Approaching your first drag boat race


Drag boat racing, for the uninitiated, is an acceleration race over a measured quarter mile straightaway on water between two high-performance race boats.  They use a slight moving start, implemented as a safety precaution, since it’s difficult for a boat driver to determine if the boat will launch straight from a standing start.  These boats travel at a ridiculously high speed, shooting up a perfect wall of water as they go.  It makes for a great spectacle that’s amazingly fun to watch from the shore, but can also be terrifying for anybody that’s involved; it’s a dangerous sport with no shortage of accidents.  If you’re looking at your first drag boat race, it’s only natural to be a bit scared.  In that case, here are some tips for the first-time drag boat racer:


Watch and learn

Chances are that you’ve seen drag boat racing in-person as a spectator before you’ve decided to get on one of those boats yourself.  Racing is the main attraction at such events, but you want to pay attention to every detail that’s going on in this event.  There are plenty of ways that you can get disqualified from drag boat racing, without a doubt a horrible way to start your race off.  So learn the process as much as you can before you decide to get into that boat yourself.  


Take notes

This relates to the point above, to watch and learn.  Part of the fun of drag boat racing is seeing what makes your boat quicker and figuring out how to improve your own performance on the water.  So bring a notebook, pen, and (waterproof) camera to keep track of various aspects of your boat during, before, and after the race.


Don’t jump the gun

As the two drag boats in a race are paired up with the drivers a countdown clock begins before boats get the green light to go.  During the competition, if either boat crosses the starting line before this green light, then they’re immediately disqualified.  It’s a surefire way to end your first-time drag boat racing both abruptly and unceremoniously.  So make sure that you keep your boat in control before that green light.  


Be considerate

Ultimately, this may be the simplest tip in this post, but it’s also one of the most important.  In classic racing movies, whether they’re on or off the water, there’s plenty of drama between different racers, and there’s always the bad guy who is a bad winner, or a sore loser, and tries to play dirty.  You don’t want to be that guy. Learn the “culture” of the race, to make sure that you’re fitting in.  Your opponent and the spectators will appreciate it, and it will make for a better race.