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Old 27-09-2006, 01:21 AM   #1
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Constructive Criticisms of UK racing

I am new to Powerboat Racing and know probably very little.

However I would like to make some observations, opinions & ideas public, so as to encourage a usefull & constructive debate.

For the sport to grow & flourish you need to attract sponsors. To do this you need to attract & encourage Joe public to come & watch the races in large numbers. Powerboat racing has a definite problem, that is the spectator is basically limited by only viewing from the land.

Race Course Setting:

Every effort should be made to set courses where boats can be seen for the maximum amout of time by the shore spectator.

Why do we continue using multi-lap courses?

The multi-lap course has 2 problems...1stly the general spectator has no idea of the course layout or order. Therefore after 1 or 2 laps (especially multi-class race also) spectators have no idea what is going on & race positions are almost impossible to follow.
This leads to spectator confussion and subsequent lack of interest. To encourage Joe public to become a fan, the sport needs to make things as simple & as easy to follow as possible.
2ndly multilap courses are dangerous, to have a number of boats converging on 1 turn bouy from 2 or 3 directions at once is madness. I can't think of anyother motor sport that does this (I'm sure someone will correct me though).
So why the multilap course? I'm told, its to give the navigator something to do. GPS has made navigating easy (I know I should not say that..re LH, but shit in GPS means shit out). If you make the courses more visible from shore, that may mean a shorter lap,
this leads to boats being closer together. This means the navigator should be real busy as lookout & strategist. Cowes 150 honda racing a good example.

I know offshore racing is about being offshore, but in this day & age where a sport is very expensive to compete in, its also about promotion & sponsorship.

As far as I can see there is almost zero marketing within the UK powerboating scene. The RYA & the clubs should be concentrating on making the sport interesting, simple, compeditive
and glammerous. This will lead to increased following and this in turn will lead to increased corporate sponsorship, this will lead to more compeditors entering the sport, which enhance the specticle. and so on & so on. The sport & organisers seem to be living on past glorries and blind to the challenges that lay before them.

I do not doubt anyone at the RYA or Clubs, re their commitment, integrity & massive amount of unpaid hard work they contribute to enhance the sport of powerboat racing. But maybe a fresh view or open constructive debate would help.

One idea which is simple & cheap to introduce is....
1 or 2 large bill boards placed in spectator area showing a map of the course. If it has to be a multi-lap race, details should also be included, so the spectator can get a clearer picture.

Where different classes are racing together, a simple and clear recognition system should be adopted. Such as each class has to display a simple 12" round coloured spot. This identification of classes would also be included on the spectator bill boards & programmes.

This maybe my fault, but I have not seen an official programme of a UK (other than P1 Cowes) event this year. These programmes are a great way to educate the general spectator & create interest. If they are cheap, more spectators get educated! Usually the cost of production of these programmes can be covered by local businesses advertising within them.

I maybe totally wrong, with my perception. This post is not intended to offend or directly criticise anyone. The intention is to promote new thinking & ideas for the growth of UK powerboat racing.

Cheers
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Old 27-09-2006, 01:45 AM   #2
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Old 27-09-2006, 07:19 AM   #3
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Paul I think you right we do need to promote the sport and shorter laps could be the way to go

The programmes and bill board is a great ,But there is a cost and most of the racing is running at a loss or break evan,Yes the programme can be financed by local advertising and that would work. Who is going to sell the advertising for the clubs?
The sport needs some one to set up a small advertising company to sell programme advertising for the clubs and take a cut of the top

Do you think the clubs would support that?
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Old 27-09-2006, 08:13 AM   #4
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Courses are a lot more spectator orientated nowadays long gone are the days that you started did one dinky lap then came back in approx 2- 2 Ĺ hours time, shorter laps will make any turn mark congestion greater IMHO.
As for multi laps they are hardly a challenge just a mix and match to confuse the issue more. Iíve been off the scene for ages but the exposure is along the beach/ Promenade area so maximize it. The start has always been the attraction for the public so that is the key - Boats, boats and more boats. The attention span drops rapidly after about 20 mins then off they wander, kids to the arcade, fun fair, burgers, crazy golf and any other number of attractions that they went for in the first place. Offshore has always been a compeditors sport the rush & enjoyment is ********* great.
Dunno what the answer is
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Old 27-09-2006, 08:25 AM   #5
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I think the bill-board is a very good idea indeed. Also the simple identification of the classes for the punters.

