No offshore powerboat racecourse feature in the world is more immediately recognizable to fans than the famed Mallory Square Turn in Key West, Fla. Successfully navigating that turn means scrubbing top speed coming into the harbor (but not scrubbing it too early), carrying as much of it as possible through a tight 180-degree arc, getting back hard on the throttles and heading out to sea. An imposing concrete mooring-structure for cruise ships located uncomfortably close to the turn entry adds to the fun.
Challenging for the offshore racing teams and thrilling for the fans, the Mallory Square Turn is the star of the Key West racecourse (click image to enlarge for full frame). Photo from the 2015 SBI Offshore World Championships courtesy/copyright Andy Newman.
Without question, the Mallory Square Turn is a heady challenge for both drivers and throttlemen. If they’re not in sync—if the throttleman comes in too hot or doesn’t properly manage the drive and tab trim or the driver turns too late, too early or simply too damn hard—the results can be ugly, as witnessed by many roll-overs in the Mallory Square Turn during the years.
To watch raceboats negotiate the turn side-by-side is to hold your breath, which makes viewing areas in Mallory Square particularly coveted. In less than three weeks, fans of the sport will flock to Key West for the annual Super Boat International Offshore World Championship races on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. And you can bet that the Mallory Square spectator areas—with their up-close view of the course’s star turn—will be packed.