Have you ever seen a boat dive completely into water? If not, you’re in for a treat. This boat is traveling at over 60 knots, which is about 70 mph, when it gets some air and then does a nose dive right into the water. You’ll see just how deep the boat goes and the resulting aftermath in this offshore speedboat racing accident. The boat obviously lost the race, but we get to find out that if a boat is going fast enough and has the right dimensions, it can actually dive!
The Dangers of Speedboat Racing
As you probably already know, speedboat racing can be very dangerous. Due to the high speeds these boats can travel, there is approximately one death every year in offshore powerboat racing. In one race in Key West back in 2011, there were actually 3 deaths in just one week. According to the author, this boat was going about 70 mph at the time, but some of these boats can get up close to 200 mph. With those speeds, it’s no wonder that deaths are frequent in this sport.
The Origins of Offshore Powerboat Racing
Offshore powerboat racing started back in 1903 in Great Britain. It would come to America a few years later in 1911. It’s popularity grew until World War II, and then it started becoming popular again in the 1950s. The modern era of offshore powerboat racing began in the ’60s with longer races like the Bahamas 500-mile race in addition to shorter races. Today’s events are much shorter, have a lot more spectators, and have many more categories of boats competing beyond the original 4 classes that were established.
The American Power Boat Association
The American Power Boat Association is the entity over boat racing here in the US. Currently, this association has more racing categories than you can shake a stick at. Well, actually, there are 13 designated categories, but there are even more classes within each category. There’s even a Junior racing category. The minimum age for this category is 12 years old, and top speeds can reach about 50 mph. Inboard racing is one of the most popular categories. Top speeds range from 70 mph to 170 mph depending on class. Inboard racing is the largest category of racing and includes both hydroplanes and runabouts.
APBA Categories and Classes
The category we are dealing with is offshore racing, which consists of V-hulls and catamarans. These boats have a lot of horsepower and are capable of speeds up to 180 mph. Offshore powerboat racing typically consists of a 2-person team, with one person driving and the other person manning the throttle. Like the other categories of boat racing, there are a number of classes in offshore boat racing depending on the size of the engine and the hull. Here are just a few of these classes:
- Cat Lite
- Super Stock
- Super Cat
- S Vee Light
- Turbine Extreme
- Pro-Am CLS
- King World EXB
UK Offshore Powerboat Classes
So those are the categories in the US, but this boat is actually a UK offshore powerboat. These boats have their own categories designated by various clubs across the country. The boat looks to be a Class 3 or close to it. These boats have a max horsepower of 115 and can be up to about 22 feet long. Their maximum cubic capacity is up to 1800 cc. The 3C EPA class, however, can have a max hp of 200 and max cubic capacity of 3000 cc. In comparison to the Class 3 powerboats, the larger P1 Superstock boats are a bit bigger and more powerful. The P1 Panther 28SS, for example, has the following key specs:
- 250-horsepower engine
- 28 feet long
- Throttle range of 4,500-6,000 rpm
- Top speed of 70+ mph
- 3,550-pound dry weight
Now that you have a better idea of the power this type of boat can generate, you can probably see how it could actually dive into the water and be completely submerged for a second or two if it hits at the right angle.
The Dive and Aftermath
Hopefully these guys were okay after driving their boat head-first into the water. Maybe the boat got the worst of it, but that can’t feel too good to hit the water going that fast. Off-shore boat racing is clearly for the daredevil and adrenaline junky, because one wrong move could end in disaster. Check out the amazing dive and the result below.
Sources: (1 | 2 | 3)