As a journalist on a press junket organized to showcase a city, you never know what you’re going to get in terms of fellow journalists. Take my late-September trip to Clearwater, Fla., for the Super Boat International National Championships. Of the four writers the City of Clearwater invited—and wined and dined and generally spoiled rotten—I was the only one there to cover the powerboat races.
That led to some interesting discussions at dinner, because while my travel-and-lifestyle writer comrades knew plenty about travel and stylish living, they knew nothing about offshore powerboat racing. And why would they? Offshore racing is one of the most obscure motorsports on the planet for any number of reasons, not the least of which is that it’s confusing to watch. But it’s also spectacular. When the boats roar by the beach—glued to the water or launching through the air—they captivate even the most casual observers.
You may never become a serious offshore racing “fan.” But if you find yourself somewhere like on the shores of Clearwater Beach or Key West—or even on the shores of the St. Clair River in Michigan—and an offshore powerboat race breaks out, here are some of the basics that can help you understand and enjoy it, and make you sound like a pro if want to talk about it.
(Photo courtesy/copyright Jay Nichiols/Naples Image)