In Australia we have plenty of classes to cater for nearly any waterbourne craft. Ranging from the 6hp Outboards of the Formula Future classes, all the way up to the supercharged big block V8s of the Blown Alcohol Displacements & GP Hydroplanes, boat racing in Australia has it covered.
These boats are probably the easiest to relate to for the public. Displacements are, from a distance, the closest resemblence to your average water ski boat. With the engine mounted "inboard", usually at the rear of the boat.
Obviously these finely tuned racing boats are a little different than your average ski boat. Construction materials range from fibreglass & plywood through to the high-tech materials of kevlar & carbon fibre, making these craft very light and very strong in relation to your average ski boat.
The term "displacement" is derived from the the action of the boat "displacing" (pushing the water out of the way) the water as it moves through the water.
Displacement classes range from 3.4 litre skiffs all the way up to the monstorous Blown Alcohol Displacements.
Hydroplanes could be described as the "open wheelers' of boat racing. These boats are specifically are designed to go fast! They do not particularly have any other purpose.
Hydroplanes are designed to ride on a cusion of air. The sponsons on either side of the boat create an air trap under the main portion of the boat. As the air is trapped under the boat, the resulting pressure effectively lifts the boat out of the water, causing teh boat to "plane" on top for the water. This style of boats are very spectacular to watch as they dance over the waves.
Hydroplane classes range from 1.6 litre restricted up to the supercharged Grand Prix Hydroplanes. There is also the class of Unlimited Hydroplane which include such powerplants as Rolls Royce Merlin engines and in the past has included Jet Turbines.
Outboards can also be easily recognised by the everyday person, as they are loosely based on outboard ski boats. Again, obviously designs and contsruction materials are quite different to your average "eggbeater".
Outboards are generally seperated into "monos" and "tunnels". Monos being the more common mono (meaning one) or "vee" style of hull you can relate your ski or fishing boat to. Tunnels are similar to hydroplanes as they also rely on an air trap of tunnel to create the air pressure needed to help these boats ride on top of the water. Tunnels differ from hydroplanes in the fact that the air traps extend to the full length of the hull
The Outboard classes range from 25hp up to Unlimited Outboards and the world wide based class of the Formula 1 tunnel boats.
Often sold as the "Fastest Show on Water", these boats are specifically built and tuned to run in a straight line very fast. These boats do not have to turn any corners and can therefore concentrate on getting all of the power to the water to get from A to B in a direct straight line.
A drag boat race meeting is very simialr to a Drag Car meeting. Two boats line up against each other, using a "christmas tree" style starting lights to launch them down the course.
Boats range in design from small outboards to the awesome Top Fuel Hydroplanes. Other classes are usually speed bracketed as opposed to engine capacity. This can result in inboards running against outboards, which can be very spectacular and can pit mate against mate as the spectators cheer for their preferred style of boat.
Offshore boats are just that. These boats usually race out in the open ocean on very large courses. In racing out in the ocean, the conditions can be very different to the regular cicuit racing. Due to the condiotions, these boats are ganerally larger than most of the other boats you'll find racing in Australia.
Offshore classes include nearly the entire gamut of boat designs. Inboard and Outboard tunnel designs, inboard and outboard mono hulls. Ranging in size from Production Classes all the way up to the ocean going monsters of supercharged triple engined tunnel hulls. These boats can measure up to 15 metres in length.
Boat racing is generally a family sport, and when Mum or Dad get to race in a V8 powered circuit race boat, the kids can also join in and race in the Formula Future class. The Formula Future class is a great way for kids to be involved in boat racing. While creating an excellent source of fun for the kids, it also puts them on the right track for when they want to step up to the "big boats" later in life.
Formula Future boats are small outboard powered boats. There are horsepower restrictions for the respective age group classes.