For the upcoming 2019 offshore racing season, multi-time outboard-engine-powered catamaran world champion Gary Ballough will be running a 32-foot catamaran built by the Dubai-based Victory team. As previously reported on speedonthewater.com, Ballough sold his FJ Propeller-backed 32 Doug Wright cat to fellow offshore racer Randy Sweers of FB Marine Group, who will compete in the outboard-powered catamaran ranks this year.
Once it arrives in Florida approximately 45 days from now, Ballough’s 32 Victory catamaran will head to TNT Custom Marine for rigging.
With its hull-and-deck complete, Ballough’s all-carbon-fiber 32-footer currently is in transit from the Emirates nation. It should arrive in Jacksonville, Fla., in 45 days.
During the Christmas holiday, Ballough traveled to Dubai to be “fitted” in the boat.
“They actually put me in the boat before they put on the deck, and I gave the height of the canopy and the space away from the dash that I wanted,” he said. “I cannot thank the entire staff of the Victory team enough. They have been completely behind me throughout this venture.”
Once the boat arrives in Jacksonville, it will be trailered to TNT Custom Marine in Miami for rigging. Ballough said that he’s already been bringing needed parts to the facility so that when the boat gets there TNT’s Mike Thomas and company won’t need to wait for anything to get started. That includes everything from seat brackets to backing plates for the catamaran’s Mercury Racing 300XS engines to simple fittings.
The Victory cat will be hull No. 12 that TNT has rigged for Ballough.
“With all the boats TNT has rigged for me, I have never had one rigging-related failure,” he said, then laughed. “They will let me be around for the process but will send me home when I get a little too involved.”
Though Ballough has competed in the X-Cat racing series for many years, he had the chance to run a 32-foot Victory catamaran with the team’s Ahmed Al Hameli for the first time about a year ago in the last race of the series. Finishing first in the pole-position contest and first in the final race, he liked what he saw.
For a closer look at the 32-footer check out the slideshow above.
“I have been doing this a long time and I am always interested in trying something different,” he said. “After racing a Victory boat over there, I thought it would be really cool to race one over here. I have raced against those boats for decades and I know what they’re capable of.”
The new boat will run under the FJ Propeller umbrella, and driver Jimmie Harrison (the owner of Frankie & Jimmie’s Propeller) will share the cockpit with Ballough for much of the season. But when Harrison can’t make it, Ballough plans to have a Victory team driver join him.
“I definitely hope to have one of their drivers in the boat for a couple of races this season,” he said. “I have fortunate enough to be part of their team, most recently when I ran one of their Unlimited-class boats at the SBI Nationals in Clearwater (Fla.) last year. They were gracious enough to let me be in one of their boats and I’d love to have one of their drivers in mine.”