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Boat Racing

Don Aronow Memorial Race
Around Long Island - 2010

271 miles of real open ocean racing on the same weekend that
Hurricane Igor hits the northeast coast...

The 2010 Don Aronow Memorial Race...
From behind the bolsters
— Charlie McCarthy

A tale of heroes today and yesterday...
The little Sonic that could -- where racing heroes really come from
— Rich Luhrs

Top 11 in 2011- #10 The Don Aronow Memorial Around Long Island Marathon
— seriousadmin

Don Aronow Memorial Race - June 2008

Don Aronow's son, Michael, and Charlie McCarthy wanted to do something special to honor the memory of Don, twenty years after his death. With the help of the Offshore Super Series and the Historic Offshore Race Boat Association, HORBA, they were able to stage, for the first time in over 20 years, a real open ocean race from Miami (Sunny Isles Beach) to Bimini in the Bahamas and back, a distance of 106 miles. 23 boats signed up for this special race.

Making it extra special, Charlie was able to compete in the very first race boat that Don Aronow had ever built for himself back in 1963, from his first boat company, Formula Marine. The boat was called The Cigarette. It was the same boat that Don used to show the Fab Four Beatles how Miami looked from the water when they first arrived in the USA in 1964.

Don later sold this boat to George Peroni, who raced it successfully for many years and kept it in the family. George Peroni finally decided to sell it to a school chum of his from Miami, Bob Di Nisco. After a four year period of restoration on the boat with his own sons, Bob and Scott, the boat was ready to run. The engine, an original 1963, 409 cu inch, was totally restored by Innovation Marine to better than new standards.

For this Don Aronow Memorial Race, the crew consisted of the present owner, Bob Di Nisco, son of the former owner, Mark Peroni and Charlie McCarthy. All three crew members took turns driving and throttling the boat during the race. The fnal result was a first place in class ... Single Engine Historic.

 The boat still carries the famous name -- The Cigarette -- 45 years later.

 A special decal for the particpants was made up and carried on the side
of all the boats racing that day. Later a patch was given to all
of the actual particpants for their race jackets.

A great day was had by all and Don Aronow was honored in a very special way.
L to R, Bob Di Nisco, Mark Peroni, Michael Aronow and Charlie McCarthy.
The Don Aronow Memorial race decal can be seen in the background,
on the bow of the Pier 57 Fountain race boat, one of the entrants.

Special thanks to Jeff Girardi and Pete Boden for supplying race photos.

September 2007, Point Pleasant NJ
Charlie Mccarthy was named and honored at the Point Pleasant, NJ offshore race as one of the "Legends of Offshore." The "Legends" group was fêted at a dinner and a special presentation of plaques at the drivers meeting before the race.




From left to right, some of the "Legends of Offshore": Bob Saccenti of Apache fame, Rocky Aoki of Benihana fame, John Bochis of Crazy Greek fame, Charlie McCarthy of Top Banana fame and Billy Martin of Bounty Hunter fame. Also honored but not pictured were Jerry Gilbreath of Alcone fame and Rich Luhrs and George Linder of Shadow Cat fame.

Left to right, Charlie McCarthy, Rocky Aoki and Bob Saccenti.

Charlie McCarthy and Rocky Aoki were asked to be on the pace boats for the start of the race. Charlie throttled the 47 foot Apache pace boat and Rocky was on the 38 foot Apache pace boat.




Start of the Bushmills race. Bill Elswick in LONGSHOT, Jerry Jacoby in AJAC HAWK, Betty Cook in KAAMA and Charlie McCarthy in TOP BANANA.

The crew celebrating a victory a little too early. With five miles to go after a 200 plus mile race in the Bahamas, one engine lost RPM's and our trusty crew came in second by 30 seconds.

The winner of the Bushmills Irish Whiskey Race on St. Patrick's Day 1979.





Celebrating the victory ... Mary Pat McCarthy, Charlie McCarthy, Charley McCarthy

Charlie McCarthy prepares for a race out of Plymouth, Mass.





Mar Del Plata, Argentina




Charlie fine tunes the engines in the 38 foot prototype before testing.

Top Banana photo taken from banana boat co helicopter.

Mary Pat McCarthy's boat, the Fast Lady, was pressed into action for the Gloucester, Mass Inshore race against 24 other entries. It placed first overall.




The 24 foot Top Banana in the wet pits in Miami Bacardi race.

Gone Bananas at St. Petersburg offshore race placed third overall and first Modified.

Gone Bananas in the choppy Pacific Ocean of Southern California.




The crew prepares for battle in Newport Beach at the Bushmills Race.

A winning effort is rewarded with a giant bottle of Bushmills Irish Whiskey.

Ron Morrison, Navigator of Top Banana, prepares for another test run of the 38 foot prototype.




The Top Banana sits on its new transporter ready for another season.

