The United Kingdom Offshore Boating Association (UKOBA), once Europe's leading organiser of offshore powerboat racing events, has confirmed it will not be organising any races for the 2002 season
The United Kingdom Offshore Boating Association (UKOBA), once Europe’s leading organiser of offshore powerboat racing events, has confirmed it will not be organising any races for the 2002 season. The announcement came at their recent annual general meeting marking the end of 40 years in the sport. The problem is due to the current lack of enthusiasts willing to volunteer as race organisers. These time consuming duties extend well beyond race itself. They entail many hours of work in the preceding months seeking sponsorship, visiting venues to plan suitable courses, liasing with local town council officials, harbour authorities, coastguards and yacht clubs. As recently as six years ago this was handled by two full-time staff members assisted by UKOBA members acting as race officials on the day. In its heyday the association could boast almost 600 members and as many as eight races at various venues around the UK coastline – the most memorable being the 240 mile Putney-Calais-Putney race last held in 1992. This has slowly declined in recent years to less than 150 members and a calendar reduced to two races with fleets of less than 20 craft where 50 or more were once commonplace. Several long-standing committee members stood down at the AGM leaving only a caretaker group to relaunch the association in 2003. The main problem however is unlikely to improve and unless new volunteers indeed come forward over the next 12 months, UKOBA will almost certainly be wound-up.