Though they didn’t get their second 41-foot Victory catamaran with twin Mercury Racing 1650 engines on the water for testing this week as Spirit of Qatar team manager Steve Curtis had hoped, they did log significant time in the team’s Spirit of Qatar 613 41-footer with the same power package. According to Curtis, who worked with two representatives from Mercury Racing for four days before catching a flight to Doha, Qatar, last night, the bulk of the testing was focused on acceleration and throttle adjustments.
Said Curtis (left): “You tell the technicians what you’re after, come up with a plan for how to achieve it, and then they type in a bunch of ‘ones and zeros’ in their laptop computers.”
“Testing went really, really well—we found out some interesting stuff,” he said via mobile phone shortly before he boarded his flight to Qatar, where he’ll meet with Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani, as well as the new leadership of the Qatar Marine Sports Federation, to map out the Spirit of Qatar team’s offshore racing plans for 2015. “Working with two Mercury Racing guys was really amazing, and the testing was successful and productive.”
Curtis declined to elaborate further on what he and the Spirit of Qatar team learned during testing this week. He described the process of testing Spirit of Qatar 613, the team’s “baseline boat,” as methodical and even tedious at times.
“It’s very much like Formula One now, where you tell the technicians what you’re after, come up with a plan for how to achieve it, and then they type in a bunch of ‘ones and zeros’ in their laptop computers and upload the information the engines,” said Curtis. “An hour later, you’re testing. Then you come back and download data. Then you tell them what you want to try again, and they type in more ones and zeros and you’re out testing again. It’s very long and arduous process, to be honest with you.
“Once we have all the baseline data dialed into the 613 boat we will get the 96 piston boat together,” he added. “We were going to take the 96 boat for a shakedown cruise, but the way things went we didn’t have time. I won’t be back from Qatar until the middle of next week. The great thing is we are testing like crazy very early before the season.”
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