The team of Nick Scafidi and Brad Wade experienced a violent flip in the 32’ Doug Wright, Your Storage Solutions, at Cocoa Beach, but is ready to contend in Sarasota.
By Eric Colby
On Tuesday evening, owner/driver Nick Scafidi was returning from a successful sea trial in his 32’ Doug Wright catamaran, Your Storage Solutions. “We had a good sea trial with no windscreens and of course Mother Nature decided to have it rain so I was running 115 mph in the rain,” Scafidi told Speedboat.
He was hoping to get the replacement windshields on Wednesday with full intentions of racing at the 36th annual Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix with throttleman Brad Wade in the Super Stock Class this weekend. The race is part of the Suncoast Summer Fest and competition takes place on Sunday with personal watercraft racing on Saturday and Sunday.
That Scafidi and Wade even have a boat to race is nothing short of a miracle. The duo rolled at high speed in the rough conditions off Cocoa Beach, FL, in the season opening race on May 23. In the crash, the boat landed hard on its enclosed cockpit, exerting enough force that it compressed the canopy and the starboard windshield exploded outward with Wade’s side of the boat taking the worst of the impact.
“The violent part was the first for me, with the windscreen blowing,” said Wade. Both he and Scafidi had been through crashes before and that experience turned out to be important in this situation. “When the incident happened, both of us were totally relaxed,” said Scafidi. “Neither of us panicked and it was just as calm as could be inside the canopy.”
Wade released his five-point harness, but Scafidi’s was stuck. Each racer had his air regulator in his mouth and the two would take turns working on the latch until Wade finally got it free.
Of course this happened right when the rescue diver came swooping in and knocked the regulator from Scafidi’s mouth. Scafidi and Wade both swam free and Scafidi actually competed in a Class 4 boat later in the day.
Wade was actually more bruised from kicking against the cockpit structure when he was trying to free Scafidi. He ran the 29’ Lavey Craft, Team Woody, at the Lake Race at Lake of the Ozarks, MO, on June 3.
“I ripped the Band-Aid off at the Lake Race,” he said. “Just getting back in the seat, I think that was good for me prior to getting back into the Super Stock boat.”
He said he felt terrible because he couldn’t help Scafidi with the repairs because he’s based in Missouri and his partner is in Florida.
For his part, Scafidi said he worked 24 straight days to get the boat race-ready for Sarasota. “I got the motors running by Sunday night in Cocoa and on Monday, I ran them on double oil again and disassembled them,” he explained. This is critical after engines are exposed to saltwater. He also had two spare lower units with new gears and bearing.
Additionally, with support and help from a highly experienced composite team, multiple layers of fiberglass and structural carbon fiber were vacuum-bagged in place on the canopy and aft cockpit bulkhead. This included reinforcing the attachment points for the roll-bar structure.
After the sea-trial, Scafidi said he had the usual punch-list items including programming the communications and intercoms plus the ship-to-shore radio.
Scafidi said he couldn’t put an estimate on his time or the costs for all the repairs, but he did experience something new with getting the boat ready to race. “Our sponsor asked if I needed help and I said I would be grateful for anything he would give and he said he would mail a check,” he said. “I have a lot of support this season and our sponsor has turned out to be a great guy.”