By Eric Colby
After 42 years of offshore powerboat racing, Nick Scafidi had nothing left to prove. At the end of the 2019 racing season, he decided to walk away from the sport.
“One of the reasons I got away was that I accomplished everything I wanted to accomplish and checked every box,” he said of campaigning the 32’ Doug Wright known as Shadow Pirate. The boat won world and national championships and the guy signing the checks for those titles was Scafidi. “I built the boat and paid everything,” he said.
When asked if he left because other competitors in the Super Stock class tried to protest his boat, Scafidi replied, “I knew I was legal, and I did do it right.”
But earlier this week, with the first event of the 2021 Offshore Powerboat Association/Powerboat P1 season kicking off this weekend, Scafidi announced that he will be returning to competition with a new in-boat partner, Brad Wade, and new sponsors. Scafidi has a six-race agreement with Your Storage Units, Rapid Building Solutions, A-Game Sports Drink and London House, a premier member’s only club in Orlando. “We had the opportunity to sponsor Nick and he’s a good fit for our companies because he’s won multiple championships,” said Richie Webster, who owns Your Storage Units and Rapid Building Solutions. He raced P1 Super Stock for three years and had planned to build a Super Stock boat with his partner sponsors for this year, but ran out of time so they started talking with Scafidi and coaxed him out of retirement. Webster said he and his partners will build a Super Stock boat for the 2022 season. “I like that series because it’s a competitive class and there’s 10 boats in the series,” said Webster. The sponsorship agreement is for races in Cocoa Beach, Sarasota, Clearwater, Fort Myers and Key West, FL, and in Michigan City, IN.
The cockpit of the boat that will now be called Your Storage Solutions has a unique setup, with Scafidi driving on the left and Wade throttling on the right. Scafidi controls the trim so he can enter and exit the turns the way he wants.
Wade has throttled a number of boats in different classes including a stint with the Jackhammer team in Super Stock. He and Scafidi will both be pulling double duty in Cocoa Beach. Scafidi is throttling the 34’ Phantom Control Freak with owner/driver Mark Robbins. The ironic thing is that Wade is throttling the 28’ Lavey Craft, Team Woody, with driver Jeff Muelhausen, also in P4.
One of the original rules for what was called Stock class was that a manufacturer needed to have produced five identical hulls for a new model to be legal. Today’s rules are not as clear on this and when other Super Stock teams tried to protest Shadow Pirate, officials told them, “Show me two 32’ Doug Wrights that are identical,” said Scafidi.
He explained that he had Wright build the 32’ catamaran with the plan to make changes to the running surface. When the boat was being built, the class was transitioning from the 2.5-liter 280-hp Mercury Racing outboards to the 300s that are being used currently.
“I told Doug Wright when I signed that we were adding 50 to 60 pounds per motor and I was concerned about the effect on the boat’s center of gravity,” said Scafidi, who owns a Suzuki outboard dealership that is one of the biggest repower shops in the country. “I want to fill in the notch and add 6” to the running surface.”
Scafidi and Scott Porta spent about a month changing the strakes, rocker and other details to improve the boat’s handling. “It’s a pleasure to operate and it’s all legal,” said Scafidi.
While Cocoa Beach has a reputation for rough conditions, Scafidi sees things calming down for this Sunday. “Being a pilot and a captain, I watch the weather closely and it looks like Sunday is going to lay down below 10 knots,” he said.
Wade says he’s looking forward to being in a boat with someone more experienced than him. “When someone’s won as many races and championships as Nick has, you need to check your ego at the door and absorb as much as you can,” said Wade.
Looking at the rest of the 2021 season, Scafidi has simple goals. “I just want to have fun and stay away from the politics,” he said.