To the uninitiated, bracket-class offshore powerboat racing—where the boats in each class are limited to a op speed and get penalized if they surpass it—seems counter-intuitive. If you’re in a race, why wouldn’t you run your boat as fast as it can go within the envelopes of control and water conditions? Seems logical, at least if winning is on your to-do list.
Though it doesn’t get the glory, there’s nothing easy about bracket-class offshore powerboat racing (click image to enlarge). Photo courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
And that makes sense with powerboats of the same hull type, relative size and power. But bracket-class racing levels the aquatic playing field for boats that are far less homologous. And there are lots of those boats out there, especially in the Northeast, the home of the Offshore Powerboat Association.
In a sport that is obscenely expensive at the higher levels, bracket-class racing qualifies as affordable. That enables less-well-heeled, though equally passionate offshore racers, to compete with their counterparts in the class. And compete they do—despite that the competitors in each bracketed class are limited to the same top speed.