The big, powerful boats pounding the waves at the recent powerboat championship had smaller counterparts: Mouse Boats, piloted by kid captains competing on a slalom course.
By JERROD DOUSE, Times X-Team
© St. Petersburg Times, published October 15, 2001
ST. PETERSBURG -- The little boats zipped past the shore like speeding bullets.
Everything about the mighty Mouse Boats is little, except the fun, and well, the price. These small versions of the kinds of boats that vrroomed around the Pier recently as part of the American Power Boat Association Offshore National Championships, took part in their own races that weekend.
Here are some of the "little" details:
Their operators: kids ages 6 to 14.
Their size: 11 feet, with 15 horsepower, 9.9 Mercury engines.
Their capacity: two passengers, with combined weight of 360 pounds.
Here's a big detail:
Their price: Mouse Boats can range in cost from $4,000 to $7,000.
The little boats traveled up to 24 mph on a slalom race course, operated by kids who know the importance of safety in such a sport. These kids have to wear the proper equipment such as life jackets, helmets and the right shoes. (You can't wear flip-flops when you are racing boats!)
-- Jerrod Douse, 14, is in the ninth grade at St. Petersburg High School.