More! That’s exactly what the RC industry needs to keep the wonderful hobby alive. More RC enthusiasts, more products, more demonstrations, just flat out more. So when the folks over at Pro Boat clued us in to what they were doing to promote their boat line among the masses it grabbed our interest. Pro Boat has just released their new Miss Geico Catamaran based on the Mystic hull design. They had received samples of pre-production boats in time for the Southwest International Boat show where the real full scale Miss Geico race team would be with their boat on display. Pro Boat and the Miss Geico race team have joined forces in a successful cross promotion program that helps out both companies and actually in turn the RC boating community. The Pro Boat team had a lot of fun and activities planned for this event and we tagged along to document everything that went down.
The event location was the South Shore harbor marina, Bay Area Houston, TX where over four hundred boats and vendors set-up display for thousands of boating fans to enjoy. When walking into the main strip of the show, it was completely obvious where the Miss Geico display was with the race boat propped up on its trailer, the support tractor trailer and their display tents. The Geico display certainly grabbed a lot of attention with raffles, representatives helping potential customers and the display we were there for, the Pro Boat Miss Geico RC display. A table was set-up with the model on display under plexi-glass so people could get a close up look at the model. Fliers and catalogs were on hand for interested parties to take along to read more about Pro Boat products and they could also sign up for a news letter. What we were seeing was standard fair for all boat shows and races the Miss Geico race team attends. Horizon/ Pro Boat and the Miss Geico team has a cohesive partnership that helps draw people to each other brand and make them aware. It great and all for the popular insurance company, but more importantly it helps expose our hobby to boating enthusiasts.
The Test Drive
At this particular show, with the launch of the new Mystic hull version of Pro Boat’s Miss Geico, the attending Pro Boat representatives held several drawings throughout the day for a chance to drive one of three new boats. A fourth boat was on hand and was going to be driven by the full scale Miss Geico throttle man Scotty Begovich. The possibility of driving one of these boats combined with the excitement of driving against the real boats throttle man was only topped by the potential of winning a ready to run Miss Geico boat if the spectators beat Scotty.
Entries were pouring in throughout the day and the spectators who were luckily selected by a random drawing ranged in age and were excited at the opportunity. Boats were prepped by the Pro Boat staff and a quick lesson how to drive was given to the entrants who all had no experience behind the wheel of an RC boat. Men, women and children all picked up how easy it was to drive the tamed down Miss Geico off-shore cats. Sure, there were some bumps and some hits into the sea walls, but the boats took the abuse. Once the quick practice sessions were over, the races were on. Apparently the driving instructions were good because everyone did a great job of driving once the run for the prize was on. At the end of each of the races, the spectators all won. Perhaps it was luck, but we’re pretty sure Scotty was holding back. This was a perfect strategy because the fun race generated a lot of enthusiasm, not only from the drivers but the huge crowd that gathered to watch the demonstrations. At the end of the day four lucky drivers won killer Miss Geico ready to run boat packages and were eager to start their new hobby RC boating.
The New Miss Geico
Pro Boats New Miss Geico race boat is modeled after the Mystic off-shore racing hull that the full scale racing team uses. In the full scale world, the stability and design of the hull is allowing the boat to reach speeds in excess of 200mph. That sounds like the perfect platform to model a RC boat after.
The PB MG is a hand laid fiberglass hull that is painted in an unmistakable fluorescent yellow and detailed with the Miss Geico graphics. For this hull PB chose to fit the transom with an inline rudder assembly so drivers can zig-zag this off-shore replica through the water rather than having to follow an oval circuit. Inside a sensorless brushless system sends power down the flex-cable to the composite prop. A Spektrum DX2E radio is used for control and a Dynamite servo steers the rudder. Handling the speedo duties is an 80- Amp brushless system that is cooled by water before the liquid flows over the motor to keep its temps down as well.
On the water you can immediately tell Pro Boat did its homework when resizing the Mystic hull to a smaller scale. The MG feels completely stable even when pushing 4SLiPo power through the power system. Even through some rougher waters, the MG cuts through the water and only gets out of shape in tighter turbulent turns. We ran our test sample mostly on the throttle and the components were only warm to the touch when it was all said and done. Pro Boat has been hard at work bumping the boat line up to a whole new level of quality and the Miss Geico shows that quality right out of the box and through its performance on the water.
