Thunder on the beach as super horse-powered catamarans and Vee hulled boats sliced and diced through the smother than usual Atlantic Ocean only 100 yards from the beach. Pleasure boats, race official boats and law enforcement craft and even a stand up paddle boarder (SUP) lined the course outside the lane buoys. The sun was shining magnificently on this beautiful spring day.
The race had it’s primary brands set to run in the afternoon race after the smaller class boats competed. Among those national brands are Stihl, Geico, Jimmy Johns and Lucas Oil. The smaller class boat teams are comprised mostly of those working their way up class levels as they compete, gain experience and perform at a higher level. There are those that stay very competitive in the same class year after year.
As with any sport, sponsorship is a key to sustainability, it’s very expensive to maintain these highly engineered and tuned racing boats travelling with a team from city to city. This race was a Super Boat International sanctioned event with a local Cocoa Beach Promoter organizing and operating the event, 7th annual Space Coast Super Boat Grand Prix.
Every year this event draws from all over the US and fans flock to Port Canaveral’s The Cove to see the boats and teams in dry and wet pits. Vip, sponsor and vendor parties at local establishments and a Friday Boat Parade and “Meet The Drivers” street party fill up the event prior to race day. Saturday is filled with more fan time with teams and sponsors as well as testing and practicing out on the course. The beaches are line with sunbathers and fans and Cocoa Beach Pier is loaded with more. Vendors set up tents to display and sell their merchandise. One new vendor I noticed was Naked Mermaid Clothing packed among these racers. Small businesses and startups introduce new products and service at these events. Others include, LaQuinta Hotels, FishLips, Jazzy’s Mainely Lobster, Time Out Sports Bar and many more.
With calmer than normal surf on race day the competition lacked the drama of prior years plus, Miss Geico did not make it out to the course. Miss Geico (44′ 2-1650 HP Mercury) and CMS Offshore Racing’s Wake Effects (48′ 2-1650 Mercury) are the elite (Unlimited Class) and usually dual for the entire race. CMS was last years winner at Cocoa Beach. Rounding out the class are CMS 3, Team CRC Sunlight Suppy and Lucas Oil Silverhook.
Tight turns, airborne hulls and out-of-the-water props ( #stoptheprop ) make offshore racing exciting and competitive. It’s not just about speed as is the case with calm waters. Most boats have a driver and a throttle man, they depend on each other and put in many practice hours to sync up and mesh. In rough waters they depend on each other for control and speed and one mistake can cost critical seconds and even the race!
Unlimited: Wake Effects
Superboat: Performance Boat Center
Superboat Extreme: AMH Construction
Superboat VEE: Phantom 9
Manufacturer Production 3: The Developer
Manufacturer Production 4: Babcock Crazy Chicken
Next Super Boat International race is in Marathon, FL on June 24-26.