Charlie McCarthy in Top Banana and Bobby Saccenti in Flying Machine at Key West.

Gone Bananas with Chuck Fogarty at the Benihana in Pt Pleasant, NJ.




 Controls were set up around the driver so that he could do all three with ease. On the driver's left was the navigator. He had a clear dash area upon which he would write the various legs of the course and their headings. The only tools he had were the small speedometer, at his right hand, that he used for rough calculations, and stop watches that are out of sight. All three positions had a compass, so that all three could help keep check on each other, to keep the boat on a course while out of sight of any land for extended periods of time. The position to the right was for a riding mechanic. Breakdowns were more common back then and you were pretty much on your own to get the boat running again to get you home. During the race, the mechanic would keep an eye on the gauges for the engines and do the transfer of fuel for trimming the boat. The early bolsters were built very tight with a kind of foam that would wrap around you once you were inside it.

Rums of Puerto Rico sponsored the race team for its second season.

Cockpit of the 24 foot race boat Top Banana. As you can see, it was very common in that era for the driver to also throttle and trim the boat.




The first outboard race boat,"Second Choice. (He wanted a 38 foot Open Class boat). Owner/Driver Larry Pitts was 65 years old when he ordered this boat and his dream of racing offshore came true.

The start of the Bahamas 200 race. Crew consisted of Charlie McCarthy, Driver; David Greaves, Throttleman; Willie Meyers, Navigator.

David Greaves doing his final check before the start of the race.




Willie Meyers and Charlie. Don Aronow always made sure that Charlie had Willie as his navigator for the Bahamas races. Willie as a driver had won both the Bahamas 500 and the Around Nassau race, and knew the reefs and shoals of the Bahamas like nobody else.

The early ocean racers didn't see the need for steps in hull design; they had their own way of aerating the hulls.

Rums of Puerto Rico at the start of a fog-shrouded Benihana race in Point Pleasant, NJ.




Cover of press kit for the Rums of Puerto Rico team.

The 24 foot Top Banana on the way to a victory in a rough Key west race.

Wet pit launch of the Top Banana, under the watchful eye of Charlie's mother-in-law in the green 28SS Cigarette in the background.




The 38 foot Top Banana enjoying a beautiful run in the Pacific.

The ride back to the dock with the checkered flag.

Gone Bananas, Chuck Fogarty's 34 foot Banana / Coyote at the launch area of the Benihana race.




Gone Bananas, Chuck Fogarty's 34 foot Banana / Coyote at the launch area of the Benihana race.






1981 NPBA












Auto Racing

Charlie Sr. and Charlie Jr. raced im IMSA's Firestone Firehawk Endurance series from 1986 through 1991.

CHATIM racing is a combination of the two names of Charlie's two sons, Charley and Tim. The family always wanted Tim to feel included in the racing activities , even though he was 9 years younger than Charley, so they called their racing team CHATIM.

The CHATIM Racing Team at Sebring.

Left to right: Ed Lane, Porsche Vintage racer; Bruce Mac Innes, Chief Instructor of Skip Barber Racing School; Charlie Sr.; Charley Jr.; Bill Warner, Founder of Amelia Island Concours and Vintage racer; and Tom Gaffney, Vintage Indy Car racer.



CHATIM Racing at Sebring. Chatim team cars running in 1st and 4th positions.



CHATIM Team cars practicing.


The CHATIM Racing team cars in the paddock at Sebring. The team would bring four cars to each event, racing three and using the spare as a test car and backup in case of a crash.

The 24 hour race at Watkins Glen.





Chatim Camaro carrying the Firehawk Series Champion number 1, on the grid at the Palm Beach IMSA race.

Chatim Camaro at pit stop during the night at the Palm Beach endurance race.

Tom Gaffney flipped this car in the hairpin at Sebring. The car was righted and, after some hectic work behind the wall, continued to race, finishing 20th out of 55 cars.




Tom McCabe with the Union Paper;  German machine giant Atlas sponsored Chatim Camaro.

Every August at Watkins Glen we would share the weekend with the Winston Cup NASCAR teams in upstate New York.

We tried to vary our racing colors of White, Yellow and Black so that the spotters could tell the cars apart easier. Usually we just had a different color across the top of the windshields.




Pit stop with Chatim team car #61 at Palm Beach;  Charley, Jr. and Bill Warner driving.


Whenever it rained, the other drivers always wanted those "Boat Guys" to drive the cars. Charley, Jr. in car 62 and Tom McCabe following in car 63, climbing through the esses at Watkins Glen at the 24 hour race.




Charlie, Sr. leads the pack out of the S's at Road Atlanta.

New Psychedelic paint scheme on our transporter and two of the team cars at the race shop in Rhode Island.

Charlie, Sr. and Tom McCabe at private test session at Watkins Glen before the 24 hour race.


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