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Paramount looks to upstage big guns

Published: 
Sunday, August 10, 2014
Paramount parades on Independence Square during the Carib Great Race parade in Port-of-Spain, yesterday. PHOTO: MARYANN AUGUSTE

Nicholas Clarke

The 50-foot Mystic Paramount will seek to establish itself among the big guns of the Carib Great Race when it takes its second crack at the annual event on August 23. 

The largest boat in the field, it will have its work cut out for it against defending champion Total Monster and 17-time winner Mr Solo in the 130MPH A Class. 

Following a successful stint on the Florida-circuit in 2010 and 2011, the boat’s first Great Race campaign ended in disappointment in 2012 when it shut down along the North Coast. This time around however, driver Jason Laing feels things will go differently.

“We had some mechanical issues and didn’t get too far two years ago but since then we’ve repowered and will be a lot more prepared for whatever comes our way. 

“You can’t predict the conditions so you have to deal with what is handed to you. Rough or calm, we’re ready for whatever’s thrown at us.”

Laing, who previously drove the 32-foot catamaran Anabolic in the late 2000s, will be joined by veterans Donald Webster (throttleman) and Rajesh Harradan (navigator) along with young crewman Andrew Elliot. From the shore, machinist Patrick Balgobin will be paying close attention.

Webster’s experience in the Great Race dates back to 1997 on Castrol Extreme and he has since served aboard Scandal, Rough Neck and Anabolic among others. 

“I think we have an extremely well-balanced team,” he said. 

Harradan, meanwhile, was a member of the Castrol Extreme and Gone Clear crews between 1999 and 2005. 

“Paramount’s hull design and size make it a lot more efficient in rougher waters,” he said. “Once everything stays together and we avoid hiccups, we should finish within the top three.”