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Sixteen Power’s Key West Adventure

All I wanted from my lunch spot last Saturday in Key West, Fla., was a quiet place—with decent food—where I could grab a bite, work on a story and prepare for the final race of the American Power Boat Association/Union International Motonautique Offshore World Championships produced by Race World Offshore. Seeing as it was just past noon and most racers were getting ready for Sunday’s action and Florida Powerboat Club members were either rafted up at Woman Key or elsewhere, I reckoned the Beach Bar at the Pier House Resort would be ideal.

I’d find an obscure corner and settle in. I had just the right table in mind.

Though the JBS Racing MTI with Sixteen Power engines completed just two laps last week in Key West, Fla., it was a true head-turner wherever it went. Photo courtesy/copyright Sixteen Power.

And it would have been perfect minus the talented young singer—with her guitar amp cranked up to 11—hired to keep the place lively. Don’t get me wrong, she had a lovely voice and she delivered a beautiful acoustic version of “Wagon Wheel.”

She was just, well, really freaking loud for the working environment I wanted. But eventually, she went on break.

Just in time, as it turned out, for the 42-foot MTI JBS Racing catamaran powered by twin 1,100-hp, naturally aspirated engines from Detroit -based Sixteen Power to roar through Key West Harbor.

Now that, even though I still craved quiet, was music to my ears.

 The 42-footer was in town for its first public debut. The Sixteen Power’s team’s original plans were to enter it in the Extreme class. But plans are only that, plans.

 “Throughout the six days from our arrival up to the Saturday test day when we were finally allowed to launch, the boat was deemed out of compliance three times,” said Tom Robinson of Sixteen Power. “We owe a great deal of thanks to the RWO officials and APBA tech inspectors, and especially Randy Scism of MTI, for supporting us and leading us through the requirements that needed to be satisfied. The main comment from everyone involved was, ‘We want to see the boat run—we want to hear those engines.’”

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Check out more images from last week’s Sixteen Power debut in the slideshow above.

It took a small village to get the boat—designated as an “Exhibition” entry for the Extreme class by Race World Offshore—for Sunday’s race. Offshore racers Shaun Torrente and Taylor Scism ran it through test laps on Saturday. Torrente also was “instrumental in helping to convert the boat to electronic trim indicators and to calibrate the data logging dash display,” according to Robinson. Nigel Hook of Lucas Oil/E3 team helped out with a pair of propellers. Bob Latham advised the JBS crew on the cat’s conversion to power steering, and Huski Chocolate/Huski Wear team manager Gary Stray donated ATF fluid for the change.

On Sunday afternoon, Torrente climbed into cockpit to throttle the cat in the Extreme class contest, the final race of the day. MTI crew chief Milton Calafell took the driver role. Once the green flag flew, the boat roared around the course for two laps before its starboard engine shut down. The culprit, said Robinson, was a burned-out relay switch. A $20 part had ended their day, but not before the boat turned the third-fastest Extreme-class lap of the week.

But that doesn’t mean the Sixteen Power/JBS Racing crew are discouraged—far from it. With the part replaced, they are heading to this weekend’s Offshore Powerboat Association World Championships in Englewood Beach, Fla.

“What we will remember the most about the week isn’t the thrash to overcome obstacles” said Robinson “It’s all the help we got from other teams and officials who had their roles to play, and races to run, but still found time to help get us into the water.

“Racers are the best people on the planet,” he added.

Throughout its Key West week, the JBS Racing/Sixteen Power MTI catamaran grabbed attention wherever it went. Photo by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.

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