In an announcement made this morning, Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani confirmed that the Spirit of Qatar Team will take part in the 32nd annual Super Boat International Key West World Championships in Florida in November.
According to a press release from the Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF), Sheikh Hassan and legendary throttleman Steve Curtis will return to the world-famous American boating festival at the helm of the spare Spirit of Qatar 96, the Class 1 racing catamaran that they are using on select rounds of this year’s UIM Class 1 World Powerboat Championship. Shipping partner Peters & May is handling the logistics of transporting the hull and equipment from Qatar to Key West.
“We had the idea in mind to compete at Key West for some time,” Sheikh Hassan said in the release. “We reviewed the current calendar and we have upgraded the engines to give us the maximum power possible so that we can compete with the more powerful boats in the series and show how competitive we can be.”
The team last took part in the 29th annual Key West World Championships in November 2009, with Abdullah Al-Sulaiti and Matteo Nicolini joining Sheikh Hassan and Steve Curtis in a two-boat team—Spirit of Qatar 96 and Spirit of Qatar 95. The Key West event consists of a week of activities, including three racing days scheduled for Nov. 7, 9 and 11 with the intermediate days being used for testing, marketing and boat displays.
“I actually prefer the longer and more social events,” added Sheikh Hassan. “It gives you more time to be available for competitors and fans and enables everyone to create an even bigger fan base. Key West is a one-off race. It’s where any racer needs to be. It’s a fun event and very challenging.”