The cost of such a thing would be minimal, and represents no more than a few race officials 'room service' & 'wine bills' being capped, so it would be perfectly feasable to impliment.

I've always thought advertising the up-coming events in something like Sportsboat & RIB magazine, MB&Y etc. would be a good move, and I'm sure those publications would be prepared to do deals for such advertising, as it would certainly benefit all in the long run. Though my reasoning for that, is as much to attract new participants to the worlds best kept secret (powerboat racing) as it is to attract spectators.

Hugo at MB&Y and Chris at SB&R have both taken part in boatmad/drivers poker runs this year, and seem keen on performance/racing boating generaly.

Chris's mag has already published an artical on the PR in August, and MB&Y are doing the same on the June event, sometime during the winter months.

Mebbe they should be approached with a calender of events as soon as they're 'reasonably' cast in stone for the season to see if they'll publish it.

Getting 'the general public' interested is obviously of benefit, but just getting the general 'boating' public interested would be a boody good start, and in most cases, they can turn out and view from the water, on any part of the course they wish.
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Old 27-09-2006, 08:26 AM   #6
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I think shorter courses will be better, it will make closer racing. The more boats around one turn bouy the better (all arriving from the same direction of course!)
If you look at the torquay course this sunday for the basic race the 1st leg is 3miles long, I will bet you £10 BluFin that whoever gets to the turn bouy 1st will win the race (assuming they dont drop out due to technical problems)
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Old 27-09-2006, 08:28 AM   #7
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Shorter courses and tighter turns ? OCR???
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Old 27-09-2006, 08:43 AM   #8
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Shorter tighter courses will change the boat requirement, most of whats out there now will become obsolete overnight... Dont think ya wanna go there.
As Scotty says If you want shorter tighter courses go OCR.

Edit: Rob ya on £10
first boat to the first mark wont win
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Old 27-09-2006, 08:58 AM   #9
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We do the short course, close in thing too and where you have a relative captive audiance i.e. Dover, Plymouth etc the 'bill board' idea would be great, so long as no one nicks it........

Our race durations are 12-30 mins with only 1 'pit lap' needed which does mix things up well.

We have also done a two boat head to head which is a sprint around two course legs again, quick and simple to please the public.

Proximity of the audience is proably the one of the biggest issues i.e. letting the see whats going on and enough comentry to understand what's going on. We do it where we can.
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Old 27-09-2006, 09:24 AM   #10
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If it's windy, who gets to the fist turn first, is irrelevent. once you turn the almost 180, everything can/will change.

OCR in offshore boats doesn't appeal to me at all.

Back when we raced at Torquay, the longest single leg was 12 miles...absolutely fantastic!

As Johnny Bluefin says, offshore has never really been a spectator sport, at least not in the traditional sense, it's always been a participant sport.
The only way it works for spectators, is when helicopter camera shots are relayed to big screens, or your telly.
I don't know whether we'll ever change that fact here in the UK.

My point being, back in the good old days, when the south coast was ramped with spectators to view the Cowes-Torquay racers pass, did the more minor races at that time get the same interest?
I doubt it, the Cowes event got imeasurable press as a result of the founder being who he was, and being in the position to publicise it in the way he did. I'm also sure that such a high profile figure as he, being openly obsessed with boat racing and his beloved event, influenced a whole generation of wealthy gentelmen to follow suit. Those wealthy gentlemen, either didn't need sponsorship, as they could afford to do it properly thenselves, or were well connected enough to 'pull a favour' with a prospective sponsor.

They were great, great times, but I seriously doubt we can reproduce them now.

