First things first, it’s hard to explain how nice it was to get back to racing when my new teammate, and longtime friend, Eric Belisle, and I competed for the first time at the Offshore Powerboat Association Crystal Coast Grand Prix in Morehead City, N.C., in our new 32-foot Doug Wright catamaran sponsored by STR X-Act.
Not being able to compete with my teammates on Team Abu Dhabi in our quest for a third-straight F1H2O world championship has been heart wrenching, so being able to show off our new Super Stock-class boat and put it to the test in a competitive setting was super exciting. It was even more exciting to come home with the checkered flag—especially for Eric as he put in a lot of time, energy and money to prepare for the race.
How does a rookie offshore race team win its first race in arguably the most competitive class in the country? Simple—by putting in the time and the effort. Photo by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
Neither of us showed up in North Carolina to just participate and work on dialing in our new boat. We showed up prepared after months of testing, which included trying out different setups and mapping out the course coordinates on Google Earth, placing the course locally in Cape Coral, Fla., and running that course over and over. We set up buoys in the same exact configuration here to mimic the racecourse there so we could practice at home what we’d be doing there. It’s not ground-breaking, but it’s all part of what I like to call “winning the race at home.”
From my limited Super Stock experience thus far, I don’t know how many other teams really put in the effort to try to win the race at home. And I’m pretty sure none of them liked being beaten by a “new” team. In fact, we’ve already heard rumblings around the circuit about how our boat is fast because we must be cheating.
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