Man, Machine and the Elements

At just 17 years old, Wesley Abraham sets a new record at the rally Around Long Island.

By Billy Frenz

On August 10, 2018, the Abraham’s, hailing from Huntington, NY, completed the 271-mile course with a time of 3 hours and 59 minutes.  The Run was sanctioned by the National Powerboat Association. 

This course has been a challenge to nautical sportsmen since its inception in 1959, when Jim Lacey won the race at 8 hours and 30 minutes in a 17’ Hunter with a 70 HP Mercury outboard.

Through the years, races around Long Island and “One-Off” record setting challenges have been an attraction for thrill seeking, affluent gentlemen of the sport.

The prestige of establishing a Record Run Around Long Island ranks high up on the bucket list for many speedboaters from North America and attracts the attention of boaters throughout the world. 

Powered by a 350HP Mercury outboard, their 31’ Airship is capable of 80MPH and has a trick hull, a rigid inflatable.  It has an 8’6” beam, 24-degree vee-bottom, notched transom twin stepped bottom, vinylester resin infused and foam cored. A one-foot diameter tube surrounds her with five chambers. 

The Abraham’s shattered the previous record of 6 hours and 57 minutes, set by Enrico Stein Jr. in the 1964 Around Long Island Marathon (ALIM). This event set the stage for many challengers to take a shot at the record in a variety of weather conditions. 

Inspired and fascinated by this challenge years ago, Wesley Abraham, 17, decided to take a shot at the run himself, and bring his father Tom along for the ride. 

The Single Engine Class of the ALIM is arguably the most challenging class of the event.  Drivers are armed with just one prop, one motor and a prayer that bilge gremlins didn’t come along for the ride.  The record for this class stood for 54 years, set in a 16’ Glastron fitted with a 100hp Mercury outboard. 

What makes this a difficult record to chase down are the many external factors that must cooperate to make a run possible. 

“I think the trifecta is very difficult to obtain,” explains Tom Abraham, “Meaning weather, speed and durability all on the same day makes it very difficult to do.  Not to mention that on a boat that size the body takes a real beating over that many miles.”

Upon their completion of the run and the duo’s return to Manhasset Bay, the Police were the first in line to congratulate the pair. 

“We had the pleasure of being greeted by the Nassau County Marine Police after our 270 mile run because I didn’t have my registration numbers affixed to the hull,” explained Wesley Abraham. “I was hoping they would ask me for an autograph, not give me their autograph!” 

The first fuel transfer was done in the Center Moriches area, the second was done around Riverhead. The pair added the first tank of fuel without slowing down. 

“We burned about 135 gallons total,” explained Tom. “We would’ve made it in a better time but we were worried about the engine codes and the motor quitting altogether … We averaged 63mph and, ironically, passed a few friends who were fishing around Montauk point and they really enjoyed it!”

At times, things didn’t go as planned during the run, but that’s to be expected in a challenge such as this. 

“When we went to add the first tank of fuel without slowing down, I reached into the glove box to grab a rag at 65mph and $1500 … blew out of the boat!” explained Tom. “Made it rain in Mastic Beach! Then the Boost Valve Engine Code came up at Plum Gut and we thought we were done.” 

“It was worth all of the pain,” said Wesley. 

Wesley was targeted as an upcoming star on the NPBA circuit in 2017, and he sure solidified his star status this year. At 17, Wesley knew he had the right boat to do the job, hitting the trifecta of speed, endurance and stability.  He was right, and was nice enough to take his father along for the ride.

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