In a strange turn of events that started with veteran offshore racer Bob Teague developing a serious hand infection that landed him in a Southern California hospital the day after he returned from throttling the Superboat-class Cleveland Construction Skater 388 catamaran in the Super Boat International National Championships in Clearwater, Fla., earlier this month, Chuck Broaddus will share the Cleveland Construction cockpit with Ed Smith during the upcoming SBI Offshore World Championships in Key West, Fla. Broaddus, the 51-year-old owner of the Superboat-class Broadco team which withdrew from competition at the end of the 2015 season, will drive the 38-footer powered by Sterling Performance engines with Smith, who drove the cat this season, moving into the throttleman’s seat.
“I’m really excited about it,” said Broaddus, who shared the cockpit of the 40-foot Broadco MTI catamaran earlier this year at the Offshore Powerboat Association St. Clair River Classic in Michigan with his wife Kellie. “I’m thrilled to be part of their team.”
“We have been working in Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) and Mark Small, the owner of the Cleveland Construction team—he has a condo there—called me and asked if we could have lunch,” he continued, then chuckled. “Actually, he called Kellie before he called me and pitched it to her first. Anytime Mark has a question involving me he calls the boss first. He had to get permission from her.”
While Broaddus has ridden in a number of Skater catamarans, he’s never run one in offshore racing competition. So early next month, he’ll head to Miami—the Cleveland Construction boat is currently being housed at TNT Custom Marine—for a couple of days of practice before the team hauls the boat to the SBI event in Key West.
“This will be my debut in a Skater,” he said. “I can’t wait.”
While Broaddus is eager to familiarize himself with the canopied 38-footer and compete, he and Kellie are even more excited to return to the close-knit offshore powerboat racing community. Their decision to leave the sport, however necessary and correct it was for them at the time, wasn’t easy. And that makes them even more grateful to be heading back to Key West, where the Broadco outfit earned a Superboat-class world title in 2014, as part of a team.
“We miss all the people and we miss the racing,” said Broaddus. “Going to events as spectators is fun because we get to see people we know, as well as all of our former racing fans. But being part of a team takes it to the next level.”
Matt Trulio is an award-winning journalist who has covered the high-performance powerboat world since 1995. He wrote for Powerboat magazine for 17 years and was the magazine’s editor at large until it ceased publication in 2011. Trulio is the founder, editor-in-chief and publisher of speedonthewater.com, a daily news site that covers the high-performance powerboat realm. He’s also the former editor of Sportboat magazine.