Did you ever take a good look at this awesome motorsport? Offshore Superboat 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 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.
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. Over the years, safety has become a key concern and today’s Class 1 boats are the safest they have ever been. The quest for speed has produced boats, engines and transmission systems which are inevitably more sophisticated, and the use of Fibre reinforced polymer(FRP) with advanced composites using kevlar and carbon fibre has made them safer. Manufacturers Maritimo, MTI, Outerlimits, Tencara and Victory make up the fleet. All boats run petrol engines – Lamborghini-SKEMA or SCAM 8.2 liter V12s, Mercury or Outerlimits V8s, with the Victory Team running the Victory 8.2 liter V12.
Inside the cockpit, satellite GPS systems, trim indicators, engine data dashboards and instrument panels and warning lights keep the crew aware of the boat’s progress during a race. The cockpit is reinforced to withstand enormous impacts that may occur if a boat crashes at speeds in excess of 150 mph, with an escape hatch in the hull as an added safety feature in the event of an accident.
While a Class 1 raceboat is highly technical and state-of-the-art, and its overall performance is dependent on design, aero and hydro dynamics, choice of propeller and gear ratio selection, the relationship between driver and throttleman, who navigate and control the power, must provide direct input to adjust trim and drive settings during a race or official qualifying, is ultimately the defining factor and crucial to performance.
So if you haven’t paid attention to this spectacular sport take a look at these videos from the Key West World Championships (episode 1 is a little chatty, skip to 2 and 3 for hardcore business):