Offshore powerboat racing
Offshore powerboat racing is a type of racing by ocean-going
powerboats, typically point-to-point racing.
In most of the world, offshore powerboat racing is led by the Union
Internationale Motonautique (UIM) regulated Class 1 and
(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
1 History of the sport
2 Offshore Race Series
2.1 UIM Class One World
2.2 Venture Cup
2.3 P1 SuperStock Championship
Powerboat GPS World Championship
3 Famous offshore powerboat races
3.1 Cowes Torquay Cowes
3.2 The Round Britain
3.3 1969 Daily Telegraph - B.P. Round Britain
3.4 1984 Everest Double Glazing - Round Britain
3.5 The Fiat Powertrain 2008 Round Britain
3.6 The Needles Trophy
4 See also
6 External links
History of the sport
In 1903, the Automobile Club of Great Britain and Ireland, and its
offshoot, the Marine Motor Association organised a race of auto-boats.
The winner was awarded the Harmsworth Trophy. 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
soon thereafter and the first U.S. recorded race was in 1911, in
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.
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.
In recent years the biggest number of entries in Offshore races have
been for the Cowes - Torquay - Cowes and Cowes - Poole - Cowes races
held by the British Offshore
Powerboat Race Club.
Offshore Race Series
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UIM Class One World
See also: Class 1 World
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.
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. The 2013 race
was however cancelled because of lack of funding and replaced by a
In 2015 the Venture Offshore Cup was announced. The race was to be run
around the entire coast of Ireland, beginning in Cork and ending in
Dublin with multiple stops en route. However, in May 2016 the
organisers cancelled the race again.
P1 SuperStock Championship
P1 SuperStock is a single class powerboat race series. It has
international recognition and guaranteed media exposure and is
broadcast on TV. P1 SuperStock is approved by the sport’s governing
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 often run alongside the AquaX jetski
series. All teams race in P1 Panther race boats with 250HP outboard
Powerboat P1 Management Ltd is the rights-holder for P1 SuperStock and
also owns the rights to
Powerboat P1 World Championship and 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.[citation
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.[citation
Powerboat P1 Management Ltd took the decision to cancel the
championship. Instead the UIM took over the series' management and
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.
There is a P1 Grand Prix of the Sea in Scotland every year.
Famous offshore powerboat races
Cowes Torquay Cowes
The Cowes-Torquay was launched by
Sir Max Aitken, 2nd Baronet
Sir Max Aitken, 2nd Baronet as the
Powerboat race in Europe in 1961.
It is the longest-running offshore powerboat race in the world.
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.
In 1967, the
Union Internationale Motonautique , the world
governing authority for powerboat racing, introduced the World
Offshore Championship as a memorial to Sam Griffith, the American
founder of modern offshore racing.
In order to qualify as a championship heat, the race format was
therefore changed and instead of finishing at Tor-quay, the fleet
returned to Cowes, a pattern that remains to this day.
The race is organised by the British
Racing Club .
Event Director Martin Levi, son of powerboat designer,
Sonny Levi took
over the running of the event in 2016.
The Round Britain
The Round Britain
Powerboat has been run on 3 previous occasions.
Timo Mäkinen – Avenger Too
Fabio Buzzi – White Iveco
Winner 2008: Pateras Vassilis – Blue FPT
1969 Daily Telegraph - B.P. Round Britain
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 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
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.
1984 Everest Double Glazing - Round Britain
Once again the course for this great race was going to imitate the
1969 version. Organised by ex
Powerboat Racer Tim Powell and after two
years in concept and design Tim managed to obtain sponsorship from
Everest Double Glazing which ensured the success of the race. With
famous racers such as Fabio Buzzi, Lady Arran, Colin Gervase-Brazier,
Peter Armstrong, Ted Toleman and Renato DelaValle and many others the
fleet set off on 14 July 1984, once again from Portsmouth on its 1,400
journey around the British Isles.
The two main contenders were Buzzi cruiser-based White Iveco, raced by
company owner Fabio Buzzi, and Renato della Valle’s Ego Lamborghini.
White Iveco was a single-step monohull powered by four Iveco diesels,
while Ego was a Don Shead designed 38 ft (11.6 m) hull powered by
a pair of brutal 7-litre, marinised V12 Lamborghini petrol engines.
Weather conditions for the first leg were poor and of the 28 starters
at Portsmouth, only 18 boats reached Falmouth. By the end of the
second leg only 12 remained. By the halfway stage, White Iveco led on
elapsed time with Ego Lamborghini behind.
