Offshore racing fans will get their first look at the new and much-anticipated Spirit of Qatar, a 50-foot Mystic catamaran with twin 1,500-hp turbine engines from Whispering Turbines, during this weekend’s Super Boat International Suncoast Super Boat Grand Prix Festival in Sarasota, Fla. That’s the word from Steve Curtis, the throttleman for the Orlando, Fla.-based team, who ended insider speculation that the team boat wouldn’t be ready for what looks to be one of the strongest races of the 2013 season.
“We won’t be at 110 percent where we’d like to be, but we’ll be there,” said Curtis, who previously throttled for the Qatar team in Union Internationale Motonautique Class 1 offshore competition, in a telephone interview this morning. “We’ll be using the Sarasota event mostly for testing and set-up. We’re not going out there to wring everything out of it. Our ultimate goal, as it has been from the beginning, is the Key West World Championship.”
The Qatar team’s turbine boat, as well as its 42-foot Marine Technology, Inc., Spirit of Qatar cat that competes in the Superboat class, should arrive in Sarasota on Friday when the pits open. Supplier and vendor issues reportedly delayed the turbine-powered 50-footer’s debut, which had been planned for SBI events earlier this season. Curtis said that the team, led by Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani, is looking forward to finally getting the cat on the water.
“Once we have it on the water and running, final set-up shouldn’t be too difficult,” he said.