With the Super Boat International Offshore World Championships in Key West, Fla., just a month away, we thought we’d take a quick look back at the event more than 30 years ago. Captured by the folks at Needle Nose Race Team Productions in 1983, this shot of the start this start of the Key West Offshore Racing World Championships comes courtesy of performance-boat enthusiast and classic offshore racing aficionado Chris LaMorte, who owns the NNRT archives, and photographer Pete Boden, LaMorte’s custodian—so to speak—for the thousands of images in the NNRT collection.
Going old school—offshore racing in Key West in 1983. Photo courtesy/copyright NNRT Classics/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix Archives (click image to enlarge).
How “classic” is this image? First, the 1983 race was sanctioned by the American Power Boat Association—SBI had yet to be born. Second, only true diehard fans of classic offshore racing will be able to identify two classes—Open and Superboat—and three raceboat brands—Cigarette, Cougar and CUV—in this image. Two those three builders, Cigarette and Cougar, are still producing boats.
Last, as you can also see from all the open cockpits in this the photo, this was long before the era of full canopies on offshore raceboats.
At least one thing hasn’t changed since then. The Key West water colors remain stunning.
Editor’s note: Speedonthewater.com gratefully acknowledges the assistance of veteran offshore racer Ryan Beckley for supplying boat brand identification and other information for this story.