by Bob Wonders
Australian Offshore Superboat Championship. Image: www.urbanangles.com
Organisers of the Australian Offshore Superboat Championships, scheduled to begin on April 30 off Newcastle, have introduced six new penalties for the 2011 titles.
Three involve disqualification, two carry three minute penalties and one has a five minute penalty.
Failure to stop immediately on either the red flag or a radio ‘race stopped’ message and navigating contrary to local laws and/or instructions outside of the race perimeter are the two penalties that carry disqualification.
A failure to present both drivers, licence documents and boat during scrutineering will carry a five minute penalty.
The remaining two infractions will each carry a three minute penalty, failing to report to race control on leaving the race course and failing to conduct radio check to seek permission of race control to leave wet pit.
Russell Embleton, the championships’ Race Director and OSC president Adam Gilbert admitted the penalties were 'blunt.'
'However, there were a number of infractions during the last few series and the Australian Power Boat Association’s Offshore Council has agreed that these penalties be added to those already contained within specific offshore rules,' Embleton explained.
'The penalties are intended to further the Offshore Council’s goal to improve the overall professionalism and safety of the Offshore Superboat Championships,' he added.
Bill Barry-Cotter, former Class 1 champion and owner of the Maritimo team, said he fully supported the new penalties.
Barry-Cotter is also the Class 1 representative for the championships.
'To the best of my knowledge, these additions to the penalties that already existed have everyone’s support,' he said.