Image of the Week—Farewell Miss GEICO

There have been several iconic offshore racing catamarans during the years—Al Copeland’s Popeye’s, Matt Alcone’s Alcone Motorsports and Mark Nemschoff’s Tommy Bahama leap to mind—but Miss GEICO, the 50-foot neon green/yellow Mystic Powerboats that burned to the waterline on June 30 (Read the story) has to be at or near the top of the list. That the turbine-powered cat ran with little to no competition during most of its races didn’t matter much to its fans because Miss GEICO always put on a show.

Captured by Jay Nichols racing off Key West, Miss Geico was a perennial eye-magnet. Photo courtesy/copyright Jay Nichols/Naples Image.Captured by Jay Nichols racing off Key West, Miss GEICO was a perennial eye-magnet. Photo courtesy/copyright Jay Nichols/Naples Image.

That was a testament to driver Marc Granet, throttleman Scott Begovich and the entire Miss GEICO team. Granet and Begovich practically begged for competition in the turbine class but never really got it for any number of reasons, the cost of admission and campaigning being chief among them. And when you look at the cost—a competitive new turbine-powered offshore racing catamaran can easily set you back $1 million—relative to the potential return on investment (next to nothing) it’s easy understand why even the most well-to-do, would-be competitors balked.

In a brief telephone interview yesterday evening, Granet confirmed that the Miss GEICO racing team has purchased Maritimo, a former Victory Team 43-foot cat reportedly based on the original 43 Tencara, to run for the balance of the 2012 season. More noteworthy, the team does not plan to run turbine power in the 43-footer.

“No one is running in the turbine class right now,” said Granet. “We are dying to compete with someone, so we are going to run piston engines, most likely in the 900- to 1,400-hp range.”

As for whether or not Miss GEICO, whatever form it takes in 2013, will come back as a turbine-powered cat, Granet said the team has not finalized its plans. Before the boat was destroyed, both Granet and Begovich said they were looking forward to competing against the Qatar-backed turbine catamaran, currently under construction at Mystic, in 2013. (Read the story here.)

“We lost our boat,” said Granet. “We sure didn’t plan on that. It’s a huge loss.”

Editor’s Note: As the Miss GEICO team develops and unveils its future plans for offshore racing speedonthewater.com will provide updates.

Image of the Week: Boat on Boat Action

Anyone doubting the die-hard mentality of offshore racers will think otherwise after seeing this week's image of the week. We've all seen stacked trailers with personal watercraft and small boats, but when you see a pair of offshore race boats being towed on top of each other, now that's hard core.

Nope this isn't Photoshop'd, it's a couple of stacked offshore race boats that are being campaigned by Simmons Marine in the OPA AMSOIL Powerboat Series. Photo by Dee UngartenNope this isn't Photoshop'd, it's a couple of stacked offshore race boats that are being campaigned by Simmons Marine in the OPA AMSOIL Powerboat Series. Photo by Dee Ungarten/Lucididee Fast Boats

The man behind the setup is Jim Simmons, owner of Simmons Marine in Akron, Ohio. A multi-time national and world champion in his 34-foot Phantom Simmons Racing, Simmons purchased the 30-foot Phantom Team Octane after the 2010 season and raced it off and on last year.

Read more: Image of the Week: Boat on Boat Action

Image of the Week: Riding The Storm Out

Last Friday’s Atlantic City Poker Run hosted by the New Jersey Performance Powerboat Club (NJPPC) was—by all accounts—a hit with the folks on the 37 boats that participated in the event. Included in the “hits,” however, were bolts of lightning striking the water and hail pounding the balance of the fleet before it reached the docks at the new Golden Nugget Resort and Casino, the run’s final destination and host venue.

imageweek8hugeComing out of the darkness of the storm and into the light, Dr. Gabe Jasper's 43-foot Frisini catamaran leads the Atlantic City Poker Run fleet. Photo courtesy/copyright Tim Sharkey/Sharkey Images. Helicopter sponsored by Statement Marine.

“I have been boating my entire life, and it was the worst storm I have ever seen—40-plus-mph gusts, hail, lightning everywhere,” said Dave Patnaude, the president of the NJPPC. “But we were all stuck in it, so all we could do was slow down and keep going.”

Read more: Image of the Week: Riding The Storm Out

Image of the Week: Splashdown

imageweek7hugeWhat goes up, must come down—and sometimes hard. Photo courtesy/copyright Tim Sharkey/Sharkey Images.

Ride in a stand-up V-bottom long enough in rough water and you develop a good sense of what’s about to happen and, if you’re smart, springy knees. You learn to unweight at the moment of impact. You learn to hang onto grab handles in a way that’s firm, but no so tight that you develop blisters on the soft skin between your thumbs and forefingers. If the seas are regular, you can even develop a rhythm that makes skipping from one big swell to the next delightful.

And then there’s this—a landing so hard that it buckles your knees just to look at it.

Read more: Image of the Week: Splashdown

Image of the Week: In Flight With No Movie

Most of us like to think we’ve experienced “big air” in a high-performance powerboat. But the truth is, most of us haven’t come close to the kind of flight the folks in this Cigarette experienced a couple of years ago during the Atlantic City Poker Run.

imageweek6hugeLogging serious hang time in the Atlantic Ocean outside Barnegat Bay, N.J. Photo courtesy/copyright Tim Sharkey/Sharkey Images.

“It was big water that day,” said Tim Sharkey, the photographer who nailed this shot from a helicopter above the Atlantic Ocean just outside Holgate Inlet. “Boats were flying everywhere—at least the boats that were willing to go outside were flying. A lot of people chose to run on the inside in Barnegat Bay.”

Not a bad call—running inside—for those who aren’t big fans of spinal compression and other such delights.

In any big-air situation in a go-fast boat, there are two distinct stages of emotion. The first is “Oh my god, we’re flying” exhilaration. The second is “Oh my god, we’re going to have to land” terror.

When it comes to big air in boat, exhilaration and terror go hand in hand—that’s a fact. Just ask the driver and passengers in this Cigarette.

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