Boats built in California haven’t always been known for their offshore-racing pedigree, but Lavey Craft enjoyed a great run with its single-engine 2750 29-foot and 28-foot models. Lavey Craft won its first world championship in 2001, and then in 2002, Kevin Cooper took things to the next level. First, when he raced a Lavey Craft 2750 in the Factory 1 class, in which all boats were powered by single Mercury Racing HP500s, Cooper took the boat to a wind tunnel. He copied the air intake from an Indy Car and found that by lowering the engine hatch below deck level, he and driver Dave Reim gained 2.5 mph, and that helped them to a world championship in 2003.
Then Cooper was sitting and chatting with Douglas Marine President Pete Hledin and said he would love to put a Skater canopy (Douglas builds Skater powerboats) on his boat to run in the Super Vee Lite class. Much to Cooper’s surprise, Hledin agreed and sent him a two-man canopy.
At that time, NASCAR driver Tony Stewart’s crew member Ronnie Crooks and Greg Zipadelli of the Home Depot race team both owned Lavey Craft boats. When they were in California for a race, they visited the Lavey Craft factory with another team member who had worked on the Z06 Corvette. That team member told Cooper and Lavey Craft’s Chris Camire to not put a scoop on the top of the new boat’s canopy to get cooling air to the motor. “He told us to put in NACA ducts, and that’s how we ended up with the rear end of the boat looking like a Corvette,” Cooper said.
The boat was built with a full liner and integrated roll bar and made its debut in 2005. “We did awesome. The first year, we won the Fountain nationals in Fort Lauderdale,” Cooper said. “Then we won Puerto Rico and Orange Beach.” Not bad for an offshore race boat built in California.