“Trinidad and Tobago,” I patiently repeated for the second time.
“What?” She frustratingly retorted.
The long-awaited showdown between defending champion Total Monster and its peers in the 130 mph A Class will be the main attraction when the 47th Annual Carib Great Race takes off from Port-of-Spain this morning.
The 46-foot craft, driven by Joey Sabeeney, throttled by Peter Peake and navigated by Daniel Peake, won the event in its third try last year after failing to finish in 2011 and 2012. Its bid for a second title will be threatened by the 17-time winning crew on Mr Solo and relative newcomer Paramount, a 50’ Mystic Catamaran whose only campaign ended prematurely along the North Coast two years ago. “We have the best chance of any boat in the race,” said Peake yesterday. “The others are all sophisticated but we’re ahead of them in preparations and we’re the bigger, better and stronger boat.” He said he was expecting a lot of drama on the water today. “The conditions on the North Coast are calm but we know that can change overnight. When it’s calm we get a fast race and a fast race means a lot of boats are going to break down.”
Meanwhile, Mr Solo Navigator Gino Fusco felt his team could keep Monster at bay. “We’re not worried about the Monster,” he joked. “If it sticks its head out of the water we will chop it off.”
However, he was less certain about Paramount. “It’s a dark horse. We don’t know too much about it, so we’ll keep it in the corner of our eye in case it does something brilliant.” Also in the running will be 2011 and 2012 champ Fire One, who will go up against Stampede in the 120 mph B Class. There will also be fierce competition among the smaller boats for honours in the D (95 mph), E (80 mph), F (70 mph) and G (60 mph) classes.
In the absence of last year’s winner Stinging Metal, the D Class will be contested between Sheriff Lobo, a 29’ Deep V helmed by Justin Lennard, Ultra Rush, a 38’ Bowen piloted by father and son duo Sheldon and Larry Edghill, and Chris Gone Wilder, a 36’ Cigarette Hull owned by Chris Ramasawak. Reigning E Class champ Heat Wave will also sit out this year, opening up the field to several eager competitors including three-time class champ Hero III, a 23’ Ocke Mannerfelt set to debut his newly-installed Volvo DPX high speed drive, brothers Victor and Richard Tardieu, making a record 35th appearance on the 31’ Bowen White Heat, class points leader Elixir, a 30” Motion Catamaran driven by Marcus Gomez, and Energiza, a 38’ Bowen stepping into the class for the first time after securing the F Class two years in a row.
In all 22 boats have signed up to take part in the event, which will finish in Scarborough after 115 miles on the open water.
A CLASS (130 mph)
Boat Driver Throttleman Navigator
Monster Joey Sabeeney Peter Peake Daniel Peake
Mr Solo Kenneth Charles Darin Marshall Gino Fusco
Paramount Jason Laing Donald Webster Rajesh Harradan
B CLASS (120 mph)
Fire One James Hadeed Guy Costa
Stampede Lee Pollonais Jason Pollonais Clint Chew
C Class (110 mph)
Global Warmer Mark Bartlett Scott Pollonais
D Class (95 mph)
Sheriff Lobo Justin Lennard Shameel Mohammed
Rush Alan Rouse Larry Edghill Dirk Phillips
Chris Gone Wild Curtis Charles Jeffrey Simmons Chris Ramsawack
E Class (80 mph)
Boat Driver Throttleman Navigator
Hero III Hero Boodram Jeffrey Singh
White Heat Viuctor Tardieu Richard Tardieu Robert Tardieu
Elixir Marcus Gomez Brent Branker
Energiza Sheldon Edghill Anthony Brash
F Class (70 mph)
Rite Formula Crighton Johnson Justin Keizer
Extreme Measures Jonathan Mouttet Jonathan Tardieu
Cynisca Trevor Sun David Frost
G Class (60 mph)
Matrix Reloaded Renaldo Xavier Ricaldo Belmontes
Chris Gone Wild Ricardo Garcia Ross Garcia
Infusion IV Neil Samaroo Haivel-Ann Boodram Omkar Narine
Wethead Andrew Sa Gomes Jonathan McKenzie
Outcast Chad Viera Tristan Gioannetti