Jeez, I say his boats look like dumpsters, and he leaves me out the winners column...............
I would like to hear from the 50' Outerlimits crew who said "Reached by cell phone the crew announced that the water was “too rough” to set a record" What were they thinking and how can they quit a race? Really too rough to set a record? 2-3 foot chop in the sound too rough? The average time that is set is around 90mph and a 50 cat quit because it was too rough?? Once again, congrats to the sonic crew for not quitting and who set out on a race for the spirit and history of it and not for a record... but yet got one
Jeez, I say his boats look like dumpsters, and he leaves me out the winners column...............
wonderful story guys, thanks for sharing it. Congratulations to Joe, Jonathan, and Charlie, it's nice to see guts and perseverance prevail in a hobby that is often overshadowed by the size of one's wallet. Donna
Here is some more. I usually go the gym every day and all I can say is I did a lot less this morning than usual. Still feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside though.
So here is the scene at this point. We are stopped for fuel and repairs and we just found out we are in the lead. Jon had jumped up on the dock and was getting as much clean air into his lungs as possible. Joe had started the fueling process and I was trying to make mental checklist of priorities to get done. Meanwhile all of my experience was trying to do me in at this point. I kept thinking, never quit, never quit, we didn’t really know what was wrong with the other boats and I thought they too may be just stopping for some necessary repairs and they would soon be up and coming after us. I could already hear their engines as they tried to pass us in the ocean. At this point we just had to slow down and focus our efforts on what needed to be done.
I stopped Joe and got his attention and said remember..Fast is Slow and Slow is Fast. Just do one task at a time and work slowly on it so that it is done the best way possible. He repeated… Fast is Slow and Slow is Fast, back to me and just grinned. I got it, he said.
The first problem we encountered was the gas dock had no power steering fluid for the power steering pump. So we decided that the lowest grade of motor oil was the next best thing and we got a few quarts of that. (I remembered when Bobby Saccenti and Sonny Miller won the first Benihana in La Tortuga, they were running low on oil and when they needed more and didn’t have any, they used anything they could find that was close to it, like transmission fluid). When our pump was full again, we started the engine and I turned the wheel back and forth until Joe, who was under the hatch could spot the leak in one of the hoses. We shut the engine off and took stock of what we had onboard to repair the problem. No replacement hoses, but we did have another hose that was slightly larger than the broken one. Okay, slice the larger hose with a knife down the length and put it around the leaky hose, then put on as many hose clamps as we could scavenge and it would at least slow down the leak for awhile.
Next problem was the trim tab that would stay in an up position. Joe found a piece of wire that he used to hot wire the pump to go down to the lowest setting. For some reason the pump worked lifting the tab, but it would not push it back down again. While he was back there, he also discovered that the old return lines from the original Mercury fuel injection engines, was leaking. That was part of the fume problem, but most of it came from the front tank for some reason. He secured the return line the best he could and we were ready to go again. Jon was back, good and healthy and I had recovered fully from being away from the fumes for a while.
I told Joe that so far he was running the boat as good as anyone could. I sensed that he had some frustration with some of the brutal wave conditions between Orient Point and Montauk. I told him the only problem he was really having, was asking this little boat to handle those conditions at speed. The only solution for it was boat length. He was doing just fine.
We now faced the exit out of the inlet. We had some hearty cheers from the fishermen on the charter boats and we started out. We couldn’t determine where the no wake zone ended, but we were already being lifted by the rollers, so Joe just nailed it and off we went. The boat rolled onto a plane and he began to trim up the problem tab….it all worked beautiful. The face of the waves coming in were a sight to behold, reminded me of Argentina in 1978, Big Momas for sure. Joe kept it steady and didn’t rush anything, but just felt our way out past the breaking surf line and still out even more just to be safe. When we finally turned west, we were at least a half mile out and clear of all the breaking waters.
The new riding position for me now, was standing directly behind Joe with my head leaning out over the side to keep inhaling clean air. As we encountered various conditions and seas, he would ask for some suggestions regarding trim and I gave him my best guesses and it seemed to work just fine.
The beach along the south side of the island would go out of sight as we dropped in a trough and then would reappear as we came up again, over and over we repeated this same scenario. I watched in amusement as the two new offshore racers experienced the weightlessness of the jumps. Back in the days to pass the time of the long legs, we counted the seconds we were in the air as 1001, 1002, 1003 etc. And as in all races, there is that one wave that we all remember. When our turn came for the biggest wave to find us, both Joe and Jon just looked at each other when we landed and went… Whoaaaaa!!!!
Below is a photo of the master...Sammy James flying his 38 foot Bertram, back in the days.
Last edited by Top Banana; 09-20-2010 at 11:19 AM.
Congrats guys.....AWESOME to see an avg Joe with and avg boat win a REAL OFFSHORE RACE against some of the machines that were in the race. YALL EARNED it and earn all the RESPECT. Once again congrats and enjoy your spot in real offshore......
Last edited by T2x; 09-20-2010 at 03:27 PM.
Obsolete and proud of it
I spoke with the crew from the cat today. They participated in the event to support the event and Billy Frenz. They recieved the weather report for the south shore and decided to preserve the equipment for another event in which they commited to this weekend.
The main point is they were there to support the event.
Next installment.....sorry for the delay.
