RC Boating Kuwaiti Style - Part 2

Races/Events Article... by Carlo Catalanotto (CC Racing Engines)

Part 2
Part 2 of this trip to Kuwait, by Carlo Catalanotto... (part 2 of 3)


The next morning was our first trip to the lake to actually work on boats. Brent ( Propworks West) had his prop tools and we were ready to start tuning. James picked us up from the hotel and had us laughing within minutes. Louay met us there at the lake and we were told that Khaled was going to be late as his youngest son Aziz had to go to the hospital with a sort of Asthma attack during the night and would be fine. Well we decided we would start on Louay’s Whiplash since that is the boat he is going to be racing on Saturday. We checked the setup on the boat and it looked ok so we told Louay to make a few laps so we could see what needed to be done. James fired it up threw it in the water and as soon as Louay tried to get on the throttle the boat was trying to fly. We said ok that is no problem bring it in and let’s make some adjustments. We did this a few times making changes each time to the boat with strut, turn-fin and other things and finally got the boat where we thought it needed to be. We changed a few different styles of props to see what the boat wanted in this type of water. We were looking for something that would mill at a decent speed without giving up too much top end speed. After a couple changes we found the prop that we thought was best for this lake and Brent went to work doing his magic. When he was finished the boat would mill at a slow speed and accelerate through the corners like a rocket and was very stable even in the rough stuff. We decided to put a GPS in it just to see where we were as the boat really looked fast around the course. Louay made some really hard laps around the buoys and then brought it in, the GPS read 111 KPH—everyone smiled. I did not know how fast that was so James did the conversion and said that is about 69mph. I told them that is a perfect speed especially since this is the only boat running and that it will pick up some more speed in race water. Once we were done the boat looked really good on the water and Louay had really got a good handle on driving it. If all goes as planned it should do well at the race on Saturday.

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Next up we had James R42 cat to work on, he told us that the boat was consistently in the low sixties, but he could not figure out why it was not faster, like all the boats he read about on Jim’s RC Boat dock. I had to explain that a low to mid sixty mph cat in heat race trim could win anywhere and stop believing everything you read. I explained “if you cannot finish a race it does not matter how fast the boat is.” I had to give him my favorite saying “Don’t believe what you here, believe what you see”. Well we threw the boat out to see what it could do and we noticed it was struggling a bit through the corners but was fast on the straights. We made some adjustments and it got better and I decided that we should try a prop that me and Brent had been working on for my cat and see what it could do. Well it made all the difference in the world and the boat was happy everywhere. Brent made one little magic pitch adjustment to the prop and the boat was coming out of the corners like a rocket and still had good acceleration down the straights. James was giddy like a little kid and could not believe the difference in handling from the few changes that we made.

Well the last boat to work on for the day was one of my all time favorite boats it was my Rampage that Louay bought from me. I made some laps with it and then decided that it needed some small adjustments to make it right. We adjusted the strut a little and put the trim tabs to our normal settings and off she went. I forgot how fast and stable this boat was. I started talking a little trash to James and told him to bring that cat out and let’s see what he was made off. We raced around for quite a few laps before I realized I could not catch the cat with this mono as he had a few MPH on me for sure. I did what any good racer would do and cut the course and got in front of him. That was all he needed to start calling me a cheater in a hilarious British accent it had me laughing so hard I could barely drive the boat. After about 20 laps I realized that James was really a good driver and with just some small tips could hold his own against the best of them. He is a really a great asset to the team in more ways than one.

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I really got a feel for the team after spending an entire day at the pond with them. James was quite the character who keeps everyone entertained with his foul mouthed humor. Khaled is the guy who has all the patience and will let you know that nothing is really a problem. And Louay is right at home being the team leader as he is quite the professional and has a calm demeanor that is the glue that keeps everything together and working well.

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When we were finished with the boats for the day Khaled wanted us to see one of the local malls. We agreed and were treated to one of the nicest shopping malls that I have ever seen. Everything is just beautiful with Marble floors and crystal clear glass everywhere. Just to give you an idea of how big it is there were four Starbucks inside the mall and they were not the only coffee shops. It had all of the major outlets that are here in the states and actually some that I had never seen. It did not take long to realize that this was the one of the major hang out places for the city. Everyone was dressed really nice and this was definitely the cruising spot for the younger people. We left the mall and visited a industrial part of the city called Shuwaiki where there is anything you could possibly want to buy. Everything is sectioned into groups on each street. We passed down the street with the tire stores and it had to be a quarter mile long with nothing but tire shops as far as you could see. All of these shops had beautiful signs and glass storefronts with marble floors everywhere just simply first class. Next we turned onto the street with all of the furniture stores and as far as you could see there was stores filled with furniture of all types and styles. The next area was the auto repair section and there were auto repair shops everywhere. Whatever you needed done to your car and I mean whatever you wanted even if you wanted to turn it into a race car there was a shop for It and more than likely quite a few for you to choose from. We stopped at one of the racing shops and I was surprised to find a late model Mustang that would race in the same class that I had raced in for a lot of years along with a 67 Camaro set up the same. The guys in the shop were as nice as they could be and could not wait to show me the shop and all the cars. There was even a hardware store that we visited that had the most enormous inventory of tools and supplies I had ever seen it makes our Lowes and Home Depot’s look like they were out of inventory. The car dealerships were also in a line and there was everything from exotics like Porsche and Maseratti to Chevrolet and Ford This area was quite simply amazing and something for the eyes to see as it is quite hard to explain in detail without you being there.

