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We take a closer look at the different disciplines in Powerboat Racing – Circuit, Offshore and Personal Watercraft

We take a closer look at the different disciplines in Powerboat Racing – Circuit, Offshore and Personal Watercraft.

RYA Powerboat Racers come from all walks of life and there are a variety of different classes throughout the sport to choose from, with varying budgets to suit, but one thing that unites them all is the passion they have for the adrenaline fuelled sport.

The sport of Powerboat Racing is split into three disciplines Circuit Racing, Personal Watercraft Racing & Offshore Racing. From these three disciplines they are split into different classes depending on boat type, boat size and engine size.

Let’s take a look at the different disciplines and some of their classes.

Circuit Racing

Circuit Racing is held predominantly on inshore lakes, Circuit Racing is full of high speed action and fun that incorporates classes for racers from as young as 9 years old.

There are three main types of boat in Circuit Racing; Monohulls, Catamarans and Hydroplanes

Monohulls are single hulled boats similar to a ski boat. The driver is seated. There are 3 different classes of monohull’s:

  • GT15 Class a 3 meter monohull with a 15hp engine on the back for Junior racers from 9-16 year olds – Find out more here!

  • GT30 Class at the age of 14 racers can upgrade their engine to a 30hp and compete in the GT30 class with no upper age limit – Find out more here!

  • T850 Class is limited to simple monohulls powered by standard stock 70 or 90 hp outboard engines. These are single hulled boats similar in design to a ski boat.

Catamarans are twin hulled boats and the driver is restrained within a safety cell. The Tunnel hull catamaran design is capable of both high speeds and exceptional manoeuvrability. There are two main classes of Catamaran:

  • F2 Class - Due to their specially designed hulls, F2 boats are able to turn almost instantaneously incurring more G forces than any other racing machine on the planet.

    With an extremely high power to weight ratio the acceleration of the F2 hull is truly phenomenal with acceleration measuring 0-60 mph is less than 5 seconds. – Find out more here!
  • F4s Class - This is a new class in the UK for 2013 and is the green alternative to the F4 class. F-4S Powerboat Racing uses a tunnel hull catamaran design of a smaller size to the F2 Powerboat but is capable of both high speeds and exceptional manoeuvrability.

    Due to their specially designed hulls, F-4S boats are able to turn almost instantaneously making racing extremely exhilarating. Using factory ‘standard’ engines where modifications are forbidden, the F-4S Class keeps running costs to a minimum and produces close, competitive racing. – Find out more here!

Hydroplanes have twin hulls for the front part of the craft extending no more than 60% along the hull narrowing a single stern. The driver sits, kneels or lies down. The most popular class is OSY400, powered by a 400cc Outboard engine.

  • OSY400 Class - Racing is fun and affordable. A small version of the Hydroplane family powered by a 400cc Yamato stock engine. This cheap and very affordable class makes it very popular not only in the UK, but has a huge international following. The boats are constructed of either wood or composite materials and on average cost around £4000 + on the water ready to race from new.

    The UK British National Championship consists of many different forms of hydroplanes that all race together. With speeds in excess of 100 mph in some hydro classes, they really are truly awesome to watch and equally as awesome to drive - this form of power boating is for those looking for a real extreme thrill!

    Typical Hydroplane Classes racing in the UK: O125, O250 & O350

Personal Water Craft Sport Racing

Otherwise known as Jet Sport Racing in the UK, it can be split into three disciplines; Circuit Racing, Endurance Racing & Freestyle.

The Jet Sport Racing Association of GB is responsible for the circuit racing side of the sport which produces fast and frantic adrenaline fuelled racing on tight courses. Three different types of ski are used covering a variety of classes these are Ski (stand up), Sport (single seater) and Runabout (sit down). These are then broke down into Beginner, Novice and Expert divisions depending on skill and experience.

P1 AquaX offers a different challenge to personal Water craft owners. AquaX is an exciting coastal challenge that offers a completely new experience. Unlike other watercraft competition where the majority of racing takes place inland and usually on technical tracks, AquaX events take place on the sea. And because of the ever-changing coastal conditions, the rider’s skill prevails over horsepower, thus creating a level playing field for all.

The courses are big, but fun to ride, giving the competitors the chance to open up their throttles and enjoy the full performance of their craft in a safe and controlled environment. The courses also provide a real sense of achievement for those who complete the task.

The final discipline is Freestyle and is run by the FNT (Freestyle National Tour).

Freestyle is where these thrill seekers turn their tricks and somersaults each time trying to go bigger and better than the last. Freestyle happens on inshore water and in the sea with each rider allocated a set amount of time to perform the best tricks. On the sea the riders go head to head, “duelling” against each other, and the elements, trying to clinch more points than their opponents. Showcasing the biggest manoeuvres they can pull off, all in the pumping surf break.

Offshore Racing

Offshore Powerboat Racing in the UK is probably one of the best examples of an extreme water sport which is both challenging and highly competitive.

There are several different levels of competitive racing which are designed to both encourage those new to the sport and to satisfy existing competitors at all levels.Offshore Powerboat Racing hosts a variety of classes that means powerboat racing becomes an affordable motorsport with budgets to suit any lifestyle. Let’s take a look at a few!

Zapcat/ Thundercat Racing – These lively little inflatable catamarans can race in a variety of conditions including in excess of 5ft surf. Similar to side car racing, the pilot and co-pilot work closely as a team to distribute their weight in the boat, to achieve maximum speed and manoeuvrability for optimum performance.

P1 SuperStock – The P1 SuperStock series is a strict one design championship and entices teams to enter because not only is it an affordable and exciting form of motorsport, but standardised machinery means that performance is based entirely on driver-navigator skill.

The series provide dramatic yet safe and affordable racing and has succeeded in introducing the average boating enthusiast to the thrilling world of powerboat racing with standardised machinery throughout.

Marathon Racing – Marathon Racing is the ultimate in Offshore Powerboat Racing, testing not only a team's racing skill and prowess, but also their navigational ability, as well as the endurance of both the team and their boat.

Marathon racing started its humble beginnings in the 1960's and rose to a pinnacle in the 1970's / 80’s with the greatest race of all, the Round Britain Powerboat Race.

The 1400nm Round Britain Race run in 1969, 1984 and 2008 remains to this day one of the greatest and toughest Marathon races of all time. This along with the Cowes-Torquay-Cowes Race provides some of the most testing racing conditions for both man and boat. Many different types and classes of boats can compete in individual races, on the same course, at the same time and depending on the class, speeds vary from 65mph to 125mph.

These are just a few of the classes available in Powerboat Racing to find out more information please visit RYA Powerboat Racing.