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APBA Adds Center Console Classes For Endurance Events And Time Trials

With additional races being included in the 2021/2022 Ocean Cup Series and more to be announced in the near future, the American Power Boat Association has published rules for new center console classes specifically for point-to-point, long-distance record events and time trials.

For companies such as Mystic Powerboats, which has a history in offshore racing with its catamaran models, the new Center Console Production Class could be intriguing. Photo by Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix

In an interview earlier this week with Rich Luhrs, the APBA Offshore Racing Commission Chairman, he stated that the organization recently finished the rulebook additions to allow Center Console Production Class boats to compete offshore provided that they meet class and safety requirements set forth by the APBA as well as the Union Internationale Motonautique, the internationally recognized sanctioning authority that Luhrs said plans to adopt the same class format.

“In my opinion this is the proper way to say put up for shut up to the manufacturers of all of the incredible center console boats in the marketplace,” Luhrs said. “Yes they’re gorgeous with their underwater lights, pristine interiors, stylish graphics and all that, but how many are long-distance, truly capable craft? This will showcase which company makes the best piece of equipment in terms of handling and performance in an open-ocean endurance format. That, to me, is the main reason the Ocean Cup Series exists—to showcase which boats have the ability to hold their own in big seas.”

According to the rules, center console hulls and decks shall be a standard model with a minimum commercial production of five units that have been sold and titled to pleasure boat owners. The boats also must be fitted with standard specification outboard engines which have a commercial production run of at least 50 units.

As clarified in the APBA rulebook, “The purpose of the series among other things is to provide boat, engine and accessory manufacturers an opportunity to test, display and prove their products in the most demanding environments. All Center Console Production Class boats must adhere strictly to the following specifications. Please also refer to the rules pertaining to all APBA Offshore Classes. The class should reflect models in standard production from the boat manufacturer. The use of the term “standard” in these rules is generally meant to describe components or parts that are both manufactured and intended for sale to the public at commercially reasonable prices under a manufacturer brand name. Entries must meet the requirements of standard production as set forth in these regulations.”

Luhrs said he expects to see the first center consoles competing at the second-year Ocean Cup Series event in Southern California in the fall—the Huntington Beach Around Catalina Island endurance race scheduled for October 1 in conjunction with the Pacific Airshow (Oct. 1-3).

“What I love about the new center console class is that it takes you back to when you could race offshore, without a canopy, at a speed that is sane over a long distance, rather than deciding to do an endurance run when the conditions are perfect,” Luhrs said. “These races are going to take place on a date set in advance so racers will have to deal with whatever conditions are in play that day. This is ultimately a manufacturer’s challenge, a way for them to indisputably prove what their boats can do in a competitive environment; not a competition for which company has the best stereo, the coolest graphics or the most storage and creature comforts.”

The Center Console Production Class sizes are as follows: 30 feet and under, 30 to 35 feet, 35 to 45 feet, and 45 feet and longer. For more information visit, apba.org, oceancup.com or check out the 2021 Offshore Rulebook.

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