East Coast Powerboat Racing Club
The East Coast Powerboat Racing Club is one of the largest powerboating clubs in Ireland. It was founded in 1995, but some of its members have a long history of involvement in powerboating at various levels. The Club is affiliated to the Irish national authority, which is itself affiliated to the world governing body – the UIM (Union Internationale Motonautique). All racing events are run to strict UIM rules.
We race five classes of boats in Ireland:
• J250 (Juniors) Monohulls
• T850 Monohulls (V-hulls)
• S-850 Catamarans (Formula 4)
• F 2 Catamarans (Formula 2)
• Clubman Class (Sports boat Class)
The J 250 Class (juniors) – This is the first time this class has been introduced to Ireland. The age group is 9 to 16 years. It is a monohull type boat, approximately 10 foot 6 inches long and is powered by a 15 hp. engine This class is raced widely in every other country and is an international class. This is the class that really starts powerboat racing.
The T 850 (Monohulls) – The V-Hulls are spectacularly tuned single seat monohull powerboats with a race tuned 850cc engine, capable of speeds up to 80mph. The Hull is approximately 15 feet (4m) long, and 4 feet (1.25m) wide. This class offers an exciting spectacle for the crowds, providing close racing, and definite thrills with occasional spills.
The S 850 (Catamarans) – The F4 Catamarans are incredible machines, capable of accelerating from 0 to 60mph in approximately 3 seconds. The hull is 12 foot long and 6 foot wide, and the engine is 850cc race tuned with stainless steel surface piercing propellers. The F4s can corner through 180 degrees in a distance of 40 feet and 80mph, subjecting the pilots to 3 "Gs" across their bodies.
The F 2 (Catamarans) – The F2 Catamarans are 20 feet long and approximately 7 feet 8 inches wide and are powered by 2 litre Mercury engines. These boats can reach speeds of up to 140 mph. on the straight and can turn around a marker buoy at 100mph.
The Clubman Class – We are just starting to race the Clubman Class here. This class existed many years ago but has not been raced in recent years. This type of class runs on a timed handicapped system. It can include sports boats from 50hp. Engines to 3 litre F1 engines. With minimal modifications these boats can be adapted to race. The big advantage with this class is that it is inexpensive, for those who already have sports boats, to start racing.
The Clubman Class is exhilarating, and can be anything, but it’s where most of those who reach the top started.
A Thrilling Experience
Professional powerboat racing is unlike any other form of motor sport. The pilot and his (or her) equipment are matched, not only against other competitors, but also against the changing and unpredictable elements of water and weather.
Jolting from wave to wave, the pilot must constantly battle the repeated shock of the boat pounding across the water. This means that a 12 stone pilot will temporarily exert a weight of 36 stone on their boat. The pivoted, square turns exert a force of up to three lateral Gs, slamming pilots into the sides of the race craft, and putting extraordinary pressure on the neck, back, shoulders, chest and arm muscles.
Unlike the V-Hull pilots, the F4 pilots are like the F2 and F1 pilots. They are strapped into the boat with a full 5-point aerobatic aircraft harness. They also carry air bottles complete with diver's regulator in case they become trapped in an overturned boat. The F2 and F1 drivers when racing internationally have airbags behind the safety cell in the boat to lift the driver out of the water if the boat overturns.
All catamaran pilots must satisfactorily complete a "dunk test" (where they are strapped into a cockpit mock-up and turned upside down in a pool, escaping from the cockpit unaided) before they are cleared to race.
Full UIM safety regulations are stringently enforced, with rescue boats, rescue drivers, ambulances and paramedics in constant attendance whenever boats are in the water.
(The above information courtesy of the East Coast Powerboat Racing Club)
East Coast Powerboat Racing Club, 44 Old Fair Green, Dunboyne, Co. Meath. Tel: 01 825 2323, fax 01 825 2323, mobile 087 262 7303
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