Nigel Hook and Jay Johnson, piloting a 44′ 9″ Mystic catamaran, set a new world record for the 45′ Class during the Second Annual Ocean Cup race this weekend, going from Huntington Beach, CA, to Catalina Island and back in just 1 hour and 10 seconds. Their average speed was 112.90 mph; top speed was 145 mph.
The event was part of the Pacific Airshow event, which entertained thousands of spectators in Southern California. Racers covered 112.5 miles as the “opening act” of the weekend-long event, which is considered the best-attended airshow in the U.S.
Five powerboats competed in the APBA/UIM-sanctioned competition:
• Hook and Johnson, whose Mystic was formerly campaigned by Christopher Cox and Herb Stotler. It has been repainted, refurbished and rechristened JHook. (Hook raced to Catalina in the Rum Run short course many times between 1988 and 1998.)
• Austin and Mike Carver in their MTI V-42, powered by five Mercury Racing 450R outboards. This was the first-ever APBA-sanctioned event to feature a center console. The boat’s official time was 1:31:05, with an average speed of 69.92 mph.
• Allen Bellinghausen, Tony Adams and Steve Seaton in a 47′ Outerlimits vee bottom known as Patriotic Duty (total horsepower: 2,000). Its official time was 1:36:00, with an average speed of 70.32 mph.
• The father/son team of Walt and Lance Ware, Huntington Beach locals who will drove a diesel-powered 48′ V-bottom Apisa, designed by Larry Smith of Scarab fame (total horsepower: 1,100). Their official time was 1:41:15, with an average speed of 66.67 mph.
• Findley Gillespie and Bruce Dudley in a 28′ vee bottom Bat Boat by Reindl Powerboats. Their official time was 1:46:36, with an average speed of 63.31 mph.
This version of the Ocean Cup race was the latest incarnation of the Catalina Island Challenge—the first recorded U.S. offshore race in 1911. In 1968, legendary racer and Powerboat Magazine founder Bob Nordskog dubbed these races “Rum Runs.” Bob’s grandson, Erik Nordskog, hosted the event’s livestream broadcast with veteran offshore powerboat racing announcer Mike Yowaiski.
Following the race, Speedboat asked Hook about the latest Ocean Cup race. Here’s what he said:
“Actually, this year, it was a little calmer than last year. The weather forecast predicted two-and-a-half-footers off the coast of Huntington Beach and three-footers around the island. But there wasn’t much at all. It was pretty flat, with a few swells and bumpy patches on either ends of the island.
“I think one of the most newsworthy parts of this race is that it was the very first APBA race with a center console. In this race, we had an MTI with five 450R outboard engines on the back. I imagined it would be going right around 60 mph, but this boat was the star of the show. It had close to the second-fastest time. We started last, so we were catching up with each of the boats and passing them. But the MTI was the last boat we caught, and we didn’t catch them until we passed the southwest side of the island where it was pretty rough. But the boat was handling it so nicely with those five outboards on the back. I texted Randy Scism of MTI after the race to tell him how impressed I was. It was running full speed through three- to four-footers, and flying as level as a race boat.
“One of the important things about Ocean Cup is that it’s under the UIM rules and regulations, and has met all the right standards. The boats have to be well-prepared—not many race boats would go 130 miles in open ocean conditions and finish, but we were delighted to have 100 percent completion.
“Unfortunately, the last boat to come in—the Bat Boat, driven by our friend Findley Gillespie—had its GPS go out. They were trying to follow the other boats, but it gets confusing with all the dozens of cargo ships and oil derricks out there.”
Images provided by Daren Van Ryte / Speedboat Magazine