Not seen on the offshore racecourse since last season’s rough outings during the Super Boat International Offshore World Championships in Key West, Fla., the Spirit of Qatar team’s Al Adaa’am 96 catamaran will compete at the upcoming SBI Sarasota (Fla.) Suncoast Super Boat Grand Prix Festival July 3-6. That’s the plan at least, according Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani, who drives the twin 1,800-hp turbine engine 50-foot Mystic cat with Steve Curtis on the throttles.
Not seen on the offshore racecouse since the 2013 SBI Worlds in Key West, Al Adaa’am 96’s first race of the season likely will be at the next SBI event in Sarasota. Photo courtesy/copyright Andy Newman/Monroe County Tourism Development Council.
“We are planning on having the turbine boat ready for Sarasota,” said Sheikh Hassan, who heads the three-boat Spirit of Qatar offshore racing team. “Hopefully, if we get it out in time we’ll have time to do some testing before we head to Sarasota for the race.”
Regardless of whether or not Miss Mary Mac, a 48-foot Marine Technology, Inc., catamaran that is the Al Adaa’am 96 cat’s only Turbine-class rival, competes in Sarasota (unlikely at his point according to the boat’s owner/driver Richard Chaney), Sheikh Hassan said his goal will be finishing ahead of Miss GEICO, the 44-foot Victory cat with Mercury Racing 1650 engines driven by Marc Granet and throttled by Scott Begovich. That Miss GEICO runs in the piston engine, Superboat Unlimited class is not relevant to the Sprit of Qatar team’s leader.
“As everyone knows, my primary target is Miss GEICO 113 and Granet in particular,” he said.
At SBI’s last race in Cocoa Beach, Fla., Sheikh Hassan joined with throttleman Matteo Nicolini in the Spirit of Qatar 613 cat to go head-to-head with Granet and Begovich in Miss GEICO in the Superboat Unlimited class. Though the close race saw Miss GEICO take the checkered flag, Sheikh Hassan remained undaunted.
“I like racing against GEICO in any class they wish to select,” he said in a reference to both this year’s Cocoa Beach race as well as last year’s SBI Nationals in which the GEICO team stepped up to run its piston boat in the Turbine class. “Currently, I am focusing on the turbine, but if I get a chance to run in the Unlimited I will do so again to keep Granet on his toes. I just love to be his nightmare.”
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