It was now time for us to visit Louay’s hobby shop “Hobbytime” that was located in a sort of strip mall. This hobby shop had to be Sheesha_29the nicest I have ever been too and had the feel of a museum more than a hobby shop with glass displays and lighting that would rival most nice restaurants. I will have to admit I was in awe to see some of my Pro Mod engines being displayed in a glass display case that looked more like an exhibit in a museum then a shelf for sale, especially so far from home. While I was there I noticed that there was an FG 1/6 scale buggy in one of the display cases that I noticed had quite a bit of dust on it. I asked Louay about the buggy and he said we no longer sell these as there is no tracks around for 1/6 scale. I asked what he wanted for it and was told it is yours please take it we have no use for it and it has been sitting here for a couple of years. I told Louay I could not take it for free and asked again please let me know what you want for it. He told me my money was no good and that the buggy was mine. When we left the Hobby Shop we visited a coffee house called the Hubbly Bubbly. I know the name sounds a bit strange for a coffee house so I will explain why. This place has huge very expensive Sheesha (Bongs) that they use to smoke different styles of tobacco. Everyone gets their own Sheesha and you choose the style of tobacco and liquid that you like. There are guys that walk around with glowing hot coals that they place on a grill on top of the Sheesha that burns the tobacco. The liquid inside of the bong give different aromas and taste to the experience. I do not smoke at all so I did not try it, but it seemed quite enjoyable to the guys. Even though the conversations were quite enjoyable the time change was still getting the best of us and it was time to call it a night.

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Friday morning we woke up early as Khaled had something special planned for us. He took us to old Kuwait city for some genuine Kuwaiti breakfast and to show us the market. The breakfast restaurant was outside under small canopies and they brought the food out from the small building behind us. The breakfast was really good with eggs cooked sunny side up on top of some sort of seasoning and onions that was they called an omelet. The stack of bread that they brought out reminded me of thin crust pizza with nothing on it. Khaled ordered a plate of kabobs that had a grilled meat on it. I had to ask what it was and Khaled told me it was heart and liver meat. Khaled showed me how to wrap the bread around it and pull it off the Kabob and then dip it into the oil with basil on our plate. I gave it a try and was surprised at how good it actually was. While we were there we ran into some more boaters who recognized Khaled and seen the CC Racing on my shirt and were just amazed that Brent and I were actually in Kuwait. We took some pictures with them and checked out there motorcycles.

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When we were done with breakfast it was only a short walk to the old Kuwaity market. This market is something that you would have only seen in movies as it is over 100 years old and was just amazing to look at. There were small alley ways with small rooms filled with goods. Clothing, purses, shoes, watches, candies, nuts and food are just a small sample of what could be found. Brent told Khaled that he would like to buy some Kuwaiti head gear for his wife. We found a booth with Kuwaiti garments and Brent picked out the one he liked. Khaled spoke to the lady at the booth in Arabic to find out how much and she told him ten and Khaled quickly said NO, she then said ok five, Khaled said three and she agreed. Brent and I laughed about the bargaining that Khaled did and then decided that Khaled was our bargaining guide from that point on. The market was huge and the walkways would just continue from one section to another until we got to the fish market. The fish market is a place where all the fishermen bring their catch of the day to be sold. There were every kind of fish you could imagine that was freshly caught from the Persian Gulf all sitting out for your inspection to purchase. This visit to the market was something very special to see and will be a part of the trip that I will not forget.

