Archive for September, 2012


THE navigator of a powerboat that crashed at high speed in a race was last night “showing signs of improvement” in hospital.

Dan Whapples, pictured, from Warsash, suffered serious injuries in the crash that killed his driver, Mike Lovell, from Southampton .

Mr Whapples was airlifted to Southampton General Hospital after Sunday’s accident off Weymouth, Dorset, and remains in intensive care.

The pair were taking part in the national powerboat racing championship for the Eastleigh -based Peters & May team, run from Brookspeed’s Southampton workshop in Empress Road.

A report has already been made to the Marine Accident Investigation Branch, while The Royal Yachting Association has confirmed that it will be conducting a full and independent investigation.


September, 17 2012


A powerboat racer has died after his craft flipped over during a race in Dorset.

Mike Lovell, from Southampton, suffered multiple injuries when his boat crashed in Weymouth, on Sunday.

Despite being airlifted to Southampton General Hospital, race organisers P1 SuperStock confirmed Mr Lovell had died overnight.

His navigator Dan Whapples, also from Southampton, remains in a serious but stable condition.

The pair were competing in the national powerboat racing championship in Weymouth Bay when the crash happened at about 14:30 BST.


Portland Coastguard said Mr Lovell and Mr Whapples were rescued from the water near Weymouth Town Beach and the harbour.

Shelley Jory-Leigh, of BBC Radio Solent’s H20 show, was commentating at the event and saw what happened.

“Unfortunately the boat just got caught up in the wash of the other boats – that’s what happens with powerboat racing – and it barrel-rolled,” the former powerboating world champion said.

“The drivers got thrown clear of the boat. It’s like a Formula 1 car spinning off.”


Ms Jory-Leigh said the safety teams were “absolutely amazing” and divers were in the water “in 30 seconds”.

Aaron Emmett was also competing in the race in the boat in front of Mr Lovell and Mr Whapples.

He said: “It was the last race of the final round of the season and everyone was really battling and it was very intense.

“We all went into the first corner on the course together and as we approached the next corner we were ahead of Mike and Dan.

“We looked around and saw they suddenly weren’t there but it wasn’t until we saw a red flag that we realised something had happened.”

A spokesperson from P1 SuperStock said: “Our thoughts are with the whole powerboat community and particularly Mike and Dan’s family and friends.”

Martin Braybrook, owner of the Brookspeed team for whom Mr Lovell was racing, said he had a “vast knowledge” of powerboat engineering.

“When the opportunity arose for him to be involved in the amateur racing he embraced it whole-heartedly, jumping at the chance to pilot the boat. He loved every second of it – living his dream.

“Mike was very popular and much loved by his colleagues and his peers in the motor racing community,” he said.



OPA Racing ~ OPA Part IV: An International Flavor.

August 15, 2012

For the second year in a row, the cities of Port Huron, Michigan, USA and Sarnia, Ontario, Canada, teamed up and promoted the International Offshore Powerboat Race. On Thursday evening, approximately twenty teams caravanned into the site throughout the streets of Port Huron to the cheers of the awaiting fans. Desmond Landing hosted the Race Village which showcased all the hardware of the participants, a concert featuring local bands, and even the first annual golf cart mud bog in the parking lot which was won by the pit manager, Brian Kowalski. Inclement weather did its best to hinder the weekend’s festivities, but the teams and fans didn’t let a little bit of rain dampen the spirits of Race #4 on the AMSOIL Offshore Powerboat Series.

​Friday evening provided one of the bigger surprises with Louie Giancontieri, of Strictly Business V-6 fame, hopping on stage for a jam session on guitar and vocals with the house band. The standing room only crowd enjoyed the session and hoped for more. On Saturday, the teams paraded over to the Sarnia Bay Marina by water in their race-boats for a meet and greet session with the Canadian fans. After customs was cleared, the docks filled up and allowed the Canadian fans to get an up close view of the impressive machines and racers that would be participating in the race on Sunday. Upon the return to the American side, the racers had another meet and greet with American fans which kept them busy for hours on end, to the point that some of the racers were worried about the race the following day from getting writer’s cramp with all of the autographs they signed.