So we’re at a big boating event, we’re hanging out with a multi-title winning off-shore boat racing team, the throttlman is racing RC boats with us, this is the perfect set-up for an interview. After hanging out with Scotty Begovich for a few hours, we knew this guy would be up to giving us the scoop behind his full-scale boating career and give us some insight too on his RC experience that day. We took along Miss Geico’s Marketing Manager Gary Goodell, to talk about the Horizon Hobby Pro Boat/Miss Geico partnership.
RC BOAT Scotty thanks for taking the time to talk to us. Can you give us some background on how you got into boat racing?
SCOTTY Sure, no problem. I grew up in New Jersey right in the backyard of off-shore power boat racing. My dad worked in the dockyard where the pits were and I would go whenever I could. My family would actually also take their pleasure-boat and turn it into a race boat to run too. I was six or seven at the time and knew that this is what I wanted to do. After college I worked hard trying to buy a boat, it took a while and finally got into a smaller boat in 1995 then into off-shore in 1999. Now 12-years later, I’m in a big fast boat. That’s it in a nutshell.
RCB Tell us a little about the Geico Team.
SCOTTY I started in 2006. We’re based out of Riviera Beach, Florida and there are about fifteen people on the team and an additional fifteen part time people that help at the events. We hit approximately 40 events between races, shows and charity events.
RCB How many Geico Boats has the team developed? What are some of the details on the latest version?
SCOTTY There have been three boats and we are currently on the third version of the third boat. The current fifty foot Mystic boat we are running now is capable of running over 200mph. However the turbine engines that produced over 3200hp a piece weren’t conducive to longevity in a race and tore up the drivetrain. We went back to 1850hp engines for better longevity and the boat will go between 185 and 190mph.
RCB In RC we have the ability to practice whenever we want. I imagine it’s different with a full-scale boat and team?
SCOTTY We do schedule practice early on in the season. We get our new set-ups ready and head to a place in Florida and test two to three days straight, non-stop. Then at events we generally get to practice and try new things at the events as well. Then before the world championships we go back to the shop try some more things, test them and go off to the championships.
RCB What’s involved in being the throttle man on the Miss Geico?
SCOTTY I control the speed and attitude or trim of the boat. Basically I make sure the boat is trimmed to go as fast as possible and set it up so it’s safe for Mark to make the turns.
RCB We saw you playing with the Pro Boat Miss Geico. What did you think?
SCOTTY It was a lot of fun! Did you see when I T-boned that other boat? I actually braced myself for impact (laughing.) Last year we crashed the real boat. Crashing the RC boat wasn’t as bad!
RCB Thanks for the interview Scotty!
SCOTTY I wanted to say Thank You to Pro Boat and all the support they give us and having the boat on display with ours, it really attracts a lot of people. The one thing that annoys me though is if I Google the Miss Geico team, I have to click through three pages of Pro Boat before I get to our team information. Just Kidding! (Laughing) That shows how popular this all is.
RCB Gary, you handle the event promotions, how is Pro Boat received?
GARY People absolutely love it, they are really drawn into the RC boats and they love the fact that they can enter for a chance to win a boat. It’s a great partnership for us.
RCB It’s great to hear the Pro Boat/Horizon Hobby partnership attracts so many people in the Miss Geico Display.
GARY You wouldn’t believe how many people it attracts and how many questions we answer, it’s truly amazing. People really want to know more about RC boats. The Horizon partnership is really great, perhaps we can do even more in the future!
The Wrap Up
The editors of RC Boat are big boating enthusiasts which is why we started this magazine; the other reason is because we want to spread the word about RC boating. That is why it was important for us to follow this exciting story on how Horizon and Pro Boat are strategizing ways to bring not only its product, but knowledge of the hobby to the masses.
Horizon Hobby horizonhobby.com, 800-338-4639
Pro Boat proboatmodels.com, 217-352-1913
Miss Geico Race Team missgeicoracing.com
Words: Greg Vogel
Photos: Walter Sidas