In its debut race yesterday at the Super Boat International New York Grand Prix, Al Adaa’am 96, the Qatar team’s new 50-foot turbine-powered Mystic catamaran driven by team leader Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani and throttled by Steve Curtis didn’t have any Turbine-class competition. In fact, with a field estimated at somewhere between 10 and 15 boats—the official results and boat count have not yet posted on the SBI website—there wasn’t much competition on the Hudson River, period.
But that didn’t stop the 50-footer from mixing it up with other boats in the fleet, including the Qatar-backed Spirit of Qatar 20 that competed in the Superboat class against Stihl, which took first place, and WHM Motorsports, which reportedly dropped out early with mechanical problems. Still, Qatar’s turbine cat earned its first victory and a win is a win, especially in today’s offshore racing world.
Ace photographer Tim Sharkey caught this gem of a shot shot of the two Qatar boats running side by side—with the well-known Cleveland Construction cat in the background—on the Hudson. “It was tough today because we were shooting into the sun,” he said. “But I managed to get a few nice shots.”
Lack of competition notwithstanding, the two-boat Qatar presence on the SBI circuit is a good for the sport in general and SBI in particular. The Al Adaa’am 96 team’s long-stated goal has been to win a championship at the 2013 SBI Key West Offshore World Championships in November, where it is possible that it could face two boats in the Turbine class. With its first race finally out of the way, the team is on its way.