"Sopwith told me to go on," said Balestrieri. The Italian did, and finished fifth. Not far away, the Double-O-Seven burned to the waterline and sank—aluminum hull, supercharged engines and all.
Meanwhile, back aboard the Aeromarine, young Dr. Magoon was building his lead by leaps and bounds from wavetop to wavetop. Close chaser Bill Wishnick and his Boss O'Nova had stopped to change a prop and it began to look like a breeze for Magoon. Well, there was the small matter of the starboard engine hatch that had bounced away when nobody was looking. But the Kiekhaefer engines were screaming their fine, stock sound as Magoon rounded the final checkboat with just six miles to go.
And that is when the wiring failed. And the port engine shut off. And the mechanic climbed below to try and fix it. And when Bill Wishnick began closing again from behind at high speed. But he just didn't have enough ocean left to catch the leader.
Young Dr. Magoon sat up on the padded cockpit, steering easily, occasionally waving to a passing helicopter, and examining his surgeon's fingernails. It was in that stance that he crossed the finish line first, three hours and 17 minutes after he had left Key West. The Boss O'Nova was eight minutes behind.
The $2,500 first-place prize is not that important—most ocean racers spill that much at the postrace parties. It was winning that counted. And everybody seemed to have won.
Sopwith won, in effect, despite losing his boat. The fact that superchargers were O.K. for the Key West race indicated that his Miami-Nassau race also might now be accepted and he would emerge as the new world ocean-racing champion. Balestrieri won, of course, because in stopping to stage a dramatic midrace rescue he became the toast of the racing world and the darling of two continents. Old Kiekhaefer won in his first time back and first time out with his new firm. The American drivers won some glory, too, finishing first and second against the best foreign drivers in the world.
And what of Dr. Magoon, outboard champ, and now a winning inboard racer? Did Young Dr. Magoon find true happiness? Tune in next race.