A real ‘Offshore Powerboat Race’ in the UK

The Poole Bay 100

I couldn’t let this week pass without commenting on the first offshore powerboat race – other than the C-T-C – in the UK for several years. Facebook, for all its faults, enabled me to follow the action quite well 12,000 miles away!

The ‘Fortitudo Property Poole Bay 100’ certainly attracted some attention and can ultimately be judged a success. Great credit must go to Kerry Bobbin and the sanctioning UK Offshore Powerboat Racing Association. Not least because Kerry pulled together a respectable fleet of Class 3 boats and was himself in the thick of the racing action right up to the flag!

Great credit must also go to John Moore, Simon Wood-Power and the rest of the officials and organising team. Sincere congratulations to all – and the weather Gods – for an obviously enjoyable day.

In the context of the issues offshore racing has suffered – and the analysis and suggestions I have put forward in previous posts, I’ll make some observations!

Class 3 – Great progress:

Remembering that UKOPBR was formed as an offshore racing body, outside the jurisdiction of the RYA and the UIM; it appears pretty clear that it stacked up well and the economics alone brought out a respectable entry level, particularly at the ‘affordable’ Class 3 level. It was so good to see a fleet with a good percentage of modern – state of the art even – boats, with modern low-emission outboards. I sincerely hope this is a breakthrough and the class continues to grow.

I guess we should feel sorry for them, so let’s mention the 8th place finisher, A5 - Lee Ornesby & Josh Lindsey. Please correct me if I’m wrong. With 5 classes, 11 boats and 2 DSQ’s, these guys were the only 4th in class and the only finisher in the whole race to go home without a trophy. I trust a consolation prize was awarded!

‘Marathon’ – Yeh, but:

I guess the ‘Marathon’ class gets the cliché: ‘To finish first, first you have to finish’, as two dead-cert class winners scored DNF’s.

Congratulations to all finishers and again to UKOPRA for pulling it together. Keep up the good work, there is a long way to go but this is a good start and it can get better!

Eight actual offshore powerboats and a respectable offshore course and distance, at least presented a demonstration of what it could be like. It clearly stimulated some passion and maybe some ‘spirit’. Let’s hope so. 

The reality: 8 boats in 5 classes. 5 class winners, 1 second place, 2 DNF. Race? Well actually to be placed 1st or 2nd in any class, you just needed to finish!

To put it into a perspective more deserving of praise, the first four boats, being in classes B, C and E, soundly beat both boats in ‘A’ class! Well done guys.

Hey, it’s a great start!