KEY WEST, Florida Keys — Fierce competition between leading American and international powerboat racing teams, unmatched close-up viewing for spectators and a course with legendary challenges characterize the 41st annual Race World Offshore Key West Offshore World Championship.
Slated to continue through Sunday, Nov. 13, the season-ending spectacular pits teams against each other on a 4.4-mile-per-lap course that features both rough and calm water conditions.
Racing action was originally scheduled Wednesday, Nov. 9; Friday, Nov. 11; and Sunday, Nov. 13. However, the potential for rough waters and squally conditions, emanating from the fringes of Tropical Storm Nicole, has forced organizers to cancel Wednesday's races. There are no Nicole-related tropical cyclone watches or warnings for the Keys, but there is a small craft advisory in effect for Keys coastal waters.
According to Race World spokesperson Rodrick Cox, a full slate of races remains planned for Friday, Nov. 11, and Sunday, Nov. 13.
Often called the ultimate test of skill for racers, the Key West Offshore World Championship is presented by Performance Boat Center and typically features both American Power Boat Association and Union Internationale Motonautique superstars.
The racing series offers an unparalleled experience for spectators. Boats can come within 50 yards of the Truman Waterfront grandstand area, providing fans breathtaking displays of skill and power.
Four races are scheduled per day on Friday and Sunday, featuring boats from multiple classes. Chief among them are the hotly contested Super Cat and Class 1, whose boats can reach up to 140 and 160 mph, respectively.
Fans can observe the action on race days from several areas on the Truman Waterfront including a VIP grandstand and hospitality tent with water shuttle transportation service. Other popular viewing areas include Key West’s Mallory Square and harborfront hotels.
On nonrace days, powerboat enthusiasts can see the sleek high-speed boats, watch in-water testing runs and meet racers and crews at the Truman Waterfront Race Village. Social events for race teams and fans include a Thursday night reggae concert and dance party, a traditional Duval Street party Friday with race boats on display and a Sunday night awards ceremony.
The anticipated entertainment highlight is Saturday night’s “Boats and Boots” concert with country star Eddie Montgomery of Montgomery Gentry fame; musician/PGA golfer John Daly and headliner Brian Kelley, who co-founded the renowned duo Florida Georgia Line.
General-admission tickets are available for the Key West Offshore World Championship, as are all-inclusive VIP spectator packages for the Truman Waterfront grandstand and hospitality tent.
Offshore raceboats cross the start line during the first day of competition at the 2021 Race World Offshore Key West Championships in Key West, Fla.
Super Stock-class boats cross the start line during the 2021 Race World Offshore Key West Championships in Key West, Fla.
Fans can observe the action on race days from several areas on the Truman Waterfront. Image: Rob O'Neal