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American Power Boat Association World Championships in St. Petersburg
By TERRY TOMALIN, Times Outdoors Writer
© St. Petersburg Times, published May 5, 2000
Hundreds of the nation's top offshore racers will put their skills to the test on the fickle waters of Tampa Bay when the American Power Boat Association World Championships return to St. Petersburg Nov. 13-19.
The event, which features 11 classes of boats racing at speeds in excess of 100 mph, draws competitors from as far away as Europe.
The sport traces its roots to a rather leisurely 22-mile, one-hour jaunt across the English Channel from Calais, France, to Dover, England, on Aug. 8, 1904, with the winning boat powered by a single 80 horsepower Daimler engine.
The Europeans used the sport as a way to test auto engines, but the Americans took it to a new level with the Catalina Challenge Cup in 1911 and with colorful "sea wars" off Florida's East Coast and the Bahamas.
Today, the APBA sanctions boat racing in 10 divisions or categories. Each division is broadly based on the inboard or outboard placement of the boat's engines and the flat or round shape of its hull.
In the Offshore Division, widely considered the most competitive, endurance and navigational skills are essential as the teams maneuver catamarans and V-bottom hulls of up to 50 feet for nearly 100 miles at speeds up to 150 mph.
The Pier in St. Petersburg offers an excellent vantage point for fans looking to catch the action. For more information on offshore powerboat racing, go to http://www.stpetehurricaneclassic.com or http://www.apba-offshore.com.
© St. Petersburg Times. All rights reserved.