Success means something different for everyone. No two measures of it are identical, right?
For a long-time performance-boat owner, it can be building the most reliable and seaworthy catamaran of his dreams. For a go-fast boating event organizer, it can be raising a record amount of money for people who need help.
For a boat-builder, success can mean releasing an overdue model that is an instant hit. For an offshore powerboat-racing producer, it can be driving the resurgence of a class that many observers—this one included—believed was on the wrong side of the dirt.
And sometimes, facing and exorcizing a personal demon born in a tragic moment can be the greatest success of a person’s life.
With all that in mind, here are my last five picks for Speed On The Water Stories of the Year.
Bareman Builds His Dream Boat
Powered by two Mercury Racing 450R engines, Steve Bareman’s Skater Powerboats 388 tops out at 115 mph. Not only is the Michigan-based owner’s 388 the first to be equipped with outboard engines, it’s likely the slowest 38-footer ever built by the Douglas, Mich., company as they are typically set up with potent turbocharged or supercharged sterndrive powerplants. And Bareman, an experienced go-fast catamaran enthusiast, is just fine with that. His goals in building the outboard-powered cat were reliability and rough-water ability, as Lake Michigan is his backyard playground. Said Bareman, “The boat works perfectly for what I wanted to do.”
The Shootout Takes Care Of Its Own
Take a drive around the Lake of the Ozarks in Central Missouri and, from posh shoreline homes to powerboats on the water, you’ll see great wealth—the byproduct of hard work, sacrifice and good fortune. But you don’t have to stray far from the Central Missouri waterway to find yourself driving through rural poverty. That’s why Ron Duggan, Diana Dorhauer, Mark and Tiffany Massen, Leah Martin and the entire Lake of the Ozarks Shootout team, not to mention presenting sponsors Mark Waddington and Brett Manire of Performance Boat Center, focus on raising money for charity throughout the annual event. And with a record-setting $625,000 raised during the 2022 event, their efforts proved particularly satisfying.
Outerlimits Joins The Sport Cat Fray
Yes, Outerlimits Offshore Powerboats just joined the sport catamaran club this model-year with its sexy SC 37 model. Turns out it was worth the wait for the Bristol, R.I., company as loyal customers including Wisconsin’s Vinnie Diorio, who also owns a Super Cat-class Outerlimits raceboat, and Jeremy Tschida of Minnesota, who owns a 46-foot open-cockpit pleasure cat from Outerlimits, now own 37-footers powered by Mercury Racing 450R engines. A half-dozen SC 37 cats have been delivered so far and—at this writing—14 have been sold. Said Diorio of his newest Outerlimits creation, “I love it. It makes boating easy again.”
Class 1 Rises
Back in 2019, Powerboat P1 chief executive officer Azam Rangoonwala’s goal of resurrecting Union Internationale Motonautique Class 1 offshore powerboat racing seemed pretty far-fetched, maybe even a little delusional. Sure, there were plenty of mothballed Class 1 raceboats following the 2016 season—the last season before its intriguing 2019 comeback attempt driven by the P1 leader—but the class had mostly devolved into a pair of deep-pocket nations competing for bragging rights before it went dark. But encouraged—a significant understatement—by Class 1 veteran Steve Curtis of the then-Class 1 Miss GEICO, Powerboat P1 stuck with it. The 2019 season ended up with three teams—222 Offshore Australia, Miss GEICO and Victory—in the mix.
But the Class 1 momentum stalled thanks to the pandemic-canceled 2020 season and pandemic-hampered season the following year. That made 2022 a make-or-break year for Rangoonwala and company.
And “make” it was with Huski Chocolate besting three consistent teams to take the Class 1 Championship Series. By the time the Race World Offshore World Championships in Key West, Fla., began six Class 1 teams took the green flag—and all but one, JBS Racing, will be coming back in 2023. Better still, the United States-based M CON team is building a new Class 1 raceboat for the 2023 season—with Monster Energy drink as its sponsor—and a Norwegian outfit mostly staffed with former Class 1 Spirit of Norway team members also has committed for next year’s Class 1 season.
So who was delusional again?
Joel Begin’s New Beginning
Burton Kirsten (left) and Joel Begin.
A devoted Outerlimits Offshore Powerboats customer who considered company founder Mike Fiore to be “a brother,” Canadian Joel Begin was in the cockpit with Fiore in 2014 when the canopied 46-foot catamaran they were running down the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout course flipped at 180-plus mph. Begin survived his physical injuries. Fiore died three days later.
But Begin’s deepest, longest-lasting injury was a broken heart. The gentle French-Canadian had not ridden in a canopied catamaran again until he caught a mid-October ride on the Central Missouri lake with his wife, Guylaine, and Burton Kirsten in Jet, Kirsten’s canopied 46-foot Outerlimits cat.
“Joel was a little nervous at first, but after we got going he had this big smile on his face the whole time,” said Kirsten. “But the best part was seeing the smile on Guylaine’s face. She was so happy to see Joel happy.”
Editor’s note: Look for “Speed On The Water Stories Of The Year 2022: Part III of IV,” authored by Jason Johnson, tomorrow on speedonthewater.com
Speed On The Water Stories Of The Year 2022: Part I Of IV
Outboard-Powered Skater 388 No. 1 Works ‘Perfectly’ In First Season
Norway-Based Sudrheim Offshore Racing Team Coming To Class 1
Monster Energy Backing Class 1 M CON Racing Team
Record Shattered! Lake Of The Ozarks Shootout Donates $625,000
The Full-Circle Journey Of Joel Begin
Top 10 Go-Fast Boating Stories Of The Year, Part II—In The Lead Video Series Blazes Trails, Mercury Marine Adds V-12 Outboard And More
Top 10 Go-Fast Boating Stories Of The Year, Part I—Cigarette Sells, GEICO Bails And More
Top Stories Of 2020, Part I
Top Stories Of 2020, Part II
Top 10 Stories Of 2019, Part I
Top 10 Stories Of 2019, Part II