MOREHEAD CITY — Jeff McCann broke in a new boat at the Race World Offshore Key West Championships earlier this month.
With the races set to start on Wednesday, Nov. 10, McCann arrived at the site of the event on Friday, Nov. 5 with his new boat, Sweet Beans/Jack’s in tow.
“We were still putting the boat together when we got there,” McCann said. “The glass was still wet.”
After a hang-up on the first race day where McCann couldn’t compete because of a missing seat and a radio the morning of, he wound up placing third in the second race on Friday, Nov. 12, and then placed first in the third race on Sunday, Nov. 14.
That last race of the event awarded double points, allowing McCann to climb all the way to second place overall in the Extreme Division. Had he finished the first race at all, he would have come home as the world champion.
Still, he’s just happy to be back out on the water on a regular basis. The November event was his latest competition since the Crystal Coast Grand Prix in September.
“It was really nice to go back down there and do well,” McCann said. “They know who we are, and we had a reputation to back up. The boat handled real well. It turns on a dime. It’s super fast.”
McCann was up against some high-profile teams at the event, teams like Huski-Alegra Motorsports and Lucas Oil. Teams showed up to the competition with gloss-embossed semis, while he showed up towing his new boat on the back of a pickup truck.
McCann doesn’t mind – everything about his team is homegrown. His sponsors are Sweet Beans Midtown Sound Café in Morehead City, M.J. Price Construction out of Roanoke Rapids and his own business, Jack’s Waterfront Bar in Morehead City. His engines come from Bowers Performance, a small outfit out of Washington.
“We have some great people backing us,” McCann said. “I’m proud to be able to get back out there with great sponsors and equipment.”
The event gave McCann his first racing experience in the new boat, a 46-foot Skater with twin 1550 Bowers Performance engines. He had taken it out on the water before but never in a performance environment.
“We’d never turned it at 120 like that,” he said. “Takes a ton of trust when you’re coming into a harbor at those kinds of speeds in a new boat.”
It was also McCann’s first time competing in Key West since 2012 when he raced his 47-foot Fountain Boat Show Direct Cat Killer to a victory in the 30th annual Super Boat International Key West World Championships.
At the race earlier this month, McCann was joined by his throttle man Chris Bowers and his son, crew chief Christopher Bowers.
After that competition, the team traveled to Englewood Beach Waterfest on Nov. 18-21 for the OPA World Championship. McCann wound up pulling out of that event out of precaution for an oil issue with his engine.
As for when he returns next year with the goal to capture another world championship, McCann issued the challenge, “Next year, they better be ready.”