The Indianapolis 500 of powerboat racing thunders into Key West Sunday for the 34th annual, weeklong world championships, capping the 2014 season.
As many as 50 high-powered craft will compete for world titles in seven classes on Wednesday [Nov. 5], Friday [Nov. 7] and next Sunday [Nov. 9]. Champions will be crowned in Unlimited, Extreme, Superboat, Vee, Stock, P-3 and P-4 classes.
Superboat International Productions treasurer Deana Carbonell, who runs the circuit with husband/president John Carbonell, predicts the race course will be shortened to about 4 ½ miles this week instead of the usual 6.2 miles, making for better grandstand viewing.
“That way, the people at the Truman Waterfront property can see the entire course,” she said.
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Races begin and finish in Key West Harbor, directly in front of the grandstands. Boats run a prescribed number of laps, depending on their class, reaching speeds of up to 140 miles per hour.
The series turned tragic in 2011 when three racers were killed in two separate crashes. But the past two world championships have gone off with no major injuries.
The weeklong event begins with a 4 p.m. boat parade down Duval Street Sunday. Racers will test their boats Monday and Tuesday, making last minute adjustments before the competition opens at 10 a.m. Wednesday.
A race village with wet and dry pits, souvenir sales, and food and drink stands will be set up on the Truman Waterfront. Other prime viewing locations include Mallory Square and several waterfront hotels. For ticket information, visit www.superboat.com.