As the former Race Director for the Rochester Offshore Powerboat Association, we were one of the pioneers of the current “closed course” races having run two Divisional races with a course that fans could see from end to end in the late 1980’s. We found that in our market, this was the only way we could get enough interest to actually fund the race. And by funding, I mean more than just expenses and prizes. Many people fail to realize just how many volunteers are needed to run one of these things. One needs a pretty good fund of volunteers too. Sure, Lake Ontario proved (in the mid- 1980’s) that it was more than tough enough for a National level race. But few people were willing to pay to see the boats leave, then come back at some later time.
So I believe that we’ll never get all the way back to the glory days of true offshore racing that made folks like Don Arownow, Betty Cook and many other famous. There just isn’t the sponsorship / revenue generation required to support it. A mixture of a few of those bad boys with the closed course stuff though makes pretty good sense.
Does anyone remember the Golden Gate to Spruce Goose Chase? That was very interesting in that it involved manufacturers with identical power in the open ocean. Something like that again would be awesome.
These discussions are always interesting, but never seem to address the real issue: What can the sport actually be, a hobby, a membership driven entertainment enterprise, a major motorsport, or something else?
I Consider Offshore Racing anywhere as a Hobby for most of us, If I'd be looking at pro Racing I would've stayed in Autoracing...there you get paid. Somebody once said Offshore racing is the only form of motorsport where you can be a world champion at 50....therefore I consider it as just a hobbysport.
A lot of people won't like me saying this (and though I mean no offense I really don't care), but the sport has been in decline since the demise of APBA Offshore LLC. The numbers support that assertion. That doesn't mean the racers and organizers involved still aren't passionate and working their butts off, but the fact remains.
Major motorsport? A lot of people won't like me saying this either, but no way. History supports that assertion. But something compelling and worth watching on television? Absolutely. And capable of attracting viewers and advertisers? Absolutely.
How do I support this assertion? Very simple. Televised poker.
Folks, we are sitting around watching people play cards on TV for big bucks as if it were a death sport. Don't get me wrong, it takes skill—and luck sure doesn't hurt. But—and I know a lot of people won't like me saying this—watching people play freakin' cards is boring. It just is.
What makes it interesting are the shady, goofy guys and the odd sexy woman (in a roomful of goofy, shady men standing out as a sexy woman can't be that hard) in the game. And that is one of the main points of Rich's commentary.
Let us also not forget that offshore racing in any era did not have to try to grow in this poor of an economy. That, too, is a fact. Longtime boat builders will tell you that they thought the days of luxury tax and fuel embargo were the worst they would ever see—until three years ago.
read all of richs posts really inspires me about the true sport and how it was, and jason sarris who did my motor 7 years ago and still runs strong today, showed me around his shop and let me sit in king sting ,stylyn. showed the trophys, letters cert,etc jason really went out of his way to always answer my calls and questions about the history and sport of it. true champions and legends in my book,THANK YOU GENTLEMEN
I do think it still has commercial potential, however, but primarily as an advertising or promotional vehicle for a major sponsor which does not measure success through operational profits.
HORBA MARATHON CLASS RULES
Class A 42 to 50 feet 3 or more engines
Class B 30 to 41 feet 2 engines
Class C 25 to 33 feet Outboards and Single Inboard
Class D 18 to 24 feet Small Boat Class
Class H Historic Open & Production class categories
Any hull design is allowed, Deep V, Cats, Trihulls etc. As long as the design is considered safe for ocean passage, it is allowed.
If we take what we have going, the 271 mile Don Aronow Around Long Island race in September and add one more next year in Florida, say April sometime. That would cover both north and south and everyone in between, like South Carolina or Maryland.
One more thing we are tossing around, we need to give everyone a chance to learn how to race like this. Back in the 60's and 70's we had Open class for the big boats that ran the long distance stuff, 180 to over 200 miles, but we also had the Production classes for the guy who has just started and needed to learn how to navigate and race....these smaller boats were run on 80 to 120 mile courses.
The Bacardi race for the smaller Production boats was out of Government cut in Miami, a quick turn to Fowey, back to Government Cut and then over to Bimini and back....miles were somewhere around 120. But the course still had the element of open ocean racing, and navigating.
So, HORBA is thinking two races for 2012, one in Florida in April and one in New York in September. The NY race would also have a shorter course, a triangle that goes around the sound about 100 miles.
Below is an Open boat and a Production boat.
Confused?? Well they are both 35 foot Cigarettes, but the Open boat had a limit of 1,000 cu in and the Production boat had a limit of 700 cu in.
Last edited by Top Banana; 10-01-2011 at 11:01 AM.
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