There is big air and then there is big air—like the kind under Miss Mary Mac in this incredible Tim Sharkey image from yesterday’s Offshore Powerboat Association World Championships in Ocean City, Md. By all accounts, what started out as flat water in the early to mid-morning turned to jumbled 3- to 5-footers by the time the races got started.
“I have never seen a turbine boat get that high in the air,” said Sharkey. “It’s level with the horizon. You could have stood underneath the drives.”
Throttling the 48-foot Marine Technology, Inc., catamaran with twin 1,800-hp T-53 engines was John Arruda of Turbine Marine, Inc., with Richard Chaney, the boat’s owner and driver, in the seat next to him. Even Arruda, who’s driven more than a few rough-water races, was impressed with the flight and hang time of Miss Mary Mac.
“That frickin’ wave came out of nowhere,” said Arruda in reference to the liquid launch ramp that sent the cat high above the water for the Sharkey photo. “I counted four seconds of hang time.
“Thank god that boat is perfectly balanced,” he added. “One travels 160 feet per second at 110 mph.”
With no other Turbine-class boats in the mix, Miss Mary Mac had to run against the Extreme class 44-foot Miss GEICO catamaran, which is powered by twin Mercury Racing 1650 Race piston engines, as its closest competition. Miss GEICO prevailed, but not without a good fight from Miss Mary Mac.
“We were only six seconds—10 boat lengths—behind the entire race,” said Arruda. “But they beat us fair and square.
“I’m black and blue today,” he added.
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