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Lucas Oil SilverHook Planning Key West to Cuba Record Attempt

World champion offshore racer Nigel Hook couldn’t resist using the spotlight of the 2017 IBM Interconnect Conference in Las Vegas to announce his latest endeavor—setting an endurance world record from Key West, Fla., to Cuba, in mid-June.


Nigel Hook and Jay Johnson are planning attempt to set a record from Key West to Cuba in mid-June. Photo courtesy Cole McGowan/SilverHook Powerboats. Other photos below (click to enlarge) courtesy SilverHook Powerboats.

Nigel Hook and Hemingway International Yacht Club, it became obvious that Commodore Jose Miguel Diaz Escrich.During the session, “Driving Intelligence to the Edge in Powerboat Racing with Watson IoT Edge Analytics” presented by IBM’s Tom Sarasin and Hook, who is the CEO of DataSkill, released the news that he and his teammate, Jay Johnson, are going to challenge the current record from Key West to Cuba, which was set in 1 hour, 51 minutes by Germany’s Roger Kluh and Mark McManus in Kluh’s Apache Powerboats V-bottom, Apache Star, in August 2015 (read the story).

Hook said they are also going to set a new round-trip world record in his Lucas Oil/SilverHook V-bottom, which is powered by twin Mercury Racing 1550/1350 engines with Evo-X Headers from CMI. The record attempt—the Lucas Oil Ocean Cup – Key West to Cuba—is going to be the second Ocean Cup presented by Lucas Oil; the first was established in 2013 as the Lucas Oil Ocean Cup – Golden Gate to Queen Mary. Hook was involved with that as well (read the story).

“We’ve put a lot of research into this—we were just in Cuba last weekend and we got all the approvals,” Hook said. “A Cuba record has been in my mind since my first race in Key West and, for many reasons, the time is right now. During our recent meeting with the Commodore of the Hemingway International Yacht Club, it became obvious that Commodore (Jose Miguel Diaz) Escrich and I share a similar passion for ocean sports. He and I have started a special friendship and with his support, we plan for this to become an annual event. There is a strong history of offshore racing between Cuba and the US dating back to 1922.”

Since pioneering data-driven, artificial intelligence systems and racing offshore powerboats has been Hook’s passion since he was a teenager, he is excited to be able to merge artificial intelligence and augmented reality with ocean racing in international waters. The technology developed by DataSkill with IBM Watson IoT (Internet of Things) and Cisco, runs predictive analytics onboard the boat turning Hook’s offshore boat into a flying data center.

Scheduled for the week of June 19-23, the Lucas Oil Ocean Cup – Key West to Cuba record is going to be an internationally approved record sanctioned by the American Power Boat Association, which is governed by the Union Internationale Motonautique, with race management by Powerboat P1. Another element of the event is going to support the kids from the Key West Community Sailing Center, a non-profit organization.

nigel cuba collageHook, who is going to have officials, referees and timekeepers in place, said the record will begin in Key West’s Mallory Square and the start timer will be triggered just south of Sunset Key. The timer stops at the channel marker in front of El Morro Castle in Havana, Cuba.

“The guys in 2015 did it in little less than two hours,” Hook said, adding that the record was sanctioned by the Hemmingway International Yacht Club, not the UIM or APBA, its domestic arm. “We plan to do it less than one hour. Then we’ll stop, hold a press conference and go the other way. It’s going to be two one-way records.”

Hook understands that the crossing won’t be easy.

“When we flew back, there were big white caps and texture on the water you could see from 30,000 feet,” he said. “I saw five tankers in the Florida Straits. Even on a calm day, it’s not necessarily going to be fast in those Herculean seas.”

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