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Powerboat crashes in bid to break record

Powerboat racer Stuart Hayim has built a reputation for speed -- but he hit a bump in his attempt to set a record for fastest race around Long Island.

The 52-foot MTI catamaran Hayim was driving hit a buoy off the East End on Thursday, about 30 minutes after he began the race, ending his latest attempt.

The Sands Point resident wanted to beat his 2012 record of racing around Long Island and Manhattan in 2 hours and 11 minutes, with $125,000 raised for cancer research.

Hayim, a lymphoma survivor, was hoping to double the amount of money raised to $250,000 for the Boomer Esiason Foundation, which supports those with cystic fibrosis, and the Don Monti Foundation, an advocacy group for those with cancer.

Hayim, 68, said the launch began with clear weather at 7 a.m. at Manhasset Bay Marina in Port Washington.

"It was pretty drama free," he said. "The sun was up, life was good."

He was hopeful as the boat's speed reached 148 mph -- putting him on pace to meet his goal. But as he and friend Joey Imprescia turned into Plum Gut, off Orient, visibility waned, and they sent a plane following them to check the weather ahead.

Then, they found themselves surrounded by fog.

The plane "vanished like the Bermuda Triangle," he said, adding that visibility was down to between 50 and 100 feet.

Hayim swerved to the right to avoid hitting a buoy head-on. Both men survived without injury, but the boat's bottom was destroyed. With help from friends in Sag Harbor and the Coast Guard, they towed the vessel to a Sag Harbor marina, he said.

Hayim said they only raised between $50,000 and $75,000 this time, and while it will be some time before his boat is repaired and his nerves are calmed, the attempt wasn't disheartening.

"We still gave hope and inspiration," he said. "The fact that we didn't break the record is little effect on people's lives who need money raised."

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