August 08, 2008
Miss GEICO RIB
Though it would have been nice for this to be a RIBCRAFT, it's nice to see RIBs are making their way into the Power Racing World. Below are excerpts from an article written about the Miss GEICO RIB by Matt Trulio of Powerboating Magazine:
Scott Begovich and Marc Granet, the throttleman and driver for the turbine-powered Miss GEICO offshore racing catamaran, dearly hope their rescue boat never has to do its job. But in addition to being racers, they are realists. They know that things can go bad—as in really bad—instantly in a cat that can top 180 mph in racing conditions.
When it came time to build a rescue boat, they chose something that wasn’t just durable and reliable, but could be extensively customized for the job.
As the name implies, RIBs have rigid hulls with inflatable air-filled chambers around their perimeters. Because they are, in essence, soft-sided, they make great yacht tenders and harbor shuttles—and rescue boats. RIBs are also fast and efficient. They do well in rough water as well, and for these reasons they’re raced extensively in Europe in production- type classes.
With financial backing from GEICO Insurance and AMF Racing, the team ordered a 32-footer. It was shipped directly to TNT Custom Marine in North Miami, where it was rigged with a pair of Mercury Racing OptiMax 300XS 3.2 Stroker outboard engines. Mercury Racing actually donated the engines for the project. But the rigging job didn’t start and stop with installing the outboards. The Miss GEICO rescue boat was set up with a custom-built tower that has lights and antennas, as well as rescue-specific equipment including a 1,000-gallon-per-hour pump to help remove water from a sinking race boat. Set in reverse mode, the pump could also deliver the same 1,000 gallons an hour to help extinguish a burning race boat.
Naturally, the Miss GEICO rescue RIB is equipped with air cylinders in holders for rescue divers, as well as a complete trauma kit for the physician who will be on board the boat during every race in 2008. Its VHF and UHF communication system enables the on-board rescue crew to communicate with rescue helicopters, as well as race control and the Miss GEICO catamaran. If no ramp is available, the rescue boat can be craned into the water—that’s how strong its lifting rings are.
Two steps were built into the rescue boat’s hull. The inner set of the boat’s four strakes terminated at the first step, while the outer pair ran full length. Also incorporated into the bottom was a variable deadrise keel. With its fuel tanks full, the Miss GEICO rescue craft reportedly has topped 72 mph.
The 32-footer, which is dressed in the same graphics as the Miss GEICO catamaran, didn’t come cheap. Even with donated outboard engines, the price tag for it—with all the previously noted extras as well as a GPS system—came to more than $200,000. The boat was delivered to the Miss GEICO team at the 2007 Key West World Championships.
“You’ll see it all over the place next season,” said Begovich, who brought the boat to Powerboat’s 2008 Performance Trials in Fort Myers, Fla., and served as its driver. “But hopefully, you’ll never see it used for what it’s intended for.”
Posted by ribcraftusa at August 8, 2008 05:32 PMBack To Index