced catamaran owners—this time a little closer to home as he has a father-and-son class in Southwest Florida tomorrow with Leo and Tyler Vik in their MTI 390X powered by twin Mercury Racing 450R engines.
“The Lake Havasu class was awesome—I had a blast, especially once I realized the students were taking it as seriously as me,” said Torrente, who had a couple of local boaters sign up to take the class, including first-time cat owner, Scott Maizlish, and experienced performance boater, Adrian Barrett, who owns the widely respected Barrett Custom Marine “I thought the classroom section went really well, which that was the thing I was most concerned about going into my first one. I knew the driving part would be easy for me; I’ve done that hundreds of times with friends and people who I’ve helped dial in their boats.
“I just wanted to make sure the classroom part wasn’t monotonous and that the curriculum was easy enough to understand and to the point,” he added. “My class is truly about how to drive and operate your performance catamaran safely. It’s not a U.S. Coast Guard boating safety class or a local boating navigation course, it’s much more specific than that.”
Maizlish, a lifelong boater who has owned a variety of smaller boats with his wife, Erinn, that they use at their home on the Colorado River in Parker, Ariz., recently upgraded to a twin Mercury Racing Verado 400R engine-powered 32-foot Doug Wright cat he purchased through Maxed Out Marine in Lake Havasu City, Ariz. He took a demo ride in it with Barrett a couple of weeks before taking delivery of the boat, which had 20 hours on it, on his birthday—February 8.
Scott and Erinn Maizlish have some fun days ahead on Lake Havasu—and other waterways around the country—in their 32-foot Doug Wright catamaran powered by twin Mercury Racing Verado 400R engines.
After purchasing the 32-footer, Maizlish recognized he needed to take some kind of class to learn how to drive his boat in the safest way possible.
“I’d never ridden in a cat before test-driving this boat so I knew I wasn’t qualified to just to be turned loose with it,” said Maizlish, who was looking to upgrade to a bigger boat in the 28-foot range when Rick Hidalgo of Maxed Out Marine, which he’s purchased other boats from in the past, let him know the Doug Wright was for sale. “So I went online to see what performance boating schools were out there and I came across the speedonthewater.com story about Shaun’s new school and called him to find out his availability. I didn’t realize that was only a few days after he announced he was doing the program.”
Maizlish’s intention was to learn as much as he could to avoid getting in any trouble with the boat. What he didn’t realize was how much fun he’d have right away once he learned what the boat was capable of and that he could trust it.
“I loved the class—it was the perfect amount of information and the right amount of time in the water and in the classroom,” Maizlish said. “I think I could have spent three days on the water with Shaun and continued to learn things about my boat, but for what we were focused on—overall safety, understanding the design of my boat and getting a feel for the boat’s responsiveness—it was an excellent overview.”
Maizlish said he loved Torrente’s teaching style, which he called very direct.
“It was a great experience and a kind of surreal experience since I’ve never owned a boat like this before,” Maizlish continued. “Shaun really taught me how to guide the boat and anticipate what’s going to happen based on feel.”
Check out the slideshow above for a few more images from Maizlish’s day on the water.
Barrett, who decided to take the class with Maizlish, said it was totally worthwhile, even with his level of experience.
“I’ve done some business with Shaun, ordered some brackets and other parts, but I’d never met him in person,” Barrett said. “I thought he did a great job with the course and I would recommend it for sure. He definitely helped Scott focus on driving the boat by feel and by letting him experience what different trim levels felt like at a variety of speeds. He had Scott do it over and over until he knew where the trim was based on feel, which in turn allowed him to look ahead and pay attention while he was driving rather than continuing to check the indicators.
“For me, I really enjoyed riding with Shaun,” he continued. “I’ve been around a lot of stuff over the years, but I don’t claim to know it all, so any chance I get to ride with guys with as much or more experience than me, I take advantage of it. It was a no BS class, which I appreciated. He talked about boat setup and explained propeller dynamics and the effect pitch, rake and diameter has on performance. On the water, Shaun spent more time with us than I expected. He had us work on different skills, like how to go through particular water conditions at speed and the best way to enter and exit turns at different speeds.”
Torrente appreciated having Barrett, who said his shop has been slammed since before the pandemic started and is getting even busier leading up to next month’s Desert Storm Poker Run and Super Cat Fest West events, in the class because an advanced level course is something the instructor may offer down the road.
“Having someone like A.J. there was cool because he has a decent amount of experience and he still felt like he learned a few things,” Torrente said. “And then having someone like Scott, who had no experience and said he was intimidated by his boat, and by the end of the day I said, ‘All right take me be boating at 100 mph and go do this, this and this,’ and he could do it—that was even more awesome.”
If anyone is interested in scheduling a class, Torrente said he can be reached via social media or through Shaun Torrente Racing, his performance components company.
Torrente To Lead GSR High-Performance Catamaran Driving School
Momma Torrente All Smiles After Getting Her New MTI 390X
Inside SOTW Mag: Torrente’s Take—Putting In The Work To Win
Belisle Family Elated With New MTI 390X
Torrente Prepping STR Electric-Actuated Dynamic Plate With Interactive Dynamic Control Pre-Orders
Inside The Unicorn Skater
Flying With Torrente
Belisle, Torrente Team Up To Race New Super Stock-Class Doug Wright
Torrente Defends F1 H2O World Title In Dramatic Style As Andersson Wins In Sharjah
There Goes My Hero
Sweers And Torrente Hit 135 MPH Dialing In 34 Victory Cat With Mercury 450R Engines
Inside SOTW Mag: Product Spotlight—Shaun Torrente’s STR X-ACT Outboard Brackets