Archive for February, 2013


Uncertain Class 1 future: The championship will not be the same without Victory Team.

EXCLUSIVE: The 2013 season of the UIM Class 1 World Powerboat Championship is headed into rough waters following the withdrawal of two top teams, Dubai’s Victory and Spirit of Qatar.

Victory, the most successful team in the sport’s history which is currently headed by Arif Al Zafeen, have informed Class 1 Promotion that they would not be participating this season as there is no firm calendar in place yet, with the exception of the first round in China on March 28-30.

A further five rounds have been planned for this year – one each in Africa, the Mediterranean and Italy, and two in the UAE.

Interestingly, while the Mediterranean and Italy rounds have been scheduled for September 13-15 and September 27-29 respectively, no venues for these rounds have been announced. Similarly, no dates or venues for the two UAE rounds have been mentioned either.

According to Class 1 rules, a confirmed, if not a provisional, calendar must be announced at least one year in advance and no later than November of an ongoing championship season.

Speaking to Sport360°, Deputy Executive Director of Victory Team Nadir bin Hendi said: “Yes, it is true we have informed the promoter of our concerns regarding the calendar.

“We continue to be in talks with representatives of the promoters and as things stand we are unable to participate in the championship this year.

“We are a Government of Dubai funded entity plus we have our sponsors, but in the absence of a confirmed calendar we are unable to place a plan before both the government and our sponsors,” Bin Hendi added.

Bin Hendi, who is a former throttleman with Victory Team, pointed out that they are a multi-sport company and given the current situation in Class 1, Victory would like to concentrate on its other ventures, particularly jet ski, XCAT and rally racing.

Victory has a big presence in the UIM jet ski and World XCAT series through Fazza and Skydive Dubai respectively. Similarly, they are also involved with the FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies, the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) and circuit racing in the Formula Gulf 1000 championship.

Bin Hendi, however, said they are still open to participating in Class 1 but insisted that it all depends on the promoter providing a confirmed calendar. Victory has also made it clear that they will continue to be associated with Class 1 and have offered their services to the promoter.

Meanwhile, Spirit of Qatar, led by Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al Thani, will compete in the Super Boat International (SBI) Championship in the United States this season and forego the Class 1 championship.

In fact, the Qatari team had stayed away from Class 1 for a couple of years from 2009-10 over what they then claimed in protest against the way the championship was being conducted.

However, Sheikh Hassan returned to Class 1 in 2011 claiming he was happy with the new management and promoter, but has now pulled out of the 2013 season as he is apparently “tired of the rules of Class 1 not being adhered to by certain teams”.

The Spirit of Qatar was unhappy after the 2012 Dubai Grand Prix race course was shortened, but Nicolo di San Germano, president of H2O racing and chairman of Class 1 Promotion, the promoters of the championship, had backed the officials’ decision on grounds the changes had been done keeping safety in mind.

The officials who took the decision were Race Director Gordon Sutherland, UIM Commissioner Marcello Zanardi and local Officer of the Day Ali Bin Gulaita. And, while negotiations continue to break the deadlock, Class 1 Promotion’s San Germano told Sport360° that preparations for the first round in Sanya, China, are well underway and that all the boats would be shipped to China on February 20.

San Germano is confident eight to 10 teams at the least would be seen in action but did not elaborate, and it remains to be seen which teams would actually make it to the start line.

With both Victory and Spirit of Qatar out of contention it means at least four less boats, which effectively would reduce the field to four-five teams. UIM, the world governing body for watersports, is yet to respond to an email from Sport360° seeking its position on the current crisis that Class 1 is facing.




U.S. Sens. Robert Menendez and Frank R. Lautenberg are urging FEMA to allow Jersey Shore homeowners to immediately challengeadvisory flood maps that many believe are unfair.

In a letter to FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, the two Democratic senators both expressed concern that enforcement of the new maps could make rebuilding on the Shore too expensive for many middle-class families.

The advisory maps, released in December by FEMA, show that flood waters could rise 1 to 5 feet higher in flood-prone areas than previous maps had indicated.

In January, Gov. Chris Christie announced the state would adopt the new flood maps to govern reconstruction in areas devastated by superstorm Sandy.

But many Jersey Shore property owners claim the maps have serious errors, particularly in many bayfront areas of Ocean County which were moved from “A” zones to “V” zones by FEMA.

The agency says structures in V zones are subject to breaking waves of up to three feet, so they must be elevated on pilings or columns. Many local officials believe FEMA’s advisory maps are too conservative, and have noted that even during Sandy, most of the homes flooded in bayfront areas were not directly impacted by waves.

