Dark for the past five weeks thanks to coronavirus mandates in Palm Beach County, the Miss GEICO offshore racing crew is gradually returning to work at their home-base in Riviera Beach, Fla. According to team manager Gary Stray, six members of the Miss GEICO crew, which also tackles outside high-performance boat rigging and upgrade projects, were back in the team’s 30,000-square-foot facility yesterday.
With its new deck in the final stages of being fitted to the hull, the Miss GEICO catamaran should be ready to race in the near future. Photo by Pete Boden from the 2019 Lake Race copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix/speedonthewater.com.
“It was our first day back, and I have to admit it was a little odd,” said Stray. “We’re all still social distancing in the shop. But with all the space we have, everyone has his own corner to work in so it’s not that difficult.”
Though the offshore powerboat racing season has yet to begin and remains in flux, the first order of business is to finish replacing the deck on the Class ONE team’s 47-foot Victory catamaran. (The boat sustained significant damage during a rollover in the 2019 Sarasota Grand Prix.) Stray said that the crew also is focused on pre-rigging chores including creating wiring harnesses and new dash panels.
“We also have a couple of custom rigging jobs,” he said. “We have a 44 MTI catamaran with turbine engines we’ve been working on. We had one of the engines rebuilt and now we’re doing quite a bit of cockpit upgrading work with new GPS units and a new intercom systems. And we have a 32-footer Skater cat we’re working on, starting with replacing its gimbals.
“We have plenty going on and it’s all good stuff,” he continued. “The funny thing is, I have been getting a lot of calls for more and more custom rigging jobs. I think people are eager to get back on the water.”