Other than “find another career if you want to get rich,” I have just one piece of advice for would-be journalists: The more foreign and faraway the feature assignment you’re offered, the more quickly you should accept it. Between cultural differences and language barriers, you will be forced to raise your reporting and storytelling games. And that can lead to some of your best work.
How a legendary Italian powerboat designer led a small group of North Americans to Peru—and bonded them forever (click image to enlarge). Photo courtesy/copyright Bob Teague/Teague Custom Marine.
I learned that lesson on the trail of Fabio Buzzi, the famed 76-year-old Italian powerboat designer, world champion offshore racer and endurance-record pioneer who died last week during a tragic accident on the water. In January 2002, Powerboat magazine editor Brett Becker sent photographer Tom Newby and me to Peru to cover an attempt to break one of Buzzi’s many endurance records. Bob Teague of Teague Custom Marine in Valencia, Calif., and his Lima-based customer Lizardo Benites were going after Buzzi’s Puscasana-Ancon-Pucasana record off the Peruvian coast.
By averaging more than 92 mph in a 40-foot canopied V-bottom powered by 1,200-hp supercharged Teague Custom Marine engines in both directions of the 60-plus-mile run, they shattered the record set years earlier by Buzzi in La Gran Argentina, a 55-foot canopied V-bottom powered by four turbocharged Seatek diesel engines—a boat-and-power package of his own creation. The following year, Teague and Benites returned to break their own record by averaging 107.14 mph for the two-way run.