Most Miles Traveled by a Watercraft in 24 hours World Record

Flotsam almost derailed Naples resident Mike Pagliccia’s quest to travel more miles in 24 hours on a personal watercraft than anyone else in history.

But ‘almost’ only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades – not when you’re chasing a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records.

The 44-year old Pagliccia traveled 624 miles on a 2008 Sea-Doo GTI 130 personal watercraft between 7 a.m. Friday and 7 a.m. Saturday to unofficially break Croatian Davor Hundic’s previous record of 604.6 miles, but it wasn’t easy.

“It was rough,” Pagliccia said as he struggled to pull off his black wet suit at Naples Pier on Saturday morning. “We had a little snafu near Tarpon Springs when a plastic water bottle got sucked into the intake, but luckily I met a nice Canadian man on the beach who helped us tilt the jet ski over, take it apart and get the water bottle out.”

Pagliccia said the ‘snafu’ cost him nearly two hours – a veritable lifetime when you’re attempting to break a record with a 24-hour time limit. To make up for lost time, Pagliccia and his team devised a plan to take advantage of calmer waters near Knapp’s Point, a bend on Sanibel Island.

Steve Moriconi was a member of Pagliccia’s support team, which manned the boat accompanying Pagliccia’s journey.

“We spent time on that route near Knapp’s Point to get back on track and make up time, riding the seas in an east-west direction along the beach,” Moriconi said. “It also made it easier because we could fuel up at Punta Rassa ramp.”

However, ‘easier’ certainly didn’t translate into ‘easy.’

“It was rough out there, especially coming back from Clearwater,” Pagliccia said. “There was a lot of rough water, and without the boat helping me, I wouldn’t have made it.”

Pagliccia said there were times along his journey that his mind began playing tricks on him.

“It was totally dark at night, and I couldn’t see a thing,” he said. “At one point, I thought I saw a body listing in the waves, but it turned out to be a buoy. I started seeing things, especially when the moonlight reflected off the waves. I couldn’t see the waves until I was already on them, and there were a few times that I almost lost it and wiped out.”

But again, ‘almost’ doesn’t count when you’re chasing world records.

Pagliccia said he did a lot of core training in preparation for his world-record attempt – most of it at the Naples YMCA, which will be the beneficiary of the $5,000 he raised.

Despite his grueling 24-hour trek, Pagliccia seemed bright-eyed and full of energy on Saturday morning.

“Amazingly, I feel OK,” he said. “Still, it’s very draining on your back and stomach and shoulders. I’ll probably go home and take a hot shower and lay down for a little bit. . .’’

To authenticate his record, Pagliccia now must submit a detailed package to the editors at Guinness.

“We videotaped parts of the journey, and we also have to provide our GPS coordinates at various times and have it all notarized,” Pagliccia said.

Pagliccia’s fans were able to keep up with his progress via his Web site, which posted various GPS updates along the way.

“We had a 46-inch flat-screen TV behind the membership desk, where we could watch his progress via the GPS,” said Wayne Nelson, chairman of the board of the Naples YMCA. “We’re very proud of him. This is a very big deal.”

Pagliccia’s mother was on hand to welcome her son home Saturday morning.

“Am I proud of him?” Carol Pagliccia asked. “Yes. Do I like this stuff? No. Was I up all night? Yes.”

Her advice to mothers of up-and-coming daredevils?

“You’ve just got to let them go,” she said.

- Naple News


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