Despite this year’s relatively small 29-boat fleet for the annual Super Boat International Suncoast Offshore Grand Prix in Sarasota, Fla., the event was far from devoid of significant news. That’s because on Saturday, June 30, Miss Geico—the best-known boat on the offshore racing scene—burned to the waterline.
The fire in the canopied, 50-foot Mystic catamaran started when a high-pressure fitting on one of the gearboxes failed and caused a mist of oil to revert back into the exhaust system, according to driver team Marc Granet.
“By the time we stopped the boat, the whole cockpit was engulfed in smoke,” said Granet.
Granet and Scott Begovich, the throttleman for Miss Geico, tried to extinguish the blaze with industrial-grade fire extinguishers provided by the crew in the first safety boat that arrived on the scene. However, their efforts—as well as the boat’s automatic Halon fire-suppression system— were no match for the inferno.
“It was searing hot standing on the deck,” said Granet. “When we heard the fuel tanks starting to hiss, we knew it was time to get into the water.
“We are devastated,” Granet added. “The boat is a total loss.”
Neither Begovich nor Granet was injured in the incident. At press time, the Miss Geico team had not announced what it planned to do to finish the 2012 offshore racing season.