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Offshore Revival in Poole

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2020 has been a year to forget for the majority of us, however, the United Kingdom Offshore Powerboat Racing Association, (UKOPRA) have pulled out all the stops to ensure that their British racers get to enjoy at least two races in Poole, Dorset this weekend.

UKOPRA’s Chairman, Kerry Bobin told me this afternoon:

This weekend was originally scheduled for the 60th anniversary of offshore racing from Cowes.

The directors of the British Powerboat Racing Club had to make a decision some months ago to postpone that historic occasion until next year with the huge issues that they faced with the pandemic.

I decided that our racers should have something to aim for during the dark days of the lock down and I’m pleased to say that we will have at least 15 boats racing in Poole Bay this weekend.

Bobin is calling it a ‘revival’.

It’s amazing really, we could well see the Don Shead designed Uno Embassy on the start line which hasn’t raced since 2010 and a wooden Cougar cat, Unipart Lambs, that last competed 31 years ago!

They won’t be the only ‘big boats’ in Poole this weekend. The FB Design RIB, Pippa, and a couple of Sunseeker XS 2000 will no doubt lead a good field of Class 3 boats at the first start tomorrow.

Jason Briggs watched the Class 3 boats being launched

We’ve got two races this weekend. A short run tomorrow to blow the cobwebs away and our now traditional Poole 100 race on Sunday.

I asked Bobin about putting on these races under the current conditions:

We have complied with the all of the usual things, insurance, safety cover and risk assessments. On top of that I’ve looked at the new laws in England that cover COVID-19 and I’m very comfortable that UKOPRA has ticked all of those boxes too.

I need to thank all of our officials and medical staff this weekend, their love of the sport has helped us jump through the many hoops.

It’s a bold move from the offshore organiser and Powerboat Racing World looks forward to sharing Chris Davies and Mike Powell’s photographs of this weekend’s races.

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