The 31st. annual Key West Offshore Powerboat World Championship – brought to us by Super Boat International -- has once again roared into town. Kicking off the excitement with a boat parade down Duval Street this past Sunday afternoon, top powerboat teams and fans from the world over have converged on our tiny island for the final round of high-speed races to determine the winners of the World Championship Title.
Often equated to the Monte Carlo of Formula One racing, the grueling Super Boat event is to offshore powerboat racing what the Indianapolis 500 is to Indycar and the Daytona 500 is to NASCAR. Teams prepare all year long, fine tuning their machines and racing their way up the point standings at speeds reaching 140 miles per hour in a series of grand prix events in various cities from May through September. The National Points season culminates in Clearwater, Florida, teams earning National Titles in their respective classes. Then, it’s on to Key West for the international competition for the World Title.
Key West is legendary for having the most exciting – and challenging -- offshore powerboat racing conditions. Indeed, founder of Super Boat International, John Carbonell, decreed, “To be the best, you have to win Key West!”
Today has dawned with the promise of perfect conditions for the first races of the epic event: cool and dry, mostly sunny, northeast winds at 15 knots, seas 2-4 feet. All day long, the fastest, the most skilled – and the most aggressive – drivers and throttlemen will be testing their mettle on the 6.5-mile course that passes through Key West Harbor, the deafening sound of competition rocking the island. And there’s more to come on Friday and Sunday, as teams roar full-throttle across ocean waters in their quest for the coveted World Title.
The dry pits in Truman Annex are the center of land-based activities and race day viewing is best from the Outer Mole. At the end of each day’s adrenaline-fueled events, the town parties into the wee hours, celebrating today’s victories and anticipating tomorrow’s. If you’re missing out this year, be here for next, when they’ll do it all over again November 4-11. Plan to stay at a Key West bed and breakfast befitting the event: the Tropical Inn, long a favorite of race fans!