In Super Boat International's Stock class so far this season, it's been a dogfight primarily between two 32-foot Doug Wright catamarans, SOS Venezuela and The Hulk/Redline. Heading into the upcoming National Championships in Clearwater, Fla., The Hulk team leads by 98 points but Chris Schoenbohm, the owner and driver of the SOS cat, has made a dramatic move he believes will give him an edge over The Hulk and the rest of the four boats—the current number of Stock-class entries for Clearwater—in the field.
SOS Venezuela—cut in half and ready for expansion.
Using laser measurement, a custom-made metal jig and a skill saw, Schoenbohm, who owns Smart Marine Services in Orlando, Fla., recently cut his 32-footer in half and expanded its tunnel from slightly less than 57 inches to 63 inches to match that of the greater tunnel width of the newer Doug Wright 32-foot cats. Currently in the process of reassembling the boat, Schoenbohm said it will be ready to go when he and throttleman Isaiah Blount take to the cockpit in Clearwater at the end of month.
For a step-by-step look at the widening process for SOS Venezuela, check out the slideshow above.
"The wider-tunnel Doug Wrights pack more air, so they get more lift and accelerate faster at lower speeds," he explained. "They would pull away from us at beginning of the straights, but we would catch them at the end and then beat them through the turns. We can out-corner any Doug Wright in the water—we can go into a turn at 110 mph and come out 101 mph.
"But in the last three races, the straights were shortened from 2.2 to 2 miles, and that hurt us," he continued. "The wider tunnel will improve our acceleration. We'll probably even out-accelerate them because our boat has a lower profile, which means less drag."
Schoenbohm and his crew are in the final process of reassembling the boat. From there it will go to the paint shop and be done in time for the SBI Nationals. Schoenbohm said he plans to take an aggressive approach.
"We're going to get after it," he said.