The Key West Power Boat Races
I know I really should be writing about the real estate business in Key West (which is looking up!), but we can always talk about that. Today, I want to tell you about one of the most exciting events that happens once a year here in Key West.
Yesterday was the final day of the five-day 2008 Key West Power Boat Races. The weather was great-a typical "Chamber of Commerce Day", and the nearly deafening roar of the boat engines sent a tingle through me! The event is held annually at the "Outer Mole Pier" at the Key West Navy Station, where cruise ships normally dock while visiting Key West. Some 20 highly-specialized boats belonging to members of the U.S. Power Boat Association (kind of like NASCAR) were in competition yesterday for the best time. The boats competed in different heets, according to the category of Power Boat. There was a nice fellow beside me with an injured leg, who seemed to be quite knowledgible about the boats. Turned out he is Bob Oliver, the driver of the Hard Rock boat, shown in the photos below. Each Power Boat has a throttle operator and a separate driver. I was the first time in 16 years that he had not driven in the Races, which are held at various locations across the country(and in Europe) throughout the year. It was quite an education talking to Bob and his wife! I asked him if it was tough to be hurled across the water at speeds up to 120 MPH, and he replied that the only fun is when the race is over! With the substitute driver doing a great job, the Hard Rock boat finished first in its category. Grand prize was $8000, and Bob quipped that such a prize sure isn't much of a return on the $50,000+ investment involved in travelling and setting up for a race. It's all about the camaradie, he said, adding that the experience of sharing time with fellow Association members and competing with them is priceless.
The Hard Rock boat would cost around a half million to build today. It is powered by two "Sterling" engines putting out 1600 HP each! Here for the second time this year, were a few "Cats" (Catamaran Power Boats), powered by aircraft jet engines. These things are incredible! They can run 200 MPH and they sound just like a jet flying by-actually smoother and quieter sounding than the piston-engine boats.
Some experiences here in Key West are just hard to describe, but I wanted to give it a try here for everybody. Check out Power Boat racing at www.superboat.com.
Bruce Herndon, your FLORIDA KEYS REALTOR-www.BruceInTheKeys.com
Rats! I just realized that I cannot upload the photos. I'll work on this and get them posted sometime this evening or tororrow.