This refers to a form of racing sport involving jetboats operated by two crew members who maneuver it in a series of channels within less than one meter depth of water. During this event, tracks are specifically designed to allow spectators to have a better view of what is taking place in the waters. In most cases, the speed of the racing is tremendous and strident with the motor-boats involved being powered by a V8s developing more than 500hp.
History of the Jetsprint and Its Format
According to history, this is a sporting event that was first established and developed in New Zealand in the year 1981. Originally, these events were held in the braided rivers popularly known for their inspirations to Sir William Hamilton, the developer of the first jetboat. However, at the introduction of this sport in Australia, in mid 1980, only permanently established courses were used and this has been the norm in New Zealand ever since. With the introduction of the sport in the US, an intensely contested championship, the Tasman, has led to the establishment of 3-world championship membership.
This kind of racing consists of courses which are predefined via the selected channels but are subject to 25 to 30 direction alterations. Generally, these sporting events last for only 45 to 60 seconds. After completing the qualifiers, each participant runs the course while the one with the best qualifying speed comes in last. Depending on the number of participants, the first 16 who are rated as the fastest will qualify to the next step. At this point, their number is cut down further to the first 8 and from here the four best are selected to move to the semis where the best two proceed to the finals.
Criteria of Racing Boats
Typically short (4 to 4.1 meters or 13 to 13 ½ feet in length); a jetsprint has a vee hull which is often 23 – 25 degrees and several strakes places on either side. A shorter hull is most preferable and this is attributable to the fact that a longer one has to cover a big distance before it completely turns and since speed should be lowered during this turn, it consumes more time. The strakes are important in that they provide traction by preventing the boat from sliding on the sides across the water when the boat makes a turn while at high speed.
Rollcage Fitting and the Crew
The driver and the navigator make up the crew in jetsprint racing. The navigator in this case has the responsibility of guiding the driver throughout the course by simply using hand signals. He does this by pointing in the direction the boat should go next. Internationally, there are two classes which are given recognition. These include:
Engines that are placed in this category of boats are strictly allowed to bear 6.7-litre engines which have been developed using cast iron heads and blocks. If not, they should be restricted to 365 c-inch or 6-litre engines well fitted with aluminum cast heads. The two engine sizes are allowed to use 2 valves per cylinder operated by a push-rod. In addition, the engine should be aspirated by aid of a carburetor of a 4-barell capacity. The type of fuel used to run these types of engines is 100 + octane aviation oil. These engines are typical in the production of up to 650 hp
Engines that fall into this category do not have a definite maximum size but instead they are restricted to a certain minimum size. In normal circumstances, engines that are aspirated should be able to displace 6.5 litres (400c-inch) or in cases of forced induction – supercharged or turbocharged- engines, they should be able to displace about 3.8 litres or more (235 c-inch). Generally, to run these engines, methanol is used as fuel and it is refilled by injecting the fuel. The smaller engines have the ability to produce over 950 hp, while on the other hand, the big ones produce from 1000 to 14000 hp. It is also good to note that using Nitro-methane and nitrous oxide is prohibited.
More about Jetsprint Racing
The first jet boat was developed by a New Zealander by the name Sir William Hamilton in 1950s. His first jet system had the ability to allow the jetboat to draw water from underneath and exorcise it through the nozzle, hence making it appropriate for free propulsion. As it is the norm in situations where one fast moving vehicle is developed, another person comes up in competition. This made the jet racing sport to become popular especially in New Zealand where the naturally braided rivers provided a suitable playing ground for jetboats.
The fact jetboats do not require a lot of water; the braided rivers had fast and sinuous routes making the experience quite exhilarating. In 1981, the race was formalized and this saw a number of races being held on these braided rivers. But when the this sport’s concept finally reached Australia around mid 80s, the Australian authority established customized tracks that were to be used for racing and also ensure that there was consistency and that all lovers of the sport derived full satisfaction from it.
Currently, jetboat courses stand out as the most fashionable sporting events in the New Zealand. There are three major countries that indulge in jetsprint series and they include New Zealand, USA and Australia. Preferably, boats that are designed for this event are light, short and quite easily maneuvered. Besides the strakes on the hulls performing a good job in ensuring that the boat stays intact, the g- forces are equally important since they enable the boat to stop for a bit longer period than its length as well as accelerate speed to as much as 100 km/hr in a short spell of only 4 seconds. When contemplating to join this sport, it is good to note that crashes are inevitable. Even though, jetsprint series or jetboat racing is an overwhelming display to watch and if you happen to secure a chance to enter the sport, do not hesitate. Go straight for it! Meanwhile you can content yourself by learning more about the legends of Jetsprint.