Sunday provided clear blue skies which enhanced the clear blue water that this region is known for. Race 1 showcased the action of SVL and Class 6. SVL was tightly contested for the first few laps, but Team Octane showed the way from start to finish accomplishing their second straight victory. Class 6, which provides the largest fleet on the AMSOIL Offshore Powerboat Series, had to walk the tightrope through the first turn, but as things settled into place and the GPS units were read the Joker Powerboats/CRC 611 team emerged on top.

​ Race 2 included Super Vee, Class 3, Class 4, and Class 5. In Super Vee, Wazzup Racing Engines led from start to finish as did Simmons Marine in Class 4 and Pushin Tin in Class 5. Class 3, however, provided the most exciting race action of the day. Bull on the Beach, which is a 32’ Skater catamaran with twin 750 hp engines, competed against the Crockett Rocket, a 26’ conventional Vee with a reported single 850+ hp Crockett Marine power plant. Bull on the Beach had the clear advantage in the straights, but the Crockett Rocket made up the gaps on the turns. The battle went back and forth for seven laps until the realization that a normal outdrive can’t withstand the rigors of that much power and the Crockett Rocket was forced to retire giving Bull on the Beach the victory.

Race 3, the final race of the day, consisted of Extreme, SCL, and Class 1. The battle of attrition in Class 1 was won by Lightning Jacks over hometown hero, Cleveland Construction. ran a flawless race and took home the crown in SCL with Cat Can Do taking the honors in the Extreme class. Special thanks go out to the cities of Port Huron, Michigan and Sarnia, Ontario for working together and providing the racers and fans with one of the most exotic sites in all of offshore. Congratulations go out to all the winners and we hope to see everyone at Solomons, Maryland for the next stop on the AMSOIL Offshore Series, sanctioned by OPA on September 13th through September 16th. This event will crown each classes National Champions as well as the Overall High Points Champion for OPA.

For the complete results and more information about the Offshore Powerboat Association (OPA), go to


OPA Racing ~ The Sun Shines on the St. Clair River.

July 31, 2012

In the days leading up to the 18th Annual St. Clair River Classic Offshore Powerboat Race, rain was becoming an issue. When the teams started to roll in, the sun came out and showed everyone the “Blue Water” that makes this region famous on the circuit. Being the third stop on the 2012 AMSOIL Offshore Powerboat Series, sanctioned by OPA, St. Clair has always attracted the best of the best to challenge the daunting and notorious Turn 4. With most courses across the country being raced in a counter-clockwise (left turns) direction, St. Clair is traditionally run clockwise (right turns) and when you factor in the seven mile an hour current, Turn 4 plays havoc on every race boat turning back into the oncoming current. Also with the speed of the current, the boats in the bracket classes have to be on top of their game to hold it under the break out speeds of their respective classes.

​The town shuts down M-29 which is the main road in St Clair that runs north and south along the riverfront and is lined with vendors, a carnival, as well as the race boats on display for the public to see. Approximately one hundred feet from M-29 is the St Clair River which is where the boats are seen throughout the weekend testing and concluding on Sunday with the race. At the south end of the dry pit area the fans were treated to concerts on Friday and Saturday night featuring SmashMouth and the Gin Blossoms as the headlining act each night.

​The races themselves had so many bylines from, “Will Knot Guilty #644 be able to maintain their points lead in Class 6?”, to “Can local heroes Cleveland Construction #129 break the hex of the few prior years and grab the checkered”, and “How will the Miss GEICO fare in their newly assembled piston powered machine?”

Race one featured Super VeeLite (SVL), Class 5, and Class 6. SVL almost turned into a runaway where Pirate Racing dominated the first ¾ of the race, but we all know that leading the final lap is the lap that counts and Team Octane crossed the finish line first. Class 5 was a see-saw battle the whole race with Whoz Your Daddy taking home the checkered. In Class 6, Wazzup II came out unscathed from a wild start to take the win, with Knot Guilty running a consistent race to stay on top of the class point’s lead.

