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Offshore Racing’s Elephant In The Room

Within minutes of yesterday’s speedonthewater.com story on key personnel changes at Super Boat International, my mobile phone and email account began blowing up. Beyond hearing from offshore racers and fans, I quickly learned that SBI technical inspector Lee Stanford, as well as other longtime staff members, had quit or were in the process of quitting the organization.


Between major changes at one organization and a new outfit launching, offshore racing heads into its 2018 season with more questions than answers. Photo courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.

None of this surprised me. Nor did reports of concerns regarding the future of the season coming out SBI’s Cocoa Beach, Fla., and Michigan City, Ind., venues. For all the success SBI has enjoyed during the past few years with its impressive Superboat class, the organization has struggled with its schedule.

In 2017, the SBI went from five to four regular-season races prior to its annual offshore world championships in Key West, Fla. For the 2018 season, SBI dropped its regular-season schedule to three races—with the loss of its Mentor, Ohio, contest to the new Race World Offshore organization—in advance of its Key West finale. Despite good showings in the Superboat and Superboat Vee classes, overall boat counts have dwindled in the past few years.

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