Primer to boat racing

9 11 2009

This blog post is written for the complete novice to kneel-down boat racing. If this not you, than you may find this a bit boring. I plan on writing more of these in the future, so keep an eye out.

Most people I meet are completely unaware of boat racing, at least, boat racing that I am familiar with. Most of the people who have heard of boat racing instantly think of the Madison Regatta on the Ohio River. The kind of racing that I am involved with is similar but different in some very fundamental ways.

I drive an outboard hydroplane, similar to the ones that one can find at races like the one in Madison, Indiana, but smaller. There are several classes, ranging from J (junior) to A through E. There are stock classes, modified classes, and there are hydroplane and runabout hulls. I personally race Formula A Hydroplane, which a modified hydroplane class that can reach speeds of 55 miles per hour. The J classes use the same motor, but are restricted to 40 MPH. Formula E classes can reach speeds of 90 MPH.

Unlike more commercialized types of motor racing, few people have sponsorships and pay for their racing expenses from their own pockets and no one is obligated to show up, save for the race officials. This helps to keep the competition friendly and reduces tension, since there is nothing at stake except for bragging rights.

The starts are the hardest part for a rookie to get. Since the boats are tuned for performing at high speeds and not idling, then a flying start is required to start a race. The boats leave the pits and mill the course, as a large clock on the starting line counts down from one minute. The boats all line up and make a run at the clock. Anyone who is too early will be disqualified for that heat. Anyone who is very late will have a big disadvantage in the following laps.

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