While driver Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani and throttleman Steve Curtis had hoped for five days of testing in their new Spirit of Qatar team turbine-powered 50-foot Mystic Powerboats catamaran prior to racing in the Super Boat International Space Coast Grand Prix offshore race in Cocoa Beach, Fla., this coming weekend (May 17-19), the cat has yet to hit the water. The revised plan is for the 50-footer, which is powered by twin 1,600-hp engines from Whispering Turbines, to debut at the SBI event in Orange Beach, Ala., May 31-June 2.
According to Curtis, who is handling the rigging chores with his Spirit of Qatar teammates, a number of issues including parts delays from vendors forced the postponement. More critical to the project, Curtis explained, is ensuring that everything is done correctly.
“We want to build the best and fastest turbine boat ever,” he said. “But it’s not like building a piston raceboat with marine engines that already have systems on them and are ready to install. To rush it just to make an event would be stupid. Sheikh Hassan wants everything to be perfect. The Qatar team is known to be professional and competitive. The boat has to be perfect.
“Our ultimate goal is win the Key West Offshore World Champion and at some point set a new propeller-drive water-speed record,” he added. “We’d like to compete in a few races along the way, but Key West is our main goal.”
The Spirit of Qatar team will not, however, be unrepresented at this weekend’s offshore race in Cocoa Beach. The team will enter its 42-foot Marine Technology Inc., catamaran, powered by twin 750-hp engines from Scorpion Racing Engines, in the Superboat 750 class. The team’s Mohammed Al-Nasser and Ali Al-Neama will pilot the cat, the former Reliable Carriers raceboat that will fly the Qatar team colors for the first time.
The goal is for them (Mohammed Al-Nasser and Ali Al-Neama) both to get as familiar as possible with each other and with the boat,” said Sheikh Hassan in a press release. “We are racing in a new arena this year, so we need to see how things work and how everything pans out on the course.”
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