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APBA Offshore World Championships


© St. Petersburg Times, published November 18, 2000


TODAY: 7:30-8:30 a.m.: racer physicals, Renaissance Vinoy. 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m.: cranes open, Bayshore Drive hot pits. 8-10:30 a.m.: testing, Tampa Bay. 9 a.m.-7:30 p.m.: Kids in the PARC, Straub Park. 9 a.m.-10 p.m.: dry pit festival, Vinoy Park dry pits. 9 a.m.-6 p.m.: wet pit festival, Vinoy Basin. 9 a.m: drivers meeting, Renaissance Vinoy. 11 a.m.: racing: Outlaw Performance P1-P5; Outlaw A,B,C,V,E; Factory I. 3:30 p.m.: winner's circle, Vinoy Basin wet pits. 4-5 p.m.: Happy Hour race boat testing, Sunday's racers only. 4-6 p.m.: entertainment, Vinoy Park dry pits. 6-7:30 p.m.: Firefall at Vinoy Park dry pits. 7:30-8 p.m.: pregame, Vinoy Park dry pits. 8 p.m.: World's Largest Tailgate Party, Gators vs. Seminoles, giant video wall, Vinoy Park dry pits.

SUNDAY: 7:30-8:30 a.m.: racer physicals, Renaissance Vinoy. 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m.: cranes open, Bayshore Drive hot pits. 8-10:30 a.m.: testing, Tampa Bay. 9 a.m.-7:30 p.m.: Kids in the PARC, Straub Park. 9 a.m.-10 p.m.: dry pit festival, Vinoy Park dry pits. 9 a.m.-6 p.m.: wet pit festival, Vinoy Basin wet pits. 9 a.m: drivers meeting, Renaissance Vinoy. 11 a.m.: offshore racing: Factory 2, Super V, Super V Light, Super Cat, Factory 3, Factory 4. 1 p.m.: tailgate party, Bucs vs. Bears, giant video wall, Vinoy Park dry pits. 3:30 p.m.: winner's circle, Vinoy Basin wet pits.


APBA: American Power Boat Association, the governing body that sanctions boat racing in nine divisions including the professional division Offshore. Membership is approximately 7,000 worldwide.

BLOW OVER: A dangerous condition where a catamaran's balance becomes upset and too much lift is created under the wing joining the two hulls. The bow suddenly becomes airborne and generally flips over, entering the water upside down and transom first. Sometimes fatal to the crew. Substantial protection is provided by the new canopy boats. A rare occurrence among deep "V" hulls.

BOLSTER: A thick, padded support into which crew members on a deep "V" boat wedge themselves during races. They stand in the boat with the bolsters supporting them from waste to lower chest. Also known as a stand-up bolster. Configured as single units or as a three-man unit the width of the cockpit.

BOW: The front of the boat. Also known as fore.

CANOPY: The cockpit cover, or hardtop. Provides substantial protection to the crew in case of an accidental blow over.

CATAMARAN: Also known as a cat, a twin-hulled boat that virtually flies on top of the water, lifted by a cushion of air trapped between the surface of the water and the wing-shaped deck that connects the two hulls. Generally faster than a "V" hull in calm water for the same horsepower-to-weight ratio, although more prone to kiting than a "V" hull. Open, modified, "P" class and "S" class use catamarans.

CAVITATION: A condition that causes propeller slip because air is drawn into the blades. The intentional introduction of air into the propeller blades is called a ventilated propeller and allows the propeller to turn higher RPMs.

CHINE WALKING: A condition where the boat dances from side to side on the chine, the lower edge of the hull. Normally caused by exceeding the hull's design speed or by poor balancing of the boat.

DEEP "V": A "V"-shaped hull, designed to slice through the water like a knife. More stable in rough conditions than a catamaran but generally slower in top speed for the same horsepower-to-weight ratio.

DRIVER: The crew member who steers and generally calls the shots.

DRY PITS: The dry storage where the boats are kept on trailers at the race site where the public can view the equipment.

FEATHERING: When the boat becomes airborne, the throttleman will back off the power to prevent the engines from over-revving. Just at the point the boat re-enters the water, the throttleman will slam the throttle wide open to maintain the boat's speed.

