The course has been set for the seventh annual Marathon Superboat Grand Prix, scheduled to start at 1 p.m. Sunday, May 17, as the highlight of a race weekend that begins Friday, May 15.
The race is to take place in the waters around Marathon, Fla. Starting on the gulf side of the famed Seven Mile Bridge, boats are to race under the historic bridge on the north side of Pigeon Key to the riskier ocean side, make two left turns, then run back under the bridges at speeds in excess of 150 mph.
A right turn sends the high-speed boats thundering past the shoreline and grandstands. The racers then must negotiate a tight 180-degree turn to run the long straightaway in front of fans back to the starting point. Another sharp left turn begins the route all over again.
The course measures approximately six miles.
"The uniqueness of Marathon is to get through those bridges," said John Carbonell, president of Super Boat International Productions. "The optical illusion when drivers are far away is you don't have very much space, but once you get there it's a lot of room."