Saturday, May 30, 2009
The Miss GEICO Offshore Triple Crown Comes To Ocean City this Sunday
If you have never seen these boats race it's a sight to behold. If the wind holds and the sea is fairly calm that turbine boat will put on a show like no other. With 40+ foot long boats being pushed with almost 4000 horse power yet they are still no match for the great ocean if she decides to not cooperate. These massive vessels with their extreme power will get plenty of air. Don't miss it if you can make the trip, you wont be disappointed.
If boats took steroids, these would be the juicers. Bigger, faster and badder, these horsepower freaks, in town for the first leg of the Miss GEICO Offshore Triple Crown on Sunday, look like they ate a skipjack for lunch before devouring a catamaran for dinner.
These machines, which cost upwards of $1 million, look too pretty to touch and too fast to have been sitting still, but parked in West Ocean City's Sunset Marina, spectators were welcome to inspect the 40-foot-plus boats and talk to the crews that operate them.
"Fan-wise, Ocean City is the best race we do," said Scott Begovich, throttle man for the Miss Geico. "They have the best crowd, the most knowledgeable fans, because they are all boaters."
On Sunday, when Begovich straps into the cockpit of his 44-foot ride, the New Jersey native will have the power of two Apache helicopter engines at his fingertips. The 3,700-horsepower turbine engines, which were purchased from a military surplus supplier, will be the only of its kind entered in the race.
"It's very exciting, it's very exhilarating (to ride)," Begovich said. "It's very scary at the same time. It's a thrill like nothing else on the planet."
Just like all of the other Offshore Powerboat Association racers, Begovich's biggest concern is the weather and how choppy the waves of the Atlantic Ocean will be.
"Last year in Ocean City, it was rough," Begovich said. "It was extremely exhausting. My legs were all wobbly when I got off the boat."
This year, Begovich hopes the seas will be more cooperative.
"The forecast is calling for 2- to 3-foot waves, so that is not to bad. It should be a pretty easy day, but if it is anything bigger, then it gets to be a long day."
The weather will effect Miss Geico's speed.
"When we are running in calm water on a straight-away," Begovich said, "we will hit in excess of 190 mph. That's basically a football field a second."
At those speeds, bad things are bound to happen. Begovich has been involved in three significant crashes, but the second-generation boater has been able to walk away from all of them.
"They made some pretty cool videos though," Begovich said while chuckling. "You always have to worry about the big wave. You always have to be prepared for the big wave, but normally you don't see it coming until it is to late."