Who Will Win In Key West?

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Is picking offshore racing world champions harder or easier than it looks? You’ll never know unless you try. Photo by Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.

For the past few years, I’ve offered predictions of who will win what at the annual Super Boat International Offshore World Championships in Key West, Fla. If memory serves, I’ve been wrong a little more than I’ve been right but I’m not about to stop now. That’s part of the fun of being a bi-weekly columnist—twice a week, you get the public opportunity to look smart or stupid.

So here are my picks for this year’s SBI World Champions in the five major classes:

  • SuperboatPerformance Boat Center, because defending world champs Myrick Coil and John Tomlinson never seemed to miss a beat this season, regardless of water conditions, in their Skater 388 catamaran. Of course, I would not be surprised one bit to see the WHM Motorsports team of Billy Mauff and Jay Muller—a couple of cagey, talented and perennially motivated veterans—take them down. But I’m sticking with Performance Boat Center.
  • Superboat UnlimitedWake Effects, because Rusty Rahm and Jeff Harris are overdue for some mechanical-issue-free good fortune after a season that saw little stuff dog them on their way to a national championship. And when their 48-foot MTI is at its best, the gorgeous catamaran appears to be untouchable by anything else in the Unlimited-class fleet. Team CRC/Sunlight Supply, another 48-footer from MTI, is a possible spoiler, but my money is on Wake Effects to claim the title for the second year in a row.
  • Superboat ExtremeAMH Construction/Instigator, because while Joe Srgo and Steve Curtis have made excellent progress dialing in their 40-foot Outerlimits V-bottom, Peter Meyer’s 40-foot Fountain has an unmatched track record in this class. If there’s any sort of wildcard, it’s the relationship between Srgo and Meyer, a couple of close longtime friends who like nothing better than to beat each other on the racecourse.
  • Superboat VeeSun Print, because Steve Miklos and Steve Fehrmann definitely have jelled in the cockpit, as their outstanding first-place performance at last weekend’s SBI National Championships in Clearwater, Fla., proved. Of course, they’ll have their hands full with defending Superboat Vee-class national and world champions Brit Lilly and Ron Umlandt in LSB/Hurricane of Awesomeness/Rev-X Oil. Then again, the LSB boys, who claimed a national title last weekend, will have their hands full, as they did in Clearwater, with the Sun Print crew.
  • Superboat StockFJ Propeller, because throttleman Gary Ballough is that good in his 32-foot Doug Wright catamaran and he and excellent driver Darren Kittredge make it look too easy. My guess? Barring mechanical issues, FJ Propeller will sweep all three races in Key West. So the real battle will be for second place, and I’m betting on Key West native son Ryan Beckley and whoever joins him in the cockpit of his 30-foot Skater cat.

Are my picks obvious and easy? Sure, at least with the exception of Superboat Vee. But those are my picks based on what I’ve seen this year. I’ve picked the obvious favorites before. And I’ve been wrong before.

Now it’s your turn.

In the Facebook comments at the bottom of this page, give us your picks for the 2017 world champions in the Superboat, Superboat Unlimited, Superboat Extreme, Superboat Vee and Superboat Stock classes—and tell us why you think each of those teams will win. If they match mine, great. If not, great. They’re your picks.

Come on, it’ll be fun.

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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.

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