​In Race two, Class 4 saw Simmons Marine take the win over the current class point’s leader, Twin Screws/R&S. In Super Vee, Wazzup kept the streak going with their performance and the crowd was treated to their infamous victory “Figure 8”. Bull on the Beach followed up their win in East Tawas with another checkered flag in St Clair. Talbot rounded out Race two with their victory in Super Stock.

Race three featured the Extreme Class, not only due to the amazing high horse powered cats flying across the water, but bluntly, Miss GEICO made some noise for the first time!! After years of running a turbine only program, they acquired the hull formerly campaigned as Maritimo, installed her with Mercury Racing 1075’s (piston power), and assembled her in a two week time frame where she first saw water on Saturday. In the race however, as gallantly as they tried, they came up short to Cat Can Do, who ran an impeccable performance. Cat Lite showcased the rebound of the AMSOIL team, who took their first victory of the year. Class 1 had the Champaign flowing afterwards as Cleveland Construction was able to get the monkey off their back and win their hometown race for the first time in several years.

​Special thanks go out to the Blue Water Offshore Racing Association for rolling out the red carpet for the racers and the fans. Congratulations go out to all the winners and we hope to see everyone at the next stop on the AMSOIL Offshore Powerboat Series, sanctioned by OPA, in Port Huron, MI/Sarnia, ON for the 2nd Annual International Grand Prix, August 9th-August 12th.

For the complete results and more information about the Offshore Powerboat Association (OPA), go to​​​


OPA Racing | Race Recap: OPA opens the 2012 season in Ocean City.


(Ocean City, MD) – The Bull on the Beach Offshore Grand Prix was the first stop of the AMSOIL Offshore Powerboat Series sanctioned by OPA Racing. Ocean City is the first event of a seven race series.

After a two-year absence, the once annual Offshore Powerboat races came back to Ocean City in 2012. Bull on the Beach owner Phil Houck was instrumental in bringing the event back to Ocean City this year. “I love offshore racing. It’s just an exciting sport. I’ve been racing 15 or 16 years,” said Houck. “[The event] helps promote the sport and the town of Ocean City, so it’s great for the community.” The Bull on the Beach team was be led by driver Bob Anselmo and his brother, Jim, the throttleman. The boat, owned by Houck, is a 32-foot Skater.

Atlantic Hotel owner Bull Purnell III, opened the family hotel early this season to host the racers, crews and their families. The Atlantic Hotel is located at 5 Somerset Street, Ocean City. Bull Purnell also leads an offshore powerboat team, Wanted Racing. Bill is the owner/throttleman and Bobby Baumgarten is the Driver.

The ocean race course ran from 4th Street to 34th Street. “We love Ocean City. It’s one of our favorite sites because the races are in the ocean,” said Ron Polli, OPA Racing’s Race Control director.

Before the races, fans were invited to the Race Village at the public boat ramp and parking lot, across from Crab Alley restaurant, on Golf Course Road in West Ocean City throughout the weekend to take a closer look at the boats and to meet the crews.

Fans were also invited to attend “Meet & Greet” parties for the racers and their teams at Wild Bill’s on Baltimore Avenue near Wicomico Street in downtown Ocean City & Crab Alley at 9703 Golf Course Road, West Ocean City.

On race day, boats will line up in the West Ocean City Harbor and proceed to the racecourse through the inlet to the starting area. The boats will race in different categories based on size, power and speed.

On Sunday there were speedboats vying for valuable points in a successful kickoff to the 2012 OPA Racing season. Thirty boats competed in seven classes. The first race started at noon with three classes competing on the course (Class 500, Class 600 & Super Vee Lite). The second race started at 2pm with four classes competing on the course (Cat Lite, Class 100, Class 300 & Class 400).

The race course was approximately 4 miles with each class having a set amount of laps. The race course proved to be challenging with 4’-5’ wakes. This proved to be a race about speed and endurance. Mother Nature took out her fury on some of the boats when the wind picked up and the wakes just seemed to be getting bigger. But at the end of the day, Ocean City proved to be what it is, a great place to have an offshore powerboat race.​​​​​​​​

Winners of the day are: CAT LITE: 388 PhoenixParts.COM; CLASS 100: 105 Lightning Jacks; CLASS 300: 311 Chiro One; SUPER VEE LITE: 51 Wild Ride; CLASS 400; Twin Screws; CLASS 500: 568 Mighty Mac; CLASS 600: Maxed Out Motorsports



Andrew Leaper, skipper of Lerwick fishing boat Copious, found the bottle.

