A Long Island entrepreneur known for selling fast Italian sports cars is about to embark on a high-speed boat race designed to raise money for cancer research.
Stuart Hayim, owner of Experience Auto Group, which sells and other luxury vehicles out of three showrooms, Manhattan, and Florida, will race his powerboat around Long Island on Tuesday, Aug. 7.
He'll be attempting to break his own record for the 262-mile event aboard his racing boat "Recovery" while raising money for the Don Monti Memorial Research Foundation at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.
"The primary purpose is to give hope and inspiration to people who are sick," Hayim said in an interview.
The race is less about the record than it is about Hayim's personal journey. Hayim, who grew up in Great Neck and now lives in Sands Point, is a cancer survivor who credits the Don Monti Cancer Center of North Shore University Hospital with saving his life.
Hayim was diagnosed with Lymphoma in 1979 but responded to treatment and has recovered. To celebrate, Hayim began competing in offshore powerboat racing in 1985 as a way to raise funds for continuous research and treatment.
And, he got good at it. Over a 10-year period, Hayim won three U.S. National Championships and four World Championship titles, donating several hundred thousand dollars to the cause. Hayim said he decided to go out on top, and hasn't raced in about 15 years.
But recently, responding to a challenge from another racing team, Hayim decided to get back in the game. He purchased a new power boat, christened it "Recovery" (the same name as his previous boats) and is readying it for the race around Long Island Tuesday.
Hayim is attempting to break his own 1989 world record of 3 hours, 6 minutes for navigating a powerboat around Long Island.
He has a real shot, considering advancements in power boats since the 1990s.
He'll have a GPS system aboard instead of the paper map he used the last time out. Recovery's 2,700 horsepower engine is capable of speeds of almost 200 mph, nearly twice the capability of his previous vessel.
Hayim will leave from Manhasset Bay Marina and proceed to Buoy No. 27 to begin the 262 mile trek, passing the North Shore, Montauk, the Hamptons and the Verrazano Bridge. From there, Recovery will turn north along the East River, through the notorious “Hell Gate” and back to Buoy No. 27.
"I think Hell Gate will be one of the easier parts of the trip," said Hayim of the East River's stretch in the area of the RFK-Triboro Bridge. "I'm more focused on the open ocean and the area near the Verrazano."
He hopes to maintain an average speed of 130 mph which, he said, could shatter his record by about an hour.
The record, however, is secondary, Hayim said:
“Thanks to the Monti and Saladino families, I have been blessed with a second life," he said. "Even better, my survival not only kept Garrett’s father alive, but enabled the birth of three miracle children: Gregg, Lisa Beth and Max Power.”
Whether he breaks the record or not, Hayim said his hope is to inspire others battling with cancer and give back to those who made the last 33 years of his life possible.
Hayim is asking his customers, friends, and strangers to make donations as well. He hopes to raise over $100,000 from this event. Anyone who would like to make a donation can do so by visiting www.Breakingrecords.org.