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Jet ski league set to be introduced this season

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Testing phase: The GT 15 boat will be used within a new racing class for the upcoming season
Robert Cardwell, the Bermuda Power Boat Association president

The Bermuda Power Boat Association’s plans to launch a new jet ski league for the 2021 season have finally taken flight.

The initiative was initially met by apathy when it was rolled out, but has since received more positive feedback from the jet ski community.

“We now have some interest with jet skis, so it looks like we are going to have a jet ski league,” Robert Cardwell, the BPBA president, said.

“We are going to have a pre-race season briefing, probably the second or third week of February, which we are going to ask the jet skiers to come so we can organise them.”

As well as a jet ski league, the BPBA plans to launch a new racing class that will see participants from ages 16 and up compete in the European-designed GT-15, the same boat used in the association’s junior programme.

The 13-foot monohull is a strict one-design and will be built by the owners themselves from a mould provided by the BPBA. They will be powered by a stock 30-horsepower engine, which teams have been prohibited from modifying to further ensure a level playing field.

If all goes according to plan, the BPBA hopes to launch the new class by the 2022 season at the earliest.

“We want to have a 30-horsepower league with the same model boat [juniors] with adults, and we’re hoping to have that league come in maybe next season,” Cardwell said.

“The boats are scaled so that they are all exactly the same. They all weigh exactly the same, their fittings are all exactly the same and we’re not allowing anybody to alter any motors or anything like that. They have to be standard stock motors.

“Our plan now is to release our mould to our members so they can build the same boat, and we will see how it goes when they get the boats built.

“It will be a brand new class and that will be really exciting because it will all be inshore [racing].”

Meanwhile, the BPBA has announced a nine race day schedule for the 2021 season to be staged from April to September.

A spike in the number of positive Covid-19 cases on the island led to a government shutdown of sporting activities on the island early last month.

Cardwell hopes the restrictions will be “lifted” in time to enable the 2021 season to start as originally planned.

“We are hoping that come April all of the restrictions [Covid-19] will be lifted,” he said.

“That’s our hope and what we’re sort of banking on.”

The global Covid-19 pandemic resulted in the BPBA’s 2020 season being cancelled.

“We lost our entire 2020 season due to Covid-19,” Cardwell added.

“While none of our members came down with Covid, we lost the whole season due to the government restrictions and everything.”

The 2021 season is due to commence on April 18, with the BPBA’s junior competitors taking centre stage at Ferry Reach.

“We are really excited because our junior programme is kicking off on the first race day,” said Cardwell, who is serving a fifth successive term as BPBA commodore.

“We have three boats ready to go and six juniors already signed up that are interested in participating, so we will get them going on the first day.

“The first day is just going to be tutorials, educating them to get the feel of the boat. It won’t be any racing, they’ll just be getting the feel of the boat on the first day.”

The junior programme involves competitors ages 10 to 15 that compete in the GT-15 driven by a 15-horsepower engine.

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Published January 28, 2021 at 8:24 am (Updated January 28, 2021 at 8:24 am)

Jet ski league set to be introduced this season

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