With less that 24 hours before the first race of the 2013 Super Boat International Key West Offshore World Championships kicks off at 10 a.m. (EST), there's already plenty of buzz—and plenty to update:
•Gasse is out—Late last week, Tor Staubo, the Norwegian owner of Gasse, a 48-foot Marine Technology, Inc., catamaran with Mercury Racing 1650 engines, decided to pull the plug on his plans to run the boat with John Tomlinson in the Superboat Unlimited class. That left Tomlinson, one of the best throttlemen in the game, without a ride for the SBI Key West Worlds, but the co-owner of TNT Custom Marine in Miami wasn't stressing about it. "There's always a lot to get done around here, and a week away always puts me way behind," said Tomlinson. "So not running in Key West this year isn't the worst thing."
•Outerlimits Repowers—Shortly before the long trip from Bristol, R.I., to the Key West, the Outerlimits crew replaced the twin Mercury Racing 1350 engines in Joe Sgro's SV43 Superboat Extreme-class V-bottom with a pair of the engine builder's 1100s. Why? According to Sgro and Mike Fiore, the owner of Outerlimits, the 43-footer was going to be too fast for its class and SBI requested a change to lower output engines. (While the class doesn't not have horsepower limit, it does have a "competitive parity" clause in its rules.) Sgro, who will run in Key West Giancarlo Cangiano, took it in stride. "I think they saw how fast we could run at the (SBI) New York race and wanted to slow us down. We don't like it, but what are you going to do? It is what it is."
•Miss Mary Mac Will Make it—Yesterday's buzz on the absence of Miss Mary Mac, which will run under its Semper Fi sponsorship during the SBI Key West Worlds, in the dry pits was much ado about nothing. The cause of the departure delay? Last-minute graphics changes. Just a few hours ago, the turbine-powered 48-foot MTI owned and driven by Richard Chaney, Jr., and throttled by John Arruda left Fort Lauderdale, Fla., for the Keys. That means the Qatar team's Al Adaa'am 96, 50-foot turbine-powered Mystic cat, should have in-class competition for the first time tomorrow when the second race starts at 2 p.m. (EST)
•Seas Are Alive And Kicking—Fueled by 15- to 25-knot easterly winds, the seas for tomorrow's races should run anything from 3 to 5 feet to 3 to 7 feet, depending on which local marine forecast you care to look at. Regardless, all of tomorrow's races definitely will be rough-water contests, and that makes a huge difference not just in how the teams set up and handle the conditions, but in how they take care of their equipment with upcoming races on Friday and Sunday.
•Please Stay Pleas—Yesterday's drivers' meeting reportedly was punctuated by passionate speeches to the racers from several local business people to keep the SBI Worlds in Key West. Outcome to be determined, but according to one longtime Key West reporter, "With the possibility of the Worlds moving elsewhere, there's definitely a weird atmosphere in town now. No one is quite sure how to feel."