Approximately 36 hours ago, the 41-foot Maritimo catamaran arrived on a container ship in Savannah, Ga. The cat currently is being housed at the Miss GEICO Offshore Racing team facility in Riviera Beach, Fla. Australian offshore racing veteran Ross Willarton has been shepherding the boat, which will compete in the Superboat class during the Super Boat International Offshore World Championships (Nov. 8-15) in Key West, Fla., since its stateside arrival from Australia.
“I got in Friday night and we unloaded the raceboat in Savannah yesterday,” said Willarton, who will throttle the 41-footer with well-known U.S. offshore racer Gary Ballough handling the driving duties. “The truck driver brought it to the Miss GEICO shop this afternoon. This is our first boat with No. 6 drives. We ran in the Superboat class back in 2012 and won, but our boat had a 72-inch tunnel and surface drives and that’s no longer allowed. We had to build a completely new boat to take the No. 6 drives. We like the class because it’s specific.”
Like the catamaran, the boat’s 750-hp engines were built in house at Maritimo—Kurt Davies is the team’s engine man. Also joining the Maritimo team from Down Under will be Travis Thompson, who will work as a crew member and “relief driver” in the event anything happens to Ballough, who’ll also be competing in the Stock-class ranks during the SBI Key West Worlds.
Still in its protective shrinkwrap, the 41-foot Maritimo catamaran arrived stateside yesterday.
Although Willarton and Ballough have never shared the cockpit, Willarton is confident that he and his teammate will work well together.
“I’ve known Gary since 2011,” said Willarton. “I know what he’s like—he and I get on well. He’s racing in (Union Internationale Motonautique) Class 1 now with John Tomlinson, so I know he’s getting some good seat time behind the wheel. He’s all excited to race on the Maritimo team—he’s really happy.”
Ballough’s other racing commitments will keep him out of Maritimo’s cockpit until Key West and the team still has setup work to do. The team has started the boat’s engines, Willarton explained, but that’s about it. To help dial in the 41-footer between now and the Key West Worlds, they’ll bring in another accomplished “back-up” driver.
“I think Marc Granet from Miss GEICO will be doing a couple of runs with me to get the setup right,” he said. “And Gary will get chucked into the deep end down in Key West.
“We we’re going to bring two boats,” he added. “I was actually going to run another boat in the Unlimited class. But we’ll probably run that one next year.”