Super Boat International of Key West has been staging races for 30 years and is best known for its annual races in Key West, Sarasota and New York City. It recently struck a deal with CBS to broadcast the Clearwater race and 7 others. The races feature 50-foot boats with F-16 jet canopies and 4,800-horsepower engines. During races, they reach speeds of 100 to 140 mph, depending on weather conditions. Super Boat International plans 9 races this year, the 1st was last weekend in Miami.
Super Boat International says it has applied for a race permit from the U.S. Coast Guard, and it expects to get one. Spotters in helicopters will watch for manatees and sea turtles, and will stop a race if necessary and the Clearwater Marine Aquarium will be assisting.
Boats up to 50 feet long will race from Pier 60 north for about 2½ miles and back, doing multiple laps around the loop. 30 to 35 boats are expected to compete in two races. Powerboats and their pit crews will set up beginning Friday, Oct. 2, in Coachman Park, where the public can get a closer look at them. The plan is for them to launch from the nearby Seminole Boat Ramp.
Oct. 2: Racing boats set up in Coachman Park.
Oct. 3: Racers check out the course at regular speed.
Oct. 4: Two races between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.