This weekend saw the return of the Formula 2000 Powerboat Grand Prix to London's Docklands alongside the Excel exhibition complex that will host the London Boat Show from 2004.
This weekend saw the return of the Formula 2000 Powerboat Grand Prix to London’s Docklands alongside the Excel exhibition complex that will host the London Boat Show from 2004.
The event, which might be termed a battle between man and propeller, began on Saturday when teams from all over the world undertook a series of practice speed trials. That was folowed by the main Grand Prix race on the Sunday.
The British Gelf brothers, Owen and Colin, had proved on the Saturday that they were going to be a force to be reckoned with but on Sunday the title was won by Norwegian, Christian Odd Sanne.
Powered by Mercury 120 SST (220hp) 2-litre engines, the streamlined, featherweight Kevlar composite catamarans skated through the docks at over 120mph. Competition rules state that every boat has to have the same engine and be made to the same specification; they all have to be the same all-up weight with compensation ballast carried for the different drivers. The only two factors that can make a difference are the human hand on the wheel and the craftsmanship of the propeller fitted. Engineers fair and sculpt the prop blades almost to the point of paper-thickness.
To get ultimate speed the drivers have to trim the outboard right out, but with the hulls so far out of the water propwalk (skidding) is a common factor, especially in strong wind conditions. For this reason, the driver has to take trim off when turning to get more grip. Get it wrong and a hull digs in to create an instant barrel roll which is a very fast way to end your race.
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Formula 2000 is scheduled to be back at an earlier date in August next year. Not a spectacle to be missed.