Ft Myers Beach hasn’t hosted a powerboat racing event since 2006. But all that has changed in 2019. This year’s theme, “Roar Offshore” has brought back a long awaited and very anticipated event. It has been the talk of the town for months. Not only is this event going to be great for Ft Myers Beach, but also for all the race fans who have been missing this high powered sport. The time has come to bring back boat racing to Ft Myers Beach.
I was very fortunate to cover parts of this amazing event. My name is Anthony and although I wasn’t able to attend the official races themselves, I did get plenty of behind the scenes photos and video. Not every one gets the opportunity to spend time in the pits and staging areas. However, here is where I can provide an up close view of what really takes place behind the scenes.
Everywhere I looked there were crew chiefs eagerly consulting with their design engineers, mechanical technicians and driver(s). The adrenaline started to flow as the morning was growing into the early afternoon.
Pit area one was mostly filled with Super Cat Class racing boats and their accompanying teams. These supercharged boats arrive in either a custom designed open air or closed-in trailers. Its time for these cat-hull shaped boats and their crews to begin lining up to be put into the water. They will proceed to the fueling station and then onto the launching area. Once they arrive at the drop-in point, a crane will lift these powerhouses into the back bay waters. Race Day is less than 24 hours away and tensions are high.
I proceeded from the first pit area to the second. Here is were the Super Stock, Pro Stock and Extreme Vee racing boats set up camp. The second pit area is also where they launch these water rockets. These 300 plus horse powered vessels are 28 feet in length and achieve speeds of over 70 mph. These high-speed super stock boats are full of power and considered mean machines!
Being in the sport of boat racing, you either have an appetite for a very expensive hobby, are a passionate boating enthusiast who loves speed, or an overwhelming desire to have a professional boat racing team of your very own. No matter what the reason is, it can be quite an adrenaline rush. With Ft Myers Beach being an island in Southwest Florida and surrounded by the calm Gulf water, there is no better place to hold such a event on an annual basis.
At this point in time, I’m thinking this is so invigorating. I can’t get enough of these water monster – wave eating machines. My head is spinning right and left so fast that I can’t keep up with myself. This is so exciting!
With so many entries, there will be quite a wait in between boat launches. By the looks of these two guys relaxing in their chairs under a shady tree, they seem to be enjoying the down time! An advantage in being involved with a sport like this is that most of the events are held in places with optimal weather, gorgeous water and fabulous beaches.
The following video clip will show some incredible footage of an extended crane lifting several boats in and out of the water. This is a vital part to making these races a complete success.
I am now in the 3rd and final pit area. This is where the Super Cat – Class One racing boats and their crews are set up. From here these high-powered race rockets are prepped and then lifted into the water. These over sized boats – approximately 46 feet in length, need quite a bit of room to maneuvered around.
The Victory Racing Team, which eventually won the Class One category is owned and maintained by the United Arab Emirates. This particular photo captures its crew in a down time period. You don’t see this very often.
I spent quite a bit of time walking around in total amazement. Viewing these magnificent racing boats makes me want to be part of a team.
The custom tractor and trailers that transport these high performance water crafts are just as awesome as well. These customized rigs cost about as much as their cargo! Its pretty obvious that this is not a poor man’s hobby.
What’s a sporting event without seeing the Miss Geico Team. This well-known icon is seen as an attraction as much as being a competitor. But don’t be fooled. This 50 foot – 3,300 horse powered Class 1 Cat has won eight world titles.
When the call for teams to start prepping for launching, the line becomes rather slow going. Anticipation turns into frustration. The only good thing to this situation is that it gave me an opportunity to photograph the boats and their haulers.
The ‘Mindful Medicinals” team seems to have no problem launching their boat. By the name on the side of the boat, it would appear that things could have taken longer. From here, the boats prepare for their trial runs.
Once they are in the water, the technicians begin to fine tune the boat’s engine(s). Some of the drivers will head for Matanzas Pass and then round the north end of Estero Island. From there they will head south and run a few laps around the course.
This day could last forever as far as I am concerned. But we all know that isn’t going to happen and the time has come for me to call it a day. I hope you enjoyed the adventure as much as I did. To find out the race’s outcome, you can go to, PRW Power BoatRacing World. Stay tuned for more exciting adventures. Next stop, Cabo San Lucas!
Author: Anthony Scopel
Photography: Anthony & Maureen Scopel
Video: Anthony and Maureen Scopel
Article Creator & Formatting: Anthony Scopel
Video Production: Anthony Scopel & Matt Kemper
Associate Editor: Maureen Scopel
Technical Mastering & Web Support: Matt Kemper
Publisher: You, Me and The Dock
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