Sunday, 28 September 2014

Plymouth Sound 28th September......Ski Racing

Sometimes the whole spectacle of boat racing can become difficult to appreciate from the land. Whether it be racing around the cans in a sail-boat or tearing along offshore between Cowes and Torquay in a classic powerboat, When on-board you get the thrill and the motion that is truly intoxicating, but from the land you miss all of this stuff. However looking from a distance the whole experience can often feel a bit of a disappointment To my surprise water-ski racing seems to have bridged the gap between shore-side supporter and on-board participant....... Is it perhaps the idea of mixing people and speed boats travelling at 60 plus knots, with both boats and skiers in the water at the same time? The best way to describe the spectacle from a layman's view is; "Large numbers of little human figures bouncing across the water, towed behind boats, all travelling fast in close proximity to other skiers, boats and rocks!"

Ski Racing is the fastest form of water skiing there is.

As well as the skier, there's a driver who tows the skier according to the skier's ability and the water conditions. Then there's the observer who keeps a close eye on the skier, relaying signals to the driver, ensuring the skier is skiing to his/her maximum ability but also ensuring that they don’t take a fall. He's also keeping a close eye on the competition, ensuring the driver is kept up to date with the situation.

Racers adopt the 'wrapping' technique, where two handles are held together behind the backside with one hand and a third handle is held at arms length in front, with the second hand. It allows you to race for longer periods without a lot of strain on your back. A special race ski is used and this allows a skier to maintain better control at higher speeds. The race ski cuts through rough water and gives a racer much better control than a regular mono ski would offer.

Races take place on seawater and on inland waters so conditions can vary from a small chop to quite rough conditions. There are also different categories for varying powered boats, Formula 1 is generally a high powered twin engined boat or a very large horse powered inboard. Formula 2 is up to a single 300 hp engine, Formula 3 is up to 175 hp and Club Class is up to a standard 150hp. The maximum length of boat allowed is 21ft.

Quick hunt around Boatshed found me this Ring, just need a ski-pole and some kit.......hold on tight! http://www.boatshed.com/ring_21-boat-174003.html

For info on Ski Racing try http://www.skirace.net/