“Some areas of the state will see up to an 8-foot increase in their base flood elevation. This change will require homeowners to spend tens of thousands of dollars to elevate their home or be subjected to skyrocketing flood insurance premiums,” Menendez and Lautenberg, both D-N.J., wrote. “For those that are re-designated in the V zone, they will have to rebuild with pilings, a much more expensive proposition.”

Homes that were more than 51 percent damaged would have to rebuilt to the new standards.

The two senators have requested that homeowners have the right to appeal their flood designation now, instead of waiting until FEMA completes new flood insurance rate maps, expected to be sometime in late summer. Normally such appeals are accepted during the 12- to 18-month period it takes FEMA to adopt final flood insurance rate maps.

Preliminary versions of the rate maps are expected to come out around August, Chris McKniff, a FEMA spokesman, has said.

Comments will be accepted, appeals heard and the maps governing flood insurance rates will be adopted around mid-to-late 2014, McKniff said.


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LONG BEACH (AP) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to spend up to $400 million to buy and demolish homes wrecked by Superstorm Sandy and permanently preserve the land as undeveloped coastline, an idea that received generally positive reviews Monday from New Yorkers in some of the storm’s hardest hit communities.

“A lot of people need that help,” said Long Beach resident Tom Mannion. Homes in the Long Island oceanfront city were inundated with 6 feet or more of water during the height of October’s storm.

Mannion described himself as skeptical of government programs, but predicted it will be of interest to many, especially those “people whose houses are wiped out, and they had no insurance. Those people could use that help and I’d like to see them get it.”

Cuomo administration spokesman Rich Azzopardi confirmed that the proposal calls for the state to use a portion of the $51 billion disaster relief package approved by Congress last week for the buyouts. The plan, first reported Monday by The New York Times, was presented to federal officials Friday, the spokesman said.

If approved, the program would offer pre-Sandy full market value for homes in the 100-year flood plain substantially damaged by the storm and related flooding. State officials have estimated that 1,000 to 1,500 homeowners might apply. Cuomo earlier raised the buyout proposal and other new measures to protect New York City’s underground infrastructure from flooding, which he said has been occurring far more often than once a century.

A spokeswoman for New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said buyouts are just one of the options being considered. Others include moving electric and other critical systems to higher ground and increasing protection for coastlines, Lauren Passalacqua said.

U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm, a Staten Island Republican who has been supportive in early talks with residents about buyouts, said he supported Cuomo’s proposal and will back funding for other mitigation programs like elevating homes.

Certain neighborhoods like Staten Island’s Oakwood Beach are “prime candidates for this type of program,” he said in a statement.

The residents of that area are also among the most organized and determined to take advantage of the proposal. Joseph Tirone, who leads the neighborhood committee to work toward a buyout, said more than 150 homeowners have indicated they would sell. The group hopes city and state agencies will buy the entire community and allow it to revert to natural wetlands.

Samantha Langello bought her Oakwood Beach home five years ago. A few months after moving in, she said, a brush fire damaged a bulkhead built in the 1990s to protect the neighborhood. Later, she had her first flood during a nor’easter — 4 feet of water in her basement that destroyed a newly built kitchen and brand-new appliances.

Each year since, one storm or another has sent water back in but never as much as Sandy, which submerged the entire first floor.

Langello acknowledged that it was her choice to live in the neighborhood but said her sister had lived three doors away for several years and never had a problem.

“You just don’t think of New York as a place for hurricanes to hit,” she said. “I wasn’t even told until the closing that I was in Flood Zone A.”

Langello sees a buyout as perhaps the only way to avoid financial ruin.

“We have no intention of going back whether we get bought out or not,” she said. “It’s clearly not a safe place to live.”

Outside the Long Beach post office, several blocks from where a 2-plus-mile stretch of the Long Beach boardwalk is being rebuilt, Joe Sorise said limits should be placed on where building is permitted. “Some people are extended very far out,” he said. “Because of the geographical area and the amount of damage done, I think it’s a very good idea.”

But not everyone supported the buyouts. Long Island resident Irene Castellano, whose shed and two cars were destroyed by Sandy, was aghast at the idea.

“This is our city. Our houses make up our city and our people make up our city,” she said. “They’re going to rip down those houses and not rebuild? That means those people are going to go away more than likely.”

Castellano said people should stick it out. “It’s been done before, time and time again, from the time my grandfather was here in the ‘30s and the ocean met the bay and everything was decimated. We came back,” she said. “Why not live near the water, where it’s beautiful, and hope that it doesn’t hit again?”

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano said he discussed the program with Cuomo last week.

“It’s a program that should be considered and, if applied correctly, will actually enhance neighborhoods and protect the public’s health safety and welfare,” Mangano said.

He also said he was not worried about a significant impact on the county tax base, saying those participating could like number in the dozens. “We’re not expecting whole neighborhoods, but rather smaller, flooded pockets of areas that may qualify.”

