Yesterday’s violent solo crash of Miss Geico, the well-known turbine-powered 50-foot Mystic catamaran at a Michigan City, Indiana offshore race still has driver Marc Granet and throttleman Scott Begovich at a loss to explain exactly what happened. Granet described the conditions as rough but consistent and said the cat was traveling at 106 mph—a relatively low speed for a boat that runs consistently above 150 mph—when the incident occurred.
“It was like two miles of Sea Ray wakes, one after another,” said Granet. “It was one of oddest, strangest accidents. We weren’t even making power—we were below 80 percent. We were talking over the data with the crew on the radio. Then, one moment we’re looking at the sky, the next we’re looking at the water.”
Although the boat apparently “tripped” and left the water nose high, it did not “stuff” or flip when it landed. According to Begovich, incident happened so quickly and unexpectedly that it caught him and Granet by surprise.
“It wasn’t even scary because it happened so fast,” said Begovich. “We’ve put ourselves in much more dangerous positions hundreds of times. The odds finally caught up with us.
“If we’d gone upside down, the damage would have been much worse,”he added.
On landing, the cat severely damaged the port side of its bow and blew off an engine hatch. It was left with one engine running.
“The forces were so great,” said Granet. “We have a velocimeter in the boat, and we were pulling two Gs on the way up. The impact was seven or eight Gs.
“It was a reality check of how quickly things can go bad in one of these boats,” he continued. “I mean, this boat is 50 feet long, 13,500 pounds full of fuel when it leaves the dock. It’s a big boat. We’ve done more than 100 races at 150 mph, and here we are on ‘cruise control’ at 106 mph, and look at the damage.”
As of this morning, Miss Geico was on its trailer and headed to Mystic in Deland, Fla., for repairs, which should take three weeks. Granet and Begovich said they hope to have the boat ready of the Offshore Powerboat Association event in Patchogue, Long Island. N.Y.