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Rigging, Renovation—And More—Heating Up for Miss GEICO


The first set of production 1650 Race engines from Mercury Racing is set to arrive tomorrow at the AMF Offshore Rigging shop for installation in the 44-foot long Miss GEICO offshore racing catamaran. To that end, Gary Stray and the of crew at the West Palm Beach, Fla., outfit have completely gutted and rebuilt the engine bays of the 44-footer, which began its life as a racer designed and built by the Victory Team and replaced the destroyed the turbine-powered Miss GEICO Mystic cat (Read the story) last year.

“We’re quite excited about the Mercury engine program,” said Stray, who originally rigged the 44-footer for the Dubai-based Victory group in 1996. “We have done a lot of high-speed stuff with the turbines, of course, and I did quite a bit of high-speed stuff when I was with Randy (Scism) at MTI. We’re quite looking forward to it.


Engine bay prepartions for the Mercury Racing 1650s were extensive.

“Getting ready for the installation has take quite a bit of work,” Stray continued. “We actually had to lower the engine placement bays and the fuel cell. We also completely changed the safety cell in the boat. It has a new windshield and a new roll cage, and we reinforced the entire structure with carbon fiber. Basically, we gutted the entire boat.”

Rather than using conventional tailpipes and water-jacketed exhaust for the quad overhead cam turbocharged piston engines, Stray and his team are outfitting the cat with ceramic-wrapped dry exhaust. The exhaust system is, for all intents and purposes, the same type of system they used on the turbine-powered Miss GEICO cat. Manufacturing of the system is in progress, according to Stray.

“We’re trying to eliminate any water restriction in the tailpipes,” he explained. “It’s exactly the same thing we did for our turbines. The ceramic material is similar to the tiles you’d find on the bottom of the space shuttle. We did extensive testing with it in our turbine boat. Inside the tailpipe, we’d see EGT (exhaust gas temperature) of 1,100 degrees Fahrenheit, whereas the outside of the pipe would be 114 degrees. I could put my hand on it. Keeping up the EGT also will help with the turbochargers, because exhaust gas moves faster when its temperature is higher.”

Small Changes, Big Implications

New dash components are just part of a bigger story.

New dash components are just part of the bigger picture.

Underneath the renovated canopy and capsule, Miss GEICO pilots Marc Granet and Scott Begovich will be looking at an all-new carbon-fiber dashboard. But the change to a new dash is as much about the future Miss GEICO, an all-carbon 42-footer created by Gary Stray Yacht Design that most likely will debut in 2015, as it is about improving the team’s present ride.

According to Stray, the scale model and the drawings for his 42-foot catamaran, which will be built in house, are complete. At present he is working with carbon-fiber lamination and materials specialists in Germany, including representatives from Porsche. Stray said the new race boat will be constructed using “new processes, resins and carbons that are not available in this country,” though he declined to provide additional detail.


Throttleman Begovich will have joystick control in Miss GEICO this season.

“Sure, we made this very neat, new dashboard for the current Miss GEICO,” he explained. “But we created it using all these small parts that are made with the new technology and materials we will be using for the new boat, and we’re bonding it all together. It’s like a ‘test,’ except that none of the parts are critical for the boat to run. But we’ll still get to see how those parts react to different stresses.”

Editor’s Note: Look for a complete Speedonthewater.com feature on the new Miss GEICO catamaran designed by Gary Stray Yacht design in the coming months.