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We left the Market and headed to the RC car track that had a big race going on. When we turned on the property Khaled quickly let me know that this was where the old Dragstrip was and that we could still see the starting line once we got further into the property. Well as soon as he made the first turn into what looked like storage garages I realized that this was the garages for all of the race cars. The first thing I see is one of my favorite cars in the world a 70-1/2 Camaro equipped with a big block Chevy with a huge Chrome supercharger sticking out of the cowl induction hood. I had to get out and look at it and when I did the owner came out from one of the Garages and asked me if I wanted to drive it. It was very hard to refuse that offer but, I thought about being pulled over in Kuwait after doing a big long burnout in a car that does not belong to me without a Kuwait driver’s license. Khaled gave me a tour of all of the garages and there were beautiful race cars everywhere. 67-69 Camaro’s late model Pro mod’s the more I looked the more I just could not believe my eyes. After a good while of me drooling over the cars Khaled and Brent finally had enough and reminded me that we were here to watch James and Louay race there 1/8 scale RC Cars. We drove around the Garages to see an awesome RC track that is as nice as any I have ever seen. It was packed with racers and I was surprised to see quite a few top notch drivers who had skills that could win anywhere in the world. We watched a few heats of racing and Khaled said that is enough lets go I have plenty more to show you. Our next stop was the Aquarium that was located on the coast and it was beautiful it had many exhibits with touch screens for you to look at along with live animals and some extraordinary fish including some really big sharks that were all from the Persion Gulf. Khaled then explained to us how all of the water that is used in all of the tanks is pumped in straight from the gulf where the Aquarium is located.

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We then visited a house that was left as is from an Iraqi attack during their invasion. The attack took place two days before the liberation by the coalition forces in 1991. During this time there were groups of men that had started formed fighting squads to put together a resistance. This was a home to a group of men who formed the Al Messilah Group a group that knew the coalition and Kuwaiti army was about to defend their country from the invaders. The Iraq army found out that this group of men were in this house and surrounded it and attacked it unmercifully with tanks and a number of large weapons. It still took over ten hours to overtake from the stead-fest group of Kuwaitis. Most of the men lost their lives and only a few escaped. Two days later the Iraqi’s were overrun by the coalition forces and the people of Kuwaiti were freed. The house sits un-restored with bullet holes everywhere is a symbol of bravery from the men that died defending it and their country that they were so proud of.

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The next place we visited was Khaleds workshop for his boats. We got there and I was surprised at how big the garage was and was expecting to see a huge workshop. Well the garage was big, but Khaleds dad had taken over the garage and moved Khaled into a small room inside the garage for him to work on his boats. We teased Khaled for about a half an hour about his small workshop and even Khaled could not help but laugh at most of the jokes. Before we left we had the opportunity to meet with Khaleds beautiful wife and sons. One of Khaleds sons Latif asked who was Carlo from CC Racing and Khaled pointed to me and he walked over and gave me a big high five. When it was time to leave Latif jumped in the car and said he wanted to come with the guys. A trip to Starbucks and that was it for the day as we decided we were going to get up early and try to finish Khaleds new whiplash for the race.

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We woke up early and were picked up by James. I told him I had a bad sinus headache and he said No Problem we will stop at a pharmacy. Well the Pharmacies in Kuwait have doctors in them and you can basically get whatever you need to cure your ailments. I got the medicine I needed and off we went to James house and started working on Khaleds Whiplash. We got a lot done in a short time but soon realized there was no way we were going to finish it in time for the race that was only a couple hours away. We loaded up the rest of the stuff in James truck and headed to the pond for the Sport Hydro race. We got there got setup and decided to put another test prop on Louay’s Whiplash for him to try in the rougher water that was present. He took off and the boat looked really well for a lap or so until he hit a plastic globe that was floating in the water. The globe destroyed the prop and was a sign of things to come. We put the original prop back on the boat along with the gps and Louay made a couple of laps in the rough water close to the buoys. The boat looked great and pulled really hard through the corners he brought it in and the GPS read 110KPH. The boat was ready and all we needed to do was wait for the race to start to see how he would do. There were some other guys that were struggling a bit with their setups so Brent and I started to help those guys. I was adjusting struts and turnfins while Brent was adjusting props. We walked around and talked with all of the guys from the other teams and gave advice when asked about boats and engine tune ups. Well the race finally got started and Louay started in about third place which was fine considering the speed he had at his disposal in the rough water. Two laps down and there was starting to be quite a few dead boats on the course. The rules in Kuwait at the time did not allow drivers to have pitman to let them know where the dead boats are on the course and with Louay moving up on the field very quickly he hit a dead boat that was upside down with the turnfin sticking up and it cut the nose off of his boat and we were done for the day. The race was still very enjoyable to watch as the Insane boat that belonged to Ayman Abul that we adjusted on won a couple of heats after the adjustments we made so it made it even more fun to watch. Once the race was complete I was asked to hand out trophies and take pictures with the winners. It was great to congratulate the winners and hand them the beautiful trophies for their accomplishments on a job well done.

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As usual Louay showed his calm demeanor and did not let his tore up boat effect his mood for the day at all. He took us all to PF Changs restaurant where we feasted like kings. We stuffed ourselves with food and it was time to call it a night.

...Continue to Part 3... Click HERE.

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Scott replied the topic: #11390 10 years 9 months ago
Reader wrote:

** This thread discusses the content article: RC Boating Kuwaiti Style - Part 2 **

What a TRIP !! .... Those boys really live a life not that unlike many of us stateside, minus the invasion issues and such.
Looks like a trip very worth your while too do ... congrats !!

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