Though the actual “battle” between Miss GEICO and Al Adaa’am 96 only lasted for a couple of laps—the 44-foot piston-powered GEICO catamaran spun out and mechanical issues reportedly kept it from continuing—during last weekend’s Super Boat International National Championships in Clearwater, Fla., it sure was entertaining. At least in the turns.
Driven by Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani and throttled by Steve Curtis, the 50-foot turbine-powered Qatar-backed Mystic cat swung wide in the turns, while the GEICO crew of Scott Begovich and Marc Granet took the inside line in corners and dove into them.
This Jay Nichols shot captures it perfectly. From Nichols’ angle, it looks as if the big cats are headed in completely different directions. but they’re just taking different lines through a turn. Depth perception can play some strange tricks on the eyes.
As for the “war” between the two teams, it turned to one of good-natured words. Al Adaa’am 96 walked away with the Turbine title—despite its piston power Miss GEICO stepped up to the Turbine class to make it fun—and the crowd on the beach and in the spectator fleet was thrilled.