Being a newcomer to your forum, I'm not sure if this has been posted in the past. I stumbled upon it while looking for information on the old 38 Bertrams and thought my friends across the pond might enjoy the read.
THE COUGARS ROAR
The English designed and built Cou_gar catamarans won five races in 1979 and four more in 1980 while averaging almost nine mph faster per victory, and five in 1981.
With that, the orders poured into its English factory... many from former skeptics of the design!
Within three years those orders would materialize into the bat-like hulls, actually posting more world victories than the deep-V hulls.
Beginning with Tony Garciaís historic first-time-ever major victory with surface drives in the Aug. 14, 1982 Coral Gables Challenge race in Michigan, Cougar cats won every U.S. National race through March 1984!
By 1987, Cougar cats and big deep-V Superboats had won 75 races, by-passing Bertram for second place in all-time vic_tories by a manufacturer.
Betty Cook added to her fame when she won the U.S. season opener in New Orleans in her Cougar cat Kaama at a new American offshore race record of 86.8 mph and French shoe designer Michael Meynard became the 1980 world champion by winning at Melbourne, Australia in his 38-foot Cougar Fayva Shoes.
Cook would go on to capture her third U.S. championship earning a tie with the retired Don Aronow and Dr. Bob Magoon.
The end of 1980 saw the first world championships for production classes held in Key West.
Shock of another nature hit the Ameri_cans minutes before its first Ď81 race in New Orleans as two-time national cham_pion Joel Halpern was crushed when Al Copelandís Cigarette Popeyes ran into Halpernís brand new aluminum catama_ran Michelob Light. Halpern died almost immediately. No one else was injured.
It was the sportís eighth fatal race acci_dent and its best known victim. This brought on a major revamping of U.S. offshore racing procedures. Minutes after the Halpern tragedy, another boat rolled over at 90 mph, seriously injuring driver Vince Fasano and throttleman Sammy James.
Although his win in the Michigan race the following year would get more fan_fare for the same reason, Californian Tony Garcia made offshore history when he won a 92-mile club race in his home waters of San Francisco in 1981 using a set of his partner Howard Arnesonís new surface drives.
The drivers would in time greatly advance offshore racing speeds. . . espe_cially for the catamarans.
Politics continued to hamper the sport internationally in 1982 when the Ameri_cans, reportedly unhappy with the mid_summer dates allocated the English for the 18th annual running of the Sam Grif_fith Trophy for the Union of Interna_tional Motorboatingís world drivers championship, announced their own in Key West, Florida at yearís end.
American Al Copeland went to Eng_land where he clinched the British Harms-worth trophy but by the edicts of his own national authority, was not allowed to run for the world championship.
The Italian Renato Della Valle swept to firsts in all three. UIM world cham_pionship races in England that summer and four others for the year tying him at seven with Britainís own Ted Toleman for the most offshore victories that season.
Back in the states Garcia won the Americanís version of the world cham_pionship with a record-rattling 90 mph average speed. It was his fourth straight victory in his 38-foot Cougar cat using the hot new Keith Eickert KSW engines mated to Arneson Drives.