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HomeCommentarySpeed On The Water Stories Of The Year 2022: Part I of IV

Speed On The Water Stories Of The Year 2022: Part I of IV

So far this year, Speedonthewater.com has attracted 687,560 unique visitors who enjoyed a cool 3,246,084 page views per Google analytics. As remarkable as that traffic is for a niche news site, what’s even better is that those numbers are tracked by Google—hence the designation. We can’t manipulate or embellish them. They are what they are.

Some 800-plus articles produced that traffic in 2022. By any measure, that’s a whole lot of daily content from two full-time writers and a couple of freelancers including Eric Colby, who handles our offshore powerboat racing coverage. And it’s a whole lot of content to wade through when you’re looking for the biggest stories—or a series of stories exploring the same subject—of the year, which has become an annual late December exercise for my speedonthewater.com cohort Jason Johnson and me.

But it’s also a whole lot of fun.

This time around, Johnson and I each picked 10 individual stories or subjects that captured our attention—and a lot of yours according to the numbers—this year. My first five picks are below and they’ll be followed by five more on Thursday. Johnson’s will run Friday and Saturday.

Without question, 2022 was one hell of a year for news. So let’s get into it.

Cigarette Racing Team’s Wild Ride

Acquired by South Florida attorney and entrepreneur John Ruiz in late 2021, Cigarette Racing Team made a lot of news in 2023. The Opa-locka, Fla., company’s deal to buy Doug Wright Designs in Melbourne, Fla., fell through, but it’s deal to acquire Vectorworks in Titusville, Fla., did not. The company’s Midwest dealer relationship with Performance Boat Center ended and its Midwest dealer relationship with Big Thunder Marine began. Cigarette continued its sponsorship deal with the Florida Powerboat Club but opted out of continuing to back Race World Offshore. Without question, year No. 1 was a wild one for the most iconic sportboat and center console company in the go-fast boating realm.

Factory Billet Goes Big At The Shootout

Not counting test sessions, Jim Schultz, the brilliant, self-described workaholic who founded Geremarie in Lake Zurich, Ill., runs his 51-foot canopied Outerlimits V-bottom called Factory Billet once or twice a year with his engine builder/throttleman Mike Faucher at the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout in Central Missouri. A mechanical issue kept them out of the Saturday action this year, but the following morning Schultz and Faucher laid down a blistering 166-mph pass on the three-quarter-mile course, which was a V-bottom record for the event. Said Schultz, “Out of all the times we’ve done this, and I think it’s been six years now, everything was right—the approach to the flag and anticipating it so we could pull boost; our line down the course, which you want to take at an angle, was perfect.”

M CON Commands The Offshore Racing Stage

In the interest of full disclosure, offshore racer Tyler Miller, the owner and throttleman of the Super Cat-class M CON team, and I have become good friends. He’s a breath of fresh air in a sport that’s been needing one for a long time, a guy who raises everyone’s behavioral game simply by being there and being his unfailingly polite and kind self. But he also obliterates the tired notion of nice guys finishing last. In 2023, Miller, the subject of an episode of the second-year Speed On The Water “In The Lead” series, driver Myrick Coil and the rest of the M CON team earned an American Power Boat Association Offshore National Championship and a Union Internationale Motonautique World Championship. Earlier in the year, Miller announced he was having Skater Powerboats build a new Class 1 catamaran for the 2023, and the build will be chronicled in a Speed On The Water documentary video to air in the spring. Just four days before the team claimed its UIM world title in Key West, Fla., Monster Energy Drink announced it will be sponsoring the team during the 2023 Class 1 season.

Mystic’s Massive Move

For most people, reaching a record-setting 207 mph on a three-quarter-mile course in a 51-foot catamaran of his own creation would be enough for a Lake of the Ozarks Shootout. But John Cosker, the founder of owner of Mystic Powerboats in DeLand, Fla., is not most people. Cosker, who passed on the 2022 Miami International Boat Show without missing a beat, introduced his new M5200 center console during the top-speed contest in Central Missouri. He spent much of his time in the Show Me State doing exactly that with the breathtaking 52-footer powered by four 600-hp outboard engines from Mercury Marine. As of right now, Cosker—who was featured in the first season of the Speed On The Water “In The Lead” video series—and company have completed their second M5200, which recently aced its first sea trial and will be delivered to an international client next month, and have six on order.  

 1,000 Islands Returns To Raves

Even with a devoted organizing crew such as Alexandra Buduson, Bobby Cantwell, Renee and Ken Lalonde, Jeff Morgan and Courtney Rutherford behind it, no go-fast boating event—even one that happens on one of the world’s most spectacular waterways—is guaranteed to be remembered and attended after a three-year hiatus. That was the challenge faced by the above-noted organizers and their small volunteer army behind the 1,000 Islands Charity Poker Run in Clayton, N.Y., and they didn’t just rise to it. They flat-out crushed it and ensured the event, which was chronicled in a Speed On The Water video, will be around for many years to come.

Editor’s Note: All photos courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix and Jeff Helmkamp/Helmkamp Photos.

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