Offshore powerboat racing

Class1 offshore powerboat

Offshore powerboat racing is racing by large, specially designed ocean-going powerboats, typically point-to-point racing.

Probably one of the largest, most dangerous, and most powerful racing machines of all, the extreme expense of the boats and the fuel required to participate make it an expensive and elite sport.[citation needed]

Many different types and classes of boats can compete in individual races, on the same course, at the same time. Offshores have widely been known as a "Rich man's" sport, however, now even people with normal pleasure boats can compete in some newly formed classes (with minor safety modifications). This may include single or twin piston engine V-bottom boats, single or twin piston engine catamaran style boats, four piston engine boats, and turbine boats. Depending on the class, speeds varies from 65 mph (105 km/h) to 250 mph (400 km/h)[citation needed].

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 split between the OPA Races, SBI/APBA/UIM races and the OSS races.

Although there are team sponsors, the sport is still an amateur sport financed by a mixture of private funding and commercial sponsors. One of the benefits of sponsoring an offshore powerboat team, as stated by team owner and driver Bjørn Rune Gjelsten, is that in Formula One motor racing, 1 million will only allow a small space, whereas in offshore powerboating, this covers the whole of the boat.[1]

The sport is moving more to a circuit racing style also known as "run what you brung", which makes for a better TV and spectator experience, though there are still old fashioned endurance offshore racing classes.[citation needed]


History of the sport

Offshore powerboat racing was first 'recognized' 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 rapidly 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 mammoth 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 block 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 is often referred to as the equivalent of Formula 1 motor racing as it is the pinnacle of offshore powerboat racing. It combines technology and driving skills to produce a spectacular race series. 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 led the battle for technological supremacy, with Daytona, Mercruiser, and AeroMarine power plants reigning supreme. But in the 1980s, the pendulum swung to witness a period of European design dominance. Don Shead's Aluminium monohulls, Italian manufacturers Picchiotti and CUV, and the James Beard-Clive Curtis Cougar catamarans set the pace. 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. Today, state-of-the-art boat design and leading-edge technology are pushing the barriers and extending the boundaries of the modern-day racers in their relentless pursuit of competitive excellence.

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.

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.

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 organized by race director John Moore of the British Powerboat Racing Club.

Round Britain Powerboat Race

The Round Britain Powerboat has been run on 3 previous occasions - 1969, 1984 and 2008,the previous winners were Timo Mäkinen, Fabio Buzzi and Vassilis Pateras.

The 4th Round Britain Powerboat Race will take place in July 2012. Unlike its predecessors, in which competitors navigated the Caledonian Canal, the 2012 race will entail a complete circumnavigation of Britain making it, without doubt, the toughest endurance powerboat race in the world.

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.

In 1969: A. Pasco Watson. In 1972: Won by Tim Powell, HRH Prince Michael of Kent, William Meyers, Stirling Moss. In 1973: Keith Dallas. In 1980: Ted Toleman. In 1984 and 1987 Alex Foster raced in the winning boat. In 1988: Eduardo Poli. Then presented 1992: Richard Carr In 1993: Andreas Ugland and Jann Hillestad In 1994: Marco and Massimo Capoferi. In 1996: Charles Burnett and Peter Dredge. In 2002: Peter Dredge and Ian Sanderson.

In 2004 The Royal Motor Yacht Club, decided to Award the NEEDLES TROPHY to a class of Powerboats who would race to the "Needles".

In 2004: Jackie Hunt and Mike Shelton. In 2005: John Cooke and Graham Lawton.

In 2008 saw a return to Traditional Offshore Racing with hosting the Sunny Isles Beach Offshore Powerboat Challenge Weekend featuring "The Don Aronow Memorial Race, Bimini & Back".

2009 Offshore Events, LLC hosted the 2nd Annual Powerboat Challenge, Miami-Bimini Ocean Challenge. Aqua Mania took home Sunday's OSS Sanctioned Race.

2009 saw a return to traditional Offshore Racing and the trophy was won by Drew Langdon in Silverline Buzzi Bullet.

See also


  1. ^ Jeremy Clarkson's Extreme Machines supplement, December 1997
  2. ^ Offshore World Champions

External links

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