An Open Letter to the Offshore Community
"A Year-end State of the Sport"
Don Jones, ORC Chairman
In 1994, ORC produced 4 National races. In 1995, ORC produced 6 National races and in 1996, the ORC projects 10 races. (see attached schedule) The 10 races will be split into an 8 race National Series and a 2 race, 2 city North American Championship. In 1997, you will see a Eastern National Series along with a Western National Series, all culminating with a true National Championship. Projections for the Central and Northeastern APBA Offshore Clubs to form their own National Series in 1998, will enhance the growth of the National Series Championship. It is anticipated that by 1998, ORC will host up to 15-18 National Races.
In 1994 the APBA Offshore Racing Commission was restructured to better address opportunities for future growth.
The ORC expanded the Board of Commissioner to include four owner members. The four owners represent all classes of racers and through their involvement with PROPS (owners organization) great strides have been made on issues relating to the racing community. A new ORC Chairman was named to head up ORC over-all operations and to provide leadership to the Commission relating to the development and direction of the sport. A "Mission statement" and a "Five Year Plan" (1997-2001) has been developed to provide guidance and direction for all members of the Offshore racing community, both domestically and world wide. Covenants in the Mission statement includes in part the following:
HIGHLIGHTS OF 1995:
- Open class will be the premier class in APBA Offshore. (no super boats in 1996)
- Reduce the cost of racing (all classes)
- Restructure class rules to provide maximum competition to enhance spectator interest and sponsorship awareness.
- Re-align classes to create an optimum number of boats per class thereby enhancing crowd appeal through competition.
- Reformat course layouts to provide shorter courses, eliminating a "parade of boats" thereby giving spectators and TV viewers a more interesting competitive show to watch.
- Split two day class racing programs ie: Open class will race in a class all to themselves, thereby highlighting the "best of Offshore racing". Other classes will race on alternate days to create more sponsor exposure rather than a one day limited exposure racing event.
- Continue to develop and implement safe racing rules through upgraded inspection procedures, referee awareness and leadership training while at the same time promoting safe competitive racing.
- APBA Offshore membership increased 19.7% to a four year high of 669 racing members. Add another 450 non-racing members and the APBA Offshore membership totals 1119, the largest racing category in APBA.
- APBA Offshore registered 197 Offshore teams during 1995, thereby beating other U.S. sanctioning bodies by 10 fold the number of official offshore boat registrations.
- Throughout the U.S., APBA Offshore conducted a total of 20 sanctioned offshore events, up 10% from the previous year.
- Internationally known, Technical Chairman, George Linder along with technical committee members Sonny Hawkins and Bob Teague have completely re-designed the technical rules for 1997-2001 to match the Mission Statement mentioned above.
- APBA Offshore averaged over 75 race teams per event, an all time high and growing..
- The success of the 1995 season and the development of the Mission Statement & Five year plan has prompted renewed interest and excitement in Offshore racing in the United States. Inquiries from sponsors, new race teams and new sites has been gratifying to say the least.
- A two year (1995-1996) "Alliance" between SBR and the APBA allowed the two sanctioning bodies to work together for the good of the sport. Members of both organizations expressed plaudits for the "joint" racing programs.
The 1996 National race sites have pledge their financial support in providing partial sponsorship for the National television series. In addition, due to the expanded 1996 schedule, several corporate sponsors have indicated a sincere interest in becoming a National Series partner. It is anticipated that the National Series will be telecast on national cable TV, prime time weekends. Cable providers are currently being surveyed to ensure maximum exposure and prime schedule availability.
Recent ORC Commission meetings held in Atlanta, Georgia (11-18-95) placed safety of racers number one in priority. Once again the ORC voted to contract with the Poplin Stars Water Rescue Team, Tri-County Communications Inc. and confirmed its commitment to the Lavin Foundation Guidelines. Special safety improvements in the area of full time air, canopy construction, hull design and strength and in general, complete improved safety systems for the racer, is high on the ORC agenda.
During 1995, APBA Offshore Racing has emerged as one of the world's premier Offshore Racing sanctioning bodies. APBA Offshore offers the serious offshore racer an opportunity to join with APBA to "see and feel the difference".
My personal thanks and appreciation to all those who have worked so hard to "make a difference".
Also, special thanks to Mr. Rickey, Vapor Trails, Jerry Nordskog, Eric Colby, Powerboat Magazine and the Media folks who presented the 1995 APBA Offshore season in a positive and constructive manner. My personal appreciation to Andy Albert who put APBA Offshore on the WWW around the world.
Kudos to the talented Offshore officials, Chief Referee, Mike Tomlinson, Assistant Referees, Jim Koert and Doug McKee, Chief Scorer, Dee Kimes, Chief Inspectors, John Kenyon (95), Ron Voorhees (96), Medical Director, Jim Poplin and his Stars Water Rescue Team & Tri-County Communications, Jim Reid and Lois Berkes, all who spend an inordinate amount of personal time and effort to bring a professional level of officiating to the sport. A tough job well done!
Our professional APBA Detroit staff led by Executive Administrator, Gloria Urbin, certainly deserves our warm praise for keeping the myriad of duties and responsibilities "ship shape".
With your continued help, 1996 will be another outstanding Offshore year.
Happy Holidays to all.
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