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HomeRacingRecords Set And Broken—Inside The 2023 Ocean Cup Rum Run

Records Set And Broken—Inside The 2023 Ocean Cup Rum Run

So a former Mercury Racing president walks into an oceanfront tap house and runs into a longtime media guy. Sounds like a setup for a really bad dad-joke, right?

Still, that’s exactly what happened last Saturday at The American Dream restaurant during the Pacific Air Show in Huntington Beach, Calif. Fred Kiekhaefer—for the record the only president Mercury Racing ever had—was in town as the grand marshal and a broadcaster for the Ocean Cup Series Rum Run powerboat endurance race, which starts from Huntington Beach, circumnavigates Catalina Island and returns to the famed Southern California surfing hub.

A 42-foot Chief V-bottom, Miss Wex set a new Ocean Cup Series Rum Run record. Photos courtesy copyright Erick Bryner and Daren Van Ryte.

“I love real offshore endurance racing,” Kiekhaefer told the media guy, who had come to visit family in the area on a whim the day prior, as fighter jets roared overhead every few minutes and sent the suds-fueled crowd howling. “That’s why I agreed to come out here for the Rum Run and be part of the broadcast team.”


One of two West Coast events in the Ocean Cup Series this year, the Rum Run actually happened early last Friday morning. Of the five teams registered, two set new records and two broke their own existing marks from the 2022 event. On the new side were Eric and Machs Wex, who completed the 110-mile trek in Miss Wex, a 42-foot Chief V-bottom powered by twin 1,000-hp Cobra engines. The father-and-son duo averaged 73.95 mph and completed the run in 1 hour, 37 minutes, 17 seconds.

Piloting a 1988 model-year 36-foot Mirage V-bottom dubbed Heat Wave for its sponsor and powered by twin Mercury Racing HP 500 Bulldog engines, Brian Creech and Matt Field also set a new record for their class with a time of 1 hour, 56 minutes, 39 seconds. The cockpit duo averaged 57.87 mph on the open-ocean course.

The record-breaking Jolly Roger Bat Boat was among the smallest entries in the mix.

Running Jolly Roger II, a 28-foot Mannerfelt “Bat Boat” with 600 hp courtesy of twin Mercury Racing 300R outboard engines, Ocean Cup series stalwart Nigel Hook and Tim Pattison completed the journey in 1 hour, 35 minutes and averaged 71.05 mph. Their performance knocked 7 minutes and 31 seconds off the mark they established in 2022.

But arguably the most significant performance of the 2023 Rum Run was delivered by Tony Adams, Allen Bellinghausen and Steve Seaton in Patriotic Duty, a 47-foot Outerlimits Offshore Powerboats V-bottom powered by dual-calibration Mercury Racing 1350/1100 engines. Just last month, the Northern California trio broke the record from San Francisco to Marina del Rey, as well as the mark from San Francisco to Long Beach.

For the Patriotic Duty offshore endurance racing team, the past two months have yielded spectacular results.

Next to that, the last Friday’s event was more a milk run than a rum run.

But that didn’t stop them from going all out. The Patriotic Duty team completed the run in 1 hour, 17 minutes, 10 seconds, which knocked almost 7 minutes (6 minutes and 50 seconds to be exact) off the 1-hour, 24-minute record they set last year.

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Enjoy more images from the 2023 Rum Run in the slideshow above.

“We faced head seas going out and it was a bit rough,” Bellinghausen said. “And when you go around the north end of the island before you turn back, you got slammed. We hit one wave so hard it knocked the communication cord out of my headset, but I was able to reach down and get it plugged back in. From there on it was like 95 mph all the way home.

“Unless you can do 95 mph all the way around the island, the new record won’t fall,” he added. “And I don’t know if that will ever happen.”

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