Image of the Week—Farewell Miss GEICO

There have been several iconic offshore racing catamarans during the years—Al Copeland’s Popeye’s, Matt Alcone’s Alcone Motorsports and Mark Nemschoff’s Tommy Bahama leap to mind—but Miss GEICO, the 50-foot neon green/yellow Mystic Powerboats that burned to the waterline on June 30 (Read the story) has to be at or near the top of the list. That the turbine-powered cat ran with little to no competition during most of its races didn’t matter much to its fans because Miss GEICO always put on a show.

Captured by Jay Nichols racing off Key West, Miss Geico was a perennial eye-magnet. Photo courtesy/copyright Jay Nichols/Naples Image.Captured by Jay Nichols racing off Key West, Miss GEICO was a perennial eye-magnet. Photo courtesy/copyright Jay Nichols/Naples Image.

That was a testament to driver Marc Granet, throttleman Scott Begovich and the entire Miss GEICO team. Granet and Begovich practically begged for competition in the turbine class but never really got it for any number of reasons, the cost of admission and campaigning being chief among them. And when you look at the cost—a competitive new turbine-powered offshore racing catamaran can easily set you back $1 million—relative to the potential return on investment (next to nothing) it’s easy understand why even the most well-to-do, would-be competitors balked.

In a brief telephone interview yesterday evening, Granet confirmed that the Miss GEICO racing team has purchased Maritimo, a former Victory Team 43-foot cat reportedly based on the original 43 Tencara, to run for the balance of the 2012 season. More noteworthy, the team does not plan to run turbine power in the 43-footer.

“No one is running in the turbine class right now,” said Granet. “We are dying to compete with someone, so we are going to run piston engines, most likely in the 900- to 1,400-hp range.”

As for whether or not Miss GEICO, whatever form it takes in 2013, will come back as a turbine-powered cat, Granet said the team has not finalized its plans. Before the boat was destroyed, both Granet and Begovich said they were looking forward to competing against the Qatar-backed turbine catamaran, currently under construction at Mystic, in 2013. (Read the story here.)

“We lost our boat,” said Granet. “We sure didn’t plan on that. It’s a huge loss.”

Editor’s Note: As the Miss GEICO team develops and unveils its future plans for offshore racing speedonthewater.com will provide updates.