Memorial race in honour of the late Don Aronow becomes genuine offshore event
The race round Long Island last weekend honouring race boat designer/builder and championship offshore driver, Don Aronow, who was gunned down in 1987, was a 257 mile contest that took contestants well off the US coastline. It was severity was such that it even included a refuelling stop similar to that adopted by the Cowes-Torquay-Cowes in the 1980s when few European racing boats had the fuel capacity to cover more than 150 miles.
Because the event coincided with an American national championship round off Atlantic City (later cancelled due to hurricane force winds) only three competitors took part. These include Britain’s Neil Gibbs who first tasted the sport in the third Round Britain race two years ago. This time he was aboard his new quadruple Fiat Powertrain diesel powered 50ft (15.24m) Outer Limits. Unfortunately although the boat showed exciting potential insufficient time was available before the race for thorough preparation and mechanical failure forced Gibbs to retire after 30 mile miles.
The British entry joined the only catamaran taking part that also retired after its crew found sea conditions far too extreme for their multihull.
The event was eventually won by race outsider, the 30ft (9.1m) monohull Sonic driven by Joe De Fusco (pictured after the race).
It was apparent that a certain section of American offshore racing is about to follow the example set in Britain at the Cowes-Torquay-Cowes over the past couple of years, a reversion to monohull configuration designed for racing on genuine offshore courses. Several American offshore drivers who attended as spectator’s expressed serious interest in attending the British Cowes-Torquay-Cowes race in 2011.