During the Offshore Powerboat Association World Championships in Englewood Beach, Fla., last month, one category had a seriously crowded start heading into the first turn. When the green flag flew for Friday’s race, 15 teams in Class 5 bombed toward the first turn buoy. No one wanted to get stuck in traffic early on the first lap.
“It was a whole lot of boats going into that first turn,” said Don Goodwin, the throttleman and owner of Reinforcer, a 30-foot Superboat powered by a 760-hp naturally aspirated ERD engine, took the checkered flag. “The start was the most important part of the race.”
On Sunday, Goodwin and driver Alan Pisacano battled with Boxer, a 30-foot Sutphen owned by Ernie DuPuis and finished in the runner-up spot. But the combined finishes gave Goodwin and Pisacano the world title. That accomplishment followed winning the Class 5 national and the overall high-points championship for the entire OPA organization in 2015.
At a time when many offshore powerboat-racing classes are declining, OPA’s P5 class is booming. The class averaged 10 boats per event this year. The 15-boat Englewood Beach turnout was the biggest class of any race—under the OPA or Super Boat International umbrella—this season.
Goodwin said economics play a big role in the popularity of the speed-bracketed class, which is limited to a top end of 75 mph. (GPS units are checked following each race, and teams that exceed the top speed or “break out” are penalized.)
“It’s a cheap class to run, single motor, pump gas,” he explained.
Goodwin grew up on Long Island, N.Y., near the Superboat factory and bought his boat in 2003. He converted it to a raceboat in 2007 and started at the Patchogue, N.Y. race that season. In addition to winning this year’s OPA world title, he won the 2011 Superboat International World Championship in Key West, Fla., with driver Kevin Harrigan. He has raced with Pisacano for the past three years.
They’ll be back. Against competition that’s likely to continuing growing, Reinforcer still has as a world title to defend.