Homeowners who choose to relocate within their home county would get an additional 5 percent incentive under the proposed buyout.

Brendan C. Gilfillan, a spokesman for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, said officials are discussing the disbursement of HUD disaster recovery grants.



FOND DU LAC, Wis. – Mercury Marine has announced several appointments within its global finance organization.

Bob Flesch has been named director of global operations – Finance. In this role, Flesch has financial responsibility for manufacturing, distribution, procurement, capital expenditures, product development and engineering, Mercury Racing and Mercury Marine’s manufacturing operations in Asia.

Flesch has been with Mercury Marine for 26 years, and has held a number of finance and strategy positions of increasing responsibility. He was most recently Mercury’s division controller for commercial operations. Flesch holds a bachelor’s of science and a master’s of business administration degree from the University of Wisconsin –Oshkosh.

Andy Winget has been named engine business unit controller. In this role, Winget has financial responsibility for Mercury’s engine business in North America, Central America, South America and the Caribbean. Winget will also maintain responsibility for the Mercury Marine Group financial planning and analysis function.

A 10-year employee of Brunswick Corporation, Winget has worked at Mercury Marine for the past seven years, most recently as division controller for Mercury’s Service and Marine Parts & Accessories unit.He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, and a master’s degree in business administration from Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. Winget is also a Certified Management Accountant and Certified Public Accountant.

Katie Peltier has been named business unit controller for Mercury’s Service and Marine Parts & Accessories unit. In this role, Peltier has financial responsibility for Mercury parts, oil, remanufacturing, inflatable boats and service businesses, in additional to Attwood marine accessories and Land ‘N’ Sea distribution. She will also assume responsibility for the financial support of Mercury’s non-marine business development activities.

Peltier has been with Brunswick Corporation for 23 years, including the last seven years at Mercury Marine. She was most recently chief financial officer of the CMD joint venture in Charleston, S.C. She holds a bachelor’s of science degree from Northern Illinois University and a master’s degree in business administration from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. She is also a Certified Public Accountant.

About Mercury Marine

Headquartered in Fond du Lac, Wis., Mercury Marine is the world’s leading manufacturer of recreational marine propulsion engines. A $2 billion division of Brunswick Corporation (NYSE: BC), Mercury provides engines, boats, services and parts for recreational, commercial and government marine applications, empowering boaters with products that are easy to use, extremely reliable and backed by the most dedicated customer support in the world. Mercury’s industry-leading brand portfolio includes Mercury and Mariner outboard engines; Mercury MerCruiser sterndrive and inboard packages; MotorGuide trolling motors; Mercury propellers; Mercury inflatable boats; Mercury SmartCraft electronics; Attwood marine parts; Land ‘N Sea marine parts distribution; and Mercury and Quicksilver parts and oils. More information is available at


OPA 2013 Race Schedule

Posted: February 5, 2013 in News, Racing

2013 OPA Racing Schedule
​May 10-12 LAKE HOPATCONG GRAND PRIX Lake Hopatcong, NJ
May 24-26 TBA North east
Sept 13-15 SOLOMONS OFFSHORE GRAND PRIX ~ OPA Nationals Solomons, MD



Mercury Marine has introduced a new line of Bravo Three propellers designed especially for higher-horsepower diesel applications.

The Bravo Three Diesel Propeller line is now the top choice for heavier boats powered by 250hp to 350hp diesel engines and matched with Bravo Three drives.

Bravo Three Diesel Propellers, featuring a durable matte finish, offer unmatched acceleration, holding and cavitation resistance thanks to their aggressive large-diameter, four-blade front propeller and smaller-diameter, three-blade rear propeller design.

“Today’s pressure charged diesel engines generate a lot of torque at very low rpm,” said Dirk Bjornstad, category director for Mercury Propellers.  “The high rake and extra cup on the Bravo Three Diesel propellers captures that power and holds the water, resulting in faster time to plane and superior cavitation and ventilation resistance on diesel-powered boats.  They also provide more bow lift.”

For heavier boats with diesel power, Mercury’s new Bravo Three Diesel propellers provide the best combination of performance and value available in the market.

Bravo Three Diesel Propeller sets are available in 21-in. to 27-in. pitches in two-inch increments and fit standard Bravo Three, Bravo Three X and Bravo Three XR drives.

The new Bravo Three Diesel propellers are available now.


Craig Barrie Joins Statement Marine

Posted: February 1, 2013 in News


St. Petersburg, FL – February 1, 2013: Statement Marine, LLC, the St. Petersburg, Florida-based custom builder of high-end offshore performance boats, has enlisted marine industry veteran Craig Barrie to direct its sales efforts.

Barrie, whose lengthy marine industry career has included stints as president of Cigarette Racing, owner/founder of Dragon Powerboats, and most recently vice president of Donzi Marine, has made dealer development his top priority at Statement.

