SARASOTA -- Not everyone would see racing boats as an ideal matchmaker, but Miami couple Joe Ferrer and Jackie Piper-Ferrer fell in love and got married.
They credit the racing with bringing them closer together. Well, sometimes.
"There's a lot of fighting, bickering and arguing, but we just got married a month ago, so now we're like newlyweds on the boat," said Jackie, who's the driver of the Airway Aerospace boat. Joe is the throttleman, she said.
He said Jackie does everything when it comes to managing the team.
"I just sit in the back and take orders," Joe said, laughing.
The couple will race Sunday in the 29th annual Suncoast Superboat Grand Prix Festival. They, along with the rest of the competitors, met with fans and boat racing enthusiasts from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Hyatt Regency Hotel.
Although they have their disagreements like any other married couple, the newlyweds can agree on a few things, like going fast and winning races.
They've won a national championship in the Superboat Extreme class and placed second in world competition last year in Key West.
Joe began racing in the 1990s but
stopped after the economy went bad.
Seven years ago he took Jackie to a boat race in Key West and decided he wanted to race.
"Hey, you want to get into this?" Joe asked. Jackie said yes and the two have been racing around the world for the past five years. She is the only female driver in the sport.
This is their fifth year racing in Sarasota. They are thankful to their local ponsors Hotel Indigo and Sam Snead's AmericanGrill in Sarasota for allowing them to get to the race this year.
"People like Hotel Indigo and Sam Snead's make us able to race, so we wouldn't be anything without them," said Jackie.
The race also allows them to be able to relax and have fun with family and friends.
"These events are great because not only are you coming out for the races, which is fantastic, but we love it because we get to hang out with everybody and have a great time," said Jackie, who explained that their family and friends are a part of their team and are here with them.
For Bradenton resident and self-proclaimed fair-weather boater Robert Patton, he said he looks forward the event and has been coming since 2005.
He was eager to see the boats on display at the afternoon boat show in Centennial Park.
"I come every year and I've got a boat, but I don't race," said Patton. "But I go out on the boat all the time."
Patton usually comes on his boat to the festivities, but the rainy weather this year made him decide otherwise.
"I wasn't sure of weather," he said.
Patton said he attended some of the other 15 events that coincide with the festival.
"Everything they do here is awesome," he said.
Janey Tate, city of Bradenton and Palmetto reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7041. Follow her on Twitter @Janey_Tate.