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Saturday, November 19, 2016

And The Beat Goes On!

36 annual Key West World Championships Super Boat International

Super Boat 1st ~ Little Bird ~ Helicopter 2nd!
I never realized how retelling one’s daily activities would be so difficult with all of the events that continuously happen on down here in Key West, Florida. We just finished Fantasy Fest week. Next, the International World Cup Speedboat Races this past week. I’m not a connoisseur of any boat racing, or, for that matter anything to do with boats.
Race Start
It was truly an eye opener to view, not so much the races, but to explore the staging area where all of these boats and trailers, trucks and equipment parked. This was open to the public, but at an entry fee. This event took place on Navy property and with our, handy dandy, military ID we walked right in. On racing days, they charged $20.00 a person. “Thank you very much for the ID cards, Uncle Sam!” If you bought a pass for the week, it was a mere $800.00!
Tilt Super Boat

If you owned a boat, it was $$$$$, but who’s counting. Speaking of money, these racing boats do not cost thousands of dollars, but millions. They are not made of fiberglass, but of carbon fibre…same stuff as the stealth fighter planes. They have specially designed trailers that tilt the boats nearly vertical. so they can be transported down the highway. Why would they have to be tilted, you might ask? They are 12 feet wide and some 50 feet long. The trucks pulling them are show pieces in themselves. Some owners have matching color show cars that enhance both the boat, truck and poshness of the rigs. Most of these racing teams are large corporation sponsors, hence an advertisement right off. An example of this would be “Stihl”… you know, the chain saw people.
Stihl Super Boat

They’ve been racing every other day with the last big event tomorrow. I’m not sure how everything is talied, but winning points play a big part in the scheme of the winning. The Super-boat heats are capable of hitting speeds of 180 miles per hour. On the day we watched, they were doing 140 miles per hour. It’s the wave conditions that limit the speed. Even at 140 mph, we often saw them getting airborne as they screamed by. There average speed was 111MPH on the 4.2 mile course. It was a cool sight to see! Actually, I should rephrase that and say it was a very hot sight to see, as we were on the Mole (pier) watching in the very hot sun!
Cowgirl ~ Racing Fan

Earlier during the week, in the early evening, the racing teams had a parade down Duval Street strutting their stuff, with trucks, trailers, cars and boats! Money, money and more money to advertise their companies and/or products!
Sunday rolled around and the final day for racing was here. Before getting into the racing details, I have to mention that it’s not only the racing boats that show up for this week’s festivities, but several dozens, so called “Cigars” boats made their way down from the Miami area to watch and run around the Keys. These smaller boats are not your typical 75 HP outboards, but usually two automotive type engines “300HP” each. Even at idle, these guys sound very powerful! One night, at three in the morning, most likely after the bars on Duval Street closed, one of these “Cigar” boats, cruised the channel between Trumbo Point and Fleming Key.
The rescue
At first it sounded very much like a diesel locomotive chugging along until it passsed the bridge pillions. It rounded the corner, parallel to Fleming Key with exhaust pointed towards the campground and the guy or girl hit the throttle. At three in the morning, with the windows opened, it sounded like I was at New England Drag-Way, with a Dragster coming off the line!

Back to Sunday’s final race

In the morning, we weren’t sure if we were going to attend. The temperature would be very hot and little wind on that side of the island. This is such a difference from the Northeast side where the campground is located!
1500 HP Super Boat
Well, our neighbor Lou Schadie came over and was telling us that some of the other Trumbo campers were there early to get good shady site at Fort Zachary Park. Before we knew it, we were pedaling over across the Island to the State Park. Lou, a disable veteran has a “Veterans Disability State Park Pass". He was able to get as many as eight people on his pass. Once in the park, we were amazed at how many thousands of people lined the beach!

The race started, with three helicopters flying low covering the boats as they flew by at ear piecing noise! With only a dozen boats in the race, the engine noise doesn’t last very long.
Turn Three
The pack soon spread out as two boats took the lead. The 4.2 mile course is visible nearly from one end to the other. My 18 to 300MM lens got a good workout. From our position, I could get some good shots as they turned from turn three. I really won’t get to see exactly which photos will be the best of the hundreds that I took until I get home to my large monitor and Lightroom software.
Closing In !

In turn two, I was able to get one of the boats getting air borne and flipping over! It was a mass confusion from the air as well as from the water. Rescue personnel, from one of helicopters performed the rescue of the two crew members. They (the rescue team) have things pretty well covered in that department.
That is what we did and saw!

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