Without question, it’s been an emotional couple of weeks for Chris Cox, the owner the 50-foot Mystic Powerboats raceboat called Envy. More than a year in the making, the catamaran, which is powered by twin 1,500-hp (at present) engines from Stotler Racing Engines was designed to compete in the Super Boat International Unlimited class this season. After a long series of significant delays, Cox believed the boat would be ready for its first test sessions during the SBI National Championships in Clearwater, Fla., late last month. Frustrated and fed up when that didn’t happen, Cox announced— via the Envy Offshore Racing Facebook page—that the catamaran, trailer, tow rig and all the assorted gear he had purchased for the team were for sale.
No longer for sale, Envy, a 50-foot Mystic catamaran, has a good chance of making the SBI Offshore World Championships in Key West next month. Photo courtesy Envy Offshore Racing Team
“It was an embarrassing moment—we had friends and family down in Clearwater to see the boat—but more than that it was heartbreaking,” Cox, who lives in New York, said in a telephone interview today. “For me, this is supposed to be fun.
“Missing Clearwater was a catastrophe for the team,” he continued. “Had we made it, we would have been able to use Clearwater for testing sessions under race conditions, and that would have given us three or four weeks afterward to get ready for (the SBI Offshore World Championships) in Key West. By missing Clearwater, we are weeks behind where we need to be today for Key West.”
But the events of last weekend—Envy performed its first test runs on Georgia’s Lake Lanier on Saturday—have shifted Cox’s thinking, at least as far as selling the boat right, for now. Cox and engine builder/throttleman Herb Stotler made several runs in the cat on the lake. Cox wasn’t just delighted by the cat’s performance, he was reinvigorated by it. The cockpit duo had planned to run the boat below 100 mph, but ended up taking it to 149 mph in heavy lake chop whipped up by 20- to 30-mph winds.
To watch a video of Envy during one of its recent test runs on Lake Lanier, click here or on the image above.
“The acceleration is unbelievable,” said Cox. “It gets on plane so fast that you’re accelerating right from the start. It was amazing. The performance is there. My expectations weren’t as high as they could have been. I figured, ‘Let’s go down there, run this stupid thing and get rid of it.’ Running the boat definitely put me in a better state of mind.
“Ironically, I had two buyers for it,” he added. “Putting a little fire under everyone’s butt (with sale announcement) may have helped get it done.”
Cox said that the team might, in fact, end up at the SBI event early next month in Key West. However, if the Envy group does make it to Key West, they will use the races there as testing sessions and will not “race hard” against rest of the Unlimited-class fleet. Those plans hinge on this week’s full inspection of the cat, right down to draining all the fluids, at the Stotler shop in Gainesville, Ga., to make sure nothing went wrong during testing and that everything is top working condition. Cox said that if everything is in order the odds are good that the team will be in Key West.
As for the delays that plagued the Envy team, Cox said they were a function of what may have been an overly ambitious goal, that of Envy being a competitive Unlimited-class raceboat as well as a poker run pleasure boat, which translated to extensive detail and finishing work from the cockpit to the engine compartment.
“There’s no one to throw under the bus,” said Cox. “It’s not fair to say it was this person or that person. It was the project as a whole (that created delays). We started off with a raceboat platform. When we changed the platform to a raceboat/poker run boat, we changed gears from a raceboat to a showboat, and all the rigging and finishing work started to gobble up time. The boat is physically incredible—when you see the amount of rigging detail it is amazing Herb got it done as fast as he did—and seeing it and running it kind of set me straight. It humbled me. Maybe Clearwater, and maybe even Key West, this year was a little ambitious.”
Complete 2014 Key West Coverage
Countdown to Key West: Schoenbohm Teaming Up With Ballough
SBI Key West Worlds Preview
SBI Unlimited Class Offered New Schedule for 2015
Envy Offshore Race Team Mystic Slated For 2014 Miami Boat Show Debut