2017 Offshore Superboat Championship

By: Chris Whitelaw, Photography by: Chris Whitelaw

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  • Trade-A-Boat

The marine equivalent of high-performance car racing, offshore powerboat racing is fast, furious and heating up.

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The fifth and final round of the 2017 Offshore Superboat Championships was held in Hervey Bay (Qld) on the last weekend in October. Considered to be the region’s premier sporting event, this is the sixth time a championship round has been hosted by the Fraser Coast city and this year attracted teams from as far afield as Mackay and Melbourne.

Offshore powerboat racing is the marine equivalent of high-performance car racing, with catamaran-hulled superboats competing in two classes.

The 14-metre Supercat Extremes are powered by two 750hp supercharged V8 inboard engines capable of hurling these five-tonne craft across the water at speeds approaching 210kph. While no match for their big brothers, the smaller, lighter Supercat Outboard boats are no slouch in the speed department either. Powered by two 300hp outboard engines (Mercury or Evinrude), they can achieve a top speed of around 185kph.


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On the morning of day one, a small but avid crowd gathered under a flawless sky at Urangan boat ramp to watch as the boats were transferred by heavy mobile crane from their trailer-mounted cradles into the water. Spectators were welcome to wander through the ‘pit area’ to chat with crew members and inspect the boats at close quarters as they were prepped and tuned, thunderously, for the Pole Position Shootout on the bay.

A six-kilometre course had been laid for this speed trial within 600 metres of the foreshore between Torquay and Point Vernon. Alerted by a well-orchestrated media campaign, thousands of fans had taken up vantage points along the Hervey Bay beachfront to watch the action. The Outboards, followed by the Extremes, all took advantage of the light conditions to post very competitive times, trailing plumes of spray many times longer than the boats themselves.

Later that afternoon, the appreciative crowds were treated to a colourful horn-blaring spectacle as the boats were paraded along the Esplanade aboard ‘oversize’ semi-trailers bedecked in team graphics and sponsor logos.


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Day two dawned overcast but quickly cleared to another balmy, blue day on the Bay, with a low swell on a rising tide and 10-15kts onshore northerly winds, near perfect conditions for the exciting two-race program. As the day progressed, however, the freshening winds whipped up a serious chop that had the Outboards struggling, while the Extremes seemed to revel in the conditions. Adding to these high-octane thrills was the aerobatic performance of the chase chopper as it shadowed the speeding vessels at close range.

Two race wins by 222 Offshore Racing was a great effort in the challenging conditions but didn’t prevent the Maritimo 12 team securing 2017 Extreme class champion. Line honours were shared among the Outboards, with Saracen winning the first race and Hog’s Breath the second but Team 88 Power Zone emerged as this year’s class champion. 

Check out the full feature in issue #498 of Trade-a-Boat magazine. Subscribe today for all the latest camper trailer news, reviews and travel inspiration. 


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