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Offshore powerboat racing

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Title: Offshore powerboat racing  
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Offshore powerboat racing

Scuderia Cazzani 1989
Class1 offshore powerboat

Offshore powerboat racing is a type of racing by ocean-going powerboats, typically point-to-point racing.

In Europe, Middle East and Asia, offshore powerboat racing is led by the UIM regulated Class 1 and Powerboat GPS (formerly known as Powerboat P1).

In the USA, offshore powerboat racing is led by the APBA/UIM and consists of races hosted by OPA Racing, OSS, and P1).

The sport is financed by a mixture of private funding and commercial sponsors.[1]

History of the sport

Offshore powerboat racing was first recognised as a sport when, in 1904, a race took place from the south-eastern coast England to Calais, France. In the United States, the APBA (American Power Boat Association) was formed during that period. The USA's first recorded race was in 1911, in California.

The sport increased in popularity over the next few years in the United States, with 10 races being scheduled during the 1917 season. The sport's growth was disrupted in Europe during World War I and then again in World War II, but it began to grow again on both sides of the Atlantic in the 1950s and 1960s.

The sport entered the modern era in the 1960s, with notable names like Jim Wynn, Don Aronow, and Dick Bertram competing in events such as the Bahamas 500-mile (800 km) race. During that time, the 'navigator' position in the raceboat was extremely important (unlike in today's small, track-like circuits), as finding small checkpoints over a hundred mile open ocean run was a difficult endeavor.

The list of modern world champions extended into the 1980s, when the sport entered the catamaran, and then the 'superboat' era - the 1000 cubic inch total engine displacement restrictions were lifted for boats over 45 feet (14 m) in length, and soon three- and four-engine boats sporting F16 fighter canopies replaced the venerable 35-to-40-foot-deep (11 to 12 m) vee hulls that had been the sport's top category for twenty years.[2]

Modern races are short, track style events with much improved viewing for the spectators, and the different categories of boats have multiplied far beyond the 4 classes that were common through much of the 60's, 70's, and 80's.

Offshore Race Series

UIM Class One World Powerboat Championship

Class 1 World Powerboat Championship. Class 1 has come a long way technologically since first being sanctioned by the U.I.M. in 1964. Shortly after its advent, Americans Jim Wynne, Dick Bertram and Don Aronow supported technological advancement, with Daytona, Mercruiser, and AeroMarine. In the 1980s European design became more prominent. Don Shead's Aluminium monohulls, Italian manufacturers Picchiotti and CUV, and the James Beard-Clive Curtis Cougar catamarans set the record. Fabio Buzzi took a giant step forward with the introduction of glass-reinforced polymer hulls, turbo-charged engines, and integral surface drives and the 90's subsequently saw the emergence of the Michael Peter's design and Tencara and Victory hulls dominate, with Sterling, Lamborghini, Seatek and more recently, Mercury sharing the power battle.

Weighing in at around 5 tonnes, each boat in the Class 1 fleet is approximately 12-14m in length, 3.5m wide, and constructed using composite materials. All the boats are catamarans.

  • Class 1 World Powerboat Championship

Venture Cup

In 2012, it was announced that a new series of 'ultra-marathon' offshore races would be run every two years under the title of the Venture Cup. The first race was scheduled to take place in June 2013 from Cowes in the UK to Monte Carlo, which reflects what many consider to have been the greatest powerboat race ever - the 1972 London to Monte-Carlo race. The Venture Cup is billed as the World's longest, toughest and most prestigious powerboat race and they currently have teams from over 18 countries entered. The 2013 race was however cancelled and replaced by a Prologue. The race has been rescheduled for 2014 and the plans have been altered so the start will take place in London, as in 1972.

P1 SuperStock Championship

P1 SuperStock is one of the fastest-growing marine motorsport series in the world. It’s also one of the most affordable, most accessible and most competitive forms of motorsport, with international recognition and guaranteed media exposure. P1 SuperStock is approved by the sport’s governing body, the Union Internationale Motonautique (UIM), as an international class of powerboat racing.

P1 SuperStock is a major sporting festival over five or six weekends in May through October. There are up to six races over the race weekend, lasting 30–45 minutes each. The free events attract thousands of spectators. And, as the race courses are close to shore, tight and fast, it’s a great sight to watch.It’s also a serious challenge for the teams.

Powerboat P1 Management Ltd is the rights-holder for P1 SuperStock. We have eight years’ experience in delivering over 85 world championship races in 12 countries. Powerboat P1 Management Ltd also owns the rights to: – Powerboat P1 World Championship – P1 Aqua X

In the USA, a wholly owned subsidiary, P1 USA, manages all aspects of racing throughout North America.

The Boats 250+ hp Class This 28 ft (9 m) sport racer is powered by a 250+ hp engine. This propels the boat to speeds up to 70 mph (113 km/h) in flat water, and its lower centre of gravity provides greater stability and improved handling.

When you’re racing with the same boat, same engine, and same performance – the only difference between winning and losing is you. P1 SuperStock lets the pilots battle it out on the water through every turn and every wave jump. It’s an acid test of a team’s ability to command the boat through demanding conditions.

