Cougar's throttleman, Justo Jay, had the black cat howling as she soared over the one-to three-foot swells sprinkled with whitecaps. But after one of Cougar's four engines swallowed some seaweed along with its cooling water, it began to overheat. Jay pulled the throttle back, and Cougar was passed on the final lap by an Italian boat, Rainbow. Curtis's 81.95-mph average in the finale was well below the 93.93 he had reached earlier in the week, but he easily took the title on points.
The jubilant Curtis became the first Brit to win an Open world title, and the champion's first postrace happening was to get thrown into the water. At least he was dressed for it. As for his future, he wasn't really ready to speculate. His plans were more immediate than that. "If I survive tonight, then I'll think about next season," he said.