This is not to say that Wynne had no more to do than a civilian out on a weekend cruise. A fair amount of rough water remained from the previous week's violent churning. Where less gifted drivers sailed alarmingly off the tops of waves or into them, Wynne, standing with one hand on the wheel and the other flicking the throttles, knifed cleanly ahead.
Of the Tongue of the Ocean crossing Wynne said, "It was real rough. We never once took a hard crash, though." Less fortunate was last year's winner and Wynne's most dangerous opponent, Don Aronow. Just before Frazier's Hog Cay, Aronow's Donzi-Magnum racer crunched down against a piece of driftwood which put a hole in the port side of his red hull. Inspired driving brought Aronow into Nassau in second place, but the hull damage (and, possibly, a slower boat) had prevented him from making an all-or-nothing pass at Wynne.
Wynne's boat, which is owned by Sportsman Hugh Doyle, is wooden, with a deep V bottom, 28 feet from stem to transom and powered by Daytona gasoline engines. The hull design is Wynne's own and his latest refinement of a tried and true concept—differing from others like her in being narrower in beam and sharper in the V. Ghost Rider was built by Souter of Cowes, England—and built strong, the way Wynne likes his hulls. She is the prototype of a line of fiber-glass boats to be sold to the public by Thunderbird Products of Miami.
Wynne's longtime partner, Walters, a sailor with the battered visage and wide dimensions of a football lineman, was once a notable ocean racer himself. Walters is married now, the father of two children and has largely backed off the throttle in actual racing. His place at Wynne's side during the Miami-Nassau race was filled by Bert Embree.
"Jim has two things going for him," said Walters as he and Wynne ordered tall planter's punches for a postrace cooling-out in Nassau. "One, he's an old pro. Two, he's a bachelor."
Bachelor Wynne merely grinned through the pepper-and-salt thicket around his lips. It is going to take a heap of matrimony to win Wynne away from the waves.