UIM Powerboat GPS World Championship

The series was officially founded as Powerboat P1 World Championship in May 2003 in Nettuno, Italy. Twelve boats, the majority of which were Italian, raced in the first-ever Grand Prix of the Sea. Starting out with 15-year-old aluminum boats, Powerboat P1 boats evolved dramatically through the decade to the point where the mono-hull twin-engine boats were kicking out around 1800 hp. During the Powerboat P1 World Championship era, which spanned 2003 to 2009, there was 40% more horsepower on a P1 starting grid than Formula 1.

In 2010, Powerboat P1 Management Ltd took the decision to cancel the championship. Instead the UIM took over the series' management and renamed it Powerboat GPS (Grand Prix of the Sea), continuing the championship.

The series is split between Evolution class and Supersport class. All the boats are V-type monohulls.

  • Powerboat GPS World Championship

Famous offshore powerboat races

Cowes Torquay Cowes

The Cowes-Torquay was launched by Sir Max Aitken, 2nd Baronet as the first offshore powerboat racing sport in Britain in 1961. Initially sponsored by the Daily Express newspaper, its success encouraged several countries in Europe and the Middle East to follow suit.

Hence it can rightly claim to have introduced offshore powerboat racing to the rest of the world outside the United States where the modern sport was launched with the first Miami-Nassau Race in 1956.

When the Union Internationale Motonautique, the world governing authority for powerboat racing, introduced the World Offshore Championship in 1967 as a memorial to Sam Griffith, the American founder of modern offshore racing, the course was found to be too short at 125 miles (201 km) to qualify as a championship heat.

The race format was therefore changed and instead of finishing at Torquay, the fleet returned no-stop back to Cowes, a pattern that remains to this day.

The race is currently organised by race director Dorian Griffith of the British Powerboat Racing Club and will be run on Sunday 31st August 2014.

  • The British Powerboat Racing Club

Round Britain Powerboat Race

The Round Britain Powerboat has been run on 3 previous occasions.

1969 Daily Telegraph - B.P. Round Britain Powerboat Race

1459 miles, divided into 10 racing stages and one slow cruise; flat calm seas under blazing skies, a thick pea-souper fog, and a rough coastal run; 42 assorted boats ranging in power from 100 hp to 1,000 hp.

The most outstanding feature of this marathon race was undoubtedly the freak weather, it was called by most participants, for the first 700 miles to Oban the conditions were as near perfect as they could be, and the fog on the Inverness-Dundee run, and the rough seas of the Dundee-Whitby leg were greeted almost with glee.

Avenger Too, crewed by Timo Mäkinen, Pascoe Watson and Brian Hendicott, the Round Britain race was a success story from start to finish. They won the first leg to Falmouth and the second leg to Milford Haven; on the run to Douglas they were third, but still retained their overall lead. Only once during the entire race were they pushed from that leading position, and they had a such a handsome lead that they could afford to tuck in behind a slower radar-equipped boat on the foggy run to Dundee, and still emerge the leaders by two hours.

Their final victory, in a total time of just over 39 hours, represented an average speed, sustained over 1,381 nautical miles of racing, of 37.1 knots.

The Needles Trophy

The Needles Trophy was first presented in 1932 and every year until 1938. A break until 1951, 1952, 1954, 1956. Then another break until 1967 until 1989 inclusive.

In more recent times these are a few of the very well known names and names known in the Powerboat Racing circle.

  • Winner 1969: A. Pascoe Watson.
  • Winner 1972: Won by Tim Powell, HRH Prince Michael of Kent, William Meyers, Stirling Moss.
  • Winner 1973: Keith Dallas.
  • Winner 1980: Ted Toleman.
  • Winner 1984 and 1987: Alex Foster raced in the winning boat.
  • Winner 1988: Eduardo Poli.
  • Winner 1992: Richard Carr
  • Winner 1993: Andreas Ugland and Jann Hillestad
  • Winner 1994: Marco and Massimo Capoferi.
  • Winner 1996: Charles Burnett and Peter Dredge.
  • Winner 2002: Peter Dredge and Ian Sanderson.
  • Winner 2003: Hannes Bohinc, Miles Jennings and Ed Williams-Hawkes
  • Winner 2004: The Royal Motor Yacht Club, decided to Award the NEEDLES TROPHY to a class of Powerboats who could race to the "Needles".
  • Winner 2004: Jackie Hunt and Mike Shelton.
  • Winner 2005: John Cooke and Graham Lawton.

2009 saw a return to traditional Offshore Racing.

  • Winner 2009: Drew Langdon
  • Winner 2010: No winner
  • Winner 2011: Tony Toll
  • Winner 2012: Vahid Ganjavian
  • The Royal Motor Yacht Club

See also


  1. ^ Jeremy Clarkson's Extreme Machines supplement, December 1997
  2. ^ "Historic Offshore Race Boat Association - World Champions". Retrieved 2012-07-01. 

External links

  • Historic Offshore Race Boat Association
  • , May 1935 pp. 680-682Popular Mechanics"Mile-A-Minute, Thrills of the Water"
  • OPA Racing
  • Supercat Racing
  • Venture Cup
  • UIM Marathon Offshore Powerboat Racing
  • Cowes Classic 2013 Offshore Powerboat Race
  • , July 1935Popular Mechanics"Speed Boating on a Desert Sea"
  • Offshore Racing 101 from BoatStars Entertainment
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