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.
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).
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.
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.
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 WW1 and then again in WW2, but it began to grow again rapidly on both sides of the Atlantic in the 1950s and 1960s.
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