British hopes lay in the hands of Double Two Shirts, a 40 ft
(12.1 m) Shead-designed, Planatec-built racer with Sabre Diesel power,
lying two hours back. An indication of the performance of these
powerboats can be gauged from the Dundee to Whitby leg. Over a
distance of 157 miles White Iveco averaged 69 knots, though Buzzi
dismissed this with a typical Italian shrug saying, "In Italy this is
just a cruising boat." However, at Ramsgate, while White Iveco was
being craned out of the water for an overhaul she slipped from her
cradle, landing on a bollard and gashing her hull. A feverish 36 hours
followed while repairs were made so that she could complete the final
leg. At the finish she was in first place with Colin Gervase-Braziers
"The Legend" second and Ego Lamborghini third.
Significantly, Motorboats and Yachting commented that the number of
retirements demonstrated that though undoubtedly fast, some Class I
craft had proved themselves to be unsafe in anything other than calm
The Fiat Powertrain 2008 Round Britain
After a period of 24 years another ex-powerboat racer and businessman
now retired, Mike Lloyd, made the decision in 2006 that this great
race should be brought back to life. He and his small team - including
Peter Myles - fought for two years to ensure it did take place.
Supported by 47 competitors and the Fiat Powertrain the fleet
eventually left once again from the premises of Gunwharf Quays in
Portsmouth at 09.30am on 21 June 2008 on this ten-leg twelve-day
Fabio Buzzi had decided to take part in his old but famous four
engined Red FPT as had the famous racer Hannes Bohinc in Wettpunkt.
There was a strong contingent of three boats from Goldfish of Norway
and competitors from Sweden, Greece, Germany, Scotland and Ireland.
As in the previous races the weather at the start was awful and once
the fleet of 47 boats had negotiated the many excited support boats
within the Solent and entered the serious seas off the Needles the
fleet knew they were in for a tough leg. Before reaching the Solent
Fabio Buzzi retired with damaged drives and the infamous Lyme Bay
between Portland Bill and Torquay took out several more including
Wettpunkt and also the German owned and driven Blue Marlin which
actually sank in Lyme Bay in 50 metres of water. All crew however were
rescued and returned to land safe. The leg to Plymouth was won by a
British crew Silverline (owned and driven by famous offshore racer
Drew Langdon) with the Norwegians "Lionhead" second and the surprise
of the day the Greek boat Blue FPT third. The 2nd leg next day had to
be cancelled because of huge seas in the Bristol Channel so the Fleet
made its way by road to Milford Haven in South Wales to be ready for
their run to Northern Ireland the following day.
Positions of the fleet after finishing the course up the West Coast
Total time elapsed (hours)
Blue FPT MC1
Gutta Boyz RB3
Braveheart III MC1
Seahound V MC1
Hot Lemon RB3
Going Lean RB3
Carbon Neutral RB3
Mr Mako RB4
The Bandit RB2
Power Products Marine MC2
Northern Spirit MC2
Team Scorpion Dubois MC1
My Pleasure II RB4
Team Pulsar – Vampire RB4
Team Pulsar – Wolf RB4
Mud Swell & Beers RB4
Team 747 HC1
Mystic Dragon MC1
Team Jersey RB4
No Worries RB3
Black Gold RB4
RIB International RB4
Red FPT CC1
Blue Marlin HC1
Ocean Pirate HC1
Cinzano 558 RB2
Conditions down the Eastern side of the U.K. for the remaining legs
were excellent so high speeds were able to be maintained. The overall
elapsed time winner was third at Portsmouth after averaging
67.94 mph. This was the Greek entered Blue FPT driven by Vassilis
Pateras and navigated by Britain's Dag Pike, at 75 years of age the
oldest competitor in the event.They returned a constant performance
throughout always finishing among the leaders but never overall. It
was a tactic that paid off and they celebrated in fine style on the
Portsmouth podium. Vassilis was also the first Greek competitor to
take part in a British Offshore event and the first to feature in this
Among the many heroes finishing further down the fleet was the all
women's team of Scorpion Dubios driven by Sarah Jane Fraser and
Miranda Knowles. They finished 12th at Portsmouth, 12th overall and
third in their class.
The Round Britain
Powerboat Race is the last remaining long distance
offshore powerboat race of beyond 1,000 miles anywhere in the world
and is a real test of strength, determination, speed and shows how the
best results can be reached by boats that are well built, able to
maintain consistently high performance levels, thanks to the
reliability of their technical equipment.
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
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
Powerboat World Championship
Inshore powerboat racing
^ "What is the UIM?". UIM Powerboating.com. Retrieved 10 September
^ "Where it all Began". Classic Offshore
Powerboat Club. Retrieved 10
^ "Historic Offshore Race Boat Association - World Champions".
Historicraceboats.com. Retrieved 2012-07-01.
^ "Cowes Classic Winners". Cowes Classic. Retrieved 4 October
^ Cite error: The named reference ETC was invoked but never defined
(see the help page).
Cowes Torquay Cowes
Historic Offshore Race Boat Association
Powerboat Club website
"Mile-A-Minute, Thrills of the Water" Popular Mechanics, May 1935 pp.
"Speed Boating on a Desert Sea" Popular Mechanics, July 1935
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