Miss GEICO Burns Down in Sarasota, Crew OK

In what happened to be a scary incident on the water this weekend in Sarasota, Fla., the Miss GEICO catamaran went up in flames during testing for the Super Boat International (SBI) Suncoast Grand Prix.

Marc Granet and Scott Begovich were safe despite the Miss GEICO race boat burning to the ground in Sarasota, Fla. Photo courtesy Miss GEICO Racing.Marc Granet and Scott Begovich were safe despite the Miss GEICO race boat burning to the ground in Sarasota, Fla. Photo courtesy Miss GEICO Racing.Arguably the most recognizable race boat in the world, Miss GEICO, a 50-foot Mystic Powerboats catamaran powered by twin turbine engines, was burned to the waterline on Saturday after a high-pressure fitting on one of the gear boxes failed and caused a mist of oil to revert back into the exhaust system, starting the fire, according team driver Marc Granet.

Granet and throttleman Scott Begovich escaped the situation unharmed, but Granet called the incident "devastating—a total loss."

"By the time we stopped the boat, the whole cockpit was engulfed in smoke," said Granet, who said one of the safety boats tossed them two industrial-size fire extinguishers, but that those, along with the boat's Halon fire suppression systems, didn't make a dent. "It was searing hot standing on the deck. When we heard the fuel tanks starting to hiss, we knew it was time to get into the water."

Granet said the team is looking at several options to finish the race season, but isn't prepared to announce anything yet. Speedonthewater.com will report on the team's plan as soon as details are made available. He also thanked the entire Miss GEICO crew as well as the SBI safety crew for their efforts in getting the boat back on the trailer.