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Boats that bolt across the blue

SP_328698_ZUPP_BoatRunFrom the St. Petersburg Times

SARASOTA — Screaming across the water at 105 mph, my knuckles turned white as I battled to hold the steering wheel straight while searching the horizon for a fishing boat.

“There he is,” Joey Gratton said as he pointed to a flats skiff a half mile off the starboard bow. “Let’s try to give him some distance.”

Gratton, a veteran throttleman, has taught his share of rookie offshore powerboat racers how to pilot high-speed catamarans. I have driven race boats before, but a lot has changed in the five or so years since I last sat inside a cockpit.

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