TOP CHOICE – Doug Wright 38′ Catamaran

Doug Wright Powerboats launched a hardtop and open top version of its 38’ catamaran.

The Doug Wright Powerboats’ 38-foot catamaran is the in-demand boat whether it’s for offshore racing or a pleasure boat. With more than 25 on order and an open cockpit and hardtop versions slated to come out, the 38’ catamaran is about to get even more popular.

Doug Wright has grabbed the headlines in offshore racing, but it’s the pleasure boat market where the Melbourne, Fla., builder sells a majority of its boats. But what they learn from racing goes into the pleasure boats they build.

“Whatever is on the bottom of our race boat is what we have on the recreational boats, it’s no different,” said J.R. Adan, majority owner of Doug Wright Designs. “We’re not smart enough to make two different boats.”

The company has been campaigning a canopied version of the 38’ catamaran on the offshore tour. Adan’s 18-year-old son, Logan, is running the Doug Wright catamaran with throttleman Ricky Maldonado in the Factory 450 Stock Class. In 2024, Adan and Maldonado will switch to a Doug Wright 44-foot Class 1 spec hull on the Powerboat P1 series.

The 38-foot canopied version has proven on the offshore tour to be well handling and fast thanks to the twin Mercury Racing 450R outboards. At the 2023 Lake of the Ozarks Shootout in late August, Adan and Maldonado ran the boat to 120 mph on a 3/4-mile course to win the PC4OC2 class.

The first version released in October was the open top pleasure version available with six or eight seats in the cockpit. A wraparound windshield protects the driver and passengers from wind and spray.

A hardtop version with six seats was expected to debut a couple weeks after the open top pleasure. Hull No. 1 of the hardtop version is going to J.R. Adan.

“I’m building one for myself right now that we’re going to have at poker runs,” Adan said. “On those hot summer days, I just sit inside with air conditioning and go cruising around 100 mph, 120 mph.”

Adan expects the hardtop versions of the 38’ catamaran to be popular in north Michigan and Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri. “It’ll give them another month of use in the fall and in the spring,” he said.

Adan said the 38’ catamaran hardtop version can double as a race boat, while the canopied two-seater is generally built for just the racecourse. Regardless if Doug Wright is building a pleasure or a race boat, the layup doesn’t change. The catamaran has a full-carbon layup, but a glass option is available. 

“We’ve taken everything we’ve learned and build our boats to the highest safety specs,” Adan said. “That doesn’t change from boat to boat.”

Doug Wright handles the rigging in-house for the 38’ catamaran, while Doug Harrell Design is contracted for the paintwork.

In addition to the 38’ catamaran, Doug Wright builds a 32-, 36-, 42- and 44-foot catamaran. Doug Wright is currently building a 44-foot catamaran that Adan and Maldonado will race in Class 1 next season.

Since taking a majority stake in Doug Wright Designs about 18 months ago, Adan and the company have ramped up production, introduced new models and are busy offshore racing.

“We probably have 25 or 26 of the 38’ catamarans on order,” Adan said. “We have a lot of work ahead of us, which is a good problem to have.”

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