Lorne Liebel, born in Toronto in 1951, was fascinated with boats from an early age. In 1976, he represented Canada in the Olympics, sailing in the Tempest class with his cousin. After the Games, Lorne focused his attention on developing his career as a homebuilder. Six years later, during a visit to a friend’s cottage, he was offered a ride in a high speed offshore powerboat. In Lorne’s words, “To say I was hooked would be an understatement!” He first purchased a 30-foot performance boat, then a faster 38-foot “Cigarette.” After that, it was off to Miami, the hotbed of performance boating and offshore racing. He eventually purchased a 41-foot, three-man, offshore racing machine from Japan and set about building a team. In 1986, he won the American Power Boat Association’s rookie-of-the-year award and was named Canadian Yachtsman of the Year (Powerboat) that same year. In 1993, he won the U.S. National Championship and in 2001 earned the title of Superboat World Champion. Offshore powerboat racing is a very demanding sport. The combination of high speed and large waves result in very harsh conditions for the participants. Lorne’s career has been free of major crashes and injury but the constant pounding took its toll on his back and legs. Lorne began to consider retirement but one goal remained and that was to be the first to move the A.P.B.A. speed record over 200 miles an hour and leave the sport with a milestone that would be a legacy of his career. In 2003, Lorne won his second Word Superboat Championship, set an official A.P.B.A. World Speed Record of 177 mph and ripped off a single run of 201 mph. In retirement, Lorne is involved in vintage car racing and collecting.
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