FUEL INJECTION: Fuel is vaporized and sprayed directly into the engine cylinders through an injector, generally one per cylinder.

HOSED DOWN: A condition where a boat crosses closely behind another and runs through the roostertail thrown up by the leading boat. Painful and potentially dangerous to the crew in an open cockpit boat, and this can temporarily blind the crew in a canopy boat by having large amounts of water on the windshield.

HOT PITS: Where boats launch and fuel. Access to the area is restricted to race teams, crew members and officials. Also contains the crane used to launch boats.

KEEL: Either the inboard edges of a catamaran's hulls or the lower edge of a "V" hull. Provides straight-line stability for the hull, resisting any tendency to turn from side to side without input from the steering mechanism.

KITING: When a boat flies off a wave and raises the bow higher than the crew intended, or when a catamaran is overtrimmed, resulting in a possible blow over.

KNOTCHED KEEL OR KNOTCHED TRANSOM: A hull design that has the lower portion of the hull cut away at the transom, allowing cleaner water to flow to the drive mechanism, decreasing propeller slip.

LOWER UNIT: The lower half of either an outdrive or outboard that contains the drive gears, propeller shaft and the propeller.

MILLING CIRCLE: The area where teams assemble before the start of the race. Boats roam these areas off plane (7 mph, no wake) in a circle, following the mill captain.

NAVIGATOR: Crew member responsible for plotting and directing the boat through the race course. The navigator is responsible for computing the shortest distance from checkpoint to checkpoint. Also monitors a second set of gauges and watches for other boats.

ORANGE SMOKE: Signals (usually from the pace boat) 3 minutes to the start of the race.

OUTBOARD: A drive unit where the lower gearcase and motor are joined together in a single unit and is mounted on the transom.

OUTDRIVE: Type of drive system used by boats that run inboard engines. They mount on the transom and often contain the steering mechanism on pleasure boats but are generally connected to external hydraulic steering cylinders on high-performance boats and race boats.

OVER-REVVED: A condition that occurs when the propeller breaks free from the water or a drive component breaks, allowing the motor to turn free. Primary job of the throttleman is to prevent this from occurring.

PAD: A flat section on the bottom near the back of the boat. Both "V" bottoms and catamarans can have a pad. When a boat is traveling at race speed and trimmed properly, it rides on the pad, reducing contact and friction with the water. Generally more prone to chine walking than a traditional hull without the pad.

ON PLANE: The boat rises out of the water and runs on the flat part of the hull.

PORPOISING: The boat hops on the surface of the water, similar to the way a dolphin travels. Normally the result of bad design, improper trim setting or poor weight distribution. Can be caused by exceeding the hull's design speed.

PORT: The left side of the boat.

ROLL OVER: Occurs in turns where the boat is traveling faster than it can negotiate the turn. Not as dangerous to the crew as a blow over but can be fatal if the crew is trapped under water.

ROOSTERTAIL: The large column of water thrown out from the propeller.

SIT-DOWN SEAT: A seat the crew sit in instead of standing in a bolster.

STARBOARD: The right side of the boat.

STEP HULL: This consists of one or two steps molded in the hull near the stern. The step allows air under the hull, allowing the bottom to ride on a cushion of air and reducing friction. The addition of steps is good for approximately a 10-percent increase in speed.

STERN: The rear section of the boat. Also known as aft.

STUFFED: A serious condition in which a boat launches off a wave and stuffs the bow into the next wave. Only a closed cockpit can protect the crew from potential injury or death.

THROTTLEMAN: Crew member who controls the speed and the attitude of the boat through the throttle and the trim mechanisms.

DEEP "V" BOTTOM: The original high-performance offshore hull design that does not use a keel pad, knotched transom or hull steps. Very stable in rough water, made famous in the 1970's and 80's by Cigarette Racing Team Inc.

TRANSOM: The flat stern section of the boat. Drive mechanisms exit the transom and outboards are mounted on it.

TRIM TABS: Hydraulic plates mounted on the transom behind the hull that allow the crew to control the angle of the hull. Tabs can move the bow up or down or shift the boat side to side.

TURN CUSHION: The orange marker that signifies the turning point of the corners.

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