Last week’s Super Boat International Key West Offshore World Championships proved to be a high-and-low affair for the Qatar team. On the positive side, in its rookie season in the competitive Superboat class, the team’s Spirit of Qatar 20, a 42-foot Marine Technology, Inc., catamaran with twin 750-hp Scorpion Racing defied the naysayers and took third place overall behind WHM Motorsports and Stihl.
On the down side, Qatar’s turbine-powered 50-foot Mystic cat, Al Adaa’am 96, was forced to withdraw from all three races with mechanical issues, including one in the third race that led to a fire in its engine compartment. That the team took first-place in the two-boat Turbine class, with its competitor all but knocking itself out of contention by failing to start the first of three races in the SBI Worlds, was little solace for driver Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani and throttleman Steve Curtis, both of whom are fiercely competitive.
Despite the rough outing in Key West—and a lack of commitment from racers that forced him to cancel the inaugural Qatar Cup he had proposed for early 2014— Sheikh Hassan reaffirmed his dedication to helping the sport grow in the United States and abroad in 2014.
“I am never discouraged or disappointed,” he said. “I will still carry on the momentum to move forward, and hopefully see the sport even healthier. We are 100-percent serious and committed to work to see it live up to its reputation and create interest for the fans to come and watch offshore racing again.
“We will repair the turbine and we will come back strong,” he added. “We have received so many positive comments from our fans, and we will not disappoint them.”