Regardless of your racing class or how many times you’ve done it, competing at the annual Super Boat International Offshore World Championships in Key West, Fla., is a big deal. That’s especially true for rookies hitting domestic offshore powerboat racing’s biggest stage for the first time.
So what the hell made Mike Yowaiski think he could do just that and write about it for speedonthewater.com at the same time? Sure, Yowaiski is an experienced racer who’s done most of his competing on the Offshore Powerboat Association circuit, and he’s also spent some time behind the microphone as a broadcaster. He’s even reported for speedonthewater.com before and worked as a race promoter/organizer for OPA in Solomons, Md. But taking on a series of columns and competing with the Production 4-class Maxed Out Offshore Racing team in Key West earlier this month for the first time—that was ambitious.
And in the series of columns he produced during the SBI Key West Worlds, Yowaiski’s ambition was rewarded. His pieces were personal and honest, and presented a compelling side of the sport that even the best third-person reporting simply can’t touch. Through the ups and downs that come with the territory of surviving a three-race-in-five-days format, Yowaiski’s reporting created contagious enthusiasm. More than delighted with his experience despite that his team didn’t make the podium—but did run all three races—he was downright grateful for it.
“I can wrap up Key West in one word—awesome,” Yowaiski wrote in his final piece after thanking almost everyone he could think of. “Racing there was everything I thought it would and more, and I hope to be back in 2016.”
A week later, Johnny Saris of the Saris Racing Engines team found himself in a similar boat as a competitor/reporter during the OPA National World Championships in Englewood Beach, Fla. Like Yowaiski, Saris had previously written for speedonthewater.com. Still, working with his own team as well as helping to support the Rufstr team during two days of racing and volunteering to write three columns for the site was a tall order—and one he filled perfectly.
As it happened, Saris Racing Engines took the 2015 Class 4 National and World titles in Englewood Beach. Like Yowaiski, Johnny Saris was grateful for the racing experience and he wrote about it with the same kind infectious, authentic enthusiasm.
“This one was really special,” he wrote. “Not only did we win our first National Championship as a team in Englewood, we did it in front of a special group of 28 of our hometown fans who flew down to cheer us on.”
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.