Caught up with Doug Valentine early this afternoon. Offshore racing fans, especially those who followed the uber-successful Factory 2 class from 1999 through 2002 under APBA Offshore LLC, will remember Valentine as one of the key people—and racers—involved with Donzi’s F-2 championship-winning 38 ZR Comp race boat.
Valentine worked for Donzi for 10 years, as well as Wellcraft Marine for 18 years before joining Donzi. Several years ago, he formed International Performance, a two-day high-performance powerboat driving school. While Valentine still teaches the driving course, he told me that his business has evolved into high-end boat-buying consultancy and project management.
At present, Valentine has one client with an open-cockpit, 80-foot-long Nor-Tech sport yacht due for delivery in four weeks, as well as a client with a 50-foot “poker run version” Mystic catamaran that should be done by mid-summer.
“Everyone who’s gone through my driving school has become a good friend and a boating buddy, and I’ve found myself doing consultant work and project management when my clients buy new boats,” said Valentine, who invited me to the sea trial of the Nor-Tech and Mystic boats when they are completed. “On the Nor-Tech, we’ve worked closely with Nils Johnson (who founded Cape Coral, Fla., company with Trond Schou) and I have to say, he’s a frickin’ genius. My client asks for something, Nils says, ‘Why don’t we do it this way?’ and it turns out better than we could have imagined. My hat is off to him.
“With John Cosker at Mystic and John Arruda at Turbine Marine, well, no one is better at doing what they do, but my client wanted an interior that, for lack of better description, is like the interior of a Lamborghini or a Mercedes SLR. So we’re working with an interior company to get our client exactly what he wants.”
Valentine added that he loves his newfound role. Not bad for a guy who started as a Wellcraft test driver more than 30 years ago.