“Statement’s co-founders Nick Buis and Todd Werner are hands-on owners who have built this company to the point where it’s ready to be taken to the next level, said Barrie. “They have created a talented team, built an impressive product line, and they’ve delivered a surprising number of boats by selling them one at a time. We’re now creating what will be the very best dealer network in all of high performance boating, to extend the reach of that hands-on approach to performance boaters worldwide.”

According to Barrie, the number one criterion for consideration as a Statement dealer will be “industry expertise.” Barrie explained, “We’re going to add experienced dealers who know high performance boating inside and out, and who place a strong emphasis on service.”

Joining Statement’s Key Largo, Florida dealer New Boats Direct and St Petersburg, Florida dealer Pro Marine USA are new dealers Aqua Mania of Alexandria Bay, New York; Erickson Marine of Sarasota, Florida; Fastboats Marine Group of Aventura and Pompano Beach, Florida; and Ocean Performance of Old Saybrook, Connecticut.

Additionally, Barrie has brought aboard Blane Aarup, a marine industry sales expert formerly representing Donzi and Baja, to assist in Statement’s dealer outreach. “Dealer interest in Statement has been extraordinary,” said Barrie. “Blane and I are in discussions with several US and international dealers now and we’ll be meeting with several more in Miami. We are actively looking to expand Statement’s sales reach by implementing dealer-friendly programs and practices, and in addition to the new dealers announced today, we will be bringing aboard additional dealers shortly.”

Barrie will be heavily involved in Statement’s product development efforts, as well. “We have taken an in-depth look at Statement’s offerings, and we will continue to evolve the product line to lead the latest market trends,” said Barrie. “Statement will once again turn heads at the Miami International Boat Show, where we’ll be bringing a 50’ cat powered by twin 1350 Mercs, a 42’ Ultimate that stars in an upcoming movie that our marketing director Josh Stickles has been working on, our first quad-engine 38’ center console built for another longtime marine industry friend Bob Christie, and a very nicely equiped 35’ center console. We have revamped our entire pricing structure and are making significant additions to the standard and optional features lists of every boat in the Statement lineup.”

Launched in 2008, Statement Marine, LLC has quickly established itself as an innovator in high performance boating with its substantial investment in product development, tooling, and prominent boat show and poker run presence. At its state of the art 40,000-square foot manufacturing facility in St. Petersburg, Florida, Statement manufactures virtually all major components in-house, and prides itself on superlative quality, fit, and finish. Visit Statement online at, or


Discovery Studios Discovering Unlimiteds

Posted: February 1, 2013 in News


By now, most of you have heard that H1 Unlimited has announced Discovery Studios is planning a documentary TV series about racing. There is no set timing published at this time, but this could be great news for the sport. In the press release, they say,

In a joint announcement today H1 Unlimited and Discovery Studios revealed plans for a documentary TV series focused on the Air National Guard H1 Unlimited Hydroplane Series.

H1 Chairman Sam Cole said “we are thrilled to be partnering with Discovery Studios in this venture. The TV series has the potential to give millions of viewers a true inside look at the spectacle of the world’s fastest boats.”

In making the announcement Discovery Studios Executive Producer Daniel Soiseth underscored the “unprecedented behind the scenes access we’ll have to the danger, fiercely competitive personalities, and constant conflict that are part of this incredibly colorful sport. This is the stuff that compelling documentary TV is made of.”

Considering the horrible trash that is currently shown, like Honey BooBoo, Jersey Shore and Todlers and Tiaras, it is about time Hollywood recognizes a sport filled with science, money, competition, global reach and good old fashioned family fun. It is amazing how beneficial racing is to the venues that host events, and we are just now on the precipice of the rest of the country (maybe the world) learning a lot more about the sport we already know and love.

Is that good or bad? OK. Stop yelling. Let’s take a look at each one.

The good.

For all the reasons mentioned above, raising visibility – both in front of, and behind the scenes – of this great sport will enable more cities to grow the excitement and potentially land an event.  That growth is good for the sport, it’s good for the teams, and is good for the fans.

The bad.

It’s no secret that we’ve experienced some “issues” in the recent past about the pros and cons of expanding internationally.  We’ve debated the readiness and ability to support that growth, but still grow in the advertiser-rich domestic market.  Depending on our ability to manage that growth – and not air more publicly the associated growing pains – we may or may not put our best foot forward.  In my opinion, we need to be aware of that danger as we enter a more public forum in the form of reality TV.

The goal.

As a true fan of the sport, my goal is to help all of the “good” to surface and none of the “bad.”  Discovery Studios’ interest in the fastest boats in the world could really be the next leg up the sport needs to climb the success ladder.  Let’s all wish every one of those people involved all the best of luck.