Past Races

August 22, 2015

HORBA presents...

Offshore racing has changed since the very beginning. When the sport began it was usually a course that would run over open ocean waters from one point to another. The old races were long distance events, Miami to Nassau, 185 miles, Miami to Key West, 185 miles, Around Long Island, 254 miles, Long Beach to San Francisco 439 miles, and the old Bahamas 500 race, 539 miles. The contestants were usually people from the marine industry who not only enjoyed the racing itself but also the opportunity to use the races as a way to prove their product, whether it be boat, motor, pump, oil, cable, etc. etc. was better than the competitions.

The races grew over the decades to the point that in New Jersey during the 70's, the Coast Guard wouldn't allow the Benihana race, to be held on a weekend because they felt the crowds would be too large for effective control. So for many years, the race was held on a Wednesday in July and it still attracted an estimated 400,000 spectators, spread out over the course on boats and along the beaches.

But then someone thought that if they brought the races closer to the beach and shorten the distance, it could attract even more spectators to a particular locale and hopefully the sponsors would like that……and the world of offshore racing was forever changed. Today the world of "Offshore Racing" is a course that is approximately 6 to 10 miles long, up and down the beach, or no further out than a half mile and the distances run are around 60 to 90 miles in laps over the course.

Now an important point here is the racers themselves hadn't changed, just the courses they were given to race on by the sanctioning bodies. A racer will race anything anywhere, if given the opportunity. The opportunity for the racers is just what HORBA did in June of 2008, we gave them the opportunity to go out into the open ocean again with a course that ran from Miami to Bimini and back 106 open miles.

With the assistance of OSS, the Offshore Super Series, on the same weekend that they had a regu lar race scheduled HORBA was able to stage for the first time in more than 20 years a real open ocean race. We had 18 boats make it to the starting line and 14 finished. Our intention was to create a place for the older restored race boats to have a place to compete again, but also leave it open so that modern boats could also have an opportunity to safely try this open ocean racing.

The ocean water in Miami in June is usually very calm and this proved to be the case in 2008. Although the boats and crews weren't challenged by the water conditions, they still had to navigate and strategically plan their run for the 106 miles. Some of the fastest boats were unable to make the start due to damages suffered in a race event the previous week, but the boats that did make the starting line made up in attitude whatever they lacked in speed.

HORBA put on the race to honor Don Aronow, one of the pioneers of the sport. The very first race boat that Don ever built for himself from one of his own boat companies had been restored and was entered in the race. The boat was a Formula 233 that Don had raced in the 1963 Miami to Key West race. It was the first of the three race boats that Don called "The Cigarette" after a famous Brooklyn rum runner of the 30's. It was powered by a single 409 cu in engine with a Mercruiser sterndrive. The engine and drive had been totally restored by Innovation Marine of Sarasota, the top people in the marine engine world today. The boat had been restored by the present owner, Bob Di Nisco with help from his brother Scott and his dad, Bob Sr.

The Classes:

         Historic Open
         Historic Production
         Vee Open
         Vee Factory
         Vee Light
         Cat Open
         Cat Light

The Results:




Historic Open



    1st place Premier Performance Marine, Frank Areces and Albert Echemendia


Historic Production



    1st Place The Cigarette, Formula, Bob DeNisco, Mark Peroni and Charlie McCarthy








Vee Open



    1st place Miccosukee, Fountain, Brett Furshman and Billy Glick


    2nd Place, XXX, Outerlimits Jim Wiley and Nick Boyse


    3rd Place Maximus, Cigarette, Tom Abraham and Jim Mc Intyre


Vee Factory



    1st Place Bad Girl, Cigarette, Rob Freeman and Dave Sikorski


Vee Light



    1st Place Extreme Vortec, Adib Mastry and Steve Miklos


    2nd Place, LaveyCraft, Kevin Cooper and Brandy Willie








Cat Open



    1st Place Mercedes, MTI, Gino Gargulio and Larry Goldman


    2nd Place Rachel's, MTI, Keith Johnson and Todd Werner


    3rd Place Time Flies, MTI, George Kovacs and Mike Seebold


Cat Light



    1st Place Amsoil, Skater, Paul Whittier and Bob Teague


    2nd Place Peppers, Skater, George and Michael Stancombe


    3rd Place Popeye, Skater, Stan Ware and Will Ross


Our thanks to Pete Boden for allowing HORBA to use the great photos shown above.



271 miles of real open ocean racing on the same weekend that
Hurricane Igor hits the northeast coast...

Our thanks to Jay Nichols for creating the montage of the winning boat shown above.


The 2010 Don Aronow Memorial Race...
From behind the bolsters
— Charlie McCarthy

I was very fortunate to be offered a crew position on a boat that was entered in the Don Aronow Memorial Around Long Island Race this past weekend. It is a mid 80's Sonic that is 30 feet long and powered with twin small blocks with Alpha Mercruiser drives with cooling showers on them. It is a production boat, not a special one off race boat.

The owner of the boat Joe De Fusco is not only the rigger, chief mechanic and truck driver for the team, he is also the driver and throttleman on the boat. He invited a friend of his to be the navigator. His friend Jonathan Tobin is not a power boater, but he is a highly experienced racer from the world of offshore sailboat racing with many experiences including a Trans Pac race under his belt. Jon has gone on a few poker runs with Joe, so he kind of knew what to expect… not really, as he found out quickly, poker runs and offshore races are very different.

I was the last member of the crew and as Joe explained very clearly up front, the boat only had two bolsters and the only place for me would be to stand behind the bolsters and astride of the life raft case mounted on the floor. I did have grab handles on the backs of the two bolsters but no lean back bolster. Knowing exactly what I was getting into I readily accepted the very generous invitation... READ ARTICLE

A tale of heroes today and yesterday...
The little Sonic that could -- where racing heroes really come from
— Rich Luhrs

There were 3 races held this weekend. One in New Jersey, one in North Carolina, and one on Long Island. While I am sure that the races in NJ and NC featured heroic performances, bedazzling talent, and nail biting, though speed controlled, finishes.... and included local iconic favorites, including legendary, Billy Martin, Joe Sgro, Peter Meyer and others whose presence would have tripled the impact of the the local event, the story of the weekend occurred today in the waters off Long Island.

Let me set the stage for you........ The Around Long Island Marathon, conceived by Billy Frenz and Charlie McCarthy, as a tribute to the late Don Aronow, was set on a fabled course that many of the most respected water warriors in powerboat racing history had battled on. It is a humbling course to say the least... READ ARTICLE



Top 11 in 2011
#10 The Don Aronow Memorial Around Long Island Marathon
— seriousadmin

2011 was an "interesting" year for performance boating events across the country. Of all of them, the NPBA-sponsored Aronow Memorial race ranks pretty high up on the interesting scale. After a twenty-one year hiatus, the Around Long Island Marathon quickly became one of the most anticipated events of 2010.

The significance of this race is most likely best represented by the list of its former winners. That list includes Sam Griffith, Jim Wynne, Odell Lewis, Alan "Brownie" Brown and Dick Genth as well as the team of Bill Sirois and Fred Kiekhaefer.

The resurrection of this iconic race was the result of the efforts of NPBA's Billy Frenz and HORBA president and Banana Powerboats CEO Charlie McCarthy ... READ MORE


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