Though its new 50-foot Mystic Powerboats offshore racing catamaran is still under construction at the Deland, Fla., custom go-fast boat company’s plant and it won’t be unveiled until the 2013 Miami International Boat Show, the Spirit of Qatar team is already making big plans for the 2013 domestic offshore racing. In addition to running on the Super Boat International racing circuit next year and participating in the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout at the end of next summer, the team will attempt to break the propeller-driven powerboat speed record. At present, the record stands at just more than 200 mph.
John Cosker, the owner and founder of Mystic, confirmed that breaking the record is one of the team’s most important goals. “They are planning to do it in Qatar with a UIM (Union Internationale Motonautique) sanction sometime next year,” said Cosker. “Steve Curtis [the throttleman for the boat] just asked me for lamination plans for the safety capsule to submit to UIM. That’s probably the biggest focus right now, around the safety capsule. I think with Steve’s input we took a really good design and made it even better.”
As originally planned, the 50-footer will be equipped with a special engine-mounting system that will enable a swap-out of its twin turbine engines in about a day. For offshore racing, the team will run twin 1,800-hp T-53 turbine mills. For special events like the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout, the team will run T-55 turbines, which are rated at 3,000 hp each.
The team’s original plans came into question when the turbine-powered Miss GEICO, another 50-foot Mystic cat, burned to the waterline during a practice session in late June. The GEICO team replaced their ride with a boat from another build, and also went for piston engines in the form of twin Mercury Racing 1075SCi power plants. For all intents and purposes, that left the Qatar campaign, led by Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani, with no solid competition for the upcoming season. So the team briefly considered scrapping its original turbine plans and going with piston power for 2013.
“They debated it," said Cosker, "but Aqua-Mania [another turbine-powered 50-foot Mystic cat] is saying they are going to race next season, and the Semper Fi turbine boat [a 48-foot Marine Technology, Inc. catamaran] is out there.”