The United Kingdom Offshore Boating Association, once Europe's leading organiser of offshore powerboat racing, has given an ultimatum to its remaining members

The United Kingdom Offshore Boating Association, once Europe’s leading organiser of offshore powerboat racing, has given an ultimatum to its remaining members.

In its notice of the forthcoming Annual General Meeting, to be held at the Royal South YC, Hamble, on March 7, a message from the Chairman draws attention to an ageing Council of Management (COM). It points out that too few have been willing to serve on the COM in recent years and that organising competitive events on public waters requires a great deal of effort by a declining group of members. The situation is now critical.

The majority of COM members have served the sport for many years. They have seen UKOBA grow from a handful of enthusiasts to a club recognised internationally as a leading organiser, the successful Round Britain Race in 1984 being just one example.

Until six years ago the association employed two full-time staff, a General Manager and Secretary. It also owned premises in Port Solent but race organisation since that time has been handled by volunteers. With this in mind UKOBA made an approach to the Offshore Racing Drivers’ Association in an effort to seek a compromise in the form of amalgamation but after much consideration ORDA has decided to continue in its present form. Hence the future of UKOBA rests entirely on the outcome of AGM in March. With this in mind the Council of Management has adopted the following proposition:

“The Council of Management has taken the decision to suspend the organisation of offshore races for the 2002 season unless sufficient members come forward to form an effective Council of Management and are prepared to provide the hands-on organisation required to hold the events listed on national calendar.”

In its heyday UKOBA held as many as eight national races each year. By 2001 this had shrunk to a multi-class event in Blackpool and a basic race in Bournemouth. Although Blackpool and Bournemouth are scheduled to be repeated in 2002, without a positive response to the appeal they will almost certainly be cancelled.