We had decided that yesterday would be a good day to just stay home and hang out, do a little reading, play on the computer, and be lazy. But apparently we were the only ones expecting a slow day.
I was comfortably ensconced in my Strongback chair reading my Amazon Kindle when I heard a helicopter approaching and it passed low over the campground. I love helicopters and spent a lot of time riding around in them when I was in the Army, so the second time it flew over a few minutes later, my curiosity was piqued.
About that time I heard the sound of a powerful engine throttling up, so I wandered down to the water’s edge to see what was going on. I was greeted by the sight of a helicopter hovering over a high performance powerboat.
Under other circumstances, it might have been a Coast Guard chopper trying to interdict a speedboat carrying contraband. But this wasn’t a government aircraft and the boat wasn’t a smuggler. It was a camera crew filming one of the boats that are here in the area for the Key West World Championship powerboat races this week.
These sleek, low profile watercraft, known as “go fast” or “cigarette” boats, have a long history in this part of the world. During Prohibition they were used to smuggle illegal alcohol into the country from the Caribbean, and earned the name “rum runners.” Later this type of craft were used to smuggle untaxed cigarettes and the name cigarette boat stuck. These days they are popular with drug smugglers, due to their high speeds and low profile that makes them hard to spot on radar.
But the boats here this week have just one job; racing. Some of the world’s fastest boats and best drivers have come from all over to compete. The website for the event says they can hit speeds above 140 m.p.h. on the flat water around Key West.
All day long they were coming into the marina here at the RV resort to hang out with fans, take on fuel, and then head back out to make some waves.
And they do that very well, throwing up huge rooster tails as they speed across the water.
Power and speed don’t come cheap, though. The carbon fiber and epoxy constructed water rockets can easily cost over $600,000. This ain’t your daddy’s bass boat!
We walked down to the marina to check out some of the boats. My buddy Dennis Hill loves anything orange. I wonder if he’ll want to buy this one? If you do, Dennis, will you take me for a ride?
It was cool and a little breezy yesterday and today is supposed to be about the same so I’m not sure what we’ll do. Maybe a little exploring, or maybe we’ll just make it another lazy day. Miss Terry said if I’m a good boy, there may be a batch of hot, freshly baked peanut butter cookies in my future. Yummy!