As published in the March/April 2018 issue of Speed on The Water.
Words by Jason Johnson
“There goes the Rapid Rabbit right there,” said Paul Miller, co-owner and general manager of DCB Performance Boats in El Cajon, Calif. “Look at it go. Lawrence loves running his boat—he’s relentless, damn near fearless.”
At the time, Miller was driving the all-new DCB M33R catamaran (read about it on page 82) with twin Mercury Racing Verado 400R engines toward the first stop of the Desert Storm Poker Run in Lake Havasu City, Ariz., when Lawrence Coelho, of Tulare, Calif., came zooming by on the other side of the lake in his DCB F29 catamaran powered by a pair of 1,100-hp engines. Some 20 to 30 minutes before the Rapid Rabbit sighting, while we were idling though the Lake Havasu channel for the poker run parade lap, Miller and I had a conversation about Coelho’s passion for performance boating and the fact that no other DCB owner has had such far-ranging representation of the brand.
“Lawrence isn’t just a great DCB ambassador, he’s a great person—he travels all over the country for fun and gives back to the different communities he visits,” Miller explained, adding that there’s little to no chance another DCB boater has ventured into as many different waterways as Coelho. “I don’t know how he does it. Most of the time he does it by himself, too. He’s definitely not afraid to tow his boat around the country. He’s also not afraid to run in big water; just look at the pictures from the run in Boyne City, Mich., last year. He was out there running his 28 with boats that were 35, 40, even 50 feet long. He really loves this stuff.”
Of course having two boats—his single-engine 1,200-hp DCB 28 Extreme V-bottom that he’s owned since 2008 is also named Rapid Rabbit—allows him to attend events in opposites sides of the country, explaining how he could be in Sault Ste. Marie, Canada one weekend and Discovery Bay, Calif., the next. Still, just for the fun of it, let’s rattle off a dozen events Coelho attended in 2017.
Even with two boats, this is a tough schedule to keep: Desert Storm Poker Run
(May/Arizona), Texas Outlaw Challenge (June/Texas), Boyne Thunder Poker Run (July/Michigan), GLOC Performance Boat Shootout (July/Oklahoma), Pirates of Lanier Family Poker Run (July/Georgia), Old Hickory Fun Run and Raft-Up (July/Tennessee), Can-Am President’s Cup Poker Run (August/Canada), Big Cat Poker Run (August/California), 1000 Islands Poker Run (August/Canada), Lake of the Ozarks Shootout (August/Missouri), Lake Cumberland Poker Run (September/Kentucky) and Key West Poker Run (Florida).
Notice those are all in different states and that there are two Canadian runs. He attended several more events like the DCB Regatta, the Lake Powell Challenge and the Monster Storm Poker Run in the fall in Arizona, not to mention the SCOPE Poker Run in Southern California and his own personal fun run from the California Delta to the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.
“Lawrence is a lively character, an adventurous individual and an all-around good person,” said Cherilyn Noack of Teague Custom Marine, the Valencia, Calif., high-performance marine facility that takes care of Coelho’s boats. “I’ve had the opportunity to get to know him at various events and from his boats coming in to the shop. I’ve also helped him with some side projects to showcase the boat and with designing his Rapid Rabbit shirts. He’s kind of the strong, silent type but once you get to know him it’s obvious he has a big heart.
“Lawrence is proud to represent both Teague and DCB at the events he attends—it’s refreshing to have a customer like him who is so into this,” she continued. “He is what Teague Custom Marine is all about. We’re a little different because we have a real passion for this—we’re boaters, too, and we enjoying giving back just like he does. Also, Lawrence is probably one of the most daring boaters I know. He does a lot of events by himself and travels all over the country to run in them. He’s always so proud to be out there in a ‘smaller’ boat, representing. He’s good about sending me pictures, too.”
Noack said Coelho sent her a photo last fall of him driving under the Golden Gate Bridge in foggy conditions. “Most people wouldn’t even try to venture out into the open ocean right there, especially on a foggy day, but for Lawrence it was just another day of boating.”
So what exactly fuels the California native’s enthusiasm for performance boats? Coelho, who is in the amusement park business, grew up boating and also has a strong passion for cars and snowmobiles. He said he originally learned the expansive California Delta waterways in his 16-foot Bayliner, and he gives a lot of credit for his ability to drive his V-bottom—he prefers it over the cat in big water—to the time he spent playing around in rough water on personal watercraft he’s owned over the years.
The fact that much of his business communications and networking take place remotely whether he’s on the road or at home allows Coelho to travel as much as he does. He said he tries to keep things simple, affordable and manageable so that he doesn’t need a team of people with him—the size of his boats is an example of that. Oftentimes he does the events by himself. He also has no one at home trying to persuade him not to go boating.
“I don’t have a wife telling me to stay home—I don’t put myself in that situation any more,
“Coelho said with a chuckle. “I’ve been married twice and I have two daughters who are doing well on their own so I feel like it’s my time to do what I want to do. I love traveling and seeing different scenery. Most places I visit have great food to try, too, and usually the eye candy is good. I’ve been around horsepower and boats my whole life. Horsepower makes it happen, right?”
Coelho admits he likes feeling like the underdog and stepping up to the challenge of running in big water at certain events in his “little” 28-footer. The picture in this story of him airing out the boat on Lake Michigan during the Boyne Thunder Poker Run proves it.
Based on how many places he’s visited around the country, an obvious question is what’s his favorite place to boat?
“I would have to say Lake Powell—that lake is one of a kind,” Coelho said. “Sault Ste. Marie just north of Michigan on Lake Superior is wonderful; the same goes for Boyne City with Lake Charlevoix and Lake Michigan. The hospitality in Boyne City is over the top.”
“I’m not crazy about getting in line for an hour to run my boat—I’d prefer to burn a tank of gas running around all day,” he said, adding his gratitude to both DCB and TCM for supporting him at different events across the country over the years. “Bob Teague and the whole Teague Custom Marine team are amazing. His daughter, Cherilyn, has been especially helpful and supportive in terms of scheduling, promotions, arranging for service of my boats and more. I run both boats out of Teague’s house and wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Only Coelho’s 28 Extreme has TCM power—an enhanced 1,200-hp 1050EFI to be exact paired with an IMCO Marine SCX drive—the F29 has a pair of “Frankenstein” 1,100-hp engines that were rebuilt by Savage Marine and upgraded and maintained by TCM.
The final question, after realizing that Coelho might be the best ambassador for the DCB brand ever, is when is he going to get a new DCB? Probably not any time soon, Coelho said, adding that he loves both of his boats and plans on doing 30 or more runs again in them this year.
And just like the Energizer Bunny, the Rapid Rabbit keeps going and going.
Teague Custom Marine is one of the few CARB (California Air Resources Board) certified high performance engine builders in California at 600-hp and above. For more information about TCM, visit teaguecustommarine.com or give them a call at (661) 295-7000.
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