One morning, back in the late ’90s, I got a call from a guy named Joey Imprescia, arguably one of the best throttlemen on the offshore circuit at the time. He asked me if I’d like to drive a race boat, a Douglas Skater Cat with a couple of big Sterling motors. What happened the following weekend on Long Island Sound was life-changing. I’m tellin’ you, folks, I have not experienced anything on this planet, either before or since, that’s come even remotely close to what it was like driving that sinuous, 40-foot, twin-hulled projectile at speeds in excess of 116 mph. The pure physical violence of the adventure was wholly unexpected. And so was the fierce, chopped roar of the twin Sterlings. But what’s stuck with me more than anything else through the years is the unique apprehension of speed on the water the experience imparted—the horizon did not come at me linearly. It just blinked, on and off! With split-second rapidity.
Now, of course, not everyone wants to drive fast on the water, although I heartily recommend it. But for those who do, there are facilitators on the race scene like Powerboat P1-USA (powerboatp1.com), a London-based outfit that’ll lease you a 28-foot Fountain-esque speedster you can personally drive in one (or more) of a variety of American Power Boat Association-sanctioned races in Florida. Cool? Oh yeah!
And hey, for those who prefer to stick with the spectator side of the equation, Super Boat International sponsors the World Championships in Key West every November. Stake yourself out a spot amid the crowd and watch the superboats blink past within a few fragile yards at speeds approximating 130 freakin’ mph! —B.P.