After a day at the boat races, with the noise and spectacle of
top line boat racing, the adrenalin has you pumped up, you desire
to be the envy of all, to bask in the glory of being a winner.
How do you do it? We'll get to that in a minute. Questions first.
What kind of boat will you need?
Well anything that propel itself across the water will do for
a start. Races are held for all kinds of boats from the sublime
to the outragous.
What sort of gear will you need?
A ordinary boat licence, a life jacket (now called a PFD), a crash
helmet, the boat must be in good condition and will be inspected
by scrutineers, the boat will need an ignition cut out switch,
these are standard on most outboard's and are generally adapted
to inboards, if an inboard also a prop shaft collar, For some
classes of boats very specialised safety items are required. You
will NEED to be a member of an affiliated club, see list, and
will also need an APBA licence. This is not such a bad thing as
you will have $20 million insurance cover.
What sort of races are there? All
Kinds such as:-
Handicap Races: Most people start
here. In this event you do a time trial, that is a lap around
the course, the handicapper will then determine the time it should
take you to complete a full race. This time is deducted from the
Race Time and this will be your starting time. A clock is displayed
and the point of the exserise is to cross the start line right
on your start time, and finish right on the end of race time,
you go too fast you lose, simple right.
You can see here that almost anything can be competitive,
many factors come into this and its not that simple. Fast boats
will normally not run flat out, but at a regulated speed,so as
not to wear out the boat, and you may notice them bunching up
behind you in the last part of the race, just beating you across
the finish line. This is called Foxing, drivers with experiance
can do this without being obvious, if it is obvious the handicapper
may make an allowance for it in the next race Start times are
adjusted each race and many different tactics have been used to
win these, without actually cheating.
These are races run without handicap and are started with either
the clock, counting down to zero, or by another boat with a flag,
just don't start before zero or when the flag drops. In these
you can't go too fast, so all things being equal the fastest boat
wins. With two boats of about the same speed pole position can
be a deciding factor.
Championship Races: These are conducted
under sanction of the APBA you will need an APBA Competition Licence
and to have had it signed by a club official at three different
race meetings you have competed at, before you can enter a Championship
Race. To obtain this licence you will needed to be prodded and
poked by a doctor to say you are fit, as well as an eyesight test
to see if you are colour blind. This is the top of the line racing,
with many different classes for inboards and outboard's from 25hp
Can my children get involved? Passengers
in race boats are not encouraged. Offshore being the exception,
with most classes requiring at least 2 people. However Junior
racing is starting to take off at clubs around the country. To
start kids use boats with 6hp motors and there races are all handicap
events, they can then progress to 15hp motors, and need the same
basic equipment as regular boats. There is even an Australian
Championship for them. Many of our present day champions started
in junior programs, Criag Bailey being one.
Drag Races: This is a test of outright
acceleration, starting off a set of lights. There are classes
for engine sizes also for speed classes. In speed classes, like
handicap events you go too fast you lose. Top line boats are comparable
to land dragsters and can top 200 miles per hour. The slowest
classes have a 50 miles per hour limit. So like circut racing
you can get invloved with whatever you have. For further information
see theVictorian Drag Boat club site, listed on our links page.
Ocean Races: These are races for specialised boats, usually
large boats, that compete in the open ocean, mostly these are
scratch type events, but they do have handicap sections, There
are classes for Production Cruisers right up to Class I boats.
Naturally safety here is of paramount importance. For more information
please visit the Australian Offshore Powerboat Club web sie listed
on our links page.
Apart from inboards and
outboard's (I won't insult your intelligence that much) There
Displacements: Are like regular ski boats that
displace water, some are Deep Vee, others Flatbottom, all are
Hydroplanes: Are specialised
race boats that when at speed ride on two sponsons hanging off
the side of the boat and the propeller, using ground effects
they are supported also by the air rushing under the boat. These
throw a lot of water into the air, they are also the fastest
type of boat, in a straight line. Cornering is not as good as
Tunnel Boats: Strictly are classed
as hydroplanes, they are the catamaran type boats with full
length sponsons, Formula one boats are an example of these.
Most are outboard's, but some have inboards, usually with stern
drives. These are not quite as fast as regular hydroplanes in
a straight line, but have exceptional turning abilities. True
outboard hydroplanes are very rare in this country.
The Bridge to Bridge
This is a one of yearly event and has been conducted on the Hawkesberry
River since the 1920's. It is a race from the bridge at Broklyn
near the mouth of the river to Windsor bridge. A distance of about
100 km. This is alomst the same course as the water ski race of
the same name, although the skiers start from Dangar Island. This
is wheresome people get into the sport, they go out for a burn
up the river and find they like it. Classes from the Super Class
to Social Ski boats are catered for.Juniors also compete but in
a group all staying together accompanied by safety boats to ensure
their safety.For more information see the Upper Hawkesberry Power
Boat Club web site, listed on our links page.
How do I become involved?
First off join a boat club (see member
club pages), some are specialised and some tend to polarise
around certain classes of boats. Ask questions, most boat racers
are approachable. As you will probably start in handicap races
watch these carefully work out the strategies employed. Take your
time, concentrate on improving your driving skills. More races
are won by good driving than by the latest engine trick of the
week. In your first few races keep out wide, until you get out
there you will not believe how hectic corners become with a few
boats in them. Above all use your common sense, and don't do silly