Oulton Broad is the oldest motorboat racing venue in the world and the only venue to hold weekly race meetings.
The Oulton Broad Club is one of the few which caters for Hydroplanes, Catamarans, Monohulls and Juniors. Each category will race over 3 heats, 6 laps for Hydroplanes and Juniors (over the short circuit), and 9 laps for Catamarans.
Due to the variety of boats and engines competing, most races are started on an individual computer calculated handicap basis. This allows for the smaller and possibly home built craft to compete with larger and more powerful outfits. It may be that the slower boats will be well into their second or third lap before the scratch boats enter the race. Theoretically the handicap should allow the entire field to cross the finish line a dead-heat – a rare occurrence! Some hydroplane events are calculated on a group handicap basis, with boats starting in batches according to their engine capacity.
The racing is controlled from the Clubhouse where there is a large diameter clock facing up the Broad which is synchronised with our new computer timing system. Two minutes prior to the start of the heat a siren will sound and a series of coloured lights are displayed from the start-line. Three numbered discs are also displayed, these are turned at minute intervals. The clock commences to revolve one minute prior to the start, and continues to turn until the entire field has started. Competitors starting before their allocated handicap time may be disqualified or penalised a lap. Points are awarded to all competitors who receive the chequered flag.
The 2-buoy course is 1069 meters in circumference. The Wherry Buoy near the Yacht Station requires considerable throttle easing whilst the Top Buoy can be taken at a slightly faster pace. A very high tide may necessitate a shorter circuit.