Like Mark Twain, news of the demise of the U-37 Miss Beacon Plumbing are greatly exaggerated.
Though rumors are flying after the boat came back to the dock with heavy damage after the final, crew chief Scott Raney says that you can count on seeing the boat in the pits next weekend.
“No way,” Raney said of rumors that they’d be missing from the field. “This Beacon Plumbing team, we’re all fighters. We’ve faced way worse circumstances than this, and we’ve come through. Expect that we’ll be in the final heat in Seattle.”
Driver Jean Theoret opened up a commanding lead in the final heat and was leading Steve David by more than a roostertail when the boat suddenly went dead coming out of turn 4 on lap three.
“We’re obviously upset that we didn’t finish the final heat,” Raney said. “But that’s part of the deal. You’ve got to finish to win.”
When the boat returned to the dock, it became apparent that it had lost a blade on the propeller. The resulting vibration from the rapidly spinning and suddenly unbalanced prop did heavy damage to the underside of the boat.
“We’ll be in Seattle next week,” Theoret assured. “This is our hometown race, and our hometown sponsor. We have to be there.”
There was also significant damage to the afterplane and rear shoes, but Raney said that he didn’t believe the two were related.
“The initial evaluation is that the propeller pulled out a portion of the bottom. There’s also some damage on the side,” he said. “I don’t think those two things… there’s no relation. It’s different incidents.”
Qualifying begins Friday for SeaFair racing in Seattle. Between now and then, Raney doesn’t see much sleep on the horizon for himself or his crew.
In addition to the visible body damage, Raney expects to find damage to the steering system and other components once the boat is torn apart and a closer evaluation is made.
He also said the motor that was in the boat at the time was seriously damaged, adding more work to the team’s schedule.
“There’s no sleep for the next week,” he said.