200 mph on the Hudson

This past weekend, Aperture was chartered to cover the New York Super Boat Grand Prix event on the Hudson. On Saturday, the offshore powerboats conducted their test runs, and rescue divers were staged on board our boat in case one of the speedboats lost control and the pilots needed extraction.

Sunday morning we set the turn-makers for the six-mile rectangular course and put out two lines of spectator buoys across the river — one north, stretching from Hoboken to Manhattan, the other row south from Governors Island to Battery Park, before taking on the role as ‘Course Marshal’ for the actual event.

These boats are no joke! Some go as fast as 200 miles per hour, powered by twin 2,000HP turbine engines. I expected them to roar like crazy, but to my surprise it was a high-pitched whining sound.

On Sunday, all classes raced at once — Superboat Unlimited, Superboat Vee Extreme, Superboat, Super Vee Limited, Superboat Stock, Manufacturer Production P1, P2, P3 and P4 — for a total cash prize of $75,000.

It’s not the prize money that lures these professional offshore powerboat racing teams to New York every year, explained course marshal Randy Mearns. It’s the challenge and bragging rights.

After running laps for about an hour, the event concluded safely and only a few boats broke down during the race.

The 22nd Annual Super Boat Grand Prix had set up camp in Liberty Landing Marina and I’m looking forward to their return next year as this is quite a spectacular sight and photo opportunity!