Making Waves | Night & Day | South Florida | Broward Palm Beach New Times | The Leading Independent News Source in Broward-Palm Beach, Florida

Making Waves

If you've ever felt like a real salty sea dog yourself for accelerating your boat (or that of your gullible friend who was fool enough to give you the controls) to over 30 knots, then get out of the water before you get knocked over, 'cause you ain't worth the water you're treadin'.

The Gold Cup Offshore Championships kick off this Thursday at 6 p.m. with the Meet the Racers Block Party, taking place along Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard from Las Olas Boulevard to BeachPlace. Here's where the public gets to meet the racers who will be taking their lives into their hands. And there are oh-so-many ways to lose control when you're racing a catamaran at 130 miles per hour.

You could roll over when trying to negotiate a turn, flipping your boat bottom side up and hoping onboard air systems keep you alive long enough for a rescue. Or you could blow over, wherein the bow lifts up from the boat's velocity, wind gets under it, and the boat flips end over end. Or even better yet, you could get "stuffed," a catastrophe that involves your powerboat launching off one wave and then stuffing the bow into the next one, causing water to rush up at your face at 80 to 120 miles per hour to kiss you goodbye.

Yes, powerboat racing is an exciting sport for spectators and an act of lunacy for participants. The race itself takes place Saturday and Sunday along Fort Lauderdale Beach. A five-mile course has been set up and various classes race all weekend, including the aforementioned catamarans. Other categories include standard "Vee" powerboats, designed to cut through the water rather than skate above it, and the outlaw classes, which comprise amateurs.

So even if you're just planning on going to the beach this weekend, keep in mind it will be very crowded and, if you swim too far out, sharks will be the least of your worries.

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Dan Sweeney
Contact: Dan Sweeney

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