KEY WEST, Florida Keys -- Powerboat racers Dan DeSantis and Charlie Haimes won the SuperCat class world title Sunday during the final heat of the three-leg Key West Offshore Worlds Championship in the Florida Keys.
Piloting DeSantis Chevrolet, a 40-foot Skater catamaran with two 800 hp engines, DeSantis of Brockton, Mass., and Haimes of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., jumped out in front of the pack of eight SuperCats that raced Sunday, and never lost the lead as they averaged 94.3 mph, around the 79-mile, 16-lap course.
They easily captured the series by also tallying a win during Saturday's race and a third-place-finish Wednesday.
"We've been struggling all year, and spent a lot of time in planning and preparing for it and making sure we wouldn't have issues," said DeSantis. "After (Saturday), we really wanted to back it up with a win so we could show we are a great team."
The victory marked Haimes' sixth world championship since 1993.
Dominic Visconsi of Pepper Pike, Ohio, and Jim Dyke of Vermilion, Ohio, placed second in SuperCat, racing Popeye, while Keith Holmes of Grand Haven, Mich., and Barry Glovik of Conklin, Mich., placed third in Cat Can Do.
Noticeably absent in Key West was Bacardi Silver, driven by John Tomlinson of Miami and Hugh Fuller of Clearwater. The team has won consecutive American Power Boat Association Offshore (APBA) national and world titles in SuperCat every year since 2001.
But a division among the ranks in offshore racing resulted in Bacardi opting to race at the APBA Offshore Worlds in Orange Beach, Ala., while the vast majority of other SuperCat boats, the sport's featured division, voted to compete in Key West.
"It's disappointing they (Bacardi) weren't here," said Haimes, 40, who won his sixth world championship. "We wanted to beat them too."
Although wind and sea conditions were relatively calm Sunday, there were five accidents, but no serious injuries according to race medical and safety officials.
The most dramatic mishap was on the eighth lap when Reliable Carrier, piloted by Tom Abrams of Northville, Mich., and Jerry Gilbreath of Priest River, Idaho, flipped after hitting Cat Can Do at a turn buoy on the outside leg of the course.
But Abrams and Gilbreath calmly emerged from an emergency hatch on the bottom of the hull and rode on their upside-down boat back to the dock.
Key West Offshore Worlds (Combine Results of Two or Three Races) Class, Finish, Boat, Owner/Driver, Hometown.
Super Cat: 1. DeSantis Chevrolet Racing, Dan DeSantis, Brockton, Mass.; 2. Popeye, Dominic Visconsi, Pepper Pike, Ohio; 3. Cat Can Do, Keith Holmes, Grand Haven, Mich.
Super Cat Light: 1. In Contempt, Paul Whittier, Kirtland, Wash.; 2. Liquid Metal, John Talley, Boonesboro, Md.; 3. Page Racing, Steve Page, Cape Coral, Fla.
Super Vee: 1. Ettore, Jim Richardson, Jr., Danville, Ca.; 2. Spiderman, Todd Welling, San Carlos, Ca.; 3. Adrenaline Racing, Ken Bowen, Coto de Casa, Ca.
Factory 1: 1. Team Lavey Craft, Kevin Cooper, Dana Port, Calif.; 2. Radioactive, Kevin LaCasse, Gilford, N.H.; 3. Mutual $$$ Fun, Rich Clarke, Columbus, Oh.
Factory 2: 1. Fountain Mercury, Todd Welling, San Carlos, Ca.; 2. Pantera Racing, Jo Nunez, Miami.
Super Stock: 1. Sea Tow, Gary Ballung, Boca Raton, Fla.; 2. High Risk, John Vanderstel, St. Cloud, Fla.; 3. Cat Can Do, Mark Poelker, Warren, Mich.
Performance 1: 1. Agitator, Charles Amann, Cincinnati, Oh.
Performance 3: 1. Traffic Light, Ed Smith, St. Clair, Mich.
One Design: 1. Out Patient, Tim Vanderberg, Totowa, N.J.; 2. American Express, Chris Reindl, Cincinnati.
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