As Hollywood-perfect storylines go for the upcoming Ocean Cup Gateway Marathon, a 128-mile open-open endurance race from Palm Beach, Fla., to West End, Bahamas, set for June 1-4, that of Bob Latham and Lorne Leibel is hard to beat. Start with their vessel, a 47-foot Apache—hull No. 1—originally owned by offshore powerboat racing’s favorite currently incarcerated villain, Ben Kramer.
Legends in the high-performance powerboating world, Lorne Leibel and Bob Latham will run Leibel’s 47-foot Apache in the early June Ocean Cup Gateway Marathon.
And there are the two principal players, Leibel, who owns the 47-footer re-rigged in 2020 by TNT Custom Marine in Miami. In 2021, Liebel came out of retirement to join TNT co-founder John Tomlinson in the cockpit of a Skater Powerboats 388 catamaran and they earned a Super Cat-class world championship.
The founder of Latham Marine, a pioneering parts design, engineering and fabrication powerhouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Latham hasn’t raced since 1989, when he throttled for the Jesse James team, but his resume includes sharing the cockpit with Leibel and Tomlinson in 1987 in Marathon, Fla., for the TNT principal’s first race. Just one year earlier, Leibel and Latham notched a win, Leibel’s first, at the 158-mile Apache Grand Prix in a 38-foot Cigarette.
Nonfiction plots just don’t get any richer—and remain nonfiction.
The two legends of the sport have remained friends for decades. So when Leibel asked Latham to join him in this year’s Gateway Marathon, the answer came easy.
“I have always enjoyed running a strong rough-water V-bottom,” Latham explained. “So when Lorne told me he was looking for a good rough-water throttleman, I was in.”
Having recently enjoyed a season in a state-of-the-art Super Cat, Leibel said he’s looking forward to going a bit more retro with an old-school V-bottom raceboat in an open-ocean contest.
“I’ve raced vintage cars, but never alongside modern-design cars,” he said. “Bobby and I are representing classic boats. We welcome the opportunity to compete alongside today’s modern hulls and equipment.”
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