The World's number one fan and I went to the site on Saturday as we generally do in support of Billy's events. I applaud the concept of a change in the direction of Offshore Racing back to basics. The "spectator friendliness" approach has drawn an array of friends, relatives and hangers on as well as locals whose curiousity is often drawn by a need to find something to do with the family within a few miles of home, but has not produced anything remotely resembling a fan base. The old marathon races both off and in shore were covered extensively in the print media and later on via TV generating significant worldwide interest (Don Aronow was a household name to boating enthusiasts around the world). I think the lesson here is that the vision of man against nature with no holds barred is very compelling even to the point that last weeks ill fated cruise to Bermuda was of more interest than most of today's circle races in bays and lakes. The fact that people have been killed does not legitimize a motor sport other than to bring into question its attention to safety and rescue rules and standards....and by no means should it make it any more or less interesting to a true race fan. Unfortunately there have been fatalities in boat racing going back to the very earliest years and that is a totally different subject for another forum.
Aside from the petty griping on this thread with a clear agenda to stir the pot, I think that the interest and controvery created is needed to improve the vison of "Offshore" racing and bring it back to where it belongs...Offshore. There are many purpose built race boats that belong on closed courses at high speeds ranging from small outboard hydros through tunnel boats and up to the amazing Unlimiteds that are much more thrilling than a menagerie of vee bottoms with a couple of guys on board going in GPS controlled circles.
To me, anything that was designed for rough water, navigation and endurance belongs on a course that challenges these attributes. A 50 foot cat trying for top speed on a lake is like a mountain climber on a football field....simply illogical.
I applaud the Around Long Island Marathon revival and, as a veteran of the original, know full well how this event grabbed the imagination of every performance boater in the country for years.
Congrats to the "Joes" especially the guy who went back to his roots.... Joe Sgro...and congrats to Billy and Charlie for, at the very least, trying something different, but very familiar .