A Scottish fisherman has nabbed an unusual world record, after uncorking the oldest message ever found in a bottle.

Andrew Leaper, a skipper from Shetland, found the nearly century-old bottle in April while working on the boat Copius.

“As we hauled in the nets I spotted the bottle neck sticking out and I quickly grabbed it before it fell back in the sea,” Leaper told reporters, according to the BBC. “It was very exciting to find the bottle and I couldn’t wait to open it.”

Guiness World Records confirmed Leaper is the new title-holder, posting information on the find on its website.

“The oldest message in a bottle spent 97 years and 309 days at sea,” Guiness announced. “The bottle was discovered 9.38 nautical miles from the position it was originally deployed.”

The bottle had a postcard inside dated June 1914, promising six pence to the finder.

The oldest message was recovered by fisherman Andrew Leaper , skipper of Lerwick fishing boat Copious. The bottle spent 97 years and 309 days at sea.

It was set adrift by Captain CH Brown of the Glaswgow School of Navigation in a test for the Fishery Board of Scotland.

While rare, the bottle wasn’t one of a kind.

It was one of 1,890 bottles released as part of a scientific experiment to chart the currents of the seas around Scotland based on where they were located.

The bottle spent 97 years and 309 days at sea.

So far, only 315 have been found.

One of those discoveries was actually made on the same boat where Leaper found his bottle.

His friend Mark Anderson found a bottle while on board the Copius in 2006, setting the previously standing Guiness World Record.

“It was an amazing coincidence,” Leaper said, according to STV News. “It’s like winning the lottery twice.”

The oldest message was recovered by fisherman Andrew Leaper, skipper of Lerwick fishing boat Copious.

Captain Brown’s original log book is reportedly updated each time a discovery is made.

The bottle will soon be on display for other history lovers.

Leaper donated his finding as well as his certificate from Guiness World Records to his local community-run museum, the Fetlar Interpretative Centre in Shetland, according to STV.

Leaper is reveling in his find for now, but he may have to cede his title if another of the bottles is discovered.

“It’s amazing that nearly 98 years on bottles are still being returned to the Marine Laboratory – and in such fantastic condition,” Scottish Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said, according to STV.

“With many bottles are still unreturned there is always the chance in the coming years that a Scottish drift bottle will once again break the record.”



Baja Marine Resumes Production on Models from 23′ – 35′

Offers Elite Service on Performance Boat Brands
Baja to Exhibit at 2012 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show

August 31, 2012 – Washington, NC – Baja Marine, Inc. ( has resumed production on new boats, as well as offering Elite Service for customers’ existing boats, at its facility in Washington, North Carolina. The company announced it will re-introduce three popular offshore models for 2013: the Baja 278 Performance, 30 Outlaw and 35 Outlaw, with exciting new graphics and a full range of Mercury power options. Baja’s family-friendly performance boat line also includes the 23 and 26 Outlaw, 247 and 277 Islander models.


“Baja is back in production after a few months’ shutdown,” said Baja Marine CEO Johnny Walker. “Our customers have been demanding bigger, faster boats with new custom graphics no one has seen before, and that’s what we’re giving them for the new model year.” He added, “Baja’s Elite Service department also is open for business, tuning and restoring customers’ existing performance boats from bow to stern, regardless of their brand.” Baja Marine Elite Service also offers repowering, paint, upholstery, set-up and a wide range of other services for performance boats.

Craig Barrie, Baja Marine Vice President of Sales & Marketing, announced that Baja has booked exhibit space on the High Performance Dock at the 2012 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show in October, in slips HI 11, 12, 13 and 14 at the Bahia Mar venue. “We are going to unveil a unique new series for 2013 at the show,” he said. “Check our new website at for updates.” In addition to displaying new Baja performance boats for consumers at the boat show, Barrie reported that Baja Marine is actively looking to add to its current international network of dedicated Baja dealers.