A new boat, a new, though highly experienced crew pairing, and the Redcliffe 100, opening round of the Australian Offshore Powerboat championships has Mark Gilbert 'straining at the bit'.
by Bob Wonders
September 21 just can’t come quickly enough for Mark Gilbert.
A new boat, a new, though highly experienced crew pairing, and the Redcliffe 100, opening round of the Australian Offshore Powerboat championships has Gilbert 'straining at the bit.'
'Looking forward to it like you wouldn’t believe,' he told me this week while showing me over the new Global Racing catamaran.
Built by MTI (Marine Technology, Inc.) in the United States, Gilbert will throttle the 11.3-metre (3.2-metre beam) catamaran with Mike Beil at the wheel.
The boat is actually owned by Mark’s father John, and there’s a strong family element involved, with Mark’s brother Simon acting as team manager and nephew Stuart Gilbert helping out.
Other crew members include Peter Allan and Steve Kelly, together with qualified helicopter pilot Russell Marsh.
The boat was rigged and engines installed by Maritimo crew chief Peter ‘Muddy’ McGrath at the Coomera facility.
'As you would expect, ‘Muddy’ did a first class job, all the way,' Mark declared.
The 525hp MerCruiser engines, running their power through Imco drives, should have the boat returning a top speed in the 125mph (200km/hr) region.
On its initial run off Southport, Mark took the engines to 5000rpm, handling the boat 'fairly gently.'
At full noise, the MerCruisers will redline at 5600rpm.
The crew is still experimenting with propellers and have four sets of imported Herring ‘wheels’ to play with.
Inside the cockpit, GPS, Mercury digital SmartCraft instrumentation and Latham power steering will keep the boat on track.
Aicraft-style seating, GPS, digital instrumentation and Lataham power steering systems are among Global Racing’s cockpit equipment. - Redcliffe 100 - Bob Wonders Click Here to view large photo
'We have attempted to produce a boat capable of performing reliably and hopefully we’ll meet the chequered flag occasionally,' Mark said.
Originally from Melbourne, Mark is now a resident of Southport and with Mike Beil a true blue Queenslander he now calls the ‘sunshine state’ home.
He’ll remain with at least one Melbourne link – RT Marine, at Carrum Downs, will be retained to service the engines and drives through the season.
'We’ve done almost everything required, new boat, engines, trailer, I guess it’s now a case of Redcliffe here we come,' Mark added.
As we count down to Redcliffe and the opening round of the Australian titles we’ll bring a brief biography of the competing crews each week to Powerboat-World; it’s right here that you’ll be able to follow in detail the trials and tribulations of the offshore racers.
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11:18 PM Mon 25 Aug 2008 GMT
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