Great fun watching these sprint boats race…
Jetsprinting as an organised sport originated in New Zealand in 1981, and events were originally held in the same natural braided rivers that had inspired Sir William Hamilton to develop the jetboat, but when the sport was introduced to Australia in the mid-1980s, permanent artificial courses were used—and this is now the norm even in New Zealand.
There is now a world championship under the auspices of the Union Internationale Motonautique, with hosting rotating between New Zealand, Australia and the U.S.A.
The race itself consists of a predefined course through the channels with 25 to 30 changes of direction. These races generally take just 45–60 seconds. Once qualifying is completed, the competitors each run the course with the fastest qualifiers running last. The fastest 16 (typically depending on the number of competitions) proceed to the next round. This is then reduced to the top 12, Top 8 then the top 5 and finally the fastest three.
A jetsprint hull is typically short – just 3.8 to 4.0 metres (12½ to 13 feet) long. The hull’s vee is usually 23 to 25 degrees with several strakes on each side. A short hull is preferred, as a longer hull takes more distance to turn and usually must be turned at a slower speed. The strakes provide “traction’ by stopping the boat from sliding sideways across the water when turning at high speed. A rollcage must be fitted to the boat.