What killed this type of racing?
What killed this type of racing?
IMO this type of racing has was good, just as today's racing is, while this always seems to be such a hot topic between racer's of yesterday and racer's of today, there have been a few races of this type held over the past 3 years. and the amount of entries has declined every year. the myth of man against ocean is all good, but facing the facts that GPS has taken over where a real navigator was needed, and the water along the shore line can be just as nasty as 50 miles out. If it is a endurance race you seek why not try Sunny Isles to west Palm beach and back running a 1/2 mile offshore the whole way could entice more sponsorship, and if a boat breaks its not a 12 hr tow from the middle of the gulf stream. Grand Haven to Chicago, the bottom line normally comes down to who is producing it and paying for it. back in those days most of the big boats were sponsor by the white powder industry and most of those guys are either dead, or rotting in some hole. I like both forms, but this is what is available today! and until someone steps up and spends a bunch of cash this is what we will have.
Pete....below is a writeup off the HORBA site www.historicraceboats.com See comments re Racers of both yesterday and today.
The drug guys were part of it, but the real push behind the races was the participation of the boat manufacturers. They really wanted to prove that the boats they made, were faster and more seaworthy than a competitor. The engine people saw where this was going and followed very quickly.
Offshore racing has changed since the very beginning. When the sport began it was usually a course that would run over open ocean waters from one point to another. The old races were long distance events, Miami to Nassau, 185 miles, Miami to Key West, 185 miles, Around Long Island, 254 miles, Long Beach to San Francisco 439 miles, and the old Bahamas 500 race, 539 miles. The contestants were usually people from the marine industry who not only enjoyed the racing itself but also the opportunity to use the races as a way to prove their product, whether it be boat, motor, pump, oil, cable, etc. etc. was better than the competitions.
The races grew over the decades to the point that in New Jersey during the 70's, the Coast Guard wouldn't allow the Benihana race, to be held on a weekend because they felt the crowds would be too large for effective control. So for many years, the race was held on a Wednesday in July and it still attracted an estimated 400,000 spectators, spread out over the course on boats and along the beaches.
But then someone thought that if they brought the races closer to the beach and shorten the distance, it could attract even more spectators to a particular locale and hopefully the sponsors would like that……and the world of offshore racing was forever changed. Today the world of "Offshore Racing" is a course that is approximately 6 to 10 miles long, up and down the beach, or no further out than a half mile and the distances run are around 60 to 90 miles in laps over the course.
Now an important point here is the racers themselves hadn't changed, just the courses they were given to race on by the sanctioning bodies. A racer will race anything anywhere, if given the opportunity. The opportunity for the racers is just what HORBA did in June of 2008, we gave them the opportunity to go out into the open ocean again with a course that ran from Miami to Bimini and back 106 open miles.
It’s money back and forth that killed this racing. First it was to little and then to much and then to little again.
Look at some of the boats they ran in the 60’s. 20 to 30 foot. Made by boat builders. That looked like the boats that were sitting at the dealerships. Then the real money came in. The boats got much bigger. The motors got much bigger. And the price tags got much, much bigger. To where the little guys were squeezed out and the boats looked nothing like any in the “spectator fleet“. It’s Nascar all over again. Without a millions of dollars sponsoring you, you were not racing anymore.
Very neat footage, horrible over hyped voice over commentary.
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