Morning winds came
in at 15 knots, stirring up both the seas and Johnson's hopes—his Vee-hull
handles rough water better than catamarans do. Gentry and his throttleman, John
Connor, got off to a fast start, setting a 100-plus mph pace for the first of
six laps. By the halfway point, the winds had calmed down and Gentry opened up
a substantial lead. On the fourth lap Johnson caught up with Copeland, who was
in second place, and sped past him when his boat died in the water with engine
ills. "After that, as much as I tried not to think about it, it was hard
not to make a lot of promises I hope I can keep," said Johnson afterward.
"But we had plenty of juice left. We just wanted to stay in place and not
break." He did just that, finishing second, 1:46 behind Gentry. That gave
Johnson 708 points to Gentry's 689.
After his five-man
crew flung him off the dock in celebration, a soggy but jubilant Johnson sat on
his boat's deck and talked excitedly, still deflecting credit. "I happened
to point the boat in the right direction, but it was Sirois who kept the hammer
down," he said. "And hey, don't forget my mechanics, Phil [Garr] and
Wally [Sowin], who stayed up until 4 a.m. putting in the engines."
makes a Don Johnson Signature Edition Scarab 43. Now Johnson may build his own
Superboat and defend his title in it next year. He was asked what kind of boat
it would be. "The fast kind," replied Johnson with a wide grin,
sounding more and more like a real racer.