Steve Curtis and Italian Matteo Nicolini to crew two-boat Qatar Team Challenge

Britain’s Steve Curtis MBE, eight-time world offshore powerboat champion, is crossing the Atlantic to race in the United States.

The decision of Curtis and his team owner, Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani, to join the American offshore circuit follows their dissatisfaction with the complicated rules introduced last year by the International Offshore Team Association (IOTA).

Various regulations relating to engine power development, computerised injection and electronic stabilising controls tended to favour teams with limitless budgets.

By comparison, the American offshore scene is relatively traditional with less complicated regulations and basic power units more easily interpreted by competitors.

The Qatar Team withdrew from Class 1 racing after the 2009 Norwegian Grand Prix before achieving victory in the Superboat category at the 29th Key West World Championship in Florida last November.

Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani confirmed that his two boats, Spirit of Qatar 95 and Spirit of Qatar 96, will be entered in six rounds of the American Offshore Powerboat Association (OPA) series in addition to the Key West World Championship in November.

Plans are also being made to host a brand new offshore race in Qatar in January 2011.