Gentlemen, Start Your Engines

Words by Kim Huish, Manager – Northcoast Ltd

Photography by David Thomas

The BVI is getting ready to welcome the 3rd leg of the Caribbean RC Boat Championship, with racers entering from the USVI, Puerto Rico and Florida.

These little boats are big on power and excitement, often getting in excess of 60mph, granting thrills and spills.

This is the first year for the international 4-race series which started in St Croix in April and moved to Puerto Rico in June. The BVI event is being held at Brandywine Bay August 8 – 10 coinciding with the BVI Emancipation Festival and it concludes in St John in the fall.


RC Boat Racing has been a feature of weekends in the BVI for many years. Encouraging a large following in the USVI and on the US mainland, it is a special mix of high octane, high tech excitement combined with a more relaxed and some might say ‘traditional’ set of values harkening back to simpler times.


“It’s not about who has the most expensive boat, or the fastest either,” said David Thomas, the President of the BVI Chapter of NAMBA (North American Model Boat Association). “This sport is all about team spirit and camaraderie. During race prep, everyone works together lending each other whatever is needed ranging from spark plugs and Allen wrenches to a motor. Once the race starts though, it is on. Then it’s about passion, driving skill and of course, a little bit of luck.”

A regular Sunday afternoon at Brandywine Bay is pretty informal – a time for fine tuning and maybe a grudge match or two. Spectators will witness friends of all ages, learning about engines and fuel mixes, or just chilling with their families as everyone is welcome to join in.


The upcoming August meet is more serious though and things will definitely be nail-biting for the competitors as the scores from previous events are combined with this one to determine who will be top dog in the Caribbean RC Boat Championship for 2014.

The rules are simple – there are between 4 – 8 boats to a race. Each race has six laps. Each boat competes in four races – the high score wins. There are points for the top six places and penalties for missing the course markers.

Additionally, there are multiple classes; Mono-hulls, Cats, twin engines etc.


There will be scores posted so spectators can keep track of their fan-favourites, and with race announcers on the microphones, viewers won’t need to be experts to enjoy the competition.


The event will of course feature lots of extras, including world class food from local Chef Imran Ashton and music from DJ Dre, so for a mix of BVI culture and socialising, this is one for the calendar.