By now the boat was starting to come undone a bit. Remember this is a family cruiser, not a purpose built race boat. At the fuel stop, we carefully stowed the cabinet doors that had come flying off and repositioned the other items that had come loose. Before the rear seat was stowed again, the extra quarts of motor oil were put safely away for future use later in the race. This was also the official burial of the intercoms. This was a safety move, as on one wave off Montauk, we came down so hard the intercom unit on Joe’s belt flew off and came right in front of me. I grabbed it by the cord as it was headed over the side and managed to flip it forward so that Jon could catch it and shove it in a compartment near him….all this while holding on with one hand and trying not to throw up on my new Lifeline jacket. Great fun, better than golfing, for sure.
On the run toward Manhattan, we were amused by the two strings of white something or other that kept flapping over the deck of the boat. I guessed the Don Aronow race stickers had come to tatters, but we found out that the calking between the deck and the hull had loosened with each crash and was now flapping back at us like long tethers of a spider web. My hands were now starting to cramp up as the grab handle behind the bolster was fine for my left hand, but the thin grab rail on the right side of the boat was too small for that hand and I couldn’t get a good grip
Meanwhile up front, Joe had forgotten to put his gloves back on and was now driving and throttling with bare hands. I thought that somebody is going to have a big blister tonight. Jon was trying to adjust to the conditions as best he could, but he was still in the process of learning how to do a smooth reentry by using your legs for shock absorbers and every now and then I could hear a loud groan or sound over the engines, as he caught a bad landing again and again.
As I had plenty of free time I could let my mind wander to the great racers of the past who covers these same waters in their quest for glory. As good as the win was going to be, I trembled having to face Brownie who could now say, “Good show, but I won that race in a smaller boat (28 foot Donzi) and in less time (under 5 hours) over 40 years ago.”
I also remembered my phone call with Bobby Sacenti just before I got on the boat to go out to the start. He reminded me of the trick we used to pull on new drivers when they first showed up to race in Open class. They would be there with all new equipment and beaming from ear to ear with eager anticipation of joining this new fraternity. We would sidle up to them and say….”It is kind of secret with the Open class guys, but there is a $1,000 prize for the first guy who can get to the first checkpoint, just wanted you to be aware of it.” Our hope of course, was they would go all out and blow up before the real racing started. Bobby said to go and tell the two Outerlimits guys, it would make their day.
Back to the race….we are still heading west…damn that is one long beach. I have now started to visualize the towers of Manhattan on the horizon. I knew we still had miles to go but I could dream couldn’t I? I also kept looking back over my shoulder, just in case the repairs had been done to the Outerlimits boats. Joe was still pushing and the waves were still building and the little Sonic was still looking good. My new job was to take one of the water bottles that had now broken loose and was rolling around the floor and squeeze enough water out of it to clean Joe’s glasses, as they were coating over with salt with each major hit and spray blowback we were taking. I managed to do this by letting go and squirting while we were in mid air….then grabbing on for the landing and then wiping dry on the next launch.
As we closed toward New York City I could see that the power steering was running low on fluid and Joe was fighting to keep the boat straight on the landings. We would soon be stopping and topping off again, hopefully we could make it out of the ocean waters and into the harbor, where that kind of work would be much easier. As we passed Coney Island, we took one of the biggest landings of the trip and I could both hear and see Jon physically take it all the wrong way. Without the helmet, I’m sure he would have tears in his eyes on that one. But soon we were into calmer waters and things started to look up…..until we passed a ferry and heard a loud pop and the boat lurched to the port side.
We came off plane and checked under the hatch and found a missing belt on the power steering. We used this stop to fill up the power steering pump again and put on the new belt and of course hot wire the trim pump again to get that tab down so we could get on plane……pretty soon we could do this in the dark.
As we got moving again, I checked with Joe to remind him to not lose this race by doing anything stupid. slow down for every boat wake, be careful in the East River for refrigerators, dead horses or whatever else may be coming down. He said he was already thinking that way and we took off for the final leg. At this point I must confess, I became a bit weepy as we passed by the Statue of Liberty and I thought how blessed we were to be able to defend this cup from going over to Britain. How this is what America is all about, not having the best or even being the best, but never, ever giving up or losing the confidence in ourselves that this can be done and will be done.
The East River was deceptively calm for a while but then coming toward us, there was a big red fireboat from the NYFD, putting up a wake like we were back at Montauk again. Joe handled it very smoothly and we were then looking for the last few bridges to go under.
There was a bit of confusion in the many waterways of the river but thanks to Jon’s careful navigational preparation, he knew exactly where to go and where to stay away from. We were out from under the last bridge and heading toward the finish. We swept past the finish line and Joe threw the boat in a dramatic 180 degree turn. (Kind of like the NASCAR guys do after they win) We high fived each other and just let the victory sink in. David against Goliath. One for the little guys. If you can conceive it and believe it, you can achieve it.
We headed back into the harbor and were met by the guy from Virginia in his Donzi that he fixed up enough to be out there to welcome us in and little Sam (Minihawk) in his little outboard. As we pulled up to the marina, we could see that not only were our own friends and family there, but the entire British crew had made their way back from the harbor where they left their boat, to be on hand to welcome us back in and congratulate us on the victory. Real show of class there for sure.
Here are some shots from the day.
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