I've been around the racing scene for quite a few years now, and every year without fail, there's a campaign by someone or other to 'get powerboating back on the map' from a television & media perspective, so that it will self fund from sponsorship, however, I've never seen it happen yet.

I personaly think, that rather than try to get people interested enough to promote huge media interest and subsequently huge sponsorship interest (unrealistic in my opinion), we should be trying to get racing at a club level, more affordable, and less full of red tape bullshit.
There's plenty of other motor sports, without the illusive 'mamouth sponsors' that are growing fast, or at least more of a pleasure to take part in.
I was speaking to someone last week, who was saying how superb the team spirit and organising was at a Ski race they attended, and comented on how cheap the entry was.
So it must be possible in a sport using essentially the same kit and bearing the same, or similar risks.


Also, Rob, I don't see how short courses = close racing. more boats visible from one spot maybe, but there will still be the same difference in speed between the lead boats & the also rans.
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Old 27-09-2006, 09:30 AM   #11
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One of my favs. just loved the turn off Brixham then straight out for 5 or six miles to the mark boat then a left turn up to teignmouth, back along the coast inside orestone outside thacher....bloody great
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Old 27-09-2006, 12:35 PM   #12
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You'll like the course for this year then. 'Specially Sunday's.

See you all at Torquay hopefully.


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Old 27-09-2006, 08:18 PM   #13
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Re: Constructive Criticisms of UK racing

Quote:
Originally posted by KINPACIFIST

. To do this you need to attract & encourage Joe public to come & watch the races in large numbers

Agreed!, i have just spoken to three different people in Teignmouth (8miles from torquay) who knew nothing of the Powerboat racing weekend in torquay!!

So, yes, the sport certainly needs more press coverage!
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Old 27-09-2006, 11:01 PM   #14
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When I told a friend of mine who's spent the past 16 years living in cowes that we were getting ready for the round the island race he said "Isn't that for yachts?" not even knowing that powerboats ever came to Cowes!
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Old 27-09-2006, 11:14 PM   #15
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He needs to dig his head out of the sand then!
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Old 28-09-2006, 08:20 AM   #16
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The local Press coverage on the South Coast for any powerboat event in the Solent or along the South Coast has been "Piss Poor" for as long as i can remember. If you were not an active boater then you wouldnt have known if an event was taking place. We only used to know through word of mouth!

The local tv News stations would occasionally cover after the event but they were never openly advertised in advance.

I guess the Council and police were worried about the traffic jams resulting in thousands of people flocking to the South Coast, like they do, and have done every weekend during the summer for as long as i can remember!

Someone out there doesnt like Powerboat Racing and needs a good SLAP.
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Old 28-09-2006, 05:31 PM   #17
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I have only just caught up with this thread and have found it fasicinating reading. Can't help but think that all problems would be solved if we only had one of the oldest clubs going since 1967 getting it's act together again.

UKOBA, like all clubs once had several guy's and gal's who were passionate about the sport and that club ran up to TWELVE offshore races a year off the shores of the U.K including classics like London-Calais-London which, running from Tower Bridge brought out huge crowds and media attention even though the boats were gone for 6/8 hours. How many races do UKOBA hold now and you have to ask the question why don't they?

The sport needs UKOBA kicked back into gear and brought up to date with young people on board and new thinking and working with other clubs as before. Then you will get more races held, media attention would come naturally and the sport would grow again. As JF said it worked once it can work again. The trouble is you need some or you guys to stick your necks out and grasp the nettle and make it work. You have a club that can do it, just don't have the right people on it. Simple.
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Old 29-09-2006, 08:35 AM   #18
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Old man you are partly right but to put on races you need boat tell me where are the boats coming from
UKOBA have the staff to run the races but you tell me where we get the boats
you may recall that the RMYC had to cancell a race because of only five boats entered and are you aware of the cost of the insurance from the RYA?

Yes you are right Ukoba is the club to run races but not with out boats
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Old 29-09-2006, 08:44 AM   #19
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How's the Planatec 40 coming along Tony?
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Old 29-09-2006, 08:56 AM   #20
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still in the barn but she will be out next year in the classic class she is an old lady
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