What goes up—in the spectacular world of offshore powerboat racing—always comes down hard. In November the "Double-O-Seven" of Britain's brave Tommy Sopwith, scion of the Tommy who built the legendary Camel plane, catches fire between bounces and sinks near the Dry Tortugas. Sopwith bails out into shark waters and is saved by world-champion-to-be Vincenzo Balestrieri of Italy. In April a fearful greenhorn grasps the sissy-bar so decisively in a rough South African race that his fingers split open like overdone franks. In May a 1,000-hp 36-footer swaps ends at 60 mph off Fort Lauderdale. In July another loops the loop off New Jersey. In any season, in or out of trouble, these seagoing missiles provide the color camera with scenes of extraordinary power and beauty, as the following pages show. Read on for the story of one champion who has found the formula for the quickest way across the bounding main.
High-hurdling the wake of a competitor, Dr. Robert Magoon aims his Cigarette over the Bahamian waters on his way to the 1971 U.S. offshore racing title.
Don Aronow's boats have won them all.
Bill Wishnick leads in point standings.
Dr. Robert Magoon moved up from outboards.
Vincenzo Balestrieri is defending champ.
Master Builder Don Aronow and the season's top drivers get their kicks in a sport where water is about as soft as a brick wall. A man can be riding high one moment—as Doug Silvera is above in his Bahamas 500-winning "Starduster"—and dead in the water the next with the hatches open and frantic repairs under way. So it is with "Blonde II" Most unusual craft in the fleet is the tunnel-hulled catamaran "Zippé" designed by Ron Jones.
Two Cigarettes smoking up a storm: Wishnick's "Boss O'Nova III," pictured from above, and a view from the bow of Magoon's "Aeromarine," Dr. Bob at the controls.