Stuart Hayim waved a black and white checkered flag in victory as his 48-foot catamaran “Recovery” docked in Manhasset Bay Marina in Port Washington and set a new record for racing around Long Island.
In fact, Hayim and his partner John Tomlinson smashed the year-old record by 64 minutes, speeding the 271 miles around the Island in 2 hours and 11 minutes.
Hayim had set a record for the trip in 1989, and it stood until last September when another Long Islander, Joe Cibellis, broke it by one minute.
Hayim, a luxury car dealer from Sands Point and a boater since childhood, made this attempt to both take back the record and to raise money for cancer research.
Hayim was diagnosed in 1979 at 32 years old with lymphoma. He beat the disease five years later and decided to dedicate most his time to competing in powerboat races.
In 12 years, Hayim won 83 speedboat races, including three national championships and four world championships. All of his winnings went to the Don Monti Memorial Research Foundation in Cold Spring Harbor, which funds cancer research at the Don Monti Division of Oncology at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset -- where he was hospitalized.
This time around, $25,000 has been raised so far through sponsorships and donations for Wednesday’s event, he said. Donations are being accepted through Sept. 12.
Tomlinson said the picture-perfect day, calm waves and steady engines all contributed to the record.
“In the ocean, it was a little rough for a while, but the Long Island Sound, from Great Neck to the tip of Kings Point, to Montauk, was like sitting in a bathtub,” added Hayim.
The record was clocked by Billy Frenz, executive director of the Connecticut-based National Powerboat Association.
“We’re going to do this again on Sept. 22,” Frenz said. “There are a half dozen guys lined up to try and go after the record, but that’s one hell of a benchmark that Stu set today.”
Frenz said the race was made possible through the involvement of the U.S. Coast Guard.
“The Coast Guard was nice enough to clear New York Harbor and give us the right-of-way, getting boaters and kayakers out of the way and giving us a nice straight line up the harbor,” he said.
Hayim and Tomlinson started Manhasset Bay Marina, headed northeast, passed Orient Point and Montauk Point lighthouses, headed southwest passed Freeport, under the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge towards the East River. From there, they passed Governors, Roosevelt and Rikers islands, went under the Whitestone and Throgs Neck bridges to the Long Island Sound and back where they began.
“I knew we’d break the record, it was just a matter of if the boat would finish and not break down,” said Tomlinson, of Miami.
After Hayim and Tomlinson docked the catamaran nicknamed “Recovery,” at 9:30 a.m. at the marina in Port Washington, they were greeted by colleagues, friends and family.
“I knew when Johnny pulled the throttles back, it was really the final act of a play that started 25 years ago,” Hayim said. “It’s great to have the ability to spread the message that you can be sick and there can still be a good ending, to give hope and inspiration to others.”
To make a donation the Don Monti Memorial Research Foundation, visit www.breakingrecords.org.