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Image Of The Week: Sneaker Wake Launch

You know the feeling and you never forget it. You’re blasting across the water and all is right with the world until—thanks to the wake or wave ahead you didn’t see—it’s not. Now, you’re a whole lot higher in the air than you really wanted to be. What goes up must come down, and the landing typically is a bit less pleasant than the launch.

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Running Johnny O’Loughlin’s new MTI 340X sport catamaran, Jimmy McIntyre and his copilot got a little more air than they bargained for (click image to enlarge). Photo courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.

It happens to pretty much everyone, regardless of experience, at one time or another. Just yesterday while we were running a hot new 47-foot Fountain Powerboats sportboat powered by Mercury Racing 1550/1350 engines and painted by Visual Imagination, TNT Custom Marine’s John Tomlinson and I were talking about this exact scenario.

Several years back, Tomlinson, who has more than a little go-fast pleasure boating and offshore racing experience, and noted marine journalist Eric Colby were sharing the cockpit of canopied raceboat in the Atlantic Ocean off Miami for a story Colby was writing. Tomlinson was throttling, Colby was driving and they were running close to 120 mph.

Neither saw the hefty swell ahead of them.

“When we finally landed—really rough—after banging our helmets together Eric asked, ‘Are we OK?’” said Tomlinson, laughing hard at the memory. “I said, ‘Oh yeah, we’re good. That happens all the time.’ But thankfully, it doesn’t.”

Thankfully, indeed, but it happens. Just ask Johnny O’Loughlin of New York, who owns both the new MTI cats—a 48-footer with Mercury Racing 1550/1350 stern-drive engines and a 34-footer with Mercury Racing 450R outboards—in the image above and his friend Jimmy McIntyre. (Yes, O’Loughlin just had new versions of each completed in 2017, but the guy likes brand-new boats.) During a speedonthewater.com photo shoot in Key West, Fla., last Saturday, the smaller MTI encountered a wake from a big sportfisher that neither McIntyre, who was behind the wheel, nor his copilot expected.

All made it back to the docks in one piece. And unexpected as it was, the surprise flight produced a fine Image of the Week.

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