For those offshore racers who competed in Sunday’s Super Boat International Key West Offshore World Championships, the finale of the three-day event probably wasn’t the biggest water they’ve ever encountered. But the consensus was that it was one of the roughest days ever in Key West, especially considering the first turn isn’t as far out as it used to be in the past.
The Stihl team caught a lot of air and paid the price Sunday in Key West, Fla. Photos by Chris LaMorte (left) and Adrian Barrett (right).
This year, the real rough stuff was on the wind-blown straightaway coming into the harbor. So for everyone spectating on “the mole,” the show was jaw-dropping to say the least. The picture on the left from New Jersey performance boater Chris LaMorte, who was standing on the Outer Mole of the Truman Annex, helps explain why so many racers told speedonthewater.com they can’t remember such intense conditions in Key West.
Although several teams, including Miss GEICO, Racing for Cancer and SOS Venezuela, did the same thing, the Stihl team of J.R. Noble and Mark Kowalski stood up its 38-foot Skater Powerboats catamaran a couple of times, which led to a busted gimbal on the starboard drive. If it wasn’t for the steering tie bar, the team’s drive would be sitting at the bottom of the ocean.
Between sheered drive shafts, tunnel tabs ripped off the transom and more, the final day of the Key West Worlds was described on Facebook by Adrian Barrett of Barrett Custom Marine in Lake Havasu City, Ariz., as #GotCarnage. Obviously it wasn’t a massive slaughter of people, but in the eyes of Barrett—who shot the image at the right and was in town to crew for Mike DeFrees and Todd Beckman in the Team CRC MTI—and many others, a massacre is a fitting way to describe what happened to many of the boats on Sunday.
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