244 MPH is a good way of spelling "fast". Especially on water. On August 23rd, at Lake of the Ozarks Shootout (Missouri, USA), Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani (driver) and Steve Curtis (throttleman) smashed the previous speed record - 224 MPH - set last year.
A turbine-powered 50-foot catamaran with 6,000-plus HP. Basically, that's all you need to know about Al Adaa'am 96, Spirit of Qatar's catamaran built by Mystic Powerboats, to realize it means business. During its first pass through the course, Al Adaa'am 96 "only" managed 210 mph as the emergency parachutes had accidentally deployed, slowing the boat down. After the team's crew removed them, driver Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani and throttleman Steve Curtis made another run down the course.
And what a run it was! Despite a bumpy start and ride over the first part, Al Adaa'am 96 settled down and rocketed through the course like a bullet out of a gun. The objective: breaking the 224 mph record set in 2013 by My Way Mystic. Not only Sheikh Hassan and Steve managed to do this, but they've set the bar even higher, running 20 mph faster compared to last year's mark. "We had so many things in the back of our heads that could go wrong" said Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani. "Halfway though the run, the boat started to porpoise a little bit. Steve got back on the throttles and nailed it. It hooked back up again and he hammered it all the way down."
Sheikh Hassan also said he kept reading the speedometer to make sure what he saw was what was recorded. "We were approaching the finish and running about 230 mph and it felt like Steve backed off a little bit cause that's what he wanted to do. Then he started back on and I saw 240 - I'm pretty sure we reached 250 after the gate. That's one milestone we got out of the way with this boat. Now it's time to go out and relax and look ahead to what's next." A smiling Steve Curtis added: "That was incredible. I'm still shaking - there's still a lot of adrenaline pumping through my bones. It's a great feeling!"
Mission accomplished. Videos of the run: here and here (on-board camera). A 20-minute documentary on the